Breaking News: Draft2Digital Acquires Smashwords

From the Draft2Digital website:

We’re betting that’s a headline you never expected to see, and we’re already anticipating the chatter this will cause in the indie author community!

We know this is going to feel a bit unexpected and out of the blue, but we’re very excited to make this announcement, and even more excited about what this means for you and the rest of the author community.

Since Draft2Digital was founded, in 2012, we have always believed that Smashwords was a vital and integral part of the self-publishing community. In many ways, Smashwords ultimately built the very industry in which we all work and thrive. Their work laid the foundation, and we’ve all been building on that foundation ever since.

And though Draft2Digital and Smashwords have always been cast as rivals in this little drama, the truth is it was, at worst, a friendly rivalry. In the end, we share the same goal: Empower self-published, indie authors and publishers to build and grow their publishing careers.

At the core of each company there has always been a love and appreciation of the author community. Many of us are authors ourselves, and each company was founded to provide the sort of services and support that we need. We understood your needs because we share them.

To read more, go to the Draft2Digital website here.

In Memory of Lou

author lou silvestri
This is the photo Lou provided for his IU Anthology bio.

Normally, we don’t post things like this on Indies Unlimited, because, sadly, we lose so many friends over the years, and  their families know best how to share their memory and their legacy. In this case, however, as best as I can tell, Indies Unlimited was Lou Silvestri’s family.

There isn’t a lot of information about Lou out there. We’re not certain where he was born – New York City is a good guess, though. We have learned that he passed away in December at the age of 90, in Phoenix, Arizona.

What we do know about Lou is that he was a sweet, wonderful, thoughtful, funny man who, even at age 90, was competing in our weekly Flash Fiction Challenges – and he was having fun doing it. As I went back through our many emails to find quotes or anything I could use in this post, it brought me great happiness. He was always so grateful to IU for giving him the platform to write, and even made friends with some of the other flash fiction contestants who also encouraged him to publish his stories in books. And that he did – in 2017 he self-published two collections. So if you hear someone say “I’m too old to self-publish,” Lou proved them wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

If there was a week when Lou didn’t post a story, the IU staff would notice. Nearly all his stories had some element of humor in them, and many times he won Editors’ Choice honors and was included in the Anthology at year’s end. And in his honor, the 2020 Anthology will be dedicated to him.

Lou was so sweet. He sent us his very first royalty check. Here’s a snippet from that email:

Received a check for $5.76 (Yippee!!!)  from On Demand Publishing (Amazon???) for  4 “royalties”??? dating back to February 12, 2017 from the only two books I ever (self) published. Get a load of me, a very first time PAID author.  Dose that finally make me a professional???  🙂  Hey, I’m gonna be 90 next Thursday, 3/28.

I couldn’t bring myself to cash it, and I still have it to this day as a memento.

Lou, you will be greatly missed. We already miss your presence during the flash fiction challenge. Please know you are in our thoughts, and our hearts.

One of many lovely holiday greetings made by Lou for IU staff and the other Flash Fiction contestants.

Blessed are the Meek

artist paint-2985569_640 courtesy of pixabayCompared to other types of people, I guess you could consider artists to be meek, in many cases. Of course, there are artists from all walks of life – some are serial killers, too – but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that creative people tend to be gentle.

Of course, people who are gentle – and different – are easy targets for bullies. So, writers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians – anyone who is creative – are often ostracized and ridiculed because they’re special or have a passion. I won’t go into the list of insults I’ve been called, but I will mention that we’ve probably been referred to as “emos” (overly sensitive, emotional, and full of angst – per Dictionary.com) at least once in our lifetime, or told that the arts are not necessary and sometimes, even useless.

So I find it incredibly curious that during this very difficult time – with coronavirus, and murder hornets, and civil unrest – that us “emos” are the ones holding it together. We’re the ones trying to keep our fellow humans entertained. We’re the ones offering encouragement and pep talks. We’re the ones who, in many cases, have been offering up our art for free to try to help those who are having a hard time coping with the stresses of daily life.

According to an article on WEForum.org, “Artists are finding creative ways to keep people connected during a pandemic that keeps us apart.”

And that’s absolutely true.

Musicians, both famous and unknown, are offering live concerts for free from their living rooms on social media. Authors are making their books free so people have something to read while shut in. Dancers are filming their home performances and posting them for people to enjoy. Many artists have written and performed music parody videos to cheer people up.  Actors and filmmakers are finding creative ways to make short works and share them. Basketmakers, blacksmiths, and more have posted online tutorials showing people how to make wares. And they’re all doing this for free. All this in a time when other people are losing their shi… I mean, minds.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had people hang up on me, unfriend me on Facebook, yell at me – for reasons I still don’t understand, and get angry at me when I returned something they insisted I borrow – but I apparently had for too long … Wut? People’s nerves are raw. They are not equipped to handle this type of environment. But then, why is it that artists can… and not only do, but actually rise above and become the glue holding everything together?

There are a lot of theories on this. One artist told me that he deals with ongoing depression and has already imagined every worst-case scenario possible, so this isn’t actually that bad to him. Others prefer the isolation brought on by stay-at-home orders and are flourishing with this free time. While other people are bored out of their minds being forced to stay home, creative people are seeing this as an opportunity to make art. And some creative people, especially writers – are escaping into the worlds they created to help them cope with what’s going on around us, which is a tactic nowhere new to them.

I would love to see a study on why creatives are so resilient during this unprecedented time.

In an article from April this year, Architectural Digest quotes a meme: “As you binge watch your thirteenth entire series or read a book or sleep to music, remember. Remember that in the darkest days when everything stopped, you turned to artists.”

Keep doing what you’re doing, artists. My hat’s off to you all. Rock on.

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