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

Bookish links 25 Oct: finding yourself in books, story shape and length, writing what you love more!

book news Bookish links 25 Oct: finding yourself in books, story shape and length, writing what you love & more!

RIASS stuff:

Why I wish my parents were readers

Interview:'Steven Lochran: Action books give young readers a sense of agency

Endings that subvert reader expectations and Cary Fagan's Master Melville's Medicine Show'Can I just say that I kind of loved this ending? It's the anti-ending of MG books. Very gutsy indeed.

Veronika Carnaby: Audiences are wary of new concepts and techniques in fiction

Other bookish stuff:

Author Barry Lyga talks about how important it is to write the books you want to read'Lyga turned to writing childrens fiction after several of his manuscripts did not sell. Write the book YOU want to read. You are your own first and best audience. Don't think of the reader when you write; that's the path to self-doubt, self-censorship, and horribly bland writing.

Reading through life: a queer reader talks about seeing herself in literature'Finally, I was reading a book about someone like me, who was attracted to people from 'both' genders, even if I wasn't actually doing much about it at that point. And I started to feel a little bit less like a freak, because now there was Written Proof that there were other people like me out there, people common enough to have books written about them.

Publishers are looking to India over China'India has a growing middle class, fewer regulations, and a stronger e-book market, including about a hundred million internet users, making it the choice for many publishers seeking to gain a foothold in the market.

Imelda Evans reiterates yesterdays news item that publishing probably isnt dead. Really.'Change in the way that publishing works, and in the way that our stories are written down, is inevitable, she says. But what does remain is our love of storiesno matter what the medium, thats going to remain.

The role of the teacher-librarian

Gender-skewed packaging in childrens books'Interesting post on how the gender divide is being reiterated by booksellers/the market, forcing publishers to put out gender-skewed books, which signals to booksellers the market that etc etc. Not all of our books have such a clear gender-skew. But, of course, the risk is that if you try to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no-one. And bookshop buyers, who determine, in large part, the success of our books are alert to this.

Virago is looking for young writers to submit to their'Fifty Shades of Feminism book

Miriam Forsters review policy'Forsters rules regarding reviews include allowing readers to say whatever they want about the book, not responding to negative reviews, and occasionally responding to good/fair reviews only where they have been sent to her.

Agent Jennifer Laughran on why she represents books she'loves, not just books she thinks she can sell'You wouldnt spend a year or more writing and revising some project you dont believe in or enjoy (especially with no guarantee youd' get paid for it!) unless you were a masochist. Im not a masochist. Im in the business Im in specifically because I love books, and I love the freedom to choose the projects I work on and rep the stuff I love. If I wanted to work hard on something I dont enjoy, I could get paid more for it in another line of work.

Gail Carson Levine on length and shaping a story'Levine talks about the importance of patience when writing, for often it can take many drafts and attempts to find the proper direction for a story. She also talks about how big books can come from a simple idea, as a simple idea is one that can be embroidered and given depth in other ways.

Women continue to be written out of the literary world'Women continue to receive less critical and award recognition than menbut paradoxically its women who buy the most books. There are several things at work here: the books that tend to receive critical recognition tend to be in particular genres that are dominated by men, and of those, its the books written by men that receive the most attention. Genres that are dominated by women writers also tend to be undervalued. (I was going to link to a particular interview here, but really, this issue has arisen in almost all of the interviews Ive done on the site.)

The results of the Australian Romance Readers Survey are in'Almost 88% of readers say that romance accounts for more than half of what they read; 17% read only romances. Mass market paperbacks are still selling well at about 50% of titles, but have dropped as ebook sales have risen.

I love this: a 1960s-style Hunger Games cover

Frank Cottrell Boyces The Unforgotten Coat has won the 2012 Guardian Childrens Fiction Prize

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