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Comment from the book world in May 2022

May 2022

‘I never planned to be a writer at all'

16 May 2022

‘I never planned to be a writer at all. For years, maybe even today, sometimes I think, "What exactly am I going to do with my life What is my career going to be? I'm only 80, for God's sake!...

I am fascinated by endurance. Human beings really do lead lives of quiet desperation. It's admirable really. Families are basically the only group that can't easily split up. It is my version of a disaster movie, you put people in a burning building and see how they behave under duress...

My plots are just time, if you think about it. Times passes and eventually someone will die and somebody will get married. I would love to have a real plot. I don't care whodunnit. It happened. What can I say? They're dead!'

Anne Tyler, author of 26 novels, including The Accidental Tourist, Ladder of Years and Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, in the Sunday Times Culture.


'Hybrid' publishing and authors

2 May 2022

'In our world authors may grumble at poor advances, royalties and meagre sales, but at least - in the main - the money flows, as it should, towards the author and availability in shops is a given. In the alternative reality of hybrid, subsidised or contributory publishing, it is authors who provide the investment in return for giving up their rights. The rewards can be dubious...

Some of this speaks to how the world has changed over the past two decades. Where once it was simple to spot vanity presses, Amazon Kindle's self-publishing platform has legitimised "indie" authorship and provided a route to publication for thousands of writers eschewed by the traditional companies...

I take an old-fashioned view of such things. If authors are having to invest their own money in their publishing then they need to be clear on their goals and how their money is being used...'

Philip Jones, editor of the Bookseller, in his editorial