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Weekly Write-Up: 24th July 2019


by Tom Ashford

Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we collect together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: Audible announces Audible Captions, and Netflix uses Wattpad to source its Teen Romance series.

Introducing: Audible Captions

Last week, Audible announced a new feature that they’re working on: Audible Captions. Once rolled out, it’ll use machine learning to create a transcript of your audiobook so that you can read along to the story whilst you listen to it.

It’s a nice idea, but not without its problems – problems which traditional publishers are already complaining about.

The issue is, as they see it, that Audible doesn’t have the rights to the written form of the books, only the audio rights. They fear that sales of physical and digital books will decline as a result, and want their books excluded from the program. It’s an understandable concern… though probably one without much cause.

As reported in The Verge, Audible say that “small amounts of machine-generated text are displayed progressively a few lines at a time while audio is playing, and listeners cannot read at their own pace or flip through pages as in a print book or eBook.” Not every audiobook will get this treatment either.

Audible plans on rolling the feature out in September. You can read more about Audible Captions and publishers’ reactions to it here.

Wattpad: Netflix’s Well of Teen Romance

The Teen Romance genre is very profitable, so it’s no wonder that Netflix is snapping up as much of it as it can. And why go to all the trouble of coming up with an original idea of their own when they can find the work of budding writers online?

Wattpad is a self-publishing website where authors can upload their work and get feedback from (as well as exposure to) readers. It was from Wattpad that Netflix found ‘The Kissing Booth’ by Beth Reekles (now released as a feature film) and ‘After’ by Anna Todd.

Perhaps it’s worth giving Wattpad a look in the future… you never knew which major streaming service might be reading.

You can check out the original article over at the Independent here, which also goes into some of the concerns about how abusive relationships are depicted in the Teen Romance genre.

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.