Tag Archives: publishers

Attend the Self-Publishing Summit

Ever since 50 Shades of Grey landed on bookshelves, however well hidden, the talk of self-publishing has gone up several decibels. There are now authors saying publishers are no longer needed, stories of great success and precious money thrown away for murky services.

Each year, market-leading self-publishing company New Generation Publishing runs the Self-Publishing Summit, taking place this year at King’s College London on 9th November, to help define the opportunities within the hyperbole and to provide wide-range advice from industry professionals.

And this year the Summit will see some exceptional panels look at the key topics for writers – including the role of agents, editing, production marketing, sales, as well as an overview of the industry and a final Q&A. There will also be a chance to speak to the panelists and fellow attendees during coffee breaks.

The panels includes top publishers, agents, editors, authors, journalists and marketers – an opportunity not to be missed for aspiring, or published, writers.

Tickets for the event cost £34.99 (+VAT) and are booked on a first come first served basis. The event is sponsored by Ingram Spark and you can see full details of the event and can book your tickets by clicking here.

International Collaboration In Publishing: Why Being Old is a Good Thing

Note from the editor: If you’re free on Thursday 23rd May, please do join us at BookMachine Unplugged, as our top speakers discuss collaboration and what they have learned from the projects they have worked on in publishing. Tickets are here.

Publishing gets a lot of stick about being an incredibly old industry, being fusty and insular and old fashioned. Maybe the young up-and-coming tech companies are about a million times cooler than we are, with their boardrooms that double as pool tables, desk garnish that looks like a rainforest, and cocktail Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays. But in our heritage and lives something incredibly powerful – international relationships. While I feel it would be wrong to compare publishing to the mafia, fact is we are a network of likeminded people, a lot of whom know each other perhaps a little too well, with a common goal. I say we should tap that network a little more often.

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Publishing folks using BookMachine.me after The London Book Fair

Nearly 200 people gathered at our drinks event at The London Book Fair on Monday – publishers, editors, designers, digital specialists – the bar in the digital zone was full of exciting conversations about the latest happenings at the fair.

This morning everyone who attended will receive an invite to BookMachine.me, the site which helps people working in publishing to find each other by allowing members to list themselves by their key skills.

We’ve been hard at work making sure that the site has been updated for this new release. You can now:

  • Get BookMachine points (lots of plans for this) …. Check yours out!
  • Find the best people first (complete profiles rank higher in search)
  • Manage your account (easily change your details)

Missed our event? Still want to try the beta site? You can now request an invite and join everyone else, by signing up on the site.

BookMachine host regular events in London, New York, Oxford, Barcelona, Toronto and Brighton and is THE place for the people who make publishing happen.

Blackfriars First Digital Literary Imprint in the UK

Blackfriars Books from Little, Brown UKI do love a good first. The first t-shirt day of the summer; the first beer on a night out; the first time you wear a new hoodie. Last week saw the announcement of the first digital-only literary list in the UK, Blackfriars from Little, Brown. The list promises to curate 9 to 12 titles a year from new or established authors, and is launching in June. Now there’s a first to get out of bed for. Continue Reading →

Publishers, We Need to Talk

There are very few things in life that make my blood boil more than someone tearing down the industry I work in with false accusations of collusion, underhandedness, and evil doing. So when I see a headline like ‘Why Book Publishers Hate Authors‘ in the Huffington Post, it’s all I can do to stop myself from going into a blind rage and throwing my computer into the ocean, finding the nearest rocket, and blasting myself into the face of the sun. Because what the hell, guys.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: Random House and Penguin

“The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction.” I think it’s safe to say it is far too early for us to be predicting what colour hair children of a union between Penguin and Random House would lead to, given they themselves haven’t committed to anything more than a date with one another, but when has the lack of a concrete announcement of something stopped media speculation in the past? Still, I feel I’d be remiss to ignore it, given the second most exciting publishing news last week was the appearance of Kindle in bookshops. [Author note: it is not too early. They have finalised the details of the merge this morning, but I'm leaving this paragraph in. News moves fast.] Continue Reading →

Penguin sues authors for advances. Books are a business.

