BBC Radio 4, the nation’s well-meaning uncle, is this week broadcasting a five part series, Publishing Lives, whose title encompasses its dual purpose of providing capsule biographies of significant figures in the development of publishing and its seeming reassurance that the current state of flux in which the industry finds itself is merely the latest iteration of several crises already endured over the past 200 years, and that it too shall pass. In each of its five 15 minute episodes, Robert McCrum (previously literary editor of the Observer, and before that editorial director of Faber & Faber for close to two decades) and his producer Melissa Fitzgerald look at the stories behind a different publishing imprint – Murray, Macmillan, Penguin, Weidenfeld, Faber – and consider how their findings illuminate the present.
As the shadow cabinet were camped out in Brighton’s hotel’s trying to kickstart their policy campaign at the Labour party conference, I joined a small but eager group of publishing people in an independent café to discuss our own policies on how to encourage more people to read and reinvent the often struggling but wonderful book industry.
Amazon has revealed the latest additions to its line of Kindles, with three new models seeing staggered releases in the US in the run-up to the Christmas shopping season. First to be released is the upgraded Kindle Fire HD, which keeps the 1280×800 resolution 7″ screen of the previous generation but switches out that model’s 1.2GHz processor for a 1.5GHz and is slightly more compact overall. It’s out on 2 October and costs $139 (around £86). Here’s an artist’s impression of its packaging:
Rob Sherman is a 25 year-old writer and musician from London. His favourite topics include wholegrain, gods with more than one face, and cryptozoology, as well as his own suppurating, horrific body. This is his first guest blog post on BookMachine.
My name is Rob Sherman, or elsewhere the Hogherd, and I would like to tell you the story of how I came by this second, more mythical moniker. It is the story of how I became a full-time author, an occupation of which I have dreamed since I was very small. It is a story that I could not replicate at any other time in history; as tellers of stories, we live in a time when life has never been easier, harder, or more terrifying, and when a combination of luck and a strong lifting arm can lead to one of the largest publishers in the world taking a punt on one’s ludicrous idea. As I say, my story is one that more and more young writers can tell, and are being given the opportunity to tell, by the rise of the digital environment.
You’d be forgiven at this point for not even realising that a trilogy of films adapting Ayn Rand’s Objectivist 1957 doorstop Atlas Shrugged, beloved of total dicks the world over, is already two thirds completed. That’s because the first two films bombed, commercially and critically, and so there’s a good chance that you are not one of the literally dozens of people who paid to see them, turning ‘who is John Galt?’ from cryptic mantra to genuine question. Part One, released in 2011, has a Metacritic rating of 28 and made back only $4,627,375 of its $20 million budget.
Sophie Kahan has a great job. She is the Manager of Publisher Promotions at KOBO. As part of her role, she develops eBook promotions for retailers such as Indigo Books & Music, Kobo’s award-winning eReaders and apps. She also partakes in events including Book Expo America and the London Book Fair. Tahira Rahemtulla interviews Sophie, ahead of her talk at BookMachine Toronto.
Gareth Howard is CEO and founder of Authoright, a company which provides high-end but affordable author services. They essentially help traditional publishers, self publishing companies, literary agents, indies, literary agents, international book fairs and direct-publishing tech platforms to understand the needs of authors and to future-proof their businesses at a time of change. Authoright are proud sponsors of BookMachine New York. Fabrizio Luccitti interviews Gareth for BookMachine.
Julieta Lionetti has more than 20 years experience in the book industry. An international trade publisher until 2007, she has embraced the digital (r)evolution from its inception. On Wednesday she’ll be speaking at BookMachine Barcelona “On How Freakin’ Techies Taught Me To Love Literature Again”. Fabrizio Luccitti interviews Julieta for BookMachine.
It’s a big week here at BookMachine HQ! BookMachine.me is launching in public beta, and we’re hosting events in 6 cities around the globe (all thanks to our amazing event hosts, speakers and sponsors!)
We’ve been racking our brains trying to think of what image should sit behind user profiles (a bit like a default Facebook cover images for all users), and have decided to launch a competition to find the best image.
What’s in it for you? Well, aside from seeing your choice of image on every single BookMachine.me profile, you’ll also be accredited on every page – that means your brand will be seen by thousands of site users. Not bad, eh?
What are we looking for? We don’t have a fixed idea, the best we’ve come up with so far is an Autumnal scene featuring a park bench somewhere in NYC. Read this article about our vision and send something over that you think will fit. It needs to be the same dimensions as a Facebook cover photo (851 pixels wide / 315 pixels tall); and you need to have the rights to use it, or have created it yourself.
The not-so-small print We need it in the next 36 hours ideally… (typical pre-launch frenzy going on here)
Thanks for your help!
Email entries to email@example.com
One of the things that has changed, in this new socially-enabled world we live in, is the accessibility of authors.
This is not just about me. Writers such as Chuck Palahniuk (The Fight Club), Paul Coelho (The Alchemist) and Margaret Atwood (The Handmaids Tale) are all Tweeting. These are among the most popular authors in the world. There are lots more at it too. Here is a list of 100 mainly US authors for starters. (click here)