Tag: writers

Riff Raff

Behind the scenes at The Riff Raff: why we built a community for debut authors

This is an interview with Amy Baker, founder of The Riff Raff. Amy is also author of Miss-Adventures: A Tale of Ignoring Life Advice While Backpacking Around South America, and a freelance writer, writing travel and lifestyle content for a range of publications. Learn more about The Riff Raff, and follow them on Twitter.

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NaNoWriMo for publishing folk

NaNoWriMo for publishing folk

This is a guest post by Bree Weber. Bree is a book designer and publishing consultant who loves Oxford commas. You can reach out to her on Twitter @thebookoctopus

On November 1st, the publishing industry will get a little quieter, all thanks to a month-long “contest” steadily growing in participants and controversy. Writers outline and plan novels in preparation for November aka NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when they commence writing 50K words towards a novel. And in December, many of them descend on literary agents and publishers with their first draft manuscript, thereby inducing the publishing community to silently close their submissions (or wish they had) until well into the new year.

Is this why there are so many hate letters to NaNoWriMo written by literary agents and editors? Exhibits A and B.

There’s a plethora of tutorials, tips, and pep talks designed for writers to help them prep for, participate in and ideally pull off the incredible feat of 50,000 words in 30 days. But what about the rest of the book people? Authors are our creative collaborators, and around half a million of them are becoming super-writers for a month. It seems like it might be time for publishing folk to get in on this annual hoopla, because really, at the core of this writing project is simply the promotion of creativity, which sounds an awful lot like the intention of copyright law.

So here we go, a 3-step guide to #NaNoWriMo for publishing folk:

1. Connect with authors

Despite the post-WriMo inbox flux, #NaNoWriMo is actually a great filter for connecting with authors. So many writers take this month as a challenge to flex their writing muscle; of course, not every participant will be a winner. Not every manuscript will merit the revision process, and not every author will persevere through the inevitable rejection(s). This is the natural publishing process on steroids. So, let NaNoWriMo run its course, and maybe dispense some motivation to your partners in creativity for good measure.

2. Share your wisdom

NaNoWriMo “winners” are excited about their success, and ready for the next step. After spending a month at an extreme writing pace, many are likely to jump onto the publishing train at a similarly fast pace, potentially skipping important steps. Take the opportunity this month to manage expectations. “First drafts require second drafts”, and “completed drafts require editing”, and so on. Regardless of whether you’re a publisher, literary agent or freelancer, sharing your experience and knowledge could bring you a new author.

3. Engage in community

With the slow upheaval in publishing by digital publishing and media, more spaces online and off (like BookMachine) are discussing ideas that further shake up the industry. We talk about the pros and cons of recent innovations, the necessary skills and experience for getting into this industry, and we share our failures that result in lessons learned. So, let’s learn something from NaNoWriMo. This challenge requires writers to focus their time, energy and creative abilities, but it also provides them a special community to gain insights and support. We could all stand to refocus our work and connect with like-minded colleagues.

Dead Ink publisher to receive Art Council grant

Dead Ink, an independent press based in Liverpool has just received confirmation of a significant grant of £65,359 from Arts Council England.

The grant will enable Dead Ink to ambitiously expand their Publishing the Underground project. Publishing the Underground seeks to bring new writers to publication by connecting them with readers who act as literary patrons.

Dead Ink will now undergo a complete branding overhaul accompanied by a new website with a bespoke crowdfunding platform. As part of the activity the press will be hosting a special authors’ boot camp aimed at providing new authors with invaluable training, guidance and practical skills to assist them in establishing their emerging careers.

As well as debut authors, the project will publish SJ Bradley’s second novel, Guest, after her debut, Brick Mother, was published by Dead Ink in 2014. Dead Ink will also be publishing Harry Gallon’s second novel, Every Fox is a Rabid Fox, after his debut, The Shapes of Dogs’ Eyes, was published during the first Publishing the Underground pilot.

Startup Snapshot: Scriggler

Dmitry Selemir was once a physicist and hedge fund rocket scientist PM, and is now the founder and CEO of Scriggler.com, ‘the Soundcloud of writing platforms‘. We interviewed him here.20160826_132004

1) What exactly is Scriggler?

We define Scriggler as a writing, blogging and debating platform, but it is a lot more than that. It combines elements of social network, blogging platform and, above all, it is a community with the goal of not just providing its members with an opportunity to present their work, their opinions and ideas, but to give them a voice, by providing a significant promotional support both within the Scriggler membership circles and outside.

It’s all about helping our members reach out to a much wider audience than they otherwise would be able to and also about helping readers discover stories, poetry, opinions and ideas that would resonate with them the most.

