Sydney Writers’ Festival 2010

Hi Everyone,

I went to a session at the SWF (21 May) on ‘Who Needs a Publisher Anyway?’ with speakers Mark Pesce and Marcus Westbury and will pass on the notes I made as I think you may be interested:

Mark Pesce

At the moment through the web we can make connections with other creative groups which will lead in the future to a shared creative production.

You can download this at

In the future, resources, intelligence and capabilities will be shared.

Author’s can be defined as ‘thought leaders’ and the book is the author’s own brainwave.

The book as we know it is dissolving. We are heading for the digitised book which will be a hypertext, providing access to other texts. Linear reading will be replaced by centrifugal reading.

In 5 years time nearly all Non-Fiction will be digitised into a collective of human knowledge. Exceptions are the Cookbook!

Fiction in the future will take 3 major forms:

1)      Books you have to hold and can’t put down – page-turners like Da Vinci Code. Traditional publishing will still be producing these.
2)      Books that create their own universe eg Lord of the Rings, which means they create their own hyper-textuality.

3)      Books that will be their own hyper-textuality ie ebooks.

In the future, authors will not be a ‘singular’ – authors will be a ‘zone’, that is, a place where things/people are connected by affinity.

There will be no beginning or end to the task of the author.

There will be no beginning or end to the creation of the book.

Thus, the boundary between the author and the reader has dissolved and traditional publishing roles for book, author, publisher are melting.

Marcus Westbury

Writing is an ongoing series of dialogues between author and reader.

The problems with traditional publishing are: 1) huge time lags and 2) closed system which excludes the author.

Taking a conversationalist approach means you open up dialogue with readers.

Traditional publishers still have a level of expertise that authors don’t have yet.

Traditional distribution methods are breaking down.

Traditional publication still gives the author validation but authors will slowly change their mindset over this and things will change.

Beware: What happened to the music industry will happen to traditional publishing. In the future there will be a major disruption to a publisher’s economic business model.

In the future authors will share knowledge and in return, develop expertise that can be marketed in public speaking, teaching etc which will make profits. It is expertise that will equate with today’s fascination with fame. Expertise will give you significance and thus, value.

Ideology: technologies of connection will raise communities who can pool knowledge for collective betterment.

In future we will see more Open Source Projects eg Wiki. These need to be taken up and pushed by 1-2 spearhead people in order to be taken up by others.

Our capacity to collaborate is transformative.

Opposite of Celebrity-driven publishing (driven by popular media) will be ‘Networks of Influence’ – people who connect and respect each other’s POV. You will become known by what you do online.

When publishing online trust that authentic voices will find their audience.

Traditional publishers will produce collectable books.

In the future authors must identify their market and work out how to let them know that your book is coming.

The future is not in the book, it’s in the sharing of ideas.

Love Jeni x

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *