Plauché: Indie & Traditional Publishing, Ebooks, and More

by Stephan Kinsella on August 2, 2011

Good post from Geoff Plauché at Prometheus Review:

In my last news roundup, I briefly discussed the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction being put online for free by Gollancz. At the time, I speculated: “Why [put it online for free]? Oh, I don’t know, maybe reading through the encyclopedia will tempt people into buying more books and ebooks of and about the stories and authors described within it.” This was before I had heard about Gollancz’s new SF Gateway imprint.

SF Gateway will be publishing online in ebook form a catalog numbering in the thousands of out-of-print backlist books from its authors. Including “the classic SF pulp writers of the Golden Age right through to modern award-winning authors,” SF Gateway purports to be “the largest library of digital Science Fiction and Fantasy ever assembled.” All of these titles will naturally be directly interlinked with author and title entries in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, so the encyclopedia will serve as a handy way to spur sales. The SF Gateway site will also serve in part as a social network, which is an other clever idea — build up an online community around the encyclopedia and that large library of sf&f ebooks. You can read more about it in the pdf press release.

Also in the last news roundup, I mentioned some innovations in publishing. Here is some more info on a couple of them:

  • One of those innovations is a crowdfunding model like Kickstarter but just for books, called Unbound. Business Week’s Bobbie Johnson has an interesting article on it. Unbound doesn’t seem to be doing so well, but that’s not because the crowdfunding model doesn’t work for books. It’s working fine on Kickstarter. Read the article to see what Kickstarter got right but Unbound got wrong: transparency, authenticity, less niche and more international.
  • Angry Robot isn’t the first publisher to introduce a ebook subscription model. I had forgotten about Baen’s Webscriptions: currently $18/month gets you a minimum of 4 (usually 6 or 7) ebooks per month. Also, be sure to check out the Baen Free Library.

I also recently ran across an innovative marketing platform for those who go the indie publishing route. Moses Siregar, co-host of Adventures in Scifi Publishing, recently launched Indie Author Rockstar, which is intended to help indie-published authors showcase and promote their own and each other’s work. There is talk around the web about the need for gatekeepers or quality filters or curators in online publishing, to help readers find the gems amidst all the crap. A traditional publishing house is not the only way to do this. Perhaps Indie Author Rockstar will provide another successful model. Read about how it works.

Along the lines of helping readers find the good stuff, Gizmodo has an article about new software that can detect fake reviews with 90% accuracy. Here’s to hoping online stores like Amazon put it to use soon.

But author Dean Wesley Smith takes issue with the idea of traditional publishers as quality filters in “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: New York Works as a Quality Filter.”

Finally, a list of interesting links:

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