Self-publishing websites that harbour talent such as E. L. James have gained astronomical success because they provide an accessible, digital alternative to traditional book publishers, with more books being self-published by authors than those published traditionally year-on-year.
Self-publishing involves the publication of a book by the author without the need for an established third-party publisher. The entire process, including design, price and distribution is in the control of the author. Print-On-Demand technology also means that the author can use global distribution channels such as Amazon.com and can have a book printed only when an order is placed rather than producing bulk copies of their titles. Technological advances such as e-book readers and tablets have also helped to boost success, providing enhanced readability and allowing readers to carry numerous books in a portable product.
A particular success story in the self-publishing market is Movellas.com. Movellas is changing the young adult book genre by connecting talented writers with readers based on a very social platform. Websites like Movellas.com have made agents irrelevant whilst also challenging the existing publishing model by creating a new ecosystem with its own marketing and distribution platform.
The sites teen authors are also inadvertently creating a whole new category – teenagers writing for teenagers.
I spoke to Per Larsen, CEO and Founder of Movellas.com, on why he wanted his self-publishing platform to focus on teenage writers. “We initially saw the trend in Japan, with teenagers exchanging short fictional stories through their mobile phones. We replicated the concept in Denmark and realised that teenagers were creating something that adults just couldn’t tap into. For us, it was exciting because these young authors were not just disrupting an existing market; they were creating a whole new slice of the pie and building this amazing social network.”
Movellas.com was clearly onto something. Recently, the site has reaped enormous press coverage for launching the career of 16-year-old author Emily Baker (image above), who is a massive One Direction fan and had the most popular story on the site, with 30,000 fans asking for more. A Fiction Editor at Penguin came across Baker whilst on the hunt for a writer to pen a romantic young adult fictional novel that tapped into the current obsession with boy bands. Emily proved to be just the right kind of new talent to write such a novel, and world rights were duly acquired from Movellas.com.
Emily comments: 'I wrote my original novel on Movellas whilst I was taking my GCSEs, so I had to balance my studies with writing. It was hard work, but it all paid off when everybody on Movellas was so supportive of what I was doing which just urged me to continue writing, chapter after chapter. That book then inspired me to write ‘Loving the Band’. I am very excited to be published by Penguin and it also helps that everyone there is so lovely!'
As well as sourcing new talent on platforms such as Movellas.com, Penguin recently acquired Author Solutions from Bertram Capital and have launched their own self publishing platform, Book Country. Is it enough to just take over these new platforms or do larger publishing houses have a lot more to learn?
“A lot more is needed” says Larsen. “The vital component is creating that community, especially with teenagers. With adult focused alternatives you have a more professional environment, but teenagers want to come to a place where they can enjoy themselves, meet likeminded young people and read stories. Every time we create a new feature our users interact and that is the key. You need a good combination of managing a community and nurturing it.”
To find out more about Movellas, the online writing community to read, write and share, check out the website here – www.movellas.com