DBW Insights: Kevin Smokler, Author and Consultant to Byliner
By Rich Fahle, Founder of Astral Road Brand Media | @RichFahle
In this exclusive video interview, Kevin Smokler, author and consultant to Byliner, a short-form ebook publisher, discusses journalism-to-book publishing, new reading experiences, and speed to market for ebooks. Until recently, he was the VP of Marketing for Byliner.
From the interview:
A Byliner original is generally, if converted into a print publication, would be about 80 to 100 pages. That is kind of our sweet spot. So I guess the industry parlance would be a “mini-book,” but we tend to think of it as a different animal. So it would be written sort of as a magazine piece, but at the length of a small book. We think that with Amazon Kindle Singles and the attention paid to the longer reading experience, thanks to tablets, thanks to archiving technologies like Read It Later and Instapaper, and thanks to the curation work that is already being done by sites like Longreads and Longform, we think there is definitely a market for this new species of piece to be both written and read.
Speed is a big part of what we are committed to as a company. To get a Byliner original out there, is a much less lengthy process than publishing a book. Also, as a reading experience, we are looking to attract readers who want something of quality but something they don’t have to commit 15 hours of their time to reading. They would rather commit two hours, or an afternoon, or time away on a day trip. As a result, speed also plays into the publication cycle where we have to walk this very careful middle ground. We don’t want to flood the market with Byliner originals because then we feel like we’re not giving each one the not only promotional attention, but the reader attention it deserves. We also don’t want to be so precious about each one that we publish that we’re not really in the business of providing great reading experiences, we’re in the business of providing fetishized Fabergé eggs of content. We don’t want to be in that business either.
A joint production of Digital Book World and Astral Road Brand Media: http://www.astralroad.com/. Founded by Rich Fahle, Astral Road Media is a full-service digital media agency, providing content strategy, design, video production, and other creative forms of social outreach for authors and content creators of all types.