Q&A: Independent Publishing, Technology & Digital Book World 2018 with Bradley Metrock
By Bradley Metrock, Digital Book World
Bradley Metrock is CEO of Score Publishing, which owns and operates Digital Book World (DBW). DBW is the annual gathering of the wide world of publishing, and the 2018 event will take place Oct. 2-4 in Nashville, Tenn. at the Music City Center.
The conference and expo will bring together as many as 1,000 decision-makers from across the global realms of publishing and technology (including independent authors). *
Why should independent publishers, including solo authors publishing their own content, proactively embrace technology?
Technology is what allows small publishers and the smallest publishers – solo authors – to untether their fates from those of large publishers and the industry in general. If you understand technology and current trends, you can write your own destiny.
Rather than pursue an agent and try to get a book deal, an independent author, for example, can use one of several potential vendors to publish their book through a print-on-demand service. They can use software like Apple’s iBooks Author to produce an interactive, multimedia version of their work, and sell it for a premium price as it contains extra content. They can use the litany of tools available to them to create their own audiobook, and sell it through Audible or other known channels. And they can market themselves by networking within the growing ranks of podcasters and other influencers, to drive awareness of not only their stories, but themselves as authors.
Marry technology with work ethic and you’ve got unlimited potential. It’s an exciting time to have a story to tell.
What are some examples of independent publishers – or solo authors – that will be speaking as part of the Digital Book World 2018 program? Are there any in particular you think we should go see during the show, or start to follow on social media?
Kristi Carlson, author of Eat Like A Gilmore, is presenting a Digital Book World and has a fascinating story to tell about how she originally used Kickstarter – once again, a new technology – to get her publishing career moving the direction she wanted. Another author, Kari Dobbs, who wrote the children’s book Addie & the Lost Boys, used simple print-on-demand services in conjunction with hiring her own illustrator to create a very compelling story for children and families. Those are just two examples of how independent publishing is certainly a major component of the larger Digital Book World event we’ve put together.
In addition to Digital Book World, you have VoiceFirst.FM – a podcast network all about voice technology. And you’ve been a major proponent of voice assistants and smart speakers in many areas, not just publishing. How can independent publishers and solo authors use that technology to their advantage?
Voice technology – or, more properly, “voice-first” technology – provides small publishers and individual authors with so much opportunity if they’re willing to get their feet wet. Creating an Alexa skill, which is Amazon’s nomenclature for an “app” which works within the Alexa / Amazon Echo ecosystem, is not technically hard to do, and can be created with no knowledge of coding. These skills allow publishers to tell their stories and extend their own IP in fascinating ways, from simply deploying audiobooks to creating new experiences powered by audio and voice. Companies like Tellables, Earplay and others, which are pioneering in these areas, will be at Digital Book World 2018 and publishers of all sizes can get a lot of ideas by simply speaking to them and learning how they are using voice platforms, and then going and doing that on your own.
The closing keynote at Digital Book World is “Data Guy,“ a person who has been somewhat controversial in the past for creating a data-driven tool, which is not accessible to solo authors because it’s too expensive. Share with us why you decided to close the event with him.
Data Guy does indeed have a new company, Bookstat, which is expensive and targeted mainly at large publishers. However, the information he will reveal about the publishing industry, and some of the current trends which are informed by his real-time data, are ones that small publishers and solo authors would benefit from greatly – simply by being aware of them. Data Guy’s presentation alone is a reason for solo authors to attend DBW 2018, and his guidance within his presentation will help steer then in the right direction heading into 2019.
Registration for DBW 2018 is available at http://www.digitalbookworld.com.