My publisher, Oktober Books, is currently seeking submissions for its 2012 list.

Any completed manuscript in any fiction genre or non-fiction subject will be considered.

If you have a book you would like Oktober Books to have a look at please send them the first three chapters along with a synopsis of the rest of the book to:

submissions@oktoberbooks.co.uk

My publisher, Oktober Books, is currently seeking submissions for its 2011 list.

Any completed manuscript in any fiction genre or non-fiction subject will be considered.

If you have a book you would like Oktober Books to have a look at please send them the first three chapters along with a synopsis of the rest of the book to:

submissions@oktoberbooks.co.uk

What James Brown did next

September 25, 2010

James Brown, the guy who launched Loaded (back when it was really, really good) has always been someone I have admired.

His latest project is Sabotage Times which I am thinking is pretty cool.

Contributors don’t get paid upfront for being featured on the site, but if they get sold on to other sites / publishers they do. A sort of shop window for the writers, where the open market judges what is worthy of being read rather than the publishers themselves.

He was interviewed a while back by Media Guardian about the site.

My favourite bit of the interview (not about the bird watching, so apologies to James himself) :

“He has no desire to go back to “dead tree” publishing. “With a high volume, high frequency publication you end up spending a lot of your time thinking about printers, distributors, what’s on the cover, and actually you don’t spend much time thinking about the journalism [he said].”

Which feeds right into my ongoing themes on this blog of where is book publishing going – and I refer to books, magazines and newspapers here.

The interview goes on to say:

“This is my office,” says Brown, holding up his iPhone. “The technology allows you not to invest in bricks and mortar any more. It’s a new type of business – a business of ideas and content, a business without a building.”

So anyone in the publishing industry hoping to hold on to their offices and staff by charging the same prices for digital downloads as real books, should take a look at the business model James Brown is using.

Having changed the face of magazines in the mid 90s, he may yet again be at the forefront of something else revolutionary.

Print is dead?

September 20, 2010

Anyone with a big interest in digital publishing should check out this book: Print is Dead by Jeff Gomez. (At time of writing I can only see a paperback and hardback version available on Amazon, think someone is missing a trick here by not having a digital version…)

Jeff is a  senior director of online consumer sales and marketing for Penguin Group USA – so he knows his apples.

I read his book while in Zante last year sat by the pool and mostly found it enlightening.

The only real area I disagreed with him was on pricing of digital books. As I recall his argument was that publishers needed to charge the prices they do to ensure they could keep their staff in their offices doing the fine work they do.

This mostly amounts to quality control of submissions that go on to become books and then editing the text and laying them out before distributing them.

In my previous post I mentioned Gail Rebuck of Random House, in her Media Guardian interview she said: “Publishers are relevant. We have practical expertise and, of course, money. We give our authors advances which enable them to concentrate on their work in hand … My idea of hell is a website with 80,000 self-published works on it – some of which might be jewels, but, frankly, who’s got the time? What people want is selection and frankly that’s what we do.”

The argument from the established publishing houses appears to be the high prices of digital books needs to be maintained so THEY can offer the paying public quality control.

For some reason I quite like the idea of a website with 80,000 self published works – I suspect the collective readers of the internet will let you know what is good and what isn’t – hasn’t Gail just described YouTube (I recommend the video I link to here btw) but for books???

Anyone interested in setting up such a site should email me at edd@edwardkeating.co.uk

One of the biggest concerns in publishing at the moment is what effect the rise of digital media will have on physical books.

I have been advocating for some time that the most pronounced change will be a reduction in paper back sales as the sale of digital books rise. But this will be coupled with a rise in the sale of quality hardbacks. The theory being that if you read a reasonably priced digital book (US $1.99 or so) and really, really love it, you will buy a high end quality real  book to have in your house.

An article about Oprah and books on the BBC website tends to back this up:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11260600

Particularly the paragraph:

“One of the early titles she recommended, from the back list of a well-known author, was only available in paperback. Oprah expressed the view strongly on her show that the work ought to be made available in an inexpensive hardback, since that was what her audience wanted – a book to keep.”

The real issue I have so far with the change to digital books is that from what I can tell the publishers are reluctent to reduce the cost of the work.

For example Tony Blair’s autobiography (apparently the quickest selling such book since records began) is priced £12.50 on Amazon hardback and £6.99 as a download to your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Journey/dp/B0040GJJUW/ref=sr_1_36?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1284469231&sr=8-36

This Amazon link also says the rrp for both hardback and digital is £25.00 – 25 quid for the hardback OR the digital file!

As I recall CD singles used to cost £1.99 – £3.99 whereas Apple pretty much destroyed the concept with iTunes selling the digital versions for under a quid.

I have a feeling publishers will need to adapt to this kind of paradigm shift in their business in order to survive the shift to digital.

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