Today, were going to discuss Findaway Voices, an audiobook service thats an alternative to Audible, which is triggering headaches for indie authors after the Audiblegate debate. Well likewise speak about something called social reading. And well reflect on the tradition of Jeff Bezos at Amazon.
These are among the subjects discussed on Self-Publishing News with ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway and book editor Howard Lovy. Together, they will bring you the most recent in indie publishing news.
Listen to Self-Publishing News: Findaway Voices and More
Check out the Transcripts: Findaway Voices and More.
Dan Holloway: Im back dealing with imagination once again. So, Im assembling various products for courses on how to be innovative, how to improve your memory, that sort of thing. Possibly Ill even put in something about speed reading, so people can check out more of our books.
And, if you have not currently, we invite you to join our company and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.
Howard Lovy: Before we enter the news, tell us what youve depended on this previous month.
Hey there, Dan.
Dan Holloway is a novelist, poet and spoken word artist. He is the MC of the performance arts reveal The New Libertines Earlier this year he competed at the National Poetry Slam final at the Royal Albert Hall. His latest collection, The Transparency of Sutures, is readily available on Kindle.
Well likewise talk about something called social reading, and well reflect on the legacy of Jeff Bezos at Amazon. But first, let me introduce the man who literally does all the heavy lifting on this program: powerlifter, poet, author, and ALLi News Editor Dan Holloway.
Howard Lovy: Wonderful. Well, the older I get, the more I might use help in the memory department.
Howard Lovy: Hello, and welcome to Self-Publishing News. Today were going to discuss, Findaway Voices, an audiobook service thats an alternative to Audible, which is triggering headaches for indie authors.
Dan Holloway: Hello there Howard, great to see you once again.
About the Hosts.
The #JeffBezos tradition. Click To Tweet.
Howard Lovy has been a reporter for more than 30 years, and has actually invested the last 8 years magnifying the voices of independent publishers and authors. He works with authors as a book editor to prepare their work to be published.
Dan Holloway: So, what are you up to?
Everything from an effective memoir, from a former heroin addict to the journal of an Iraq war veteran, to an immigrant from India who came to the US with nothing and developed a service and political profession. Im modifying spiritual journeys; all various people from all different kinds of strolls of life and, in between attempting to complete my own narrative.
Findaway Voices an Alternative to Audible.
Lets turn back to the news. Up, well talk about Findaway Voices and what theyre doing for indie authors in the wake of issues with Audible.
Howard Lovy: I do not keep in mind. No. Well, when Im not producing and hosting ALLi podcasts, Im a book editor and I specialize in narrative. Ive been keeping hectic modifying a number of books on so lots of lives, and Im enjoying it.
In between all that, its always an option whether to work on someone elses work or my own, and so I take the easy way out and work on somebody elses work, but Ill get back to mine eventually.
First, can you give us a rundown on the Audiblegate debate, and then inform us what Findaway Voices is doing?
Dan Holloway: Audible, or ACX, the platform through which most Indies submit their books to Audible has been triggering problems due to the fact that of its returns policy, and there are numerous problems around the returns policy.
Dan Holloway: First of all, theyve just end up being a partner of ALLi, so thats really amazing. Theyve always been the big alternative to Audible as a location to submit your books to, to get them out to great deals of various platforms. Theyre the place that Indies usage if you wish to go larger than simply Audible. What they have done, its rather opportunistic, a bit cheeky, however anybody who used to be unique at Audible, if you sign up with Findaway Voices by March the first, then theyre providing a month of 10% royalty reward.
Theyre attempting to get the disgruntled indies, whose rights have come back, to sign up with them by using a little incentive to do so.
And the upshot of that is that Susan May, who is an ALLi member started a campaign, which has truly taken off. The Society of Authors has been involved, the Authors Guild in America has been included, and there has been some movement. That motion has actually been to permit a bit more openness on the control panel, however nothing retrospective, and after that the important things which leads us into Findaway Voices is that you now just need to make your books are exclusive for 90 days, I believe, on Audible.
The first is that it started off using unrestricted returns as a way to capture readers. This was the ploy that was being utilized. If you updated from Audible to Audible Plus you would be enabled to return as lots of books as you desire as far as you were through reading them, and this didnt go down extremely well with authors, because if people return the books, you dont get a royalty on that book.
Howard Lovy: So, tell us more about what Findaway Voices is and what theyre doing.
So, individuals whose books have actually been offered for that long, their rights were returning, rather than needing to make them unique for seven years, which was the old method of doing it.
This was integrated with the reality that it was difficult through your dashboard to work out the number of returns there had been. So, you couldnt track how much this was occurring, which was making it truly hard for individuals to make decisions about what to do or to know how they were being impacted.
Howard Lovy: Now, Findaway Voices, do they have the same reach as Audible?
So, its one of those options to make regarding whether you want to go. Its the choice we make all the time with our eBooks, as to whether we wish to go exclusive with Amazon or whether we wish to pursue a wider, smaller sized private platforms, however lots more of them.
