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'New Authorship' presented IAMCR 2011 Istanbul


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Amateur authorship, digital media, and the field of literary publishing. An outline for a research project.

Amateur authorship, digital media, and the field of literary publishing. An outline for a research project.

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  • Blogs -> Books
  • Difficulty in definition
  • Transcript

    • 1. ‘New Authorship’:search project:The ‘New Authorship’David Brake
      Amateur authorship, digital media and the field of literary publishing
      David Brake, Senior LecturerDivision of Journalism & Communications
      Presentation at IAMCR Instanbul, 14-17th July 2011
    • 2. What is ‘old authorship’?
      Publishing industry
    • 3. Simplistic author-industry-audience relationship
      Author writes what s/he thinks audience will want in order to get money
      Publisher looks for authors best able to interest audiences to maximise sales
    • 4. Bourdieu:“The Author’s Point of View”
      Authors and publishers clearly sometimes act counter to this model.
      He proposes “an economic world turned upside down” (still an economic world)
      Authors (and some publishers) seek symbolic profits
      They compete for these in a more or less autonomous ‘field’ with its own rules.
    • 5. Symbolic profit
      Artists are recognized “by their peers and only by them (at least in the initial phase of their enterprise) and owe their prestige, at least negatively, to the fact that they make no concessions to the demand of the ‘general public’ (p. 217)
      Symbolic profits, “are themselves capable of being converted, in the more or less long term, into economic profits.” (p. 216)
      But does it all come down to profit in the end? Is it always based on competition? And are the fields of authorship changing?
    • 6. Publishers turn to blogs
    • 7. Bloggers do their own books
    • 8. Print on demand &ebooks take off
      New conventional books in US – est. 316,480 in 2010.
      2,776,260 titles were estimated produced ‘non-traditionally’ in 2010, up 169% on 2009 – was 22,000 in 2006.
      Self-published ≈ 133,000 from top 6
    • 9. E-books on the rise
      Kindle and iPad raise profile of e-book readers
      As of Jan 2011, 12.7% of US readers, 3.3% in UK had bought ebooks.
    • 10. ‘New Authorship’
      General Public
      Genre Fans
    • 11. Worlds of artistic production
      • We appear to lack both widely accepted categories and figures
      • 12. This division could apply to any medium not just text
    • What fields are authors in?
      Bourdieu, 1990 (Photography)
    • 13. Research questions - Bourdieuinspired
      What are the fields of new authorship?
      What are the ‘rules’ and capitals in each field and the power relations between actors? What are relationships between these fields and traditional authorship?
      What habituses do ‘new authors’ have? Are they different from traditional authors? (stats needed!)
      Are there clear capital prerequisites to success in these fields?
    • 14. Tentative hypotheses
      Fields include conventional writers dabbling with online, online writers angling for print success, writers aiming at online audiences (for profit? for esteem?), writers writing principally for themselves alone (as thesis found)
      Writers who want to be conventionally published are dependent on various authorities. Not clear to what extent writers who write online are beholden to/responsive to audiences
    • 15. Tentative hypotheses
      Successful writers online and offline highly educated, middle class but online might open participation to people with lower cultural but higher ‘technological’ capital.
    • 16. Small-scale quantitative methods
      Surveys of different author groups
      Initially via National Association of Writers' Groups (to deal with digital divide bias), reach broad range of ‘conventional’ writers and would-be writers
      Supplement with data via Author Licensing and Copyright Society or Society of Authors (for established authors)
      Also surveys of,, [some UK fan fiction communities or online writing communities or blog/journal ‘writing circles’ – which?] – to find ‘new authors’
    • 17. Qualitative methods – author samples
      Interviews with range of authors at different stages based on survey responses
      (Conventionally) published authors
      “Successful”‘new authors’ (who have significant incomes or readerships or both)
      Unpublished authors on ‘conventional’ track
      ‘New authors’ with low readerships and no/little income from writing.
      Might start with ‘new authors’ only
    • 18. Qualitative methods – industry samples
      Elite interviews with:
      ‘Conventional’ literary editors
      Literary editors specialising in online-sourced publications (Friday Project, Authonomy)
      Print on demand and e-book publishers
      Agents? Book reviewers?
      How do they see industry changing? How do they view ‘new authors’ fitting in?
    • 19. Outstanding issues/queries
      How to define ‘new authors’? What level of engagement raises one from everyday blogger to writer/blogger? Is it self-defined? Are there prior definitions that take into account non-published writing practices?
      How do we classify ‘new author’ practices?
      What do we know already about people who think of themselves as (partly or completely) writers but who are not published or only self-published?
    • 20. Outstanding issues/queries
      Have there been qualitative studies of the fiction publishing industry analogous to those of newsrooms or TV studios?
      Are there qualitative studies of authors analogous to those of UGC producers?
    • 21. Outstanding issues/queries
      Which fan-related texts are most likely to be useful? Are there other relevant non-fan key authors/theories I am missing?
      What groups should I use otherwise to assemble my sample and how concerned should I be about representativeness?
    • 22. Thank you for your attention
      Dr David R Brake, Senior LecturerDepartment of Journalism & Communication