What do authors Douglas Rushkoff, Bob Garfield, Mathew Inman, Amy Webb, Nate Silver, and Eddie Huang have in common? All of them, including several editors from Publisher Weekly, will be attending SXSW Interactive, the annual technology festival in Austin, Tex., held this year from March 8–12. This will be PW’s third visit to SXSW, which is really three festivals jammed into one: the other two events, unfolding just after Interactive, are dedicated to film and music. Authors will be signing and selling books—SXSW has its own bookstore (the SXBookstore, operated by B&N) located on the upper level of the Austin Convention Center—and are a critical part of SXSW programming. The event brings together tech geeks, journalists, executives, and others, all looking to find new ways of creating and distributing content through technology and establish viable business models to support it.
This year, PW has organized two panels: Self-Publishing in the Age of E, featuring former St. Martin’s editor and Austin resident Erin Brown, bestselling self-published science fiction author Hugh Howey, and WME literary agent Kirby Kim, moderated by PW senior news editor Rachel Deahl. On our second panel, Publishing Graphic Novels in the Kickstarter Era, are cartoonist Karl Stevens and Zip Comix publisher Josh Frankel, moderated by PW senior news editor Calvin Reid.
PW Select, Togather.com and Lots of Programming
It’s not just about the panels. PW, via its PW Select self-publishing supplement, is partnering with Togather.com, a start-up venture that uses the crowdfunding model to make planning book events more efficient, and among 8 finalists in this year’s SXSW Accelerator startup competition. We will be cohosting three Midnight Lit Lounge events for Rushkoff (Present Shock), Garfield (Can’t Buy Me Like), and Webb (Data, A Love Story). At the events, held at a bar in downtown Austin, the Togather team will show off its platform during a nightly series of intimate events with the authors mentioned above and a small group of fans. PW, meanwhile, will show off its PW Select program to a select group of self-publishers and aspiring self-publishers.
Among the extensive programming, some things that stick out for book-minded folks include Democratization of Publishing: Survive and Thrive with Libby Johnson McKee, Amazon North America director Kindle Direct Publishing; Activists, Rockstars & Startups with the multimedia artist and author DJ Spooky; and a Mentor Session (a new SXSW feature pairing new media professionals with more experienced veterans), featuring former New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee, who founded the serialized digital publishing start-up Plympton/Daily Lit (also among the 8 finalists in the SXSW Accelerator startup competition). Other presenters include New York Times media columnist David Carr (a sensation at last year’s panel on curation)—talking paywalls and online revenue—and keynote speaker Matthew Inman, founder of the comedy and cartooning Web site The Oatmeal and author of the bestseller How to Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You (Andrews McMeel).
Comics, Parties and More
SXSW Interactive always features comics and comics creators of all kind. This year Marvel Comics, which launched its Infinite Comics digital line at SXSW last year, returns on Sunday March 10 with Marvel editor in chief Axel Alonso and Marvel senior v-p and general manager, digital media Peter Phillips on hand to make five announcements about forthcoming Marvel digital comics initiatives. Comixology, the dominant digital comics vendor for distribution (and growing international channel) and a fast growing (it had the #3 grossing app on iTunes for 2012) digital marketplace, will have a panel on Saturday at the Palmer Center, The Comixology Revolution, featuring Comixology cofounders David Steinberger and John D. Roberts, along with “special guest star.” The digital vendor is also hosting a happy hour Saturday evening and is joining with Nerdist Industries to cosponsor the official SXSW Gaming Closing Party later that same evening.
Did you ask about parties? Here are a few parties among the scores we can expect. Open Road Interactive Media is back with small dinner party for authors while John Wiley & Sons (this year with 11 authors at SXSW) will take over the Hangar Lounge in downtown Austin. The aforementioned Jennifer 8 Lee and DailyLit/Plympton have organized a journalism meets publishing party (The Awesomest Journalism Party Ever) and have a hand in what she called a “publishing startup party,” with a theme, The Story Strikes Back, to held at Lambert’s Downtown Barbeque on Sunday.
Not quite a party but definitely fitting the SXSW vibe, Random House, which will have at least four authors at SXSW, Eddie Huang (Fresh Off the Boat), Michael Moss (Salt Sugar Fat), Donovan Campbell (Joker One), Chris Guillebeau (The $100 Startup), will sponsor a late night food event around Huang and his book. Huang is a charismatic, hip-hop driven Asian American hustler, food/inspirational entrepreneur and founder of Baohaus, a downtown NYC restaurant. He'll give a talk (The Social Media Chef) on Monday March 11 and Random House partnered with Roaming Hunger, a national food truck platform, to bring some of Huang’s Baohaus specialties—specifically the bao, a tasty traditional Chinese steamed bun/meat dish—to Austin via its legendary food trucks late on Sunday night.
And trust us, these are but a few of the many events, presentations, meetups, keynote speeches and partying that will be going on at SXSW Interactive.