Cash it in‘I don’t get up in the morning and say: Am I inspired? …No, I’m not. I won’t work. ‘cos, God, how often would I ever work, you know?’

These words were spoken last week by one of the world’s most prolific authors, J.K. Rowling, and summed up quite nicely something I think many people want to forget about literature: books are a business; writing is work. Our explosive amnesia surrounding the b-word was highlighted again after reading the incredible reaction to news that Penguin US decided to sue a few authors after the books they were paid to write were not written. Continue Reading →

ELT Teachers can become authors [INTERVIEW]

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.

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Should publishers care about Pinterest (even if it’s annoying)?

I saw that donut meme about social media for the first time last week and had a good laugh at the reductive accuracy of the whole thing and then another good laugh at the expense of Google+ (who I love dearly for their attention to detail, but can’t find a decent use for) and I was all ‘what the hell is Pinterest?’ and then I looked it up and realised it was like a mini Tumblr, and I was all ‘why would I care at all about this?’ and then I kept looking at it and I was all ‘hmm… wait a second…’. And then I requested an account. Continue Reading →

Bad Language: ‘Legacy Publisher’ Is Not A Thing

Legacy publishing is not a thing. Sorry, maybe it’s this thing. But in the context of the publishing industry, supplanting the word ‘house’ or ‘printed’ for ‘legacy’ is used as a tool only to insult mainstream publishing and assist the few who are benefiting from this false dichotomy (thanks, university degree) of publishing houses vs author.

This meaningless phrase is used as meaningless phrases are: to cover holes in our understanding of things. In this case it is being used to describe a gap in our understanding of digital publishing. In our rush to seem up-to-date and not go the way of the music industry, we create such labels and then throw them around in order to draw a line between ourselves and them. Those others. Those morons with old ideas. Those… Saruman-like dictators of culture.

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#BMHour 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold

Following the success of our inaugural #BMHour on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, we decided to do it again. And lo, like Icarus, our wings did melt, so near the sun did we fly. By which I mean not as many people logged onto Twitter around  6.30pm last night as did last time, which I’m sure is a fairly accurate translation from the original Greek. Anyway, there was still some degree of conversation, and this time the topic to kick it all off was ‘How can we add value to digital editions of books and still sell printed material?’ As before, a digest of the main talking points follows. Continue Reading →

A plan to save the book perhaps?

Are we obsessed with going digital as a nation, as publishers or is it just me? Everyday I read the bookseller, follow my twitter feeds and browse eagerly, looking for further verification that the book has no future.

As someone who sells books, this obsession was starting to worry me a bit. Should we all abandon our jobs in the book trade and get on the digital band wagon? I started to look at my friends working in digital media and think they are ‘lucky’ to be in-the-know and at the forefront of the revolution.

And then it suddenly occurred to me that there are millions of us still working in the book trade, still sat in meetings discussing the cover, the page count and the trim size. So why is no one fighting for the life of the book and the jobs of authors, publishers and booksellers? (think civil rights movements!) Surely we can do more to keep the book alive.

I spent a few hours wondering around F***** (could have been any of the large chains) the other day, browsing the shelves and dreaming of having enough time to read all the books on display. However, I did get the impression that there was a lot of ‘space’, that the shelves weren’t bustling with choice of content (as you might find online). And what about customer reviews? Amazon has proven that what really pushes a consumer to buy – is reading a non-branded customer review. Where are the in-store forums? Surely bookshops should be inviting people in for copious amounts of alcohol and a place to air their views – now that’s something that the Internet can’t offer!

Despite the digital hype, publishers are still producing books. We are trying our hardest to keep hold of the versatile, tactile element of owning a book and the pride so many of us hold in the visual array of titles on our bookshelves.

So before we all get pushed out of our day jobs, into the unknown; why don’t booksellers look at their shelves and use the Internet as a model of how to market our brands. We could use the offline advantage of being able to browse the shelves, talk about books we’ve read whilst having a drink. How where’s the harm in that?