Book reviews, new books, publishing news, book giveaways, and author interviews

Bookish links 18 Oct: serialised e-fiction, social media perils, recanting reviews more!

book news Bookish links 18 Oct: serialised e fiction, social media perils, recanting reviews & more!

RIASS stuff:

Being God and Playing Frankenstein in Grant and Applegate's Eve & Adam

Ordinary protagonists, ordinary invasions and John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos

Interview:'Peter Tieryas Liu: With so many stories in the world, how are we meant to choose between them?

Giveaway: The Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde;'Underdog by Euan Leckie

Other bookish stuff:

An interview with YA author Michael Harmon'Harmons take on writing dialogue interested me: If I work at dialogue, I know I'm making a massive mistake. Writing dialogue is like shooting a machine gun to me. If it jams, something is wrong. I work a hundred times more on narrative than on dialogue. There's no better feeling than rapid-fire talk in my head, and my only goal is to be able to type fast enough to get it out.

Amazons whispercast lets businesses send materials en masse, and schools broadcast materials to teachers and students.'Whispercast lets groups manage documents on a large scale; a BYO reading device option is also available to those without Kindles.

The wildest teens in literature?'These include Joyce Carol Oates The Foxfire Gang, Alex in'A Clockwork Orange, Romeo and Juliet, and just about everyone in'The Lord of the Flies. Is there anyone youd add?

Bharat Tandon on creating an annotated, illustrated version of Jane Austens'Emma'It was a daunting experience, says Tandon, partly because Austenites are so devoted to the authors work and will merrily pick apart any shortcomings, and also because there was always the concern that people would question the need for a new version of the work. On the other hand, the project allowed him a deeper understanding of the book and of the wider social world in which its set.

Is advertising in ebooks inevitable?'A recent survey has suggested that readers are happy for books to contain ads if it means that they can get them for a cheaper price. But what would these ads look like? Its been suggested that they may include videos at the beginning of chapters, book marker or page marker ads, and in-line ads. Whats your take on ebook advertising? I know I should be opposed to it, but to be honest Im mixed. Yes, it likely devalues authors work. But at the same time, so many ebooks are so poorly designed that they dont seem to be taken seriously by publisherswould adding advertising into them force publishers to pick up their game? In addition, cheaper ebooks may make reading more accessible to a wider audience. Of course, you can only hope theres always going to be an option for readers to be able to obtain ad-free books.

Jamie Brenner on writing her novel'The Gin Lovers'Brenners latest book is a serialised novel, and'in addition to the challenges of writing a novel that works as a sequence of separate instalments, she was also aware of the challenge of selling it to readers: As the publication date approached, I saw another major challenge ahead: It was difficult enough to convince readers to buy a novel once. For'The Gin Lovers, we were effectively asking them to come back and buy'six times. I made this daunting realization when I started asking family members to buy it. I also have to hope that readers will enjoy the delayed gratification that comes with serialisation she says.

Jay Kristoff on the perils of social media'Kristoff looks at whether social media actually'sells books, and offers two anecdotes about authors whose social media efforts apparently havent had much of a tangible influence on book sales. He points out that there are only so many hours in a day that you can do the things that you actually want to dosuch as, well, writingand that for all the focus on social media, perhaps its not really as important in the scheme of things as people might make out.

An interview with novelist John Reed about his Revise and Recant event, where guilty book reviewers could retract any mean or unfair book reviews theyve written.'The event was inspired by a review he received where the reviewer admitted to having not read the book, he says. One thing I found interesting was his preference for online reviews: Right now, I kind of lean toward the online standard, which is slightly more honest. It can be more forthright because it's not trying to hide things. In print, you have a lot of competing interests.

Michael Pryor talks about being edited'Pryor taks about how its vitally important for writers to realise that theyre not the best judges of their work. They cant come to it with fresh eyes, and theyre often far too familiar with the work. And although theyre the author, theyre not the intended reader. He then goes on to take through the editing process. A good editor makes you a better writer, he concludes.

Rebecca Bloomer on what she learned at the Frankfurt Book Fair'Theres a lot of food for thought here, but I found this quote interesting: Because books are a big and international business, publishers don't see your book as a unique, thoughtful, wondrous work of art (the way you do). They don't see your book as a mindful, thought provoking, inspirational work (as a reader might).' They see your book as a product.' A product they want in as many countries as possible.

Author Mary OConnell has written a novel using Salinger character Holden Caulfield.'Whats your take on these sorts of things? I cant help but feel that its all a lot like professionally written fan-fiction, really. I love a nod to a different work, or the incorporation of a certain trope, or perhaps even a cameo, but a whole novel using someone elses characters? Hmm.

Paul Raven writes a lengthy response to a self-published author'The author wrote to Raven asking for promotional tips for his book. Raven responds at length, and also points out a key flaw: that the author, for all his emphasis on self-promotion has not mentioned anything at all about writing or even the book in question.

The first Stella Prize for writing by Australian women will be presented in April

Check out this amazing library in Ireland


  1. I would definitely opt for the ad-free ebooks! Although if the ads are restricted to be book-related, I might actually look at them ;p

    • Stephanie /

      Im cheap and stingy, so to be honest, I probably would be tempted by the ads, so long as they werent too intrusive and didnt affect the text (like the characters drinking Coke one week and then Sprite the next as advertising contracts changed!). I guess I still dont think of ebooks as proper books, largely because publishers dont seem to be. Ive paid good money for so many terrible ebooks that honestly Id rather just let advertisers wreck those books at bit more if it means I dont have to pay for an inferior product. Im always happy to spend up big on print books, though. :)

      • LOL if I really LOVED the book, I would go out and buy the Print one and make room on my overstuffed shelf for it ;p

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