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What About Wattpad? 21 September 2015

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Happiness, Publishing Industry.
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Have you heard about Wattpad? For those who grew up with traditional publishing, it’s a bit of a different cup of tea.

When I first heard about it, I was… hmm… not happy? It was launched a year before Every Day Fiction was born, but it didn’t cross my personal radar until after we’d started running with the concept of novel serialization, and where we hoped to attract paying subscribers for our novelists, here was a site where anyone could just give serial installments away for free.

Smut, I thought. Fan fiction. People who couldn’t find publishers. (Bear in mind this was before indie publishing had gained status as a respectable choice for those willing to hire professionals and put in the hard work.) When I heard Margaret Atwood had embraced Wattpad, I felt betrayed. Support small presses and money for authors, not this… thing. But she, and Wattpad, were just ahead of the curve.

Since we’ve learned that readers don’t generally want to pay for serials, it appears the choice isn’t between Wattpad and paid subscription — it’s between Wattpad and serializing free on your own blog, or not doing it at all. And Wattpad offers a community of over 40 million people plus an established platform to handle new-chapter-up notifications, comments, votes, and reading lists.

The business of writing and publishing is in mad flux and probably will be for some time, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the primary burden of promotion and brand-building is falling on the author, regardless of whether one is following the traditional route, the indie route, or a hybrid of the two. Building a toolkit of ways to reach out to new and existing readers is essential.

These days, I’ve completely reversed my original opinion of Wattpad.

As a platform, a brand-building and networking tool, it has a lot to offer: here’s a blog post by indie author Katie Cross sharing her experience, complete with stats and graphs. And this article/podcast on The Creative Penn has an answer to the question of how Wattpad helps to sell books: “It’s about building a fan-base for your writing, as opposed to your tweets or blog posts.”

No cat pictures, no memes, no linkbait — just stories. Yes, there’s plenty of smut, and fan fiction, and doubtless some people who couldn’t find publishers. There are also established traditional-path authors, rising-star indies, a globe-spanning community, and every kind of writing you can imagine (not just fiction, either; I’ve found poetry and self-improvement advice). It’s hotter for some genres than others, and apparently has a demographic tilt toward readers who are female and under 35, but it’s been great for me so far.

I’m currently serializing a novelette on Wattpad under my pen name, and I’m absolutely thrilled with the experience. Words like empowering and addictive and fun come to mind. I specifically chose to do this with a project that I wanted to give away, to start developing a world I’ll write further in (and building a fanbase for that world).

I expect that more experienced authors will be divided on the merits of Wattpad, just as there tends to be a divide at a certain level over whether to continue submitting to token-paying markets once one can command a semi-pro rate. As always, my feeling is that it’s an individual author decision: you have to weigh the costs (lost income opportunity, sacrifice of prestige, time) against the benefits (brand extension, networking, enjoyment) and do what’s right for your own journey.

Squee! I Can Make Animated GIFs! 28 January 2013

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Happiness.
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Look at that! Stuff moves! It’s cool!

Seriously, though, I realize that everyone in the universe except for me can already make animated GIFs — there are enough of them out there to choke the internet, after all — but I’m a book designer and publisher: in my world, stuff stays still on the page.

Only… it doesn’t. E-book text reflows based on the e-reader’s screen and the requested font size, right? That’s movement. Plus, a fair chunk of what we publish is… online.

And today Jordan Ellinger pointed out to me that movement draws the eye. (I knew that; I just hadn’t thought about it in the context of animated ad banners.) Since I do up virtually all of our advertising and promotional material, I quickly realized that yes… this had to be figured out.

Turns out it was not difficult at all. All you need is Photoshop (I’ve got CS5.5). In case you too were with me in the Dark Ages of non-animation, here’s an excellent tutorial from Wired: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Make_an_Animated_GIF (try the layer visibility method first, and then play with tweening once you’re comfortable).

So, do you like the speed my banner is animated at, or should I slow it down a little more?

And Sometimes It All Seems To Go Right 22 November 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Happiness.

Readership at Every Day Fiction is going up.