Dan Holloway: They have a large reach whichs the difference, they reach through great deals of platforms.
What is Social Reading?
They do not desire people understanding what theyre checking out. Again, it comes back to the worry about Amazon, if Amazon knows that youre this portion of a way through a book, or that youre making this kind of remark on the book or highlighting it, that appears to get people anxious.
Howard Lovy: Right. Now, you wrote in your column that its worth pointing out that the largest scale of social reading experience is the one you currently know really well, the note facility on Kindle.
Dan Holloway: Well, social reading is basically just taking the book club online, is the long and the except it.
Reserve clubs have been a big part of reading for a very long time, individuals like to get together and they like to discuss. They all read the very same book at the very same time and discuss it. Undoubtedly, book clubs, I do not understand what its like in the US, however in the UK, a lot of villages, for instance, will have a book club that satisfies in the town hall each week, checked out a couple of chapters or perhaps the entire book every week, and then youll get together and discuss it over coffee and drinks.
And the book clubs that have actually been in the news of late, they take a number of kinds. Theres most especially one called, Literati. They provide a membership model, so thats the service model. So, readers pay a membership and after that once a month you get a box complete of books provided to your door, you read those books together with everybody else who is a customer, and then you get access to a platform where you can talk about the book with them. So, its an online version of what individuals have been carrying out in their front rooms and in their town halls for a long time.
Which has actually ended up being industry over the last number of decades, through celebrity endorsed book clubs. Things like Oprah, in the United States, Richard and Judy in the UK, and those have actually become enormous drivers of sales for individuals who could get their books onto the book club list.
Dan Holloway: Yes. Yes, you do not have to do it through a previously set up book club. Clearly, you can make notes on the books you continue reading Kindle and share them publicly, whichs, Im not going to state its a truly excellent way of doing social reading, however its the opportunity to provide things a huge reach.
Howard Lovy: So, lets change the topic a little bit to something else in the news that you mentioned to your column called social reading. Now, to me, checking out is a solitary satisfaction, however I know in the social networks world, people like to share. So, tell us what social reading is and what business models are out there to cater to it.
The companies offering them are now trying to find a service model, rather than it just being celebrities doing it, or groups getting together and doing their own. Theres more of a chance for authors to get involved in the procedure.
Howard Lovy: Now, how is this different from what Goodreads has been providing for years?
And that something is contact details, the start of a relationship and, surprisingly, to bring us back into today, its that development of freemium that forms the next action in our relationship with Amazon. An action that forms part of what, at ALLi, we call self-publishing 3.0.
A step in which we talk to and offer to our readers directly, often from a platform of one. In a method, that brings us back to the extremely first imaginative expert of all on the web, Kevin Kelly, and his concept of a thousand real fans.
Dan Holloway: Yes, and undoubtedly book tubing is something that we do not actually talk about much at ALLi but is something thats enormous. The social networks influencers on YouTube, who, all they do is checked out and evaluation books, its part of that same ecosystem, and they have reaches in the 10s and hundreds of thousands. So, if your book is popular with a booktuber then thats the opportunity to go truly huge. So, there is clearly a market for people to check out books together.
If you updated from Audible to Audible Plus you would be enabled to return as many books as you want as far as you were through reading them, and this didnt go down extremely well with authors, since if people return the books, you dont get a royalty on that book.
And Bezoss goodbye has lots of nineties Bezos and Steve Jobs at his Zenith. Invention, states Bezos, is the root of our success. Weve done crazy things together and after that made them normal. We pioneered client evaluations, one-click individualized suggestions, primes insanely quick shipping, just go out shopping, the climate pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure, cloud computing, profession option, and a lot more.
Dan Holloway: Its more curated. So, thats the very first thing. Its books that are selected specifically, theyve been picked by somebody to interest certain sort of reader, and clearly its fully generated income from. You pay a subscription to be included in it. Its a proper service, but its also a service that is possible for us as writers to get included in, by getting our books chosen to be options. The expansion of social book clubs online means that there is more of an opportunity for us to sell lots of eBooks.
From the day we launched it onto the world at London Book Fair in 2012. Unlike Bezos, Im not going anywhere.
Obviously, it matches some genres better than others. With BookTubers, young person tends to proliferate because of the group of the people who are YouTube native.
Hopefully. Well, thank you, Dan, for your insight into this months news. Stay safe and well talk once again in March.
This comes simply as Jeff Bezos has been dethroned as the worlds wealthiest human by Elon Musk. Rather fittingly, hell be committing more of his time to Blue Origin and area expedition, much like Musk. And Im going to get through the whole of this product and this will be the only mention of Silicon Valley young boys and their rocket measuring.
Readers pay a subscription and then when a month you get a box full of books delivered to your door, you check out those books along with everybody else who is a subscriber, and then you get access to a platform where you can talk about the book with them. Again, it comes back to the worry about Amazon, if Amazon understands that youre this portion of a method through a book, or that youre making this kind of remark on the book or highlighting it, that seems to get individuals nervous.
