News Pop-Ups

Question: Kindle piracy

AgentPete

Capo Famiglia
Guardian
Full Member
Narrator
May 19, 2014
London UK
I have some news about Pop-Ups that is a bit sad. Finally, after spending much time and thought on how the format might be developed and adapted, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the moment, we should put the show on indefinite hiatus.

Pop-Ups has evolved hugely throughout its existence. I can’t quite believe we started the show five years ago! To be frank, I don’t like to look back too far: the early stuff was (ahem) rough… actually, very rough :)

The show has changed enormously – I’d like to think, it’s improved enormously – as we’ve gone along. A major milestone occurred when we succeeded in getting a team of very talented Litopians together to record always-impressive narrations… THANK YOU, Emily and every narrator. You were and are a total class act.

Huge thanks, too, to Kate and Rachel for all your hard and productive work in discovering and booking so many great guests.

Pop-Ups was and is a collaborative effort, not least by virtue of the folk in the Litopia Lounge and their perceptive and frequently hilarious live comments. I think we’ve all had a pretty good time doing it, and that was always part of the plan.

On the down side, a show like Pop-Ups is never going to build a large audience. We struggled to get more than a few thousand viewers, tiny in YouTube’s universe. If you look at other “book” type videos, you’ll find that’s pretty typical. Only a few manage to break through.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking very hard about alternative formatting that would retain the essence of Pop-Ups but make it more likely for “general viewers” to pick up and stay with. I think some of the alternative formats came pretty close – and elements of them may well be used at some point in the future.

Judging by their comments, we’ve helped a lot of authors over the years to develop their work into a more compelling proposition, sometimes leading to publication. And we’ve also given Litopians an insight from the other side of the desk: when you see a submission from the point of vciew of an agent or publisher, it’s often an eye-opening experience.

What I’ll miss most, though, is the great company of the chat room / Genius Room / Litopia Lounge. My Sundays have a Litopia Lounge hole in them now, and nothing can replace that.

I’d like to feel that whatever video events we might do in the future, there will be a central place for the Genius Room.

The upside is that I now have more time to spend on core Litopia activities. The first Huddle South happened yesterday and was an unqualified success. It will be going monthly initially, and may even go weekly as the demand builds. Also, I have a ton of essential Litopia video seminars that are just waiting for me to have time to record and produce.

Again, I want to give everyone involved in Pop-Ups over the years a huge virtual hug. The shows will remain on YouTube as a testament to your great talent, your unfailing good humour and your great camaraderie. This is just the end of one chapter, the book is still being written!
:) p.

 
Very sad indeed! I will miss the show which was a highlight of my week and a huge source of learning as a writer over the past two years. Not sure I understand why it's right to stop now. Huddles and video seminars have their place but to me can't compete for the engagement of a regular event in which we all had a voice. :((
 
Ah this is such sad news!!! Pop-ups was how I found Litopia and I remember binge watching the backlog. But if it's not sustainable it's better to take a rest for now. Hopefully some time in the future you'll have a new format to give writers a platform again :) thanks for all the amazing shows, and I loved being on as a guest! :clinking-glasses:
 
Can’t disagree, @Mel L .

What I didn’t say in the video, but obliquely hinted at, is that submissions declined enormously over time. My partial interpretation is that more and more people are becoming disenchanted with traditional publishing and its hitherto obscure evaluation process (hitherto before Pop-Ups, that is). I suspect many folk are thinking, “well if they don’t want me, then I’ll simply self-publish.”.

If this is the case, then I think they are in point of fact wrong, because whether one is intending to go the traditional or self-p route, you still have to write compelling prose! I could in fact argue that books that are self-published need to meet an even higher standard, because they are so totally dependent on great word-of-mouth to succeed. But that’s a tough argument to make to someone who believes they’ve got the next 60 Shades in progress on their computer.

