Friday, December 28, 2012

 A Year’s Journey Through E-Publishing
The first anthology from Authors Electric
Edited by Julia Jones

The Authors Electric blogspot receives over 12,000 hits a month and its worldwide readership is growing. The group of 29 independent and independently publishing writers present a kaleidoscope of books, opinions and ideas aiming to entertain and inform, each posting one blog a month. Now the group is publishing a selection.

SPARKS is an anthology of blogs by a group of bloggers. It includes contributions from
41 professional authors posted between June 2011 and November 2012. Released on Kindle, SPARKS will cost less than £1. A free app will be available for download to allow the anthology to be read on a wide range of devices. A paperback version is planned for
the New Year.
The idea came from Julia Jones, a former bookseller as well as a publisher, reader and writer. Fascinated by developments in the book trade, she got into the habit of reading her fellow Authors Electric members’ blogposts on a regular basis. The more she read, the more impressed she became ‘by other people’s knowledge, humour and their willingness to share their experience’. A casual remark on Facebook that she could ‘feel a collection coming on’ was met by an enthusiastic response – and SPARKS was born.

Anthologies have always had their place in the newspaper and magazine world – and I'm not aware of another UK blogging group that has produced anything like this,’ says Julia Jones.

With 430 blogposts to choose from, Jones selected one post from each current member, one from every former member who’d posted on five or more occasions, two guest posts and two ‘specials’.

SPARKS aims to present “the journey so far”,’ says Jones. ‘We are a group of authors e-publishing our own work for a number of reasons: some are disillusioned with conventional publishing; some have new work that does not fit traditional genres; we all want to keep our backlist titles in print – and for the sheer pleasure in managing our writing lives. SPARKS reflects this, as well as the new excitements and difficulties of self-publishing.’

One of the ‘specials’ selected marks the 100th review on the IEBR (Indie eBook Review), sister website of Authors Electric. An outside perspective on how media attitudes to writer-publishers have changed is provided in an interview with Scott Pack, publisher of Harper Collins imprint, The Friday Project; book trade analyst and a former bookseller.

SPARKS offers a perspective on a year that has seen real change in the independent e-publishing market,’ says Julia Jones. ‘The experience of the individual members of Authors Electric is probably representative of many other writer-publishers. Contributing as a group has helped all of us feel clearer about what we’re trying to do, even when we don’t agree with each other. We all feel more confident that choosing to publish our own work isn’t some form of vanity, but is a new way to connect with readers and manage our own books and our own careers without depending on the traditional “gatekeepers”.’

The paper version of SPARKS is a not-for-profit exercise and will be sold at cost, or as near cost as retailers’ (such as Amazon) pricing structures allow. Authors Electric member, Stephanie Zia (an author who also runs her own e-publishing company, Blackbird Digital), is managing this side of things. Any royalties paid to Blackbird will be put towards providing free books to journalists, reviewers, analysts and broadcasters who might be interested in discussing the group’s work.

As with all Authors Electric projects, such as its Great E-Book Giveaway in April 2012, SPARKS is a group effort.

Authors Electric started just over a year ago with zero readers,’ says Susan Price, group co-ordinator. ‘It's now getting 12,000 hits a month from a growing worldwide audience – all due to its writing team of highly articulate, sparky bloggers! I'm privileged to be part of it, and can't wait to see how it develops, along with e-publishing, in the future.’

The SPARKS e-anthology is published on 28th December 2012. The paperback version will be published early in 2013. The e-anthology will be free for the first five days, after which it will retail at US$0.99 (£0.77).

Journalists who would like a copy of SPARKS to review or comment on digital books,
please contact:- Stephanie Zia at Blackbird Digital Books +44 (0)7816 491189

For further information and comment on the Authors Electric group, please contact:-
Susan Price – +44 (0) 1384 256190