Author: allisonwilliams

membership economy

The next 5 years of publishing: Alison Jones interview

On the 8th June we’re launching the third title in the Snapshots series, BookMachine on publishing: the next 5 years, with a free event in four cities. Here Allison Williams interviews one of our speakers from the London event, Alison Jones on current publishing trends and predictions.

1) What are current trends and predictions that excite you most about the future of the publishing industry?

I’m enjoying the social reading developments from players such as GoodReads and Wattpad, which empower authors and readers (and to a lesser extend publishers) to build excitement and engagement around books. I expect to see this model extend beyond its home in genre fiction into other areas, particularly non-fiction. For publishers specifically, I think the trend of partnering intelligently, bringing the content and publishing expertise that brands so desperately need to partners who have the reach and funds the publishers in turn need, is exciting: in the attention economy, we’re stronger when we work together.

2) What is the trend or prediction that scares you most about the future of the publishing industry?

Amazon’s dominance, particularly in the UK where it controls c.90% of the ebook market, still worries me, and as I write Waterstones has just followed most of the other players out of the arena leaving Kobo the last challenger standing. I don’t think many publishers are comfortable with the fact that the ebook market in effectively owned by secretive company for which books aren’t even a main source of revenue any more.

3) How do you think we can best combat that trend or prediction?

There are many interesting experiments going on with direct and social selling (I love Aer.io), new subscription models for libraries and individuals (particularly digital audio), so I don’t think the game’s over yet. For publishers, I think it’s essential to build a direct-to-consumer stream and find the right partners or activities to help build that – your customer’s data is more valuable than any one sale to that customer.

4) What is one thing you’d like to see the publishing industry start doing in the next 5 years?

Some have already started, but I’d love to see more publishers getting into events. These are a great way to support direct sales, they facilitate the direct relationship between author and reader that publishers are in a prime position to nurture, they can be a profitable additional source of revenue as well as helping upsell books themselves, and they’re so versatile – from festivals to workshops, readings to conferences, there’s something to suit every type of publisher.

5) Can you give us a sneak peek of the ‘snapshot’ of the industry that you will be sharing with us at the launch?

Let’s just say it’s all about connections!

The next 5 years of publishing: Seonaid MacLeod interview

On the 8th June we’re launching the third title in the Snapshots series, BookMachine on publishing: the next 5 years, with a free event in four cities. Here Allison Williams interviews one of our speakers from the London event, Seonaid MacLeod on current publishing trends and predictions.

1) What are current trends and predictions that excite you most about the future of the publishing industry? 

There’s some really exciting developments in the way we publish and work. I see a lot of chat around making books coverage and conversation less elitist, and the industry itself – I’d like to see that turn into action.

2) What is the trend or prediction that scares you most about the future of the publishing industry?

Not so much a trend, more a continuation of the status quo. Ignoring potential audiences by publishing what is ‘known’ to sell is not just exclusive, but also bad business.

3) How do you think we can best combat that trend or prediction?

Thinking about where we’re advertising – not just our books but also job opportunities and industry information. Remember that social media can easily just reflect our own interests back at us… you might just be seeing booky monochrome Twitter.

4) What is one thing you’d like to see the publishing industry start doing in the next 5 years? 

Keep on keeping on.

5) Can you give us a sneak peek of the ‘snapshot’ of the industry that you will be sharing with us at the launch?

Seonaid MacLeod pic

Grab your free ticket for the launch of Snapshots III here.

Self-employed in publishing

The next 5 years of publishing: Jasmin Kirkbride interview

On the 8th June we’re launching the third title in the Snapshots series, BookMachine on publishing: the next 5 years, with a free event in four cities. Here Allison Williams interviews one of our speakers from the London event, Jasmin Kirkbride on current publishing trends and predictions.

1) What are current trends and predictions that excite you most about the future of the publishing industry?

I am so in love with crowd funding right now. It’s so brilliant: not only is it basically completely financially stable for the publisher and the author, it also increases the diversity of what’s getting published. By bringing print runs down and securing sales before the book even hits the shelves, it very low-risk in what are still quite uncertain times. But whilst being low-risk, crowdfunding actually also allows for the publication of interesting, diverse, unusual books that traditional publishing models would see as incredibly risky. It allows readers from so many more little niches to get stories that they’ll really love, and uncovers some real hidden gems. Getting this level of connectivity and support is using the internet to its best advantage.

In a similar vein, it’s also intriguing watching how many publishers are picking up really popular books from self-published and not traditionally published authors – whether through Wattpad or Amazon or whatever. I think we’ll see a lot more of this in the future. Though I wouldn’t say I’m excited by it, I think it’ll be fun to watch how that plays out in the long run.

