Posted on April 10, 2014
A year ago, I posted a transcription of Neil Gaiman’s 2013 London Book Fair speech with the video. Gaiman directly spoke about the changes to the publishing world. For some, it was a scary topic. For self-publishing authors, it felt like vindication. For 2014’s London Book Fair, the organization invited recognizable indie authors such as Hugh Howey, Liliana Hart, and Bella Andre among others to feature and to speak. It’s a step in the right direction, and provides hope of bigger support for the upcoming future.
Howey, who posted his excitement on the first day of the event on his website. Other featured indie authors that joined the already mentioned authors include, Stephanie Bond, Barbara Freethy, Candice Hern, and Jasinda Wilder. LBF provided booth T730 for them as “Bestselling Independent Authors” (Howey has a cute picture of all of them standing in front of their banner on his Facebook page). The booth was located with the likes of Kobo, Nook, and Amazon’s Kindle. Each of the authors participated in one or more conferences, such as “Top 10 Tips for Self-Publishing from Two of the Top New York Times Bestselling Indie Authors”, “The World at Their Feet: New Opportunities in Digital Distribution for Independent Authors”, and “Publishing 3.0 Seminar: Lessons from the Front Lines by Bestselling Indies”. Yes, you had to attend to hear what they said, but the fact that such a huge publishing event included indie authors as part of the program should muster hope.
Does it mean that only successful indie authors will get attention? At large events, it makes sense that they would focus on those who are recognizable as giants in their field as well as experts. All of the authors brought in for LBF are incredibly free with their information and love to share their thoughts, their screw ups, and their fixes with those who are even just considering self-publishing. A year ago, the only one that openly challenged the traditional route was Gaiman, and even in his speech he never fully endorses self-publishing.
Speaking of freely sharing, a few of the presenters and attendants posted up speeches or important information on their websites:
Dan Holloway and Debbie Young both participated in Kobo’s LBF booth. Holloway and Young co-authored Open Up To Indie Authors with the support of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLI). Kobo advertises it as “[a] guide for bookstores, libraries, reviewers, literary event ogranisers…and self-publishing writers.” Young, who works with ALLI as an editor for their self-publishing blog, posted on her speech on her website. In it, she addressed the launch of her co-written book and how the writing of it forced her to empathize with those who deal with the finished product of the book, the most important one being the reader.
“Co-authoring this book required me to tread that same old PR ground again. It was an exercise in stepping beyond my self-published author’s mindset to empathise with the parties that influence that important end-user of all authors’ products: the reader. It was about viewing the bookshop from the other side of the till; seeing the literary festival from the frantic desk of the event manager; perceiving librarians as mire than just the people who stamp your ticket.” – Debbie Young
Holloway also gave a speech with the book launch that he posted on his website. Holloway echoes the importance of the reader and how the new book works on bridging the gap in the publishing industry. His words remind us writers not to get too bogged down in the disparate publishing world.
“But the simple truth of it is this. Everyone in the business of books has just one duty. And it’s not to themselves. It’s not to bookstores. It’s not to progress and nor is it to the preservation of the physical book. It’s not to shareholders, and it’s not – though I wish it were – to writers. Every one of us has a duty to readers – to those who read avidly – that they keep coming back for more; to those who might one day read – that the experience brings something wonderful to their lives; to those who have never read before – that they discover worlds they could never have imagined; to those to whom books are the most precious thing in the world – that we never disappoint them; and to those who believe adamantly that books are not and could never be for them – that we provide them with the means to discover they were wrong.” – Dan Holloway
David Gaughran, the author of some of the best “must-have” resources for self-publishers (Let’s Get Digital and Let’s Get Visible), asked several self-published authors what questions or issues they would like asked and answered to Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program. He posted his wonderful “Progress Report”, where he gives the answers to Amazon possibly offering coupons for authors to give away, whether or not KDP will improve the reports they give to authors so that they can see what’s working and what isn’t in more real-time applications, allow a bundling feature for authors to make it easy to market combined works, and other crucial topics to self-pubishers who use KDP. Gaughran gives links that show the bigger picture from why the questions are being asked to examples of how some things haven’t worked. His report is definitely one to bookmark as useful information.
“KDP should be congratulated for making a huge amount of progress on such a substantial list of issues and feature requests. Out of all the retailers, Amazon seems to be the one most willing to listen and make changes requested by authors.” – David Gaughran
I’m sure more information will be shared after today as it is the last day of the 2014 LBF event. But for now, the increased visibility of the strong self-publishing market of indie authors can only be a good thing. Here’s hoping that more events open their doors to other indie authors to continue to share information so that readers have a plethora of works to enjoy.