It’s been a wildly busy fortnight my end, but in amongst it all I’ve managed to get out the BookBrunch weekly interview as normal, so here’s a pair of publishing chats for you perusal…
On boosting adult literacy with Jo Dawson from Quickreads
“As heavy readers, publishers have trouble imagining what it’s like not to be able to read well. It’s something we all forget about in the industry because we’re in this bubble of people who do read and believe that books are important.”
After the bestseller: an interview with author Kate Hamer
“I just try to focus on what’s going down on the page every day. What will happen will happen, but the page is the one thing I can control.”
Under what has to be the fastest publication schedule ever, BORN – BREATHING – BOUND was published on The Cadaverine website yesterday. It is available for your perusal absolutely FREE right here: http://www.thecadaverine.com/?p=11401
I’m so thankful to everyone at Cadaverine, particularly the lovely Lenni who discovered my story in the slushpile and suggested some very valuable edits.
I’m also very grateful to everyone who has read and commented so far – you’re feedback has made the last 24-hours really special! Here are some of my favourites:
“What a profound story! I’m so touched, and proud, and sad, and happy, all at once”
Ben, Canada Continue reading Born – Breathing – Bound published in Cadaverine
I am hugely excited to be able to tell you all that my latest short story, BORN – BREATHING – BOUND, has been accepted for publication in The Cadaverine!
I’m so grateful to the fabulous editor Lenni Sanders for finding my little tale in the slushpile and can’t wait to see it on Cadaverine’s pages. Cadaverine is a wonderful, free online magazine of poetry and prose from writers under 30 and I’m really honoured to be featured in its pages.
More details as and when…
This week’s BookBrunch interview is with one of my favourite new authors from the past year, Vic James. If you haven’t got your mitts on a copy of her fantastic debut novel Gilded Cage yet, you absolutely should, and for those of you who need more convincing, here’s an interview with the author herself…
Author Vic James is instantly likeable. She’s earnest, friendly and a little bashful, but it soon becomes clear she’s also got a mind like a rapier and a devastatingly on point turn-of-phrase. Her debut novel Gilded Cage, the first book in The Dark Gifts trilogy, garnered over 300,000 readers on Wattpad, sold for a six-figure sum to Pan Macmillan and has been auctioned in six territories and counting. We got together to discuss the real Wattpad society, magical aristocrats, and how fiction can shed light on Britain’s structural inequality.
“People have the idea that Wattpad is this monolithic thing and that people who want to be published authors use it, but that’s not my experience,” James says. Though there are some who use Wattpad to try to “get discovered”, and many of its users are young teenage writers for whom the platform is a learning process, mostly “it’s just there for people to have fun”. Nine in 10 of Wattpad’s 40 million users are just readers, nothing more, many of them from countries with a poor public library system or where they don’t have the money to buy books. It’s huge in the Philippines, for instance.
Continue reading The BookBrunch interview with Vic James, author of Gilded Cage
For those of you looking for some pleasant reading today, I thoroughly recommend catching up on the last three BookBrunch interviews!
Looking back to the New Year, Suzanne Baboneau, Managing Director of Adult Publishing at Simon & Schuster, discusses what lies ahead in publishing.
Then bestselling novelist Chibundu Onuzo talks about her new novel, Welcome to Lagos.
And finally Sophie O’Neill, Managing Director at Inpress chats about the rise of the independent publisher and the value of poetry. Continue reading BookBrunch | January interview catch up
Woohoo! Publication day has arrived for BOOST: SUPERCHARGE YOUR CONFIDENCE, the third book in the self-help series I’ve been writing for Summersdale!
I’m very excited about this, and if you are too, you can get your mitts on your very own copy right now from many excellent book retailers, including: Continue reading Publication day for BOOST!
Happy New Year everybody! Here’s to 2017 bringing all the positivity this world so badly needs – on the note of which…
I have a new book coming out!
That’s right, in just 3 days’ time on Thursday 12th January BOOST: SUPERCHARGE YOUR CONFIDENCE will officially be hitting the shelves.
And, if you can’t wait till Thursday, you can pre-order a copy from various excellent bookstores including:
The release has somewhat snuck up on me, but I have to thank Summersdale Publishers and their amazing design team, who’ve made this book so absolutely gorgeous and positive with its fabulous rocket theme.
Hoping that all your personal rockets of hopes and wishes come true in the year ahead!
Season’s greetings, friends! And boy, what a ride 2016 has been! Here’s hoping that 2017 brings more peace and sanity into the world – and for all of you much prosperity and some grand adventures.
Just because the season of of gifts and feasts is upon us, doesn’t mean I’ve been slowing down on the old journalism front though. Very excitingly, I can now reveal my first ever podcast: The BookBrunch Yearly Wrap 2016 Podcast, brought to you for FREE! That’s right, you can listen in for absolutely no money as some of the publishing industry’s top voices talk about their feelings on 2016 and their predictions for the year to come. The only reasonable excuse for not listening is if you have eaten so much you’re plastered to the couch. Continue reading BookBrunch | Last interviews of 2016 & my very first PODCAST!
In a rather lovely turn of events, I have been listed on Byte the Book’s Hub for publishing professionals. You can check out my profile right here.