These are the first book in a series, or a fantastic standalone, or a dazzling report to get someone to sign up to a mailing list from which they will buy your books.
Howard Lovy: Okay. Well, thats interesting. I have a sensation that those book clubs are more popular in the UK than they are in America, but I do see in some cases little book shops and library clubs and things like that. But with lockdown today, all that needs to go online, none of our libraries are open, our cafe arent open, and this is the way individuals are talking about books now.
What we were learning in those days was that we had misconstrued what the long tail was. It wasnt a principle that benefited creators, especially. It was a principle that benefited platforms, whichs something that has actually become clearer and clearer.
Howard Lovy: Right, I understand indie authors are constantly trying to find a method to promote their work.
Dan Holloway: Yes, we tend to be nervous about book clubs in basic, theres been quite a lot of bad press about physical book clubs and indie authors, because a lot of them that are restricted to state 10 or 20 individuals, the ones who satisfy in the village halls, they tend to anticipate and likewise to offer complimentary copies of the book.
Chris Anderson has never ever really return into style among authors. However if you consider it, freemium sort of has, the concept that to get individuals to pay, you initially provide something free of charge, got polluted, I believe, by its association in the developers mind as piracy, and indeed there was a time when anybody who made their books complimentary on Kindle earned the ire of their indie peers for devaluing everybodys work.
Dan Holloway: Talk quickly. Thank you.
Certainly, book clubs, I do not understand what its like in the United States, but in the UK, a lot of villages, for example, will have a book club that meets in the town hall every week, read a few chapters or even the whole book each week, and then youll get together and discuss it over coffee and beverages.
These are the first book in a series, or a terrific standalone, or a brilliant report to get someone to sign up to a mailing list from which they will purchase your books. Its simply, we found a way to get something in return for the thing that we have offered in totally free monetary terms.
The greatest early method we found to reach and grow readers was the very same as the one that all those business in the first.com boom had actually used. And it was the title of Chris Andersons other very popular book, Free. In the really early days, if you might persuade Amazon to make your book totally free, you even got royalties on that, even when the consumer wasnt paying anything.
If you get it right, a few years after an unexpected creation, the brand-new thing has actually ended up being normal. People yawn, which yawn is the best compliment an inventor can receive.
What we didnt realize was Amazon, in essence, was utilizing our totally free books as a scaling tool. That didnt last, however complimentary downloads, and the many websites you could advertise them on for totally free were still really reliable, and their results carried over into our sales as soon as our books were no longer complimentary. Until they stopped doing that and downloads fell off the cliff as soon as you have to pay for them, and to get individuals to see your free books, you needed to start paying to advertise them.
In those early years, there were some neat ways we found to do that, through Kindle forums, which were eventually closed to us, and creative entitling and metadata. Once again, possibilities that became closed off quickly enough.
The paragraph that really sticks out for me is this one: “I discover my work significant and enjoyable. I get to deal with the most intelligent, most skilled, the majority of innovative teammates. Youve been simple when times have been excellent. When times have been hard, youve been strong and helpful, and weve made each other laugh. Its a pleasure to work on this group.”.
Howard Lovy: Right, like my 15-year-old and 16-year-old children, I cant get them to the living room to see TELEVISION with us anymore. Whats ending up being of the kids? Theyre simply in their spaces viewing YouTube and reading books.
What I did wish to do was provide something of a retrospective of how Bezos and Amazon has altered my life due to the fact that, lets face it, as indie writers, hes altered all our lives. I began self-publishing in 2008. By that stage, Amazon was currently well into puberty and I d already devoured everything that had been blogged about the first.com boom, more than a years earlier, which had introduced Amazon on its method.
At that point, what we truly connected with Amazon was what Chris Anderson, creator of Ted, contacted his book of the exact same name, The Long Tail. For the very first half a decade of my self-publishing life, Chris Anderson was the dominant master, overlooking other, sort of forgotten in the mainstream, figures of the 2nd and first web waves like Tim OReilly and Clay Shirkey. The Long Tail was something you couldnt avoid if you was among the early self-publishers, and as the very first Kindle released, it was the guiding light for much of us, we saw in it the promise that you didnt have to offer a lots of books on launch day, since what Amazon offered you was a place on the shelf of the worlds greatest book shop forever.
Now, if you look at the dominant gamers, whether its Spotify or YouTube or Apple, and even Facebook and Google, you see the very same thing. Tiny quantities of downloads for small amounts of cash, offer developers small returns, but put enough of them on the very same platform and the owners of that platform get really abundant. However we still have the freemium model to fall back on, that went out of fashion for a very long time.
The Legacy of Jeff Bezos.
I d like to talk about something tech-related, and it would be difficult for me not to utilize that opportunity this month to say something about the most significant tech story of all in our area. The news that Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of Amazon to end up being executive chair, serendipitously, something I have actually ordered for myself from Amazon simply today.
Whereas these online book clubs, individuals will pay for them and this can be as much as countless people at a time. If your book gets picked for an online book club then there is the prospective to do really well in sales.