It’s been a big week in the world of Waterstones. Last Monday, we had the shock announcement that they would be hand-selling Kindles – their long-awaited digital strategy finally coming to the fore – followed by their refurbishment plans, introducing branded coffee shops to over 130 stores. There are so many buzz words I could use here but instead I’m going to confine myself to a run through of what seems to have emerged over the past week in the Wacky World of Waterstones.
9 am. Thursday morning. Portland Place, London. Publishing, bookshops, eReaders and academic publishing were all under the spotlight as the Westminster Media Forum Keynote Seminar kicked off.
The morning was jam-packed with ideas, a few thought-provoking questions and analysis from the ever present twitterai…
Fiction Uncovered creates the opportunity for eight British fiction writers to be part of a summer promotion supported by key retailers and independent bookstores across the UK.
On Wednesday, eight books were selected for the promotion amidst a buzzing atmosphere at The Union Club in London. The judging panel was chaired, by John Sutherland, Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus of Modern English Literature at UCL, with Katy Guest (Literary Editor, The Independent on Sunday), Jasper Sutcliffe (Head of Buying, Foyles Group) and the writer Matt Thorne. You can check out the winning titles here.
On top of this there are two related events to follow which might just pique your interest…
There is endless advice that goes out to self-published authors about building their brand, identifying their audience and how to promote their work. This is all vital in the success of a book, but writers shouldn’t let it detract from other parts of the self-publishing process – namely, the technical and project management (let’s be honest, slightly more boring) side of things.
Working with self-publishers on CompletelyNovel has been massively inspiring. Every day we see new writers produce something that they have often been waiting many years to see in print. The advent of new tools on the internet has opened up so many doors. But, like anything, it throws up new challenges as well. So here are some dos and don’ts for aspiring self-publishers and their mentors to mull over, learned through watching the experiences of others.
Some might say I was a late bloomer when it comes to the publishing industry. At the tender age of 24, my eyes were opened to the world of book PR via a small pub event. As I began to mingle, I realised how much I enjoyed talking to everyone about things that I really cared about-rather than just smiling and nodding. At the time I was doing work experience in events and paying the rent by working in a dog grooming salon. Nevertheless, I thought that I could reignite my childhood passion for reading (I was a proper bookworm) and combine it with talking a lot, meeting people and chin-wagging over a glass or two of vino. Subsequently, I decided to hound a Publicity Director I’d met-and three weeks later started working for her and never looked back.
That was just over two years ago, and now I am fortunate to have a job I love, great colleagues and friends I have made in my short career, alongside a swift education in social media. I get to meet amazing authors, journalists and fellow publishing folk, and despite the taboo subject of pay (publishing is notorious for this), I wouldn’t swap it for anything. Admittedly no expert on employment and a relative newcomer myself, here are my personal top tips for getting into book PR.
Everyone’s a critic
The web, and not least Amazon’s customer review functionality, has been blamed for the demise (or at least the endangered species status) of the professional literary critic. There’s not doubt that the amount of space in the national press given over to books is less than ever, and the number of literary editors has diminished too. Needless to say, the whole newspaper market is changing and shrinking, thanks to this Internet thingummy. So, Bookmachiners, I ask you – is this such a bad thing?
I have a weird dual perspective on this issue…
or ‘Know What You Do And Do It Well.’
I’m not sure the words ‘outrage’ or ‘controversy’ fully convey the level of disgust with which the publishing and bookselling industry responded to last year’s announcement of Sainsbury taking Bookseller of The Year at the Book Industry Awards. Thankfully, this year there will be no need for a riposte titled ‘On Sainsbury’s: A Defence’ (a name whose weighty resonance harks back to old school publishing, but whose content belies a shift away from leather bound hardbacks) from the judicial body, as the ever-loved darling of bookstores, Foyles, has walked away with the industry’s most esteemed accolade.
Thursday, 24th May 2012 (London)
Guest of Honour: Richard Mollet, Chief Executive, The Publishers Association
This seminar will offer a timely opportunity to consider the current and future challenges posed by structural change in the publishing industry emanating from the increased popularity of the eBook, declining sales of physical books and the rise of supermarket retailing. Timed to follow the consultation on Public Lending Rights from library loans and the coming changes to copyright law following the Hargreaves Review, it will address emerging issues concerning the future of book revenues in an already pressured market.
Delegates will assess future trends in book retailing, with planned sessions exploring the maturing eBook market, the growth of the tablet and mobile internet, and how they will affect the future of the eReader. The agenda includes discussion of the effect of reduced sales on publishers and authors, as well as high street, independent and online booksellers, and the future role of the book shop as retailers choose new, diverse models for book promotion, discounting and improving customer experience.
For more details or to book click here.
This week on the site, we were Revisiting elearning in the Web 2.0 age with Anna Faherty, and Felice Howden asked What Game Is Anobii Playing? Meanwhile, the London Literature Festival announces 2012 line-up, and Century buys rights to Wool, inevitable sheep jokes.
As Pottermore adds Kobo as a Harry Potter e-book partner, and apparently Moglue Makes It Dead Simple For Anyone To Create And Publish Interactive Ebooks, there’s A Humorous Yet Truthful Look at Publishing, and The Book Designer is asking: Are You Trying to Create an “Impossible” Book?
Finally, it appears that In E-Reader Age of Writer’s Cramp, a Book a Year Is Slacking.
Line-up announcements have been made and tickets have gone on sale for this year’s London Literature Festival, happening at the Southbank Centre from 3-12 July. Amongst the big names making appearances in those ten days are Michael Morpurgo (whose Q&A will almost certainly consist entirely of variations on the question ‘so what’s Steven Spielberg really like?’), John Pilger, Will Self, Andy Kershaw, Siri Hustvedt, Clive Stafford Smith, Noo Saro-Wiwa, Stella Duffy, Mark Haddon and Andy Stanton.