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Launch of free "digital knowledge” resource for writers

The Writing Platform, a website and program of live events dedicated to arming writers with digital knowledge, will launch in February 2013. The Writing Platform will be a free online resource for all writers and poets – emerging, established, not yet published, traditionally published and self-published – who are looking for neutral and best practice information about writing in a digital age in order to inform their practice and career choices. The Writing Platform is funded by the National Lottery, and supported by Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts).

Nick McDowell, London Director of Literature at Arts Council England, said:

“Digital technology is enabling writers, emerging and established, to publish their work in innovative ways and engage audiences like never before. We are pleased to support The Writing Platform as it addresses the pressing need for writers to be able to access current, authoritative and impartial digital knowledge. The Arts Council puts the development of artistic talent at the heart of all it does, and this initiative will offer information to today’s writers, empowering them to make sophisticated choices about their creative and professional work.”

The impact of technology on the publishing industry has seen agents become publishers, publishers become software developers and technology companies offer direct publishing platforms. The Writing Platform aims to help writers who may find themselves feeling either under-informed or faced with conflicting information. It is designed to break down the barriers between different groups of writers and provide practical advice for all, from the complete novice to the technically engaged wishing to understand the complex debates around the digital transformation of the publishing industry.

The website will be supported by a series of writer-focused live events. The first of which took place at Rich Mix in early November 2012 with organisations as diverse as Wattpad and Words of Colour Productions taking part. One of the key themes to emerge from that day was the demand for more writer-centric events. (Click here for a record of the day.)

The Writing Platform will be edited by writer Kate Pullinger and project managed by The Literary Platform. Kate brings her considerable experience in writing for digital platforms, navigating the opportunities and pitfalls of digital publishing and her experience of being traditionally published to this role. Kate Pullinger comments:

“Writers receive a great deal of contradictory information currently. In my own practice, my agent in North America is setting up as an ebook publisher for her client’s out-of-print backlist, while my agent here in the UK maintains that if agents become publishers there is a clear and simple conflict of interest. With regards to an important issue like, for instance, ebook royalties, the industry standard has become 25%, while if you publish straight to Kindle it is 70%. None of this is easy. The Writing Platform will state the facts.”

The Writing Platform will commission regularly updated content about platforms, copyright, royalties, ebooks, metadata and other complex areas that have implications for writers and their work.

The team behind the project is keen to hear from writers interested in contributing to the site and in informing the content they would like to see on The Writing Platform. Between now and launch we will be running a survey of writer’s experiences in the digital world. To register your interest in contributing, please email ([email protected]) and complete the survey here.

The Writing Platform will partner with Bath Spa University’s School of Humanities and Cultural Industries, which, with its leading Creative Writing and Publishing department, is well placed to sponsor student internships at The Writing Platform. Bath Spa will also host The Writing Platform’s forthcoming 2013 event as part of their ground-breaking Digital Writing Summer School and MIX Conference.

The Writing Platform has the endorsement of a range of organisations including Literature Works (formally Cyprus Well), Geekcamp in association with The Reading Agency, if:Book, The Literary Consultancy, The National Academy of Writing, National Poetry Day, Portal Entertainment, Wattpad, Words of Colour Productions and Unbound.

The first phase of The Writing Platform website will be launched on 12th February 2013 at O’Reilly Media’s Tools of Change Author (R)evolution Day in New York where Kate Pullinger will be speaking about opportunities for writers in the digital age.

Read Kate Pullinger’s Comment piece about The Writing Platform here.

Are you a writer? We would like to hear what information you think The Writing Platform should be providing

Take this survey: The Writing Platform Survey – for Writers

and email us any thoughts at [email protected]

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