The real challenge with Pop-Ups was to attract a general audience and build it week by week. One little piece of data is pretty significant in this respect: the average watch time was 7.9 minutes. Which is not bad compared to many other YouTube videos, but it does suggest that folk were watching through the intro, but turning off at some point during the first submission. I think even Litopians have felt something similar when, say, we’ve had a show mostly consisting of sub-par submissions. It feels flat.

All the re-formatting work I have been doing has been designed to see if we could somehow produce a highly-compelling opening that would then carry the viewer through the submission to an equally compelling show ender. I think we came close. Part of the re-formatting involved recording not one long show on Sundays, but four shorter ones (back to back) which would be released daily during the week. Each show would have been 20 mins or less, including just one submission. This might have been easier for general viewers to watch. But taking a long hard look at it, I didn’t feel that it was ultimately a good bet.

I strongly agree that “engagement of a regular event in which we all had a voice” was very special. When we do something else on YouTube, and we will, that will be a central part.

For me, show prep was Saturday evening and all day Sunday. I now have that time freed up, so heaven knows what outlandish new scheme I’ll be proposing for you…

:) p.
 
I would like to request/suggest that Pop-Up Submissions be replaced with something more focused on the craft of writing. Wherever I go, every workshop in every subject has been about marketing. What I want it to be is about being a better writer; not to do a better job of selling whatever it is that I produce.
 
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I would like to request/suggest that Pop-Up Submissions be replaced with something more focused on the craft of writing. Wherever I go, every workshop in every subject has been about marketing. What I want it to be a better writer; not to do a better job of selling whatever it is that I produce.
A very good point, Brian, and absolutely in tune both with what Litopia is all about and what I’m specifically focusing on now.

I think it’s a pretty well-established principle in pedagogy that people generally learn a skill by practise, practise, practise. Linking to a video on this below, as it applies to musical skills but totally transferable to writing.
 
Thank you so much @AgentPete for your enormous commitment to producing and hosting weekly pop-ups. It's one of the things that brought me to Litopia as I watched one, and I'm very chuffed to have been a winner on one occasion. :) I also very much enjoyed being a narrator whether or not the submission in question tested my ability at fluency.

I think that kind of programme is now going to only engage a niche audience of writers who are keen to be the best they can possibly be which we can maybe do within house anyway (or the occasional @Jason/@Pamelo Jo Halloween type YouTube get together but for story openings).

But certainly trying to move house while giving up full weekends is a definite no-brainer-no.

Looking forward to more craft seminars and seeing pics of the new house when it happens and to whatever the future may hold.

let it go GIF
 
This is defo sad news. It can't have been an easy decision, esp since you put so much effort and soul into the show.

I shall miss it. I've learnt a lot from pop ups, not just as a writer but also as a reader/actor because it gave me the opportunity to experience the difference between voice acting and acting acting (how to express emotion with voice only; finding the nuances in the voice when I don't have physicality to help express a feeling). I'm still learning but doing the readings has stretched me as an actor. Narrating has also helped me see how to put emotion into my own writing because when emotion is in the text, the acting of it is easy. For all this I'm extremely grateful.

Of course I understand your decision. Some things can only be taken so far. But hopefully something else will replace it in some way.

So, thank you for the ride.

Onwards and upwards to greater and grander things.
 
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Thank you so much @AgentPete for your enormous commitment to producing and hosting weekly pop-ups. It's one of the things that brought me to Litopia as I watched one, and I'm very chuffed to have been a winner on one occasion. :) I also very much enjoyed being a narrator whether or not the submission in question tested my ability at fluency.

I think that kind of programme is now going to only engage a niche audience of writers who are keen to be the best they can possibly be which we can maybe do within house anyway (or the occasional @Jason/@Pamelo Jo Halloween type YouTube get together but for story openings).

But certainly trying to move house while giving up full weekends is a definite no-brainer-no.

Looking forward to more craft seminars and seeing pics of the new house when it happens and to whatever the future may hold.

let it go GIF



ETA: Holy hell, this vid was ahead of it's time.
 
