CASE STUDY: authors reinvent publishing

From left: JP Flintoff with Dan Kieran and John Mitchinson, founders of Unbound

The mould-breaking publisher, Unbound, invited me to organise a day long workshop with 25 leading authors, to reinvent an industry in decline.

Several of the authors were initially wary, and sceptical about the value of the exercise.

But we created a safe space for individuals to raise questions such as:

  • Should authors make their money like bands by going on tour?
  • Are online patronage and serialisation viable options?
  • If the author is networking, and closing deals, what’s an agent for?
  • How can we improve our own writing skills, when we’re supposed to be good already?
  • How could there be more diversity in publishing?
  • How do we communicate value for money, when people spend half the price of a book on a cup of coffee?
  • and many more questions that are rarely spoken aloud, for lack of a willing and interested audience.

Then we created a simple mechanism for people to discuss only the topics that truly interested them, and to write up reports.

Several of the ideas dreamed up on that day have subsequently been made real.

Additionally, individuals reported a feeling of genuine, meaningful participation that is horribly lacking from most conferences and other networking events.

1 min 22 secs