About Ether Books with Maureen Scott

21 May 2014 / Leave a Comment
I have two of my short stories on Ether Books. One is Love Potion, about a man who discovers his wife is having an affair, so he tricks her into taking an anti-love drug. The other is The War Artist – an excerpt from my novella The War Artist and the Half-dead Beauty. It’s a harrowing scene where the war artist finally gets to witness the theatre of war and it took me many, many rewrites to finally get it to a stage where I thought it did the story justice. I think it works well as a standalone piece - and because I did struggle so much to write it, perhaps I wanted to show it off a little, like a flexed muscle.

Anyway, I came across Ether Books a year or two back and I thought it’s a great platform for short-form fiction. I like that the content is curated and that there’s a proper submission process for writers. Once a story is accepted, writers get access to a ‘writer’s hub’ section of the site, where they can change their profile picture, edit their blurb and check statistics on their story downloads. There’s also good linking with social media sites and so far I’ve found the site really intuitive and easy to use. Stories are categorised and readers are able to rate and review each story – making it easy for readers to discover something of interest.

We spend so much time on our smart phones these days. I can’t seem to stand in a checkout queue at the supermarket without checking my iPhone. A while back I realised how much crap I was consuming on my phone, it’s been a bad diet of Facebook updates, top 10 tips for writers and vacuous tweets. As Alain de Botton said ‘Tweets; to literature as Lego is to architecture.’ I realised if I’m going to spend time reading, it should be something meaningful - and that's where an app like Ether Books is perfect.

Maureen Scott is the co-founder of Ether Books. I asked her more about how Ether Books came about and where it's heading in the future …

What is the concept behind Ether Books and how is it different to other digital publishing platforms?
Ether Books was created by two founders who share a passion for reading and for mobile phones (and new technology!)

I have spent the past 15 years in the mobile industry, and ran one of the first mobile technical developer programmes when I worked at Openwave. The company is the Silicon Valley company originally set up by one of Steve Job's technology evangelist back in 1995 to enable internet access on mobile phones. I always felt like a fraud because I am not a gamer and didn't actually use any of the mobile content or apps on offer. That all changed when I saw the Classic Books App on the newly released iPhone device! The reading experience was like turning the page of a book with all the added benefits of being in your pocket on your SmartPhone. I love reading and was an English major. Ether was born from my love of mobile and my love of reading. I wanted every consumer on  the planet to be able to enjoy great English language Authors right from their SmartPhone, AND be able to communicate with them right from their Smartphone. We use the headshot photo of all of our writers to make Ether writers accessible, and to illustrate that as a company we are about connecting people who love to write with people who love to read. We tear the covers off books! Plus dustcover images are way too small for a SmartPhone screen!

What are the advantages for writers publishing their work on Ether Books?
Ether is a start-up and we have seen the market potential through new eyes. We are a mobile first company;  we are exploiting the new and global market  opportunity that is available now with consumer adoption of SmartPhones and Apps. Digital reading is growing in popularity and we want to bring a new digital audience to Ether Writers. Writers are able to communicate directly with individual readers and reading groups, AND they retain the rights to their content. It is Ether's ethos that artists should retain rights to their work and have artistic freedom to publish their work as they intended. We provide a very supportive community to our writers, which provides an outlet for what is a very solitary endeavour --- writing.

Two Ether writers have already signed Publishing deals for their new books. We believe we will be the 'hub' for writers to get discovered by consumers and Publishers who want to offer book deals. We also have film producers interested in working with Ether! Isn't that what every writers wants -- artistic freedom, engagement with their audience, and their work watched in addition to being read.

We have attempted to create a company where the needs of authors are first and foremost. This is why our platform has deep social media links and our eQuip product enables any writer to host their very own App on Ether's platform. Amazon puts consumers first and cheap prices. Ether places authors first, we believe consumers will follow and enjoy a very different experience than going onto Amazon and buying a book. We make the user experience interactive and personal instead of an Amazon transaction.

How do you see Ether Books growing and developing over the next few years?
We are a tiny company with very big global expansion plans! We are currently in fundraising mode now and are inviting people to invest in the company via the UK Crowd Investing WEB site CrowdCube:

Visit: http://www.etherbooks.com/


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