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@AgentPete I've just received an email from Reedsy about live editing. You would be very good at live editing? In fact, I think this is right up your street as you will make it entertaining...

 
You would be very good at live editing?

I agree 100%. Live editing, by competent editors, is one of the most useful, if not thee most useful writing videos out there. With the creativity that you, @AgentPete, have shown in shaping popups, it could be magnificient. But I totally understand there must be reasonable ratio between the effort and the viewing time a video gets.

Speaking more broadly, I find that genre is the factor that most of all limit online engagement. Firstly, it can be somewhat hard to take the time to read and engage in genres one would otherwise never read. Also, I beleive few of us know what attract readers to genres other than our own. To be aware of that, I think you need to either be extremely well read, or be a professionel who has to know such things. I for one, could read a piece of say, fantasy or romance, that readers would love, but my suggestion to the author would be to cut it.
 
This is indeed sad news, Pete, and I know it's something you've been wrestling with for a while now.

I would echo the comments of others on the thread. I chanced upon the show three years ago and was immediately hooked by its format, and the sense of fun that was very evident in you presentation style. You clearly had a ball every week and that warmth and generosity of spirit really shone through.

I often thought that in another time the format could have transferred to a main broadcast channel. But of course although we on the colony are obsessed with all things writing, out in the big bad world it's something of a niche interest. Golf's the same for what it's worth.

I have enjoyed being contributor and panelist over the past few years and in particular I will miss the fun and immediacy of the 'Genius Room' banter.

I've learnt so much, too, both in terms of craft and about the wider business.

But as is the case in most circumstances - all good things run their course.

It's been a blast and an honour to have been involved.

Cheers
 
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I guess all good things come to an end, but it is indeed the end of an era (to coin two clichés).

Pop-Up Submissions has been an incredible source of learning for me in so many ways and I am immensely grateful.

I've loved being involved with the show over the years, whether as a voice-over artist, guest-scheduler, panellist or chat-room genius.
I don't think I would have acquired the confidence or skills to publish my first novel without the wealth of information and guidance garnered from Pop-Ups and all the people associated with it — and especially from Peter.

You've put your heart and soul into Pop-Up Submissions, Peter - not to mention a sizeable chunk of almost every single weekend for the last five years — and I completely understand why it's time to take a break and regroup.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the hard work you've put in and I will look back on Pop-Up Submissions with a great deal of affection. It was bloody entertaining, too!

In the meantime, I look forward with interest to what you might conjure up next, and I'll no doubt see you in a Huddle one of these days.

:)
 
The end of an era, indeed! Then again, this is one of the creative industries. Nothing stands still (except for Tolkien's elves and the UK's The Sky At Night – hmm, what lessons lie within, I wonder?) But as @KateESal alluded to, @AgentPete, you will no doubt conjure more magic. Litopia isn't the net's oldest writing site for nothing!

As for me, Pop-Ups was a joy to be part of, from those early ragged days and then on through more polished times (narrating was always immersive and challenging fun!). So thanks, Pete, for all your hard work, and here's to writing the next chapter! :clinking-glasses::)
 
Hi Pete,
As other Litopians have said, thank you for all your time and effort in producing the Pop Up submissions. Pop ups drew me to Litopia. I watched a lot of old recordings before deciding to join in and try commenting myself. I found Pop Ups both amusing and educational - helping me to decide what is good writing and what does not work so well.

Will the old Pop Ups still be accessible on You Tube as a resource to watch in future?

Thanks again
Paul
 
I have some news about Pop-Ups that is a bit sad. Finally, after spending much time and thought on how the format might be developed and adapted, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the moment, we should put the show on indefinite hiatus.

Pop-Ups has evolved hugely throughout its existence. I can’t quite believe we started the show five years ago! To be frank, I don’t like to look back too far: the early stuff was (ahem) rough… actually, very rough :)

The show has changed enormously – I’d like to think, it’s improved enormously – as we’ve gone along. A major milestone occurred when we succeeded in getting a team of very talented Litopians together to record always-impressive narrations… THANK YOU, Emily and every narrator. You were and are a total class act.

