Those of you who still follow this little blog – and who remember its previous incarnation – may be blinking in wonderment at this post, wondering what it is about. Allow me to explain; it is an announcement and a competition entry, all in one, all wrapped in a literary bow. The announcement is perhaps not at all surprising – a research, undertaken in the book industry as part of a PhD at the University of Sheffield, a question posed and a riddle waiting to unveil its mystery. Curiosity has decided to morph my passion for books into a passion for knowledge and as such I have embarked in the world of academia to discover the struggles that befall early-career authors and the ways in which the online medium is able to help them overcome them.
Fondly named “Wuthering Authors,” a shorter title tasked to replace the more academic moniker of this project – “Early Career Fiction Authors and the Digital Economy: A Critical Review of the Role of Digital Marketing in a Time of Disruptive Innovation” – this research aims to provide better understanding of how the publishing market works today and the ways in which independent authors can be aided to better achieve their goals. It is a passion project, I will be the first to admit, but one that promises to provide much needed insight into the inner workings of the book market and the ways it has been affected by technological developments.
However, let us not get ahead of ourselves. The research is still at the start, the plot of this story is just taking shape. Much is yet to come. I promised an announcement and a challenge, did I not? The first you have heard. The second, allow me to explain. I came across the Activia Training Scholarship on The Scholarship Hub and its fourth question caught my attention from the first moment.
“How will this scholarship award help you?” An innocuous question, one seen many times in many competitions. The moment I read it, my mind thought about book fairs and author meet-ups, of travel expenses paid and interview set-ups made so much easier. And truly, with a research based on travel and creating connections, with an aim of creating an offline network of authors, publishing house representatives, literary agent and many others that would answer questions from the industry based on their experience and expertise, I could name a million tiny ways in which this award could help me.
However, my study is, foremost, a study of the book market. And as such, cliche though it might seem, my answer shall revolve around books as well. Were I to win the Activia Training Award, I would use the scholarship prize in order to invest in two academic books that would be of utmost use in the development of my research: “Marketing in Creative Industries: Value, Experience and Creativity” by Gabriele Troilo and “The Cultural Industries 3rd Edition” by David Hesmondhalgh. These two books present the perfect outline of the development of creative industries and the impact of the digital world upon them, thus allowing me to discover much needed information in order to create the perfect starting point for my research.
By referencing the findings of the authors, I would make the shift from the general Creative Industries, to the smaller niche market of literary books, further narrowing the research to the genre and age range I wish to tackle in my research: fantasy and science fiction independent works aimed at teenagers and young adults.