The launch of Orca last year was hailed by many as the beginning of a new era for digital publishing Parler. The world of eBooks and audiobooks would be reshaped once again, with innovative tools like Audible and iBookstore developers replacing traditional booksellers. But almost two years on, the launch of Orca – which is also its precursory step in the process of making it all possible – has met with mixed results. In a blog post earlier this week, publisher General Media acknowledged that initial reactions to its launch were “chill”, with publishers blocked from working with their first cofounders. A spokesperson for General said: “We continue to have discussions about how we can improve our collaboration processes to gain better feedback from our authors and customers, so we are not blocking anyone from collaborating on projects.” But as far as what got blocked is concerned… well… nothing! …For example, why block co-founders? It could be that they did not want to work with someone who has already launched an ebook or audio book project: they could also have been looking for another job at the same time.
Why Orca Did Not Launch
As far as the launch of Orca is concerned, it had plenty of reasons. The first being that it was originally intended to be a launch competition, with seven funds from various publishers competing to win one of three categories: $100,000, $50,000 or $25,000. But due to the success of other projects, including the wildly popular book “The Secret”, the category was rebranded as $50,000 books and given a new name – “The Alexa Wallace Ebook Prize”. The no-bid bidding standard also meant that publishers were uncompromising in their demand for interviews with authors. Many felt that the competition was too intense, and that they would not be able to stand out in a field of seemingly endless candidates.
Why Now Is Different
Again, there are similarities between the launch of Orca and the No-Bid System (NBS) of bidding at the moment. It is a method of crowdfunding that allows publishers to raise money for projects from the public for a set fee. It is often used by emerging and non-traditional publishers who want to get their books into the hands of a wider audience but lack the resources to develop their material themselves. The NBS system allows publishers to create an almost infinite supply of opportunities for their books to be availed of. There are numerous benefits to using the system, but the primary one would be the ability to create almost unlimited opportunities to spread the word and gain a better deal in return.
It’s an open platform
Like many aspects of publishing, the process of creating and marketing books is largely done on the open platform WordPress. However, there is a catch: authors cannot publish their books on the platform themselves. They need a book publisher to publish under the name of the author. After that, the book is available for anyone to purchase.
Why now is different
As far as the process of publishing and acquiring books is concerned, it is, perhaps, the most obvious difference between now and last year. Authors can now self publish their books and have them distributed free of charge. This also means that publishers can no longer hold back on offering interviews or on offering to publish books as part of their Fundable program.
It’s different because collaboration is key
The fact that we are now sharing the work between multiple authors and publishing companies, rather than just a single author and her co-publisher, is a massive leap forward. It means that collaboration is key. If a book is available to be bought by multiple authors and the author wants to create a tiered distribution system, then no problem. The platform will take care of the tiers, and any cultural issues that might arise will be ironed out. That is not the case with last year. Not only was there no way to get your work distributed in a tiered fashion, but there was no way for the public to obtain access to the books either.
What we’re doing differently to make Orca successful
There are three main takeaways from the launch of Orca: collaboration is key, readers are hungry for digital content and the market for eBooks and audiobooks is set to grow. To make sure that the best content is made for your audience, you need to have an investment strategy in mind. You need to plan out what you will spend your money on, and make sure that your money is well spent. You also need to make sure that you are capitalising on the need for more digital literacy, so that readers can become better informed and make informed decisions when they are reading your work. To make sure that your investment in the technology is successful, you need to care a lot about the consumer experience. You should take ownership of the experience, and make sure that you are putting the best possible product on the market. You should care about your customers, and make sure that you are making the best possible product for them.