In this week’s Self-Publishing News Special, ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway reports on Rachel McLean’s success at the Kindle Storyteller Awards.
You can now catch up with the latest Self-publishing news podcast in which Howard and I discuss, among other things, the paper shortage affecting our ability to get books into print. On tonight’s #indieauthorchat at the usual 3pm Eastern, 8pm UK time, Tim will be leading a discussion about what else…scary stories, with horror writer Justin Bienvenue.
ALLi’s Rachel McLean wins £20,000 Kindle Storyteller Award
It’s always a delight to report on a success story for an indie author. And, I’ll admit, it’s especially nice when the author is an ALLi member. This week saw the Kindle Storyteller Award given out at the UK’s Houses of Parliament. The award is open to anyone who publishes their work on KDP select from the start of May to the end of August. It is judged on a mix a mix of popularity with readers and appeal to judges. And this year’s recipient of the frankly not insubstantial £20,000 first prize was ALLi’s own Rachel McLean, for her book The Corfe Castle Murders. Huge congratulations, Rachel!
Readers Meeting Writers – Copper and Buy the Book
How do readers meet writers, and writers meet readers? A new platform called Copper, which received $2.5m pre seed capital, aims to answer that question – presumably starting by raising the admittedly low bar of Goodreads’ interface. Copper seeks to solve perceived problems such as that most existing social media works for readers not writers. It seems to work as a combination of networking tool between readers and writers, and a recommendation platform. I have to say, it all feels somewhat like something cooked up by some well-meaning entrepreneur.
So I wasn’t totally surprised that the founder, Allison Trowbridge, came up with the idea during her MBA. Some of the things she says demonstrate exactly the lack of understanding one would expect of someone coming from an entrepreneurial background. Her MBA professor apparently taught her that no one has disrupted social writing (wait till someone tells them about Wattpad). Despite an advisory board that includes man of the moment Adam Grant, this goes down as yet another attempt to disrupt the book business from people outside the book business.
In more promising readers meet writers news, Buy the Book, based in Ireland, is a new site that allows authors to list their books independently. Not seeking to disrupt everything, just provide a solution for writers wanting to bypass dominant stores and platforms.
Critics Pile on the first High Profile Literary NFTs
Many people thought the very idea of non fungible tokens (NFT) showed that the world of the arts had already reached peak ridiculous. But having grown up with the KLF burning £1m in cash and Damien Hirst pickling cows, I think we have some way to go yet. That said, the early publicity has not been good. It has tended to focus on astronomical prices paid by Silicon Valley suckers. And on the fact that most people couldn’t actually describe what it is you really “own” other than “a piece of history”. And finally on the monumental environmental impact of the blockchain technology on which NFTs rely.
Writers have been making tentative steps into the world of NFTs. But this week saw the first really high profile literary NFT project. Realms of Ruin is a young adult NFT project that seems to combine trading cards and storytelling. Fans will be invited to buy NFTs of character cards. They can then build these characters into their own stories. And they can develop those stories into their own NFTs. Which they can then sell. Criticism has focused on two areas. First, this seems like a fun interactive project that has NFTs tacked on for no real reason. Second, it is aimed at a young adult audience. That means children buying and selling NFTs. Which isn’t a great look.
NFTs may or may not have some substance behind the hype. The problem comes when the first ventures to go mainstream are high profile catastrophes with a side order of highly dubious ethics. When that happens we may never get a chance to find out more. Because the reputational damage is already done.
Ireland Trials Basic Income for Creators
Fascinating news from Ireland. A 3 year long basic income pilot scheme will see 2000 creative artists a weekly payment of €325. The scheme follows years of consultation. Following the principles of unconditional basic income, it will be non means tested. The hope is that the freedom it provides will allow creatives the chance to breathe and focus on their creative work without relying on the pursuit of day jobs just to keep a roof over their head.
Rachel MacLean wins the 2021 Kindle Storyteller Award and other top #selfpub news stories for #indieauthors, in one quick read, by #ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway @agnieszkasshoes #digitaleconomy #publishingopenup Click To Tweet
Upcoming Conferences and Events
Help us fill this with great online events in the coming weeks and months. I highly recommend this great list of online writers’ conferences from Nate Hoffelder, some of which are indie-inclusive.