Kristen Harrison, The Curved House (Germany)

yaic lit

One of the afternoon workshops was run by Kristen Harrison of The Curved House, a creative agency working primarily for
publishers and publishing­related businesses. Folllowing posts at Penguin Press (production and editorial),­ Kristen founded Berlin-based The Curved House in 2011, which works on a wide range of digital and non-digital projects for publishers like Random House and Waterstones.

Kristen also hosts regular digital surgeries with the UK’s Society Of Authors, which­ helps writers maximise the impact of their work online. In the cosy, informal confines of the Bíó Paradís main room, Kristen drew an eager crowd of British and Icelandic writers, poets and authors for a conversation about how to get their work “out there”.

“You can have amazing things to say, but it’s also about saying them to the right people,” said Kristen. “It’s about understanding who is going to listen to you and understand you; you need to try and seek them out and develop relationships, just as you would friends or acquaintances that you click with.” She also advised creating posts and especially visual content (photos, videos) as an essential promotional strategy.

Many of the gathered were either about to put out books or had done, and Kristen fielded questions about digital vs print and the virtues (we all love print but e-books can be a good starting point since the overheads are lower and the risks are smaller), and extolled the virtues of DIY print-on-demand platforms like blurb.com – while pointing out their limitations.

Kristen praised Iceland for the ‘natural respect’ the country has for books – something she doesn’t feel exists so much in other markets such as the U.K. where books can be “associated with the middle classes and be seen as educational rather than fun.”

The workshop also touched on the benefits of exploring various aspects of story-telling and how a good idea is sometimes all you need – so long as it connected with people.