Opinion

DRM: still defective by design

Image: Microsoft e-book store on EdgeMicrosoft announced in April that it was closing the Microsoft Store’s e-books section. The short-lived foray into e-books began in 2017 as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update. With the closure of the store, Microsoft also set a date this month (July) by which it would remove all purchased books from the libraries of those who bought them. The how and the why? Digital Rights Management – DRM. …

The role of independent publishers

Image: Spring sunrise captured by Jan Ubels, Creative CommonsTake a look at the output of the Big Five publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster, along with their multitude of subsidiary imprints) and you’ll see a tendency to spend big on a few titles in the hope of getting enough big hits to cover losses on the rest. Like the Hollywood studios, the Big Five gamble on their reading of the mass market to move volume, on an International scale, and not cater for the full spectrum of audience tastes. …

The Self-publishing Revolution

Image: letterpress typeThe last two decades have seen huge changes in the publishing industries – the consolidation of publishers and agents, the advent of cost-effective digital printing for small runs, and the rise of the Internet as a discovery and distribution platform. It’s an industry my father would barely recognise from his time in publishing during the 1970’s. …

The First Draft

Image: Longhand pagesThere are many ways to start writing a book, both fiction and non-fiction. Without a first draft, you don’t have a book, just an idea. But a completed first draft is just that – a beginning and not an end.

Whether you sit down and start at the beginning and just write down whatever comes from your stream of consciousness, or you carefully plan and outline the whole thing from beginning to end, whatever gets you started has value. …

Get Writing tips – the daily discipline

Image: writer's writing padThe BBC used to have an educational site called Get Writing, no longer live but some of the content migrated into BBC Writers’ Room.

Get Writing was a fantastic resource for aspiring writers and would regularly post tips, exercises and how-to’s from renowned authors. One of these concerned the discipline of writing regularly.

Our rules for social networking

Image: Social Media iconsSomewhere between John Perry Barlow’s poetic and wildly optimistic A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” and the recent suicides of several teens bullied on Facebook and Instagram, the Internet became a brutal and seemingly unforgiving space.

We decided to document our own (short) set of rules for social media. Apologies if this reads like Baz Luhrman’s self-help record Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) … …