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Comment from the book world in June 2020

June 2020

Why and How Writers Should Embrace Twitter

29 June 2020

Like any social media platform, the more you use Twitter the more you will get out of it. So keeping your account as active as possible-i.e. tweeting as often as possible-is perhaps the most valuable tip of all. But that raises a common anti-Twitter excuse: "Oh, I wouldn't know what to talk about..."

To pro-Twitters like me, this is perhaps the most frustrating excuse of all, especially when it comes from otherwise idea-rich writers and authors! But admittedly, it's an understandable one: Twitter (if not social media as a whole) finds it hard to convince its detractors that it isn't merely full of cat videos, Star Trek memes, and everyone's everyday inanities...

Paul Jones, author of The British Isles: A Trivia Gazetteer, Haggard Hawks & Paltry Poltroons and its sequel, Jedburgh Justice & Kentish Fire.

A female children’s writer with a boy hero

22 June 2020

‘It was more difficult. I believe very fervently that we overstate gender differences, so a kid that is brave and tough, but panicked, will, in either gender, I think, act in extremis in similar ways. But I was reading about the 1920s and 1930s, and to be a boy in that period was to have demands made of you that I didn't want to blur. Fred's father wanted him to be manly...

The demands that are made of women can be ferocious, but the demands made of men can be equally tough. I don't know what it is to be a boy. I have a lot of male friends and my best friend when I was nine was a boy, but there is an extra imaginative leap you have to make, I know intricately what it means to be a girl and I don't know who gets to say whether a character is real. Do only boys get to say if a boy character is real and a girl if a girl character is?'

Katherine Rundell, author of The Explorer, which she writes about here, Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, The Wolf Wilder and The Good Thieves in The Times.


Independent publishers will ‘not only survive but thrive’

8 June 2020

‘Sales have been down at least 50% for April and May compared to previous years, and even more compared to our forecast (we're still waiting for the final numbers)...

As bad as the last couple months have been, the underlying publishing industry is strong. There will undoubtedly continue to be many challenges through the rest of this year and beyond, but we have large numbers of wonderful books across all our imprints coming up in the second half of this year and next year...

I feel optimistic about the sector. Independents are well placed as they've been for a number of years now. We are small, flexible and nimble businesses with relatively low overheads, and as long as we can continue to find and successfully publish wonderful authors and their books I'm sure we'll not only survive but thrive no matter what the future landscape looks like.'

Adam Freudenheim, publisher and managing director of London-based Pushkin Press in Bookbrunch (behind paywall)

Write like you'll live forever

1 June 2020

'1. Write like you'll live forever - fear is a bad editor.
2. Write like you'll croak today - death is the best editor.
3. Fooling others is fun. Fooling yourself is a lethal mistake.
4. Pick one - fame or delight.
5. The archer knows the target. The poet knows the wastebasket.
6. Cunning and excess are your friends.
7. TV and liquor are your enemies.
8. Everything eternal happens in a spare room at 3 a.m.
9. You're done when the crows sing.'

Ron Dakron, author of the novels Hello Devilfish, Mantids, infra and Newt and three collections of poetry