Calling all N00bz!

The N00bz coverTry Spritz, sign up for Entitle or Oyster, publish a new short story on Wattpad every day, or invent an entirely new platform for readers … if you write, and you have an idea about a way to do it differently, then we want you for our Twitter compilation chapter in The N00bz: New adventures in literature.

Being a digital first publisher, Editia is keen to experiment with new ways of working and to encourage others to do the same. That’s why we’ve always been big fans of if:book Australia (, and did handstands when they asked us to partner with them on The N00bz. That and the fact that it would mean working with writers like Romy Ash, Carmel Bird, James Bradley, Sophie Masson, Benjamin Law, Jeff Sparrow, Emily Stewart, Ronnie Scott and Sean Williams, and introducing Greg Field, Caroline Baum and Elizabeth Lhuede into the mix ourselves.

All the original contributors took up the challenge of trying new experiences or tools and observing the effect on their craft. Sean Williams deprived himself of sleep and examined its effect on his creativity. Sophie Masson established her own indie press. Emily Stewart gave away her library. Greg Field closed his bookshop and joined Wattpad. Romy Ash tackled Twitter storytelling. And Jeff Sparrow wrote something that’s definitely not a book. All stepped outside their typical work patterns and found a new perspective.

The N00bz began as a web-based project, but is now available for $9.99 as an ebook (from this website, and major ebookstores). In August, we’ll launch a print edition featuring an all-new chapter comprised of tweets and blog post extracts from readers (submitted via the hashtag #theN00bz so that everyone can get involved, even if it’s only by reading the entries). The ebook will be updated then too.

I can’t wait to see what this new set of N00bz come up with, and where their involvement in this project takes them. I reckon it’s a great opportunity for emerging writers to see their name in print (or pixels) alongside some of Australia’s most highly regarded authors. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or a drabble, so long as we can find it via #theN00bz on Twitter before midnight on Monday July 7, 2014, we will consider it for inclusion in The N00bz.

Here’s what I’d be dabbling in if I were entering:

  • Speed reading platform Spritz — what sort of stories work best for this style of reading (which if you haven’t seen it involves a series of words flashing in front of your eyes so that they don’t need to move from left to write on a page)? Simple, short words to tell long complex tales? Maybe, and it’d be fun to find out.
  • Writing a series of short stories and publishing them on Wattpad and then selling them in ebookstores for 99c.
  • Publishing an app based on one of my favourite children’s books that is out of print and out of copyright.
  • Experimenting with a pay as you sell royalty system at Editia, so that authors are paid instantly each time we sell one of their books.
  • Taking our books down from Amazon, Google Play and Apple to sell via indies only.
  • Publishing our next book serially

Are you ready to go on a new adventure in literature? Where will it take you? Let us know via #theN00bz!

Read the press release




Think like a publisher: marketer

Daniel Oyston, owner of Content Grasshopper

Marketing guru Daniel Oyston, a fellow Canberra startup operator with his business Content Grasshopper, told my blogging students they needed to “think like a publisher” this week.

Oyston was giving a guest lecture at the Canberra Institute of Technology on content marketing, but he’s not the first person to note that while there are fewer and fewer jobs in journalism and publishing, the skills of journalists and publishers have never been more in demand outside their traditional spheres.

Businesses everywhere are looking to build brand awareness by publishing fresh, regular, valuable and unique content – exactly the sort of stuff that will raise profiles in Google searches.

Here are some of Oyston’s key points:

• Content we create should be valuable to its consumers. It should either entertain or inform them, without interrupting their lives as traditional advertising can do.

• It should be the kind of content they’d stumble upon late at night when searching for information on a future purchase online.

• While the content itself will not promote your product/brand directly, each page should feature a call to action like a “sign up for our enewsletter” option.

• Content marketing is cheap (though time consuming).

• Visitors will stay for two minutes longer on your site if you post video on a page. [This I can vouch for: I dropped by the Text Publishing page for The Rosie Project on Sunday and spent 40 minutes watching videos and taking quizzes].

• Consider sending content as a follow up after a meeting (instead of a “Don’t hesitate to call if you have any blah blah boring” message at the end of an email).

• Post-evaluation is critical, so pay attention to customers after they’ve spent up on your product, not just before. What after-sales service can you offer?

• News content is useful at the time, but evergreen content, like top ten hints/tips for content marketing, will solve problems, answer questions, offer how-tos/advice and/or provide knowledge to make their lives easier. It will be valuable now and in the future, and available to them 24 hours a day.

• Regular updates are important, but occasional marquee content, often based around events such as the Vinnies CEO Sleepout for St Vincent de Paul, is too.

Mark Thompson of Vinnies was also on hand and gave some great examples of content marketing successes for his organization, including a program under which jerseys signed by celebrities are hidden in Vinnies stores around the country to be sold at usual Vinnies prices to the lucky customers who find them, then post photos of themselves wearing them on social media.

The Sleepout event itself is a huge marketing success story. This simple, text-based tearjerker video helped raise awareness in 2011 and cost Vinnies nothing thanks to the generosity of the writers and producers, Screencraft and SilverSun Pictures respectively. It also made me cry. It’s worth a look:

Vinnies has also used Twitter to lobby our Federal leaders to commit to halving homelessness via the #halvehomelessness hashtag. Supporters posted photos of themselves holding Halve homelessness placards.

Both Thompson and Oyston recommend publishing the same content in different ways, so via slides, podcast, blog and video, for example. Presentations to gatherings that would previously only reach those in attendance can now become permanent content online. Oyston uses Listec’s PromptWare app on his iPad to read his tweaked blog posts to camera to produce simple videos, for example. He bought a lapel mike, simple tripods and clamps for his iGadgets for this purpose, and turns long audio into text by sending it to scribes in India (like CabbageTree Solutions).

You can sign up for Oyston’s enewsletter hereOr better yet, sign up for ours (it’s launching soon) hereSupport the Vinnies CEO Sleepout here.