Six Bookish Things You Might Have Missed

Jelly fish at San Francisco aquariumNow that things are back to normal after the seemingly endless Christmas and Hogmanay period of marking time, there have been some really interesting writing and book-oriented stories around that I want to flag up to you. Read to the end for my favourite treat of the week.

Linda Grant’s article in The Guardian was a kick up the posterior for ever would-be writer who’s waiting for inspiration to come knocking. She recounts the story of having lunch with a friend whose marriage was falling apart and the realisation that the important thing about writing is to just get on with it. That in turn pushed her to look at some notes and ideas she had and to begin work on turning that into what would become her first novel. Like Jack LondonĀ  “you can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Lots of Games of Thrones fans groaned this week at the news from George RR Martin that the next book in the series, already five years in the writing, is not slated to appear in bookshops any time soon and that the next series of the TV version will appear before the book it is supposedly based on. Chris Taylor on Mashable made the interesting suggestion that maybe it’s time for Martin to consider working with a collaborator – it’s good enough for Neil Gaiman and James Patterson after all. I think he’s got a point – GofT is a brand now and Martin is happy to collaborate with the writing of the TV series and might benefit from continuing that idea into his novel-writing.

Andrew Crofts, one of the industry’s best-known ghostwriters, makes the point in this article that ghostwriting can be a profitable way of refining writing skills whilst also subsidising one’s own writing. Less helpfully, although quick to tell of the half million pounds he’s earnt from one of these books, he gives no suggestions as to how impoverished novelist can break into the ghostwriting business…

A self-published author has been caught ‘cat-fishing’ bloggers to accrue positive reviews for her book. “Corinne Rosanna Catlin” (hard to know what her real name is) posed as a publicity assistant at Penuin and contacted bloggers, offered them review copies of books and then sent them her own, published under a different name with a note saying that Penguin had signed the book and would be reissuing it under one of their imprints. It has not been acquired by Penguin and their legal team are now involved. The author’s Good Reads page is now full of one-star reviews from outraged bloggers that she attempted to scam, which seems fair enough. And also from some seemingly even-more-outraged bloggers that she didn’t attempt to scam which seems… slightly bizarre.

This is sad news – Plymouth’s University Bookseller has closed down after 42 years. They blame the huge increases that publishers have made to textbook prices and also that those publishers have been selling textbooks directly to educational institutions at huge discounts that they’re not offering to booksellers. Ron Johns who owned the shop with his son Daniel is a wonderful bookseller and I’m so glad that their other, non-academic, shops in St Ives and Falmouth are going great guns.

Treat of the Week is a sampler of the audiobook version of Joanna Cannon‘s marvellous The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, due out in a couple of weeks. The audiobook is read by the marvellous Paula Wilcox and I have an interview with Jo to post between now and publication. Enjoy…

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