2) What problem does it solve?

The problem is exactly what any new author will be faced with – how do you get your work in front of people and ultimately make sure they are prepared to buy your books. Most still appear to think the solution is to write more books or write better books until you get noticed by an agent/publisher and they take care of the rest. In reality, whether you self-publish or go conventional way – arguably it’s your ability to get visibility, build your author platform that counts the most and publishers look at that ability as one of the major factors, books themselves almost come secondary. After all, they are in the business of selling books, not rewarding literary merit.

What Scriggler aims to achieve here is to help our members through the most difficult stages of audience acquisition – their very first steps. We don’t just get their work seen, we help them develop the whole package – their social media presence, their website, newsletter; experiment with the strategy to find what works best for them. We also encourage them to find similar authors to partner with, either creatively or purely for promotion.

We don’t forget about the bigger picture too. Scriggler is open to all genres and topics and is certainly not confined to showcases of fiction and poetry – our members share opinions, ideas, blogs, etc. It opens up the membership to a much wider mix of people, it’s not just writers mingling with each other. It also ensures much more diverse conversations and increases the chances of our contributors to connect with the actual audience, not just fellow writers, after all selling your books to other authors is a pretty difficult, if not impossible, task.

It all contributes to our ultimate goal of becoming an intellectual and cultural blender, where all views and ideas are well represented.

3) Who is your target market?

There are two distinct parts to Scriggler – one is the website itself and the free services we provide, the other is additional, premium services, like our Twitter management and book promotion service. When talking about target market it makes sense to talk about these separately.

The free service is designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, we are open to all genres and topics and certainly, would like all of them to be well represented.

The premium part is designed for people who would benefit from higher visibility – for example, those actively developing their author platform. Primarily the services we currently offer concentrate on social media and predominantly Twitter, where we take advantage of both our expertise and current presence. This is the area we would like to expand on, making sure we give our audience access to as diverse a list of services and tools as possible. We don’t necessarily need to be the sole provider – so we are very much open to partnerships.

4) What results do you hope to see over the next few years?

We have big plans, of course, and some, particularly ones concerning future development, I would prefer to keep under wraps for the time being.

Right now we are focused on growth of the already sizeable community behind the website, our ability to impact on the discovery and distribution of our contributor’s content. We would like to see more success stories from our members and certainly want to be a big factor behind it. I will also be looking to expand the team behind the website, ideally bringing in a new co-founder with publishing background.

5) What will be next for Scriggler?

In the immediate future, we’ll hold our current course – expand the social media presence and grow both the user base and the readership and start building relationships with other industry participants – anyone who would help us have more impact on the careers of our members.

Not at Home for the Holidays: The writers behind bars for freedom of expression

On Saturday, Egyptian lawyer and human rights activist, Nasser Amin challenged the law stating the Egyptian authorities are allowed to imprison writers who publish works that are in ‘violation of the public morals’. The statement was made during the court trial of Ahmed Naji, who had an excerpt of his novel The Use of Life, published in Akhbar al-Adab magazine in August 2014. The piece contained explicit sex acts and made reference to the hashish that was used by the main characters. Under the current law, this is enough for the authorities to jail him.

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On Twenty7Books – new Bonnier imprint: Joel Richardson interview

Joel Richardson is the Publisher of Twenty7 Books, a new imprint of Bonnier Publishing Fiction. Here Norah Myers interviews him about the new venture.

1. You are currently accepting unsolicited debut submissions for a short period of time. What motivated you to accept unsolicited submissions within this time frame?

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3 lessons writers can learn from the music industry

This is a guest blog from Christopher Russell, author of Mockstars, a music novel inspired by his international tour diaries for rock/pop band The Lightyears.

As someone who has spent over a decade in the trenches of the music industry, when I migrated into the book world last year I was delighted to find that everyone in publishing is spectacularly nice to one another. By contrast, rock ’n’ roll is rather less cuddly – and in fact it’s largely for this reason that I think it has prepared me well for life as an aspiring writer.

With this in mind, here are a few of the transferable lessons:

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BookMachine NYC is back

With August at a close and summer hours about to expire we thought you could use some upbeat news. We’re thrilled to announce the hiatus is over: BookMachine NYC will be back in action this fall! Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 13, and keep an eye out for RSVP links with further details.

I think we can all agree we’ve had an interesting summer. Though we expected horrendously hot and humid weather, we’ve been met with mild heat and stormy rains. We also expected the season to bring slow work days and news lulls, but instead have opened our papers and screens to sensational publishing stories.

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