Huge thanks, too, to Kate and Rachel for all your hard and productive work in discovering and booking so many great guests.

Pop-Ups was and is a collaborative effort, not least by virtue of the folk in the Litopia Lounge and their perceptive and frequently hilarious live comments. I think we’ve all had a pretty good time doing it, and that was always part of the plan.

On the down side, a show like Pop-Ups is never going to build a large audience. We struggled to get more than a few thousand viewers, tiny in YouTube’s universe. If you look at other “book” type videos, you’ll find that’s pretty typical. Only a few manage to break through.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking very hard about alternative formatting that would retain the essence of Pop-Ups but make it more likely for “general viewers” to pick up and stay with. I think some of the alternative formats came pretty close – and elements of them may well be used at some point in the future.

Judging by their comments, we’ve helped a lot of authors over the years to develop their work into a more compelling proposition, sometimes leading to publication. And we’ve also given Litopians an insight from the other side of the desk: when you see a submission from the point of vciew of an agent or publisher, it’s often an eye-opening experience.

What I’ll miss most, though, is the great company of the chat room / Genius Room / Litopia Lounge. My Sundays have a Litopia Lounge hole in them now, and nothing can replace that.

I’d like to feel that whatever video events we might do in the future, there will be a central place for the Genius Room.

The upside is that I now have more time to spend on core Litopia activities. The first Huddle South happened yesterday and was an unqualified success. It will be going monthly initially, and may even go weekly as the demand builds. Also, I have a ton of essential Litopia video seminars that are just waiting for me to have time to record and produce.

Again, I want to give everyone involved in Pop-Ups over the years a huge virtual hug. The shows will remain on YouTube as a testament to your great talent, your unfailing good humour and your great camaraderie. This is just the end of one chapter, the book is still being written!
:) p.


Agent Pete, I know this must've been difficult for all of you to decide to do. Never forget another plus, you've made friends here! Whether we ever meet this side of Heaven, Pop-ups dug down deep and struck a familial sort of core. Thank you for sharing, everyone involved, yourselves, and your kinds thoughts to help authors from around the globe. I was greatly enriched and instructed! Vicky Bastedo
 
A very good point, Brian, and absolutely in tune both with what Litopia is all about and what I’m specifically focusing on now.

I think it’s a pretty well-established principle in pedagogy that people generally learn a skill by practise, practise, practise. Linking to a video on this below, as it applies to musical skills but totally transferable to writing.

This is exactly in line with a book I have on audio on how to achieve excellence. The 2nd part of practice though is having someone correct your mistakes. If you practice the wrong thing over and over..... yeah. And that is what is missing in publishing today. What writers used to get from magazine editors or other forums-immediate feedback.

What about using Litopian writers instead of outside submissions. And a panel that basically does what happens in Huddle. Then the writer returns the next week or so? With their rewrite to again face critique. This would be an incentive to join Litopia for one. And provide the lessons of whether the student got the notes right or not.

A 2 part show
First part : a new piece is critiqued.
2nd part: everyone has a look at a former piece's rewrite.

In between could be vignettes. Gems of how to's as Pete suggests. And whatever people want to record in a Tik Tok way, a poem, the FF winner of the month , an epiphany? 15 second bites that help make the show more lively.

It also might be an idea to critique not just first pages, but Tik Tok and marketing efforts. If what Pete says is true about the deluge of people entering self-publishing then quality control and the problem of helping readers to find stories worth their while is acute. Otherwise the gains made in self-publishing are going to flounder from the sheet weight of crap.
 
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What about using Litopian writers instead of outside submissions. And a panel that basically does what happens in Huddle. Then the writer returns the next week or so? With their rewrite to again face critique. This would be an incentive to join Litopia for one. And provide the lessons of whether the student got the not right or not.
This may possibly be the way ahead / natural outgrowth of Huddles. We’ll see.

