THE LONDON BOOK FAIR 2015 IN A NUTSHELL
The first time I attended The London Book Fair – that was in 2012, I got home with a publishing contract and lots of confidence in the further development of my writing career. Self – publishing was just taking off consequently going via the traditional way seemed the best option, especially for a debutant author. I returned this year, just in time for the first official opening ceremony, a fabulous new location, Olympia and a three day packed schedule of interesting and inspiring seminars and conferences. As one of the attendants said, London Book Fair 2015 was “a hub of amazing talent, a brilliant place to be”. A source of motivation. Despite being crowded out there, sky is the limit. The Internet connects professionals from across the globe and opens the road to new markets. There is plenty of room for innovation in an era when Youtube is just a baby. People seem to get back to the old roots of sharing and collaboration, working together same as cells in the human body do, instead of competing against each other. People are finally sick of being what think, told, do. They need authenticity and good quality content. So dare and aim high! Now is the perfect time to live your dream!
Author 3.0 makes words go further
Internet and gadgets are shaping the literary world People who talk to their characters more than they do with real life people and would write even during their sleep, if possible, have two options. First one, going the traditional way. Lock themselves in a room, produce an outstanding piece of art. Finding a literary agent and getting picked by a big publishing house. Getting published. Get back in your writing room. Leave everything else to them. Amanda Prowse falls in this category. She started as an indie author but states feeling more comfortable being looked after by a publishing house (Head of Zeus).
Second one, lock themselves in a room, produce an outstanding piece of art. But, instead of leaving the fate of their stories and characters into a stranger’s hand, decide, as New York Bestselling thriller novelist C.J. Lyons brilliantly put it, to appoint themselves CEOs and build their own media empires. Worldwide ones because Internet gives access to all markets in the world. This approach works for those who, just like me, have a business oriented mind beside an artist’s soul, who enjoy challenges and interacting with people.
With a staggering, over 5 mill eBooks on amazon.com, rated from one star to five stars not to mention those with none, one of the biggest challenge for nowadays authors is that it is really crowded out there and you need to stand out. Average or poor won’t do! The author 3.0 is exquisite storyteller and a fine knower of the human soul.
The Author 3.0 is a community catalyst. They interact with their fans on different channels. Although they write from the soul, they are able to identify their audience and use the best modalities to reach it.
The Author 3.0 is a visionary. They are one step ahead of trends and they offer to their readers complete experiences. I have a lovely dog called Oona. She a ten month clever and expressive yorkie. The moment I decided I was going to write a children’s book on Oona, other ideas related to collateral products popped up in my head. Make an animated movie, for example.
The Author 3.0 is an optimist. They have faith in themselves, their work their lucky star.
The Author 3.0 is authentic. They write something they believe in, from their gut. Let’s be honest. All literature’s grand themes have already been tackled in brilliant books, by gifted authors. The only element in your story that will surprise the reader is… you.
Authenticity was amongst the most three used words at the LBF2015 during the seminaries that took place at the Author HQ theatre. All guest authors emphasised authenticity and passion. If you’re thinking about following certain rules or a literary genre just because is in fashion, forget it. By the time you’re ready, a new trend might have already emerged. One that nobody anticipated because the next big thing is harder to predict than the next earthquake. With the Internet as a large agora where everybody becomes a content creator, with people getting sick and tired of being told how to live their lives, authenticity is the way to stand out.
Collaboration and trust shape a new century
“The problem when you protect digital content – books, games, music is that those who do not want to pay, will find a way not to pay. On the other hand, the copy protection system make life hard for those who pay. Show people trust and they will respond. Trust pays off“, said Michal Kicinski the founder of Open Books, a one of a kind project that will revolutionize the book market (an interview with Michal is coming soon). This new paradigm will leave more time for publishers to focus on other things such as content, channels, adapting their strategies to the new media landscape. They will be more creative because fear – fear of being robbed in this case, is a major downer especially with creativity. Collaboration is another key word in the new publishing landscape. Collaboration between authors. “We are one big family”, said Amanda Prowse when she realized her audience at the Author HQ was made almost exclusively of authors. “We must help and support each other.” Collaboration between authors and other artists or professionals in the industry. “Self – publishing is not really self – publishing” said author Karen Healey Wallace. There are a lot of things to be done in a professional way: cover, proofreading to mention just two. Luckily, there are specialists willing to collaborate and help at a click distance (see Fiverr or Elance). Collaboration between publishing houses and other artistic companies, leading to innovative cross media projects. Aku And Kamu is a fine example.
“It is better to share profit and bring an idea to life than not to”, explained Asif Bashir founder of Unique Inspiration and the mastermind behind this project. Unique Inspiration is one of the very few children’s publishing houses based in Birmingham, United Kingdom.
Heading toward the era of bite reading
We live in a bite-reading era. The occasional reader deals with fiction in small doses while commuting to and back from work while a person who reads an average of one book per month is considered a full-time reader. Twelve books a year it’s a pretty small amount, don’t you think? With new business models being implemented – such as micropayment, the piecemeal purchasing of sections, chapters, and extensions it is likely that writers will rethink their work. SliceBooks is a pioneer of this model in the publishing sector. It developed a service called Chapterizer which allowed publishers to divide up their books so that readers could access this fragmented content according to their interests, says dosdoce.com in a dedicated study “New Business Models in the Digital Age”.
Authors will also think of additional features that would enhance readers’ experience since most of them read eBooks on their tablets, laptops and smart phones (only 7% of French readers own eBook readers). BookRiff is based on traditional publishing media but it also incorporates the advantages offered by new digital media in terms of access to content and use. Anything is possible when creating a customized book, including adding audio, video, and images. Users can easily “remix” their own books to include random chapters, articles, essays, or even their own content.
One thing not to be forgotten: we may become kings and queens of the virtual world. But real life is where inspiration lies. So live and explore. Never give up. I won’t!
P.S. For my next book, I’ll go indie :)