Fall on Me: you be the judge
No, regrettably this little novella isn’t going to be a contestant on The Voice, but there is a music connection. In 2007 the British rock-band Radiohead famously released their seventh studio album, In Rainbows, on a pay-what-you-want-for-the-download basis. Whilst definitive results of the experiment are hard to come by, indications are that about 60% chose to pay nothing, while the remainder paid on average a significantly discounted price. Overall, however, once the album was released physically, In Rainbows was a financial and critical success, making more money than the band’s previous album across all platforms. At the time, Radiohead’s approach was considered ground-breaking, but over the years there’s been debate about its impact on the music industry in general; even Thom Yorke, the band’s free-thinking frontman, said that the strategy may have been a mistake, as it played into the prevailing internet culture that everything should be free.
What’s this got to do with literature and Fall on Me?
As is increasingly obvious, the publishing world is currently in turmoil and in many ways is following on the digital coat-tails of the music industry, or at least trying to. Publishers big and small are looking to try anything and everything to get their books in the hands of readers. And my publisher, Blemish Books, is no different. So, for a limited time only, Blemish have released Fall on Me as an e-book on a pay-what-you-want basis. It’s a very interesting proposition, because it’s actually the mirror-reverse of the In Rainbows experiment: Fall on Me has already had a successful run as a physical book, in terms of both numbers sold and positive reviews achieved. But will this new strategy generate downloads? And how much will readers pay for it? And what do I reckon about all this? I’m just glad that the life of Fall on Me is being extended, and if Blemish’s cheeky Radiohead-esque move means more readers can experience the novella then I’m all for it. Plus I have a phone-bill to pay.
I’m Ready Now for Smith’s and the Southern Highlands
Meanwhile, the most recent of the two novellas, I’m Ready Now, continues to make its way in the world as a hard-copy-only book. A handful of reviews down, and some public-reading gigs in the bag, I’m Ready Now has a few more outings up its sleeve. At 6pm on Thursday 20 June, I’ll be joining my Blemish stable-mates, including PS Cottier and JC Inman, at a special one-off event called A Very Blemished Evening, a title that suits me perfectly. It’ll be held at the new Smith’s Alternative, which is a longstanding and iconic Canberra bookshop that’s recently had a major overhaul and is now as much a bar and performance space as it is a place of books and reading. Do join us: there’ll be booze, which is the main thing, isn’t it. Oh and I’ve heard gratuitous gossip that there’ll be music by Canberra’s favourite streetwise troubadours, The Cashews. Now that’s something to get excited about.
Then, a few weeks later, at 4pm on Saturday 13 July, I’ll be taking part in the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival. Established only last year, this time around the Festival has on offer literary luminaries such as Anne Sommers, Mark Tredinnick, Ursula Dubasarsky, and Geordie Williamson, all in a charming venue with an intimate atmosphere. Don’t like the massive crowds of the big-city festivals? Me neither, so come to this one. I’ll be sharing the stage with Christine Howe, which is a bit nice as we’re both alumni of the University of Wollongong’s creative writing program. We’ll be talking ‘Fantastic Fiction’ – apparently this requires us to dress as superheroes. Me in lycra? It’ll never happen. But I’m sure Christine and I will still be able to keep you entertained. Especially if there’s booze at the end of it.
As always, thanks for your support and interest. Fingers crossed that I’ll see you at one – or maybe both? – of these events. And if you’re in the market for the highest quality e-book known to mankind, I do hope you’ll be able to press the right buttons and make a very independent publisher and their very independent author just that little bit happier. Plus there’s that phone-bill to pay. Chink-chink.