There was also a very good suggestion in the first Huddle South about a similar idea.
 
Can’t disagree, @Mel L .

What I didn’t say in the video, but obliquely hinted at, is that submissions declined enormously over time. My partial interpretation is that more and more people are becoming disenchanted with traditional publishing and its hitherto obscure evaluation process (hitherto before Pop-Ups, that is). I suspect many folk are thinking, “well if they don’t want me, then I’ll simply self-publish.”.

If this is the case, then I think they are in point of fact wrong, because whether one is intending to go the traditional or self-p route, you still have to write compelling prose! I could in fact argue that books that are self-published need to meet an even higher standard, because they are so totally dependent on great word-of-mouth to succeed. But that’s a tough argument to make to someone who believes they’ve got the next 60 Shades in progress on their computer.

The real challenge with Pop-Ups was to attract a general audience and build it week by week. One little piece of data is pretty significant in this respect: the average watch time was 7.9 minutes. Which is not bad compared to many other YouTube videos, but it does suggest that folk were watching through the intro, but turning off at some point during the first submission. I think even Litopians have felt something similar when, say, we’ve had a show mostly consisting of sub-par submissions. It feels flat.

All the re-formatting work I have been doing has been designed to see if we could somehow produce a highly-compelling opening that would then carry the viewer through the submission to an equally compelling show ender. I think we came close. Part of the re-formatting involved recording not one long show on Sundays, but four shorter ones (back to back) which would be released daily during the week. Each show would have been 20 mins or less, including just one submission. This might have been easier for general viewers to watch. But taking a long hard look at it, I didn’t feel that it was ultimately a good bet.

I strongly agree that “engagement of a regular event in which we all had a voice” was very special. When we do something else on YouTube, and we will, that will be a central part.

For me, show prep was Saturday evening and all day Sunday. I now have that time freed up, so heaven knows what outlandish new scheme I’ll be proposing for you…

:) p.
I never really got stuck in with the show but did manage to watch a few. Trying to compete on this playing field with, as you say, the plethora of alternate publishing options now open, is not easy. Also, it's difficult to kill a darling (or at least put it in a box for now) but glad you'll have more time to devote to other projects. Here's to new horizons in 2024 (raises a glass).
 
I have some news about Pop-Ups that is a bit sad. Finally, after spending much time and thought on how the format might be developed and adapted, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the moment, we should put the show on indefinite hiatus.

Pop-Ups has evolved hugely throughout its existence. I can’t quite believe we started the show five years ago! To be frank, I don’t like to look back too far: the early stuff was (ahem) rough… actually, very rough :)

The show has changed enormously – I’d like to think, it’s improved enormously – as we’ve gone along. A major milestone occurred when we succeeded in getting a team of very talented Litopians together to record always-impressive narrations… THANK YOU, Emily and every narrator. You were and are a total class act.

Huge thanks, too, to Kate and Rachel for all your hard and productive work in discovering and booking so many great guests.

Pop-Ups was and is a collaborative effort, not least by virtue of the folk in the Litopia Lounge and their perceptive and frequently hilarious live comments. I think we’ve all had a pretty good time doing it, and that was always part of the plan.

On the down side, a show like Pop-Ups is never going to build a large audience. We struggled to get more than a few thousand viewers, tiny in YouTube’s universe. If you look at other “book” type videos, you’ll find that’s pretty typical. Only a few manage to break through.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking very hard about alternative formatting that would retain the essence of Pop-Ups but make it more likely for “general viewers” to pick up and stay with. I think some of the alternative formats came pretty close – and elements of them may well be used at some point in the future.

Judging by their comments, we’ve helped a lot of authors over the years to develop their work into a more compelling proposition, sometimes leading to publication. And we’ve also given Litopians an insight from the other side of the desk: when you see a submission from the point of vciew of an agent or publisher, it’s often an eye-opening experience.

