Eat. Sleep. Read. Scott Pack’s t-shirt made a nice statement and I felt an immediate affinity. Eloquently introduced by Tracy Farr author of The Life and loves of Lena Gaunt, this could well turn out to be one of my favourite sessions. Scott Pack could quite easily give up his day job and become a stand-up comic, a lovely British self deprecating humour always wins me over.
Changing the title of the talk to How to accidentally become a publisher: A story in 10 books is a crowd-winning way to lead us through his career in publishing. It turns out that Scott Pack is a bit of a risk taker who surprisingly listens to Radio New Zealand, (but more about that later). The books he uses are varied and prove a clever way to describe career highlights.
Blood Sweat and Tea by Tom Reynolds
Scott Pack left Waterstones where he had worked for about 10 years and became involved in The Friday Project. Ebooks have taken off by this point and bloggers were also starting to make their mark. Tom Reynolds had been writing a very popular blog about his life as an ambulance driver, so The Friday Project were the first publishers to turn digital on its head and publish a digital format ie a blog into a print format book. It became a best seller, and as we know the rest is history as there are now any number of blogs becoming books.
White Noise by Don De Lillo
White Noise was used to highlight the National Radio story. Scott Pack suffers from tinnitus and finds it much harder to get rid of the white noise sound when it is quiet at night. After trial and error he came upon the solution of listening to Radio New Zealand, which gave him something good to listen to but because it wasn’t necessarily British or local he could also go to sleep and not get too caught up in the interviews as he would with a British made programme. This led to his next book The Life and loves a Lena Gaunt by Tracy Farr. He heard it read on Radio New Zealand, loved it, contacted Tracy and ended up publishing her along with Fiona Kidman and Damian Wilkins all in the space of about 5 months.
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
The Wisdom of Crowds was a nice lead into one of Scott Pack’s latest venture Unbound – kickstarter (or crowdsourcing) for books. The curators of the site put up a chapter of a book that has been submitted by a writer that they think shows some merit. As a reader you get to like a book and give the amount of money that you think it is worth to the kickstarter or crowdsourcing site. If the book raises enough money it is published and you get your name in the back of the book. Authors can also offer other means for you to support them – a chef for example who is trying to get his/her book published could (for a price) to come to your house and cook you dinner.
Lastly he talked about and area that he is obviously passionate about. He is on the hunt for lost, forgotten or out of print books. The Iron Chariot by Stein Riverton was apparently the 2nd best Norwegian crime novel of all time. (Why 2nd best no one seems to know) but it is long out of print and has now been translated. Scandinavian crime is still a ‘thing’ and he hopes it will sell well.
Plenty of food for thought, this was a great session for aspiring writers…and I think there were a few in the audience, but it was also highly entertaining and informative for those of us who just love books and enjoy listening to someone who shares their enthusiasm.