Returning the favour, I thought I’d give Byte the Book a big shout out. They’re a fab networking event for everyone in the publishing industry and beyond, bringing together engaging, lovely folk from across the creative sectors. Yes, writers, that includes you!
They have monthly events with panels on industry issues and it’s worth becoming a member just to attend them all for free, let alone for the other great benefits like free entry to Bologna, LBF and Frankfurt.
I’ve been a member for two and a half years now and it’s become one of my go-to events for keeping up with publishing and staying connected to my industry friends. For more information, check out the Byte the Book website.
For this week’s BookBrunch interview, I spoke with Ed Marino, Executive Chairman and codeMantra about publishing’s very technological future and the benefits of real collaboration. For the full article, visit the BookBrunch website, or get started with the excerpt below…
There have been a lot of claims over the past year that digital sales are down and print is on the rise, but according to Ed Marino, Chief Executive and part-owner of service provider codeMantra, publishing’s phase of uncertainty is far from over. In our trans-Atlantic chat, we discuss the definition of true collaboration, the role of service providers in the industry, and our very technological future.
Marino came on board with codeMantra in February 2014, after he and a group of colleagues acquired the business. In his classic US accent, Marino describes it as “a technology-enabled services company” that offers content production and software platform services to major publishers, primarily in the STM and Academic space.
Continue reading BookBrunch | The weekly interview with Ed Marino, Executive Chairman, codeMantra
This week for the BookBrunch interview, I got together with Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of the Diamond, Kahn & Woods Literary Agency to discuss this year’s Trailblazer Award success and the future of agenting. For the full article, head over to BookBrunch, or read the snippet below:
As the deadline approaches for this year’s Trailblazers Awards, run by the London Book Fair (LBF) in partnership with the Society of Young Publishers (SYP) and BookBrunch, we catch up with two of last year’s winners, Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods, of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency. They discussed how the award has affected business for the better, why they made the decision to set up their own agency, and what the future holds.
In the four years since Diamond Kahn & Woods got started, the agency has accrued 50 clients and placed over 40 books, managed between Woods, Kahn and their colleague Elinor Cooper, who joined in April last year.
However, the agency was conceived long before this, when Woods and Kahn met during their Publishing MA at UCL in 2009-2010. “As friends, we had always known we both wanted to go into agenting, and joked about setting up our own agency together one day in the distant future, when we were both eminent agents with big lists of clients and grey hair,” Woods explains. Continue reading BookBrunch | The Weekly Interview with Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency
Having heard some pretty serious stats about training given to newbie publishers lately, I felt inspired to write a piece about the Autumn Statement, productivity, and the shift in attitude towards training and skill-building support that needs to happen in publishing. The full article is also FREE to read over on BookBrunch. Here’s a snippet:
Training and skill drain: affecting productivity in publishing
Research shows that publishers are failing to invest in the skills they need
In his Autumn Statement last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond brought attention to Britain’s sub-par productivity. Our output per unit of input lags 30% behind other economies such as the US and Germany: in the time it takes a German worker to make £1.35, a British worker will make only £1.
Hammond’s remedy involves a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund, which will be used for the most part to invest in infrastructure such as roads and affordable housing. However, fixing productivity involves more than this kind of investment. As Katie Allen pointed out in the Guardian over the weekend, “when it comes to appearing to be doing something about the productivity puzzle it is far easier to talk about roads than the thorny issue of Britain’s addiction to low-paid, low-skilled work”. This is an issue that comes down to attitude. Continue reading BookBrunch | Training and skill drain: affecting productivity in publishing
The past three weeks have seen me write up reports on three stellar publishing conferences: the London Book Fair’s “Building Inclusivity in Publishing” conference; The Literary Consultancy (TLC)’s “What’s Your Story?” symposium; and the Society of Young Publisher (SYP)’s annual Autumn conference, this year on the theme of “Making a Bestseller.” Here’s some write ups – the SYP one is even FREE to read!
Words are no longer enough: inclusivity gets gritty
“A theme that became clear early on in the day was that the industry has been treating diversity and inclusivity as if they are optional, which for those they are excluding they are not. ‘We’re not here to talk about diversity in publishing, we’re here to talk about humanity,’ said Crystal Mahey-Morgan, one of the keynote speakers and founder of OWN IT! Publishing. ‘We’ve got so caught up in the box ticking and PC conversations, we’ve forgotten why inclusivity is so important…'”
TLC symposium: ‘What’s your story’ in the digital age
“We have to be careful as an industry about whom these laws of literary merit exclude. Now and in the past, writers of colour have often experienced difficulty being recognised in the literary world. ‘The idea that literary value is a liberal, free world isn’t true,’ said Cook. ‘Literary values are created in a process, and it is a process that has been party to brutal exclusion. We are talking about a system of violence. There is a certain kind of violence in this world and if you try to pretend that there isn’t, you misunderstand it.'”