2) What is the trend or prediction that scares you most about the future of the publishing industry?

There’s a lot of challenging stuff ahead, but I think virtual reality (VR) could be the next thing that really affects the industry in a scary way. It’s just about to start coming into its own, and I think it’s a much more immediate problem than something like AI.

3) How do you think we can best combat that trend or prediction?

I think this will really affect trade fiction a lot more than any other market, so I’ll focus on that. We need to remember what we do best, what fiction books offer that nothing else can. The beauty of a book is that, if it’s well-written, it can transport the reader into someone else’s shoes absolutely. Whether they’re picking up Fifty Shades or the next Man Booker winner, I really believe that somewhere in their reading experience, amongst other things, people are seeking out that feeling of frisson. That is the thing we will have over VR, but in order to be competitive, we have to keep up our editorial standards, our understanding of what the readership is seeking, and how to communicate with them.

4) What is one thing you’d like to see the publishing industry start doing in the next 5 years?

Look at the environment more. We have a lot of short term issues that we face as an industry and I’m not belittling those, they’re important. Actually, a lot of them – like diversity – have underlying causes and tensions that are really interconnected with environmental concerns. But we need to have a lot more meaningful discussions about our impact on the environment, and start actioning those quickly and effectively. It’s clear from the Paris Agreement that politicians aren’t going to put the pressure on industries enough for us to up our game before cause a complete catastrophe, so we’ve got to learn to put that pressure on ourselves. When the agreement was read out, a number of the African politicians just got up and left, because it was an ecological death sentence for their respective countries. We’re already seeing the first climate refugees. You know, we’ve got to look at our industry’s part in that.

5) Can you give us a sneak peek of the ‘snapshot’ of the industry that you will be sharing with us at the launch?

Keep calm and lobster on.

Grab your free ticket for the launch of Snapshots III here.

Allison Williams - Project Manager

Learning from Snapshots III: 8 project management tips for beginners 

As part of our MA in Publishing course at Kingston University, we collaborate with various companies to produce a book in a rather short timeframe. I was thrilled to be on the team that worked with BookMachine on Snapshots III and the experience I gained from being our project manager was invaluable. We are excited to launch Snapshots III and are busy preparing for the free launch event on June 8. In the meantime, here are eight things I have learned about project planning and production.

1) Plan, plan, plan, and then plan some more

It isn’t just about creating a practical and realistic project plan for your internal team, but also making sure you are fully aware of the planning and scheduling needs of your client and any other partners that need to sign off on the project. You also have to remember that life happens, but a good project plan should consider that from the beginning and have room to yield a bit.

2) Ask the right questions

Part of creating a good project plan and executing it is knowing the right questions to ask your client and all other people involved. Think about what you already know and what you need to know and let those questions lead to more questions. I’ve found asking questions about my questions often yields the right question (check out Q-Storming for more on this idea).

3) Communicate

I have come to the realisation that there is no such thing as over-communication when working on a project – especially when that project involves multiple teams and many moving parts. Send follow up emails after meeting with the action items listed, request status updates and restate any question to avoid miscommunications.

4) No two projects are the same

I’ve had some experience in project planning, but Snapshots III really affirmed that you can’t execute an effective project plan by copying and pasting what you’ve done before. Prior experience is going to impact and influence everything you do, but ultimately you need to treat each project as an entirely new experience.

5) You have to be creative

Something takes longer than you thought, a design element doesn’t quite work on a page, friction between team members, pesky orphans and widows… it all takes flexibility and creativity to find a solution.

6) Be a Jack…

…of all trades, that is. It is so important that you can support your team in the tasks they are doing. Whether this involves showing them how to use a software or filling in last minute, often you have to step in and help out.

7) Sometimes mistakes happen

As my tutor said, “welcome to publishing”. The key is to own up to it, determine and follow through on the best course of action, learn from it and, finally, move on.

8) Learn something new

Whether that is a crash course on kerning in InDesign, how to create an index, or how to handle a miscommunication. Approach every task with the aim of learning from it and never walk away from a project without considering how you can do better next time.

Join us in June for the launch of Snapshots III, BookMachine on Publishing, in London, Oxford, Cambridge or Brighton.

Allison Williams is a MA Publishing student at Kingston University. She was a part of BookMachine’s Snapshots III production team and worked in event planning prior exchanging Seattle mist for London rain. She enjoys epic novels, red wine and avoiding writing bios.

Get the latest news and event info straight to your inbox

Account


+44 207 183 2399

Incubation at Ravensbourne | 6 Penrose Way | Greenwich Peninsula | SE10 0EW

© 2019 BookMachine We love your books