It’s ironic that an event all about a good quality design brief started with me totally failing to pay attention to my own brief for the evening: after a long Tube journey, I rocked up at The Library, ready for BookMachine fun, only to discover everyone else had gone to The Driver at King’s Cross. So I arrived… a little late.
Ahead of this Thursday’s event in Oxford, Scholarly Publishing: Crossing the Rubicon, we interview Charlie Rapple about changes facing scholarly publishing. Charlie is Sales & Marketing Director and Co-founder of Kudos, a web-based service that helps researchers and their institutions and funders maximise the visibility and impact of their published articles.
Yesterday evening, members and friends of BookMachine and Unite gathered at St Bride Foundation for a panel discussion on the subject of change. There’s perhaps no better place to think about how the publishing industry has changed over the years than this historic building, tucked away just off Fleet Street, the former heart of the London newspaper industry – and no sign that the process of change that silenced the Fleet Street printing presses is likely to stop soon, if ever.
Last year, THE ARTS+ was launched as a new meeting place for the cultural and creative industries. This year it is back – and will run parallel to Frankfurt Book Fair from 11 till 15 October. In the run up to the big event BookMachine and THE ARTS+ are organising an event in London. In our third interview with the team, we speak to the founder, Holger Volland.
Have you heard about the next BookMachine/Unite event in London?
A new speaker has just been announced for How technology can make reading fun. Kirsten Grant will join Matt Deegan, Louie Stowell and Sven Huber in London on 17th May. Each will each be looking at different ways to engage young people online to make reading fun. There will be plenty of time for questions too.
For the past six years Kirsten, has been Director of World Book Day, the biggest trade-wide celebration of children’s books and reading in the UK and Ireland, that works closely with schools, bookshops and libraries to encourage children of all ages to read for pleasure.
This event is aimed at educational publishers, children’s publishers, teachers, YA bloggers, librarians and anyone else interested in how we can keep reading alive!
Read about the event and book tickets via this link: https://bookmachine.org/event/technology-can-make-reading-fun/
In the run up to celebrating 5 years of whitefox at their birthday bash, we wanted to interview John Bond about his experience of setting up the popular publishing services agency for publishers, agents, authors and brands.
We came out of traditional publishing houses where we thought there was only going to be a greater drive to reduce fixed costs and an ever increasing need to rely on the diaspora of freelance specialist talent. We also thought that talent pool would be relevant to writers who wanted to take their own books to market, and to content owning brands. If I’d still been working in house, I’d want to work with a trusted, flexible partner to help me achieve my objectives more efficiently. And I knew that didn’t really exist.
In many ways, it is exactly as we anticipated. It is just that it has taken five years for that to be the case ! Initially, we pitched our business to the people we knew, publishers and agents, large and small. Some got it immediately and others didn’t. So our strategy evolved to encompass brands and corporates, content marketing and more complex project management. Gradually, more and more publishers, content owning institutions and indie writers have chosen to work with experienced external creative partners. And we’ve been happy to help.
It is interesting looking back at what was preoccupying everyone in publishing five years ago. The big issues that were flying around were how the future was all about e rather than p. What would happen to bricks and mortar retailers? And would subscription services eventually take off ? Actually, there’s a greater than ever emphasis on making the most of physical books, the sales of which have seen consistent year on year growth. Even Amazon are opening bookstores and Waterstones is making a profit. Plus look what happened to Oyster.
That in the end, what matters is being synonymous with good creative work. I think you can easily get seduced in start-up land by press releases and mentions in Forbes. Investors love it, but better to have a growing, dynamic business where you are genuinely making a material difference. We were told when we set up that to create sufficient value, it was all about demonstrating the ability to scale. But we’d never compromise quality of service for the sake of size. No one wants a ‘quite good’ copy-edit or a ‘reasonable’ cover, whether you are traditionally or self-published.
We have a small (but growing) in-house team who share a vision for the business, who care passionately about the quality of their work and who thrive on the huge variety of projects we are involved with. And they have to laugh at my jokes ( ! ).
If you believe your idea is good enough, it is never, ever too late to start.
Join BookMachine and whitefox to celebrate 5 years of whitefox on May 9th in London. Tickets and info here.
London Info International hosts the Copyright Card Game as part of the Open Conference Stream on 5th December
Over the past fortnight BookMachine have announced their two latest projects – both are publishing events, which will take place in London. They have been designed to attract people from across the trade, those who are looking to meet interesting people whilst learning something new.
“Scholarly Publishing: Crossing the Rubicon” is a new BookMachine event, taking place in Oxford on Thursday 7th September – early bird ticket sales end tomorrow (Friday).
The publishing industry has faced many changes over the years, none bigger perhaps than the digital boom. We’ve seen numerous publishing departments restructured, as companies shift to digital. In 2016 Pearson Education, once the largest publisher in the world, announced it would reduce its workforce by 10% by the end of 2017.
Amy Baker is a freelance writer and the author of travel humour memoir, “Miss-Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America”. She has just co-founded The Riff Raff – a writers’ community that champions debut authors and supports those hoping to one day be published themselves.
When working on your first book, so much is up in the air. You’re in a constant state of worrying and wondering – are all these hours, drafts and moments of despair going to be worth it? Will you ever get that deal? How do you even get a deal anyway – do they exist, or are they something that only happens to other people? Will you ever leave the house again?
It’s a lonely time – you’re in your own head and your own imagination so much that it can become more familiar to you than the outside world.
In a bid to keep myself motivated while writing my first book, I’d go and see my favourite authors speak – and while it would interest me, I’d often leave dejected. The gaping disparity between where these superstars were in their careers, and where I was at was a major bummer to me as an aspiring writer. After all – these authors were selling out the Royal Festival Hall…I was returning home to put on my tracksuit bottoms, and to cry into a tub of peanut butter. What I wanted (and needed) was to hear from debut authors – those who’d only just retired the tracksuit bottoms and dessert-spoon. Those who’d only just progressed to ‘published author’ status, and could therefore remember what it was like being in the trenches.
When I’d given up clean clothes completely, and would spend indeterminate periods of time staring forlornly out of windows just to catch a glimpse of other human beings, I put a distress call out asking whether anyone knew any writers I could befriend. Someone heeded my call, I was introduced to Rosy Edwards, author of the hilarious Confessions of a Tinderella and we drank three bottles of wine on a Tuesday evening because it seemed fitting given we’d finally found each other.
Over the months that followed, Rosy and I came up with an idea – The Riff Raff – a writers’ community specifically designed to champion the work of debut authors and to offer support, advice and discussion surrounding the process of getting a first book published. We want to lure people out of their writing caves and bring them together in one spot, to hear from debut authors, with a book out that month. At each event our five authors will introduce themselves and their work before reading their favourite extract to the audience, who will then get the chance to quiz them on their journey and processes. There will also be ample mingling time during the break, and after the event where attendees can chat to the authors and snap up signed copies of the books.
By bringing together debut authors and aspiring writers in a cosy room once a month, The Riff Raff will eliminate that feeling of being on the outside with no chance of gaining access to the golden palace that is the publishing industry. We’re here to offer you encouragement and inspiration by showing the hopeful that getting published is attainable.