SYP conference 2016: redefining successful books – FREE to view
“Having to point out that long-term sales and profits are just as valid as short-term ones seems to me to be a symptom of an industry increasingly concerned with short-term goals. The question I was left with is not what makes a bestseller, but whether, by its standard definition, a bestseller is an inherently good thing.” Continue reading Three weeks, three conferences, three million thoughts
Since returning from Sharjah I’ve interviewed a fabulous trio of people – here are links to the BookBrunch pieces though, as ever, you’ll need to be a subscriber to view them…
Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, on Book Week Scotland
“People will always read because people will always love stories but, you know, the book is a piece of technology that can’t be improved.”
“Queen of erotic literature” Jodi Ellen Malpas
“The truth is that sex and love make the world go round, just as much as money does.”
Writer, critic and bookshop obsessive Jorge Carrión
“I think people who go against the EU in England and things like this, they are probably not used to going to bookshops because in bookshops you feel there are no frontiers, that we have a common cultural and intellectual space.”
I’ve been on a bit of an adventure since I last posted, reporting on Sharjah International Book Fair in the UAE for BookBrunch! What an extraordinary place it was and I’m very grateful to Sharjah Book Authority and Midas Public Relations, London who showed me such overwhelming hospitality while I was there.
If you’re interested in the news from the Fair, check out these articles – including an interview with Ahmed bin Rakkad al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority:
Continue reading Report from Sharjah International Book Fair 2016
The haze of panic-packing and binge reading in advance of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair has begun. This week, I caught up with the Fair’s own Katja Böhne to discuss what’s hot at Frankfurt in 2016. Read the whole piece over on BookBrunch, or get your teeth into the excerpt below.
It’s that special time of year when the leaves are turning, the nights are drawing in – and every publisher in Europe is packing their suitcase for the Frankfurt Book Fair. As the opening draws near, I caught up with Katja Böhne, Head of Marketing and Communications at the Fair, to discuss what awaits visitors and exhibitors in 2016.
“It’s five minutes before the Fair and everything is a bit upside down. Juergen Boos [Fair director] said recently, ‘The homework is done, now the chaos begins!'” Böhne says with a laugh as soon as she picks up the phone. The line is clear and she speaks with a gentle accent in impeccable English. “Actually, everything is fine and on track, but there are still so many last minute ideas and things to do. Every year it’s the same, so it’s not unusual.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Are you ready for Frankfurt? An interview with Katja Böhne
I penned a little piece for the lovely folks over at BookMachine today. Get started with the excerpt below, or read the full piece for FREE over on the BookMachine blog.
Reader analytics are garnering huge attention at the moment and there are at least four major talks at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair discussing how and why publishers and authors can collect data on their readers. But with reader analytics taking the spotlight in publishing, the debate over the ethics of data harvesting and its uses has been brought to our doorstep.
Consensual data is happy data
The big issues around data harvesting are not just what information businesses and official organisations are collecting about us, it’s whether or not they’re doing it with our consent. For once, however, publishing is ahead of the curve on getting this one right.
Continue reading BookMachine | Observing the audience: how reader analytics are influencing the industry
As many of you may know, I love short stories. Reading them, writing them, eating them… Ok, maybe I don’t literally imbibe them but there’s a definite consumption process involved in perusing a short story.
So you can imagine how excited I was this week when I got to interview KJ Orr, the winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Award. As always, read the full article over on BookBrunch or enjoy the excerpt below.
The big book buzz this week has been about the 2016 BBC National Short Story Competition winner, KJ Orr, and her winning story, ‘Disappearances’. A debut author, Orr beat a heavyweight shortlist including Man Booker winner Hilary Mantel and Costa Poetry Award shortlisted Lavinia Greenlaw. Here, Orr discusses what it feels like to have won, how she came across short stories, and their value to readers.
“It feels pretty incredible and still quite hard to believe,” says Orr about winning the award. “I was settled on the idea that I hadn’t won so I was not prepared at all. Doing the live broadcast directly after was surreal. Most writers are fairly introverted, quiet souls, then there are moments where you have to come out and put on a public hat. I just hoped I made some sense because I wasn’t really prepared to say anything!” Continue reading BookBrunch | An interview with KJ Orr, winner of this year’s BBC National Short Story Competition
This week for the BookBrunch interview I had a really strong conversation with journalist Gary Younge about his new book, Another Day in the Death of America (Faber). You can read the whole thing over on BookBrunch, or get started with the snippet below…
The Guardian‘s Gary Younge has been undertaking serious investigative journalism since the mid-nineties, exemplified more than ever in his latest book, Another Day in the Death of America. Here, we discuss the book, how he researched it, how journalism has changed over the past two decades, and what that means for storytelling
With five books already under his belt, Younge launched Another Day in the Death of America (Guardian Faber) on 28 September. It has already been featured on Radio 4’s Book of the Week and received reviews fromThe Spectator, The Times, and The Guardian itself among many others. It’s no surprise, because the book’s contents are shocking and moving in equal measure.
“It takes the basic statistical premise that seven children are shot every day on average in the USA and then tries to make it human by picking a random day and finding out who they are,” Younge explains. “It tries to get to the humans stories behind that statistic: how these kids lived and who they were, and maybe showing a bit more about America beyond those particular incidents.” Continue reading BookBrunch | Discussing gun deaths in America with Gary Younge