What I’ll miss most, though, is the great company of the chat room / Genius Room / Litopia Lounge. My Sundays have a Litopia Lounge hole in them now, and nothing can replace that.

I’d like to feel that whatever video events we might do in the future, there will be a central place for the Genius Room.

The upside is that I now have more time to spend on core Litopia activities. The first Huddle South happened yesterday and was an unqualified success. It will be going monthly initially, and may even go weekly as the demand builds. Also, I have a ton of essential Litopia video seminars that are just waiting for me to have time to record and produce.

Again, I want to give everyone involved in Pop-Ups over the years a huge virtual hug. The shows will remain on YouTube as a testament to your great talent, your unfailing good humour and your great camaraderie. This is just the end of one chapter, the book is still being written!
:) p.


Oh my. Just got back on line after a short trip. Pop-ups was a blast! Will miss it. Glad I got on it before it ended. See ya all in the Huddles.
 
Sorry to hear this news and thank you to @AgentPete for all your work in keeping it going for so long. I'm very grateful for the impact I feel that Pop-ups has had on my own writing/publishing journey because the really positive response (and helpful feedback) I got to my winning submission back in July was part of what had given me the impetus to pick that project back up again, and something really positive I could share with potential publishers, and now it's going to be published by Beaten Track Publishing in June this year. If anyone wants to know more, you can see my website - paulrandwriter.co.uk - on which I have embedded the clip of my entry on Pop-ups.
Admittedly I rarely watched the show all in one go, all the way through because Sunday afternoon wasn't the best time for me to sit and I'd generally watch later, one sub at a time through the week. So maybe my watching counted for four views, each of about 15 mins, making it look like I was somebody who switched off after 15mins when in fact I watched the whole thing in bits. So, sorry to see it go but perhaps I will now try to engage in some of the other Litopia offerings. Thanks again for the leg up you gave me through the show.
 
Sorry to hear this news and thank you to @AgentPete for all your work in keeping it going for so long. I'm very grateful for the impact I feel that Pop-ups has had on my own writing/publishing journey because the really positive response (and helpful feedback) I got to my winning submission back in July was part of what had given me the impetus to pick that project back up again, and something really positive I could share with potential publishers, and now it's going to be published by Beaten Track Publishing in June this year. If anyone wants to know more, you can see my website - paulrandwriter.co.uk - on which I have embedded the clip of my entry on Pop-ups.
Admittedly I rarely watched the show all in one go, all the way through because Sunday afternoon wasn't the best time for me to sit and I'd generally watch later, one sub at a time through the week. So maybe my watching counted for four views, each of about 15 mins, making it look like I was somebody who switched off after 15mins when in fact I watched the whole thing in bits. So, sorry to see it go but perhaps I will now try to engage in some of the other Litopia offerings. Thanks again for the leg up you gave me through the show.
Congratulations! :sparkles: :clapping-hands:
 
Sorry to hear this news and thank you to @AgentPete for all your work in keeping it going for so long. I'm very grateful for the impact I feel that Pop-ups has had on my own writing/publishing journey because the really positive response (and helpful feedback) I got to my winning submission back in July was part of what had given me the impetus to pick that project back up again, and something really positive I could share with potential publishers, and now it's going to be published by Beaten Track Publishing in June this year. If anyone wants to know more, you can see my website - paulrandwriter.co.uk - on which I have embedded the clip of my entry on Pop-ups.
Admittedly I rarely watched the show all in one go, all the way through because Sunday afternoon wasn't the best time for me to sit and I'd generally watch later, one sub at a time through the week. So maybe my watching counted for four views, each of about 15 mins, making it look like I was somebody who switched off after 15mins when in fact I watched the whole thing in bits. So, sorry to see it go but perhaps I will now try to engage in some of the other Litopia offerings. Thanks again for the leg up you gave me through the show.
I loved Joe with an E! Great news xx
 

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