If it's January it must be time... by Cally Phillips

 If it’s January it must be time to think about summer. 

It’s that time of year when the turkey has been well and truly stuffed and the banging headache of Hogmanay parties has more or less subsided and so we turn our thoughts to summer.  Oh yes, summer. I believe we will have one this year. I live in hope, though they do appear to be rationed in this time of economic doom. 

Still, I ask you to turn your minds to the 2nd Edinburgh eBook Festival which will be held online (virtually) between August 12th and August 24th.  It was a last minute ‘good idea’ of mine in 2012 where I managed (only just) to deliver a programme of 50 writers and 100 events over 17 long days in August.  If you missed out on the whole experience you can have a look at last year’s site here

But this year, well, it’s going to be different. It’s going to be planned well in advance. It’s going (of course) to be bigger and better in oh so many ways. And those ways are down to you and the likes of you! It’s going to be more focused, more reader friendly and more ‘out there’ in every respect.  It’s still going to primarily promote ‘indie’ writing but we are coming of age and will be working to reach readers as well as writers. The tagline might be ‘anyone who has a Kindle (or other ereader) can come to the festival. For free. For a fortnight.’

So, today I can announce the opening of submissions for participation in the festival. It's going to be a much more collaborative event (I hope) and this is your chance to be part of it! 

The face of the festival - cool Kobo 

What are we looking for?
Residencies. We are looking for virtual ‘in residence’ roles. These are people who are prepared to promote a genre or specific ‘theme’ such as ‘Thriller writer in residence’ or ‘Romantic writer in residence’ or ‘Poet in Residence’  ‘Mid-lister in residence’ or the like.  The resident writer will be knowledgeable about others in their field, presenting a range of writing, not just promoting their own work.

something for everyone
Proposals for events and series of events.  Whether you’re keen to talk about advocacy or what makes a great book, or setting up a reading group or how to review effectively, or an expose/round up of great blog sites, we’re looking for interesting and challenging events (particularly series of events) that will open up the world of epublishing to the public. This could include virtual ‘readings’ linked to YouTube or the like – anything you think we can feature via our wordpress site, give us your proposal and we’ll give it serious consideration!

turning kindle on its head
Workshop ideas – for more technical things. The festival this year will focus more on readers and less on writers but there is still space for authored pieces on aspects of epublishing.  A series showing people how to engage with Sigil for example.  Or how to write enhanced ebooks.  Your idea should have an appeal to writers and/or readers.

What we are NOT looking for. 
If you are going to be part of the festival we expect you to be working on behalf of others in your chosen field not just promoting yourself or your business.  We are not interested in publishers (or writers) looking for a free way to get exposure or visibility. Our watchword is reciprocity. We could charge people to promote their work and ask people to pay for slots but we’re not going down that route. This is a free festival but not a ‘free for all’ festival in terms of individuals promoting themselves and nothing else. We want to present a festival which is full of work that really enthuses people, where writers and publishers are prepared to put themselves on the spot and promote others for the love of the work NOT for the hope of personal gain. We want to work to promote and feature work that otherwise might not gain visibility.

Chris Longmuir enjoying her interactive
experience at 1st ebook Festival.
We will showcase individual writers/publishers by invitation only. We are not short of people whose work we’d like to showcase and we will be approaching them directly. What we are actively recruiting for now is writers who can think outside of the box and share with a virtual public things about their own specialism or area of interest.

get on your horse and read
your ebook. 
There will not be a children’s festival. (But if someone wants to run one, feel free to go ahead and we’ll be happy to talk co-promotion) This is only because a lot of the content at our festival will NOT be appropriate for children. Young adults, yes, but not children. It’s nothing against children or children’s ebooks, simply a recognition that there is a divide and that much of what we offer is not suitable for the engagement of the young and impressionable! We are providing adult content for adult readers over the age of 14.

What to submit?
You are invited to put in a submission which outlines the event/s or ‘slots’ or residency you would like to promote – with as much detail about the writers or ebooks you would be showcasing in your event/residency as possible. 

Give us an indication of how many ‘slots’ (effectively these are blog posts/pages) you would take and what the content would be.

If you are suggesting a residency then give us a good idea of the scope and content of the work you will promote.

If you are suggesting an event/series of events give us a good idea of the theme, participants, style and the like.

Tell us about any interactivity you can offer such as YouTube, social media tie ins etc.

Your commitment?
We will require the chosen participants to deliver on time and in appropriate format all content for their proposed idea. We will then ‘build’ the festival site round that.

