Thursday, 30 June 2011

DIGITAL PUBLISHING FOR WRITERS - GETTING STARTED Saturday, July 16, 2011 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM (GMT)


Saturday, July 16, 2011 from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM(GMT)

Course description
A practical introduction to writing, publishing and earning in the digital age brought to you by if:book, the think and do tank exploring the future of the book in the digital age.
Who is the course for?
Creative writers at all levels who want to learn how to use digital tools to develop and publish their
work, to market themselves and make money from their writing.
Who are the tutors?
We want to ensure that students receive a degree of personal attention, so we provide two tutors
Chris Meade 
Co-director of the Institute for the Future of the Book and founder of if:book
London, was previously CEO of Booktrust and the Poetry Society. A writer and blogger, he’s
been published by Penguin, written for radio, the stage and the web; his multimedia novella was described by the Independent on Sunday as “a jeu d’esprit and just
possibly the future of fiction”.
Kati Rynne
An experienced private tutor with a postgraduate degree in secondary school teaching,
Kati has spent six years at digital education company Teachers TV as project manager/web producer.
She spent a year collaborating to produce websites for writers and currently co-produces digital
literature projects. She writes fiction for young people and was a co-author of the 24hr Book. See
Workshop Outline
Explore digital publishing options and consider which of them might best suit your writings.
We’ll investigate:
• ebooks (enhanced, illuminated and print on demand)
• multi-platform fictions and alternate reality games
• Blogs, websites and social media
You will look at some basic ways to promote yourself online and to reach your target readership;
check out examples of 'amplified authors' who have proven success in self-branding, online marketing and
communicating with readers. 
What equipment do I need to bring with me?
A laptop (optional). We will provide free wi-fi. You’re welcome to bring with you a piece of writing
you’re working on (optional).

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

structural impediments to real impact

from TITLE FIGHT, article in Times Higher Education by Mathew Reisz.
Read the rest HERE

From another point of view, of course, it is the publishers themselves that are the problem. Ricardo Blaug, reader in democracy and political theory at the University of Westminster, believes that "you'd get much more interesting work" if academics "could self-publish or be published by small presses and it was still seen as legitimate by the research excellence framework".
Like many people working in disciplines such as politics, Blaug has no problem with the canons of academic rigour ("You need to justify that something is worth taking seriously, you can't just stamp your feet"), it's just that he would also like to make an impact on public opinion and debate. Yet he believes that "there are structural impediments to real impact" - notably that publishers' pricing policies mean that "no one can read your work".
Blaug's solution has been to publish a monograph with Palgrave Macmillan, How Power Corrupts: Cognition and Democracy in Organisations (2010), while finding other ways to ensure that his arguments become a "vibrant hub for discussion and engagement". Although the book ends with a fairly quiet call to arms, he has distilled its central themes into a punchy seven-page pamphlet that was at the heart of a four-day event, How Power Corrupts, organised by if:book, the Institute for the Future of the Book, and the Roundhouse Group in May. This included a discussion with Lord Owen, a film, drama workshops and, significantly, a panel on "The future of academic publishing".

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

if:book cafe team

Based at the Unlibrary we're planning an IF:BOOK CAFE, both a place to meet and eat and drink AND a shop to sell digital and paper books and literary things. We're looking for a small team of writers and digital makers to work with - no fee but the plan to strike deals for each project on how any income is divided up.
We'll make all kinds of products and reading experiences, from handmade scrolls to multimedia episodes and we'll seek readers locally, globally and everything in between. If you're interested please email chris at futureofthebook dot org dot uk with more about you and your experience.

Monday, 13 June 2011

the Waste Land app reviewed

article written for the literary platform, June 13th, 2011

Seamus Heaney says it in the Perspectives section of Faber’s beautifully produced app of The Waste Land:
Eliot always was accompanied always by interpretation. There was an official way of reading him from very early on and therefore I never had that experience of being alone and a little bewildered and then coming to it, being excited by it, getting to know it on one’s own.” Does this elegant app help readers to be alone with the poem or force us all back into class to be told how to do it properly?
I had the opposite of Heaney’s experience of Eliot:  I’ve loved the music of his words since I came across them as a teenager, have never studied Eliot’s work formally nor expected to understand it, but profoundly enjoyed the bewilderment. I’ve never thought of him as intimidating because I have always encountered him alone, in a setting where nobody was judging my critical responses. Now I’m finding this multi-layered app intimidates as well as illuminates, though it absolutely doesn’t try to tell us what it all means. Eliot’s own notes were thought at the time to be a parody of footnotes, and actually the videoed providers of perspectives here mostly end up saying make of it what you will.
The gallery is my favourite bit, giving us a clutch of relevant postcards – of Bob Dylan, Dante Alligheri, the first Mrs Eliot, a crowd of people crossing the river Thames,
‘so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.’
These images create real breathing space around the poem. They evoke, inform and leave the poem be.
There’s a picture of the first edition of Prufrock in a plain brown cover, then all the pages of the typescript manuscript with the inky slashes of Pound’s fierce corrections and comments. The notes, presented in a Comment-press style, can be brought up when wanted, then brushed away if you want the text plain. Likewise it’s a doddle to switch between the different audio readings or switch them off entirely.
The navigation works a dream and the design is classy in that Faber way. It doesn’t do anything more than an old CDRom could really, but the speedy app-iness of it makes this a personal reading experience rather than a clunky piece of ‘edu-tainment’.
Fiona Shaw performs the whole piece on video from a Dublin room, and there are interviews with a few different Eliot experts, including an ex-punk rocker alongside Raine, Heaney and Jeanette Winterson in the Perspective Section. There’s a kinky kind of pleasure in rubbing my finger across the faces of Famous Seamus and friends to rewind them.
Of the readings of the entire text, Ted Hughes is thunderous, Eliot scratchy monotonous, Shaw’s performance (which I loved on stage) too acTORish up close for my poetic taste. Despite his American accent, Viggo Mortensen’s reading of the poem comes closest to the voice I hear in my head as I read. Being able to read and listen along and then close my eyes as the words wash over is luxurious and something I want to be able to do with lots more poems. In fact this feels exactly how poems should be consumed.
I’m writing this review on my way back from a(nother!) conference on digital publishing, this one at the Scottish Universities Insight Institute in Glasgow, where I’ve been arguing (again) that the future of the book is about readers and writers not the publishing industry. It is compelling new work made fresh for these platforms by living authors which should be leading the way, not lavish enhancements of guaranteed classics. The Waste Land still feels like a wonderful learning resource rather than a digitally illuminated text or work of art in its own right. Which is fine, because it really is wonderful.