Our commenters are being awesome. Over the last few days, everyone has pretty much managed to be courteous and sensible, and our thoughtful and intelligent readers have gotten into some interesting discussions about story logistics and issues — which is, after all, the whole point of having comments: to discuss the story! Plus we’ve had awesome authors joining the comments threads to participate in the discussion of their stories, without taking anything too personally or getting bent out of shape, which makes the discussion that much better (in fact, today’s author called it “an engaging community of readers and commenters” on his blog, which makes me jumping-up-and-down happy). I particularly enjoy it when the conversation goes in unexpected directions. How does someone with a touch-related superpower eat? Is the time-travel thing really sci-fi, or is it a unique pick-up line in a romance? This is where all the hard work pays off. Awesome literary conversation, happy authors, happy me. Big bubble hearts to everyone.

The cover art for Lifting Up Veronica is at the photographer and should be ready on Wednesday. Given that the preliminary sketches were so amazing that I could have used one of them for the cover, I’m a little bit excited to see the finished image. Nico Photos is a truly brilliant artist and it’s an absolute honour to have him on board for this.

And we’re testing out Vanilla forums, first for the Every Day Novels forums, and then if all goes well, hopefully we will migrate the whole EDF family onto it. It’s beta only right now so I won’t post a link yet, but I’m absolutely in love. So intuitive and easy to use.

I’m reading a manuscript that will potentially be our second offering from Every Day Novels, and I can hardly put it down to get other work done. More bubble hearts.

Finally, I had a Facebook message from one of my happiness people today, someone I hadn’t heard from in a while. You know how some people just seem to bring joy with them? People who always leave you feeling better about everything rather than worse? I don’t mean people who are all sunshine and sugar and Pollyanna perkiness — they usually end up leaving everyone else feeling worse — but rather people who have the effect, after you’ve talked to them or spent time with them, of making you think all your dreams are possibilities and the world is actually a pretty decent place.

So today my dreams are possibilities and the world is a decent place to be.

And I hope a little bit of my glow rubs off on you too.

Publishing in a Multimedia World 10 February 2011

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Happiness.
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Not so long ago, I never would have thought I’d say the words “video trailer” in reference to a magazine, at least not with a straight face. Trailers were for movies, weren’t they?

And yet here I am today, thrilled to bits about Every Day Publishing’s first video trailer (for Ray Gun Revival):

Maybe trailer is a word we’ve chosen in the books-n-words industry because we’re not comfortable with what it really is. Because, let’s face the truth, no matter how cool and beautifully produced it is, and regardless of the fact that it’s on YouTube rather than television, it’s a commercial. An ad. Crass salesmanship at its finest, same as what’s used to sell yogurt or razor blades. Two minutes and 36 seconds worth of promotional “story”, a mini film intended to hook viewers’ interest and draw them in, and… well, not exactly make a sale. I mean, there’s nothing to buy. Read the damn magazine, for free. Yes, we must convince them to do that. Twist their arms.

But whether you call it a teaser or a trailer or a commercial or a clip, it’s actually pretty exciting to have taken this step. We are multimedia. We are keeping up with society and technology – if the world is on YouTube, then as a publisher I’d rather be playing “A Whole New World” than “Memory“. Now we just need to finish developing our e-books and iApps to sell, and we’ll be all set, the very model of a modern online publisher.

In any case, I’m so impressed with the work Andy and Jordan and Steven did on it (and Rod’s acting and Adam’s voiceover too). Here’s the production blurb:

This trailer was shot over a weekend in Ellinger’s parents’ house for a budget of under $100. We shot with a Canon T2i SLR that cost under a thousand dollars and edited the whole thing together with Adobe Premier. Everything is hand made, and the blue screening was accomplished with blue tissue scotch taped over the window. The music was made available through Creative Commons by the St. Matthews Choir, and the image is courtesy of the Hubble telescope, also in the public domain.

My favourite moment is when Banner Cooper-Smith adjusts his belt buckle.

It’s great to see Ray Gun Revival rise again, blasting off this month with stories from Larry Hodges, Mike Resnick, Michael Merriam, and Geri Leen. It’s great to be part of making that happen. And it’s really a lot of fun to be splashing an Every Day Publishing video trailer around for it.

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