We also require that you illustrate your commitment to take an active part in the promoting of the festival by telling us what you propose to ‘bring to the party.’  Give us your ideas and outline your skills – are you a twitter whizz, do you have social networking skills, PR skills, marketing skills? Show us your commitment to promote the festival BEYOND your own participation.

spread the word
The festival will reach more people the more people are actively working to promote it. And as a participant we expect that you be prepared to put in a regular commitment (before and during the festival) promoting the FESTIVAL itself NOT just the work that you have submitted yourself. You will be expected to commit to having a regular virtual presence during the duration of the festival. But this can be from anywhere in the world of course! (And a lot of it scheduled in advance!) If you’re planning 2 weeks in a remote place without internet access for August – don’t apply.  If you can’t spare at least 10-15 minutes a day to do some promotion for the festival (or schedule the same)– don’t apply. Otherwise, feel free. What we need is people who will spread the word constantly as far and wide as we can.  We want to be a good viral experience, reaching as many people as possible. We can only do this with everyone pulling hard and working together.

Deadlines:  Closing date for submissions is 1st March 2013.
You will be notified whether you are to be included in the programme by 30th March 2013.
We will make our inclusion selection based on the quality of the proposed idea and how well it fits in with the general aims and ‘look’ of the festival and on your personal commitment to promote the festival.  We don’t carry passengers. This is a collaborative effort with everyone playing a part in the team. If you’re not a team player – don’t apply.

If you are a participant you will be expected to deliver your programme by 30th June 2013. (This gives time to build the site and tweak out the gremlins in advance of the ‘action.’)

Please submit your proposal as a word document attachment to ebookfest@btinternet.com to whom any further correspondence should be directed.

This information is also available on the website  http://www.edebookfest.co.uk  and please feel free to pass this on to people you think might be interested in taking part.

We think the 2nd Edinburgh eBook Festival will be an exciting event on the virtual calendar and are looking forward to working together with participants to promote as wide a range of writers as possible to make this an outstanding festival. 


Sheridan Winn said…
I wish you luck with this, Cally: very enterprising!
Sounds exciting to me. Now have to go away and have a think about it!
julia jones said…
Awesome advance planning!
Ron A Sewell said…
A great idea but not sure how I can help.
Chris Longmuir said…
Lots to think about here and I certainly want to be involved, but the question is how? Have to think a lot more and this is not a good time to think after the usual fog in the brain following Christmas and New Year!
Janice said…
Hi Cally - this sounds amazing and I too would like to be involved somehow. I need to get my brain into gear after the Christmas break but will give this some serious thought over the next couple of weeks and will email you.
Kathleen Jones said…
Sounds fantastic Cally - have one or two ideas and will try to make them more coherent on paper!
Bill Kirton said…
Maybe against all the odds, last year's inaugural event went brilliantly - thanks mainly, of course, to your work and enthusiasm, Cally. The fact that preparations are being made so far ahead this time suggests that the momentum will be maintained. As the others have said, all it needs now is for us to do some hard thinking about what we can offer.
Dan Holloway said…
fabulous, Cally! I shall definitely submit a proposal for a series on experimental/alt literature, and a series of workshops on exploding epublishing myths (with sessions like "why editors are the enemies of art" and "typos don't matter" and other things to bring balance and apoplexy) and fingers crssed this year no one will die or have breakdowns and get in the way of me fully contributing.

VEry best with a wonderful event
CallyPhillips said…
Thanks all... look forward to those proposals flooding in (don't worry, you've got till end Feb!!!) The joyou thing is that cyberspace is infinite so there's more than enough room for everyone and ALL voices are welcome - Dan your sessions sound great - 'typos don't matter' (or should that be typo's don't matter Bill?! ha ha!!!) Bill Kirton the man who taught me what the greengrocers apostrophe MEANS. And him an existentialist and all!

Well, folks, get thinking caps on, spread the word and here's looking forward to some great ideas from all over the place. As Brendan Gisby McStoryteller in residence said last year 'summer will never be the same again' (I think he meant the ebook festival NOT the lack of sun!)
Andrew Blackman said…
Great idea! Will think about a proposal to send you...
Susan Price said…
Cally, this has to be one of the best ideas of the year. Already!
Lydia Bennet said…
yes it sounds great and I too will be submitting to take part in some way!
Dennis Hamley said…
Brilliant, Cally - but then, knowing you, only to be expected. I have a few ideas on what I might like to offer and will be cotacting you shortly to see if you think there's any mileage in them.

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