To celebrate 5 years of publishing events, BookMachine held a big birthday bash on Thursday night. Appropriately, the event was all about the next 5 years of publishing – what to expect and how we can approach it. The event was hosted by the wonderful Evie Prysor-Jones and George Walkley, Head of Digital for Hachette UK, was our speaker for the night. Taking inspiration from the infamous Donald Rumsfeld quote, George explored some of our industry’s known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns, offering us a framework for navigating the next 5 years.
Here’s a collection of photos and tweets to sum up the night.
Continuing with the theme from my last post for BookMachine on interesting English Language Teaching (ELT) Publishing start-ups, I interviewed Karen Spiller, freelance ELT project manager about her most recent venture with fellow ELT professionals Sue Kay (ELT author) and Karen White (freelance ELT project manager).
What is ELT Teacher 2 Writer and who is it for?
ELT Teacher 2 Writer puts English Language Teaching (ELT) teachers, who are aspiring authors, in touch with publishers looking for new authors. It also offers an online training course in all the skills and areas new authors need to consider while they are preparing their material for publication.
Did you ever have a super-indie friend when you were younger? The kind who would have a party catered by his friend who owned a microbrewery and his other mate who was a DJ, and there wouldn’t be room to park your bike next to the warehouse and when you went inside your friend would kiss you on both cheeks and give you a beer in a jar with the label on because it was not only environmentally-friendly but also re-appropriating some mass-market iconography, and you’d find yourself drawn into a conversation about Berlin even though no-one had ever been, and then your friend would ask you what you thought of his art and you’d say it’s fantastic and he’d say ‘really?’ and you’d say ‘of course!’ and then you’d notice the warehouse was decked out with his photography and they all had price tags on them and you’d walk away £200 lighter carrying three black-and-white photos of lamp-posts?
Well, that friend can pack away his tiny kegs and price tag stickers, because the internet has spawned a new way to be totally indie and totally cashed up at the same time. Kickstarter.
There’s been a lot of bad shit going on in publishing of late. Stuff that genuinely makes me worried, and I think rightfully so, about the future of the industry. But hell, if the Frankfurt Book Fair is the Glastonbury of the publishing industry, then surely London Book Fair is Reading, where a bunch of publishing people get together and share some ideas – though not app sales figures – and rock out to some cool conference sessions, and, from what I understand, share the love for authors and books. Which is why I think it’s the perfect time to take some advice from The Singing Detective (yes, that’s a thing) and accentuate the positives.
Welcome to the world of Inanimate Alice, a truly digital novel that has taken the educational world by storm. The idea for Alice first came about in 2003 and the team (Ian Harper, Chris Joseph and award winning author Kate Pullinger) published the first episode in 2005. The story is told by Alice through 10 episodes. Each adventure looks back through her childhood & into her early twenties, a bildungsroman.
The plot for the series uses Alice’s increasing interest and competency in game development to exemplify her transition from childhood to early womanhood. The first four episodes have been completed, the fifth is being released this year and the final five are still in development. With a team of creators fostering its relationship with its readers across the world, this is a novel on an epic scale.
Things have moved fast in publishing recently, there’s no doubt about that. It’s moved so fast in fact it’s easy to forget all those high-flying ideas we had at the start about things that would take off and just… well… haven’t. Here’s just a couple I’ve been reminded of recently. Like sands through the hourglass, these were the early days of our innovation.
Printed books will never really go away. They’ll be superseded by e-books, sure. They’ll become a minority interest. They’ll be treated as relics of a bygone age, one where you had to actually leave the house to, y’know, get stuff.
But just as vinyl records have survived in the sweaty-but-carefully-dust-gloved hands of music geeks, and cinephiles are ignoring the convenience of watch instantly video streaming in favour of the hi-def glories of a decent Blu-Ray restoration, there will always be an audience, however small and specialist, for a nice binding and a dog-ear, ready and waiting for publishers to peddle their wares.
Alternatively, publishers could decide they’re not content to punt such simple pulp-and-ink pleasures, and instead chuck gimmick after gimmick at the reading public until something sticks. Either way. Here’s five of the latter.