Community

Go Read This | Macmillan To Publish First Novel From Swoon Reads, A Crowdsourced Romance Imprint And Online Community – Press Release – Digital Journal

Publishing is a complex ecosystem (something I wrote about nearly three years ago when I wrote about The Value Web that was emerging in trade publishing), one in which there is no ONE way to publish or be published. Here’s a very nice example of that reality in play:

Sandy Hall, a teen librarian from Hawthorne, New Jersey, posted A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT to the Swoon Reads site in November 2013. Within weeks, the manuscript was rated “Five Hearts” by the Swoon Reads Community and considered to be one of the most “Swoonworthy” on the site. This brought it to the attention of Jean Feiwel, Publisher of Swoon Reads, and the rest of the Swoon Reads Board. One e-mail and two phone calls later, Sandy Hall signed her first book deal for World rights. 

via Macmillan To Publish First Novel From Swoon Reads, A Crowdsourced Romance Imprint And Online Community – Press Release – Digital Journal.

Go Read This | Digital Publishing Startup Wattpad Raises $17.3M Series B For Social Reading | Betabeat

I’m intrigued by this. I’ll be very interested to see how Wattpad develops:

And one Union Square Ventures-backed, Toronto-based upstart, Wattpad, just raised a $17.3 million Series B.

USV joined this latest round, which was led by Khosla Ventures. Other participants include Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang and Toronto’s Golden Venture Partners. The company will use the money for hiring, new features, and community growth.

Wattpad is both publishing platform and social network. It’s a kissing cousin to Amazon’s self-publishing platform, but the concept will feel most familiar to anyone who spent time on early platforms like fanfiction.net–complete with concerns about copyright, by the way, though the company has introduced piracy-fighting features. The modern twist: Over 70 percent of the site’s traffic comes from mobile devices.

via Digital Publishing Startup Wattpad Raises $17.3M Series B For Social Reading | Betabeat.

Go Read This | 7 Platforms Changing the Future of Publishing | Brain Pickings

Rushing to finish things, but this is worth a read. If I was betting I’d wager on Byliner and Red Lemonade, in both cases because I think they use the web to best effect AND show signs of having thought through the implications of digital distribution on publishing and the industry around it. I could be wrong, but that’s my two cents as it were:

Depending on whom you ask, these are either the best or the worst of times for the written word. As with every other branch of traditional media, the Internet has pushed the publishing industry to a critical inflection point, something we’ve previously discussed. Disrupting the mainstream marketplaces for journalism, literature, and the fundamental conventions of reading and writing themselves, here are seven startups that promise to reshape the way we create and consume ideas.

via 7 Platforms Changing the Future of Publishing | Brain Pickings.

Go Read This | Go To Hellman: The Public Broadcasting Model for eBooks

This WILL happen for books. IN fact in some ways it is already starting to happen. The key is forming communities of interested audiences. It’s nicely put by Eric though:

The reason this works anyway is that radio has large fixed costs and infinitesimal marginal costs. If the listenership doubles, the costs stay exactly the same. It’s not like book publishing, which spends a lot of money pumping paper through a complex supply chain.

A book can cost a lot to produce, too. An author might devote a whole year to the writing of a book. Let’s be generous and say the author deserves $200,000. There’s an editor, a graphic designer, maybe an illustrator who also work on the book. Add some management overhead, tax accountants, lawyers, and it’s easy to get over $300,000 in fixed costs, and we haven’t even started promoting, printing and shipping the book. Many books, of course are produced for much less money. Some authors don’t get paid a cent.

via Go To Hellman: The Public Broadcasting Model for eBooks.

Go Read This | David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future.

David is so often on the money, and he nails it here, but crucially the first quote I’ve pulled is only part of the story:

In consumer publishing it is really hard to find examples of players once great in print who are now able to operate in network terms with a similar facility .

There’s much more more:

I also feel that the portfolio days of B2B have drawn to a close. Investing in disparate service elements in niche markets no longer adds sufficient value to be justified , and if the future really is around workflow emulation, as this column has been suggesting, then the niche positions do not cut it without a great deal more content and software.

via David Worlock | Developing digital strategies for the information marketplace | Supporting the migration of information providers and content players into the networked services world of the future..

What’s Going On With Tumblr?

All of a sudden everything seems to be getting designated a platform even when the claim is a little weak.

The latest is Tumblr which frankly, if it is anything other than a service provider is a network or maybe, at a stretch, a social network and perhaps, an emerging community (but a very fractured and erratic one). In some ways, Tumblr is like the webring of the 21st century the only difference being that it is nicely designed and ‘ultra-hip’.

Yet Tumblr seems to be attracting a huge amount of interest from media and publishing companies as this Read Write Web blog post makes clear:

“Part of what we do is experiment on different platforms, and it seemed apparent to us that there was a sizable number of NPR fans on Tumblr,” he says. “It’s less about pageviews and more about engaging a community that enjoys NPR.”

Carvin says NPR is taking a very experimental approach to Tumblr in terms of curating content to share, engaging one-on-one with followers and determining how to voice the blog.

He adds that he is eager to get feedback from fans, but that there is no “grand plan” for what they intend to accomplish.
NPR Looks to Engage New Audiences On Tumblr.

Taking the Tumblr plunge is just as stupid as taking the Twitter plunge or the blogging plunge if you haven’t the faintest idea why you are doing it? Why on earth would NPR get involved in this while at the same time admitting that they don’t have a ‘grand plan’?

Sure, experimentation is interesting, valid and worth engaging in, but this kind of shot in the dark stuff reeks of chasing an illusory ‘cool’ crowd.

Tumblr is interesting in its own way and there seems to be some kind of community building there, but Tumblr is NOT the solution for publishers and media companies, their own websites offer so much more opportunity for engaging with audiences, audiences who are coming TO them, not being interrupted BY them. Quite a few publishers could spend some time sorting that side of things out before running off to the next pretty ‘platform’ they see.

Still coughing, which is annoying!
Eoin

Go Read This | Beyond Here There Be Dragons | Bait ‘n’ Beer

I thinK I have by accident stumbled across an pretty current topic for my TOC Frankfurt talk in October.

There are a few publishers who get this and do, in fact, have the people and systems to have a decent chance of pulling it off. Most that I can think of, Harlequin excepted, have their roots in the magazine business where these skills are like mother’s milk. Amazon certainly understands it as well.

While you’re busy building your community, don”t forget the object of the exercise is to make money from its members. Otherwise, you’re in Dragon Country.

via Beyond Here There Be Dragons | Bait ‘n’ Beer.