10 Classic Novels Marketed As If They Had Been Written By Women

Following on in the same vein of popular posts such as “I Hate Women’s Fiction And I’ll Tell You Why” and “Adventures In Book Genre Stereotyping“, we here at Bookology HQ are now inordinately pleased to bring you:

10 Classic Novels

(Described By Their Publishers, As Though They Were By Female Authors)

10 Classic Novels Marketed If They Had Been Written By Women

1. Heart Of Darkness  by Josephine Conrad

Two men face off in the African jungle in this world-famous tale of what happens when men are parted too long from the women in their lives.

2. Great Expectations  by Charlotte Dickens

She wore the most beautiful dress in all of England. But Miss Havisham’s wedding gown became a prison from which only the next generation could set her free. Would her disappointment ruin love’s young dream? And would there ever be another bride in Satis House?

3. Tess Of The d’Urbervilles  by Thomasina Hardy

In a small village in the English heartland, renowned beauty Tess Durbeyfield will do anything to save her family and beloved sister from starvation. But when the handsome aristocrat Alec d’Urberville tears her away from the dashing and worthy Angel Clare, Tess finds out that rural romance is not all ribbons and wedding cake.

4. The Name Of The Rose  by Umberta Eco

A handsome young monk finds himself in conflict with the old order in a Benedictine monastery set high in the verdant Italian hills. But what murderous secrets does Adso of Melk discover in the closely-guarded library? And will he be able to resist the temptations of the tantalising peasant girl who threatens all he holds holy?

5. War And Peace  by Leonora Tolstoy

These young, rich aristocrats have it all, until they discover that the fearsome Napoleon is closer to their gilt-threaded bed curtains than they thought. Will true love and high society be able to withstand the violence of men’s lust pour la guerre… et les femmes?

10 Classic Novels Marketed If They Had Been Written By Women

6. 1984  by Georgina Orwell

In a totalitarian regime there is no room for love, but one brave man risks everything to prove that we cannot ignore the beatings…. of our hearts.

7. The Great Gatsby  by Effie Scott Fitzgerald

Jay Gatsby is the man every man wants to be, and every woman wants to be with. But only one woman is the key to Gatsby’s secret heartache: can she stop counting her shoes long enough to swap one man’s credit card for another?

8. Lolita  by Vladimira Nabokov

Growing up is tough. As 12-year-old Lolita navigates the turbulent waters of puberty, she finds that she is the girl of Humbert Humbert’s dreams. But she soon learns – how clever of her! – that no man lives on dreams alone.

9. The Picture Of Dorian Gray  by Oscra Wilde

Devilishly handsome Dorian Gray has discovered the secret to anti-ageing, and is hiding it in his attic. He will do anything to protect it, but at what cost? Is there really an alternative to ruinously expensive face cream? Only time, and one mysterious portrait, will tell.

10 Classic Novels Marketed If They Had Been Written By Women

10. The Trial  by Franzes Kafka

Josef K. just wants to live an ordinary life and marry the beautiful Frau Bürstner. But when he is singled out by mysterious forces in the criminal justice system, he despairs of ever knowing whether or not she loves him in return.

Tark And Mara Make Art Pay

“I’ve been thinking, darling.” Tark eyed his wife over the steeple of his hands from his calfskin armchair, his eyebrows wiggling in a manner suggesting that great riches were about to ensue from a cranium unmolested by follicular fuzz.

“Oh, dear,” said Mara archly. “Go easy on me, darling. You know I can’t digest brilliance on a full stomach.”

Mara pushed the plate of lamb’s lettuce away and rose from the table. She was always glad to have her weekly meal over and done with. Zero calorie green food played havoc with the designer gap between her two front teeth.

“I knew you were plotting something,” she said. “Twice last night you shouted ‘Limited liability, you charlatan!” in your sleep.”

“I can’t keep anything from you, my precious python,” Tark chuckled. “Look, it’s regarding our art collection. It’s become worthless.”

Art Attack

Mara’s gaze rested briefly on her own personal art collection (seven 1960s Hermès handbags, housed in a thermostatically controlled cabinet), before she took in the priceless Jackson Pollock over the fireplace, and the Fabergé egg which once belonged to a Russian princess, whose violent death had quadrupled the bauble’s value. The entire penthouse was festooned – tastefully of course – with such collectables. She might have gazed at more of them, had she not been mindful of boring her readership within such a limited word count.

“Do you want to sell something?” she asked, confused. Tark never tired of leaving the tags on the priceless items they had amassed during their marriage: had he tired of them? Was the difference between pricey and priceless no longer enough?

“I don’t need new art,” he said.

Mara dislodged some salad which had wrapped itself around an incisor. Surely her husband wasn’t going to turn to – she swallowed – philanthropy?

Tark beamed and rose from his chair. “Everything we need is right here.” Tark indicated just how near ‘here’ was by extending both arms into their full three foot span, pointing to the northside of Dublin with one daring index finger, and swirling the other one from side-to-side in the general direction of Dublin 8.

He walked to the piano and began to play the theme from Jaws.

“Did you read about that fellow yesterday who sold that picture of a spud to a foreign businessman for a million quid?”*

Tark And Mara Make Art Pay
Picture: The Irish Times

“I did!” said Mara. “Most annoying. I was the one who started the famine trend. But I never sanctioned potatoes. They’re not nearly retro enough.”

“Well, I’m the businessman who bought it.”

Mara’s mouth opened, but nothing came out. She was so shocked, that in that moment, if someone had offered her a square of milk chocolate, she might conceivably have had a nibble.

“Look at your face!” said Tark. “Oh, I’m sorry, my pernicious pudding. I didn’t mean to give you a heart attack. But we already had pictures from this photographer in our collection. You were orchestrating the bidding war for the last two chapters of your true crime documentary when the call came, and I only used the small change we had left over from having a staycation last year.”

Mara was mollified: they had always agreed that minor purchases under three million didn’t require consultation. It was how she’d acquired half her wardrobe. She had to admit it was just the idea of the potato that bothered her, and she said as much.

“But it’s all part of the plan, darling,” said Tark. “Remember when I went through that phase back in 2007 of supporting local artists?”

Mara shuddered. “Yes. It was a difficult time. Having all those awful people on our doorstep.”

“And remember how we targeted artists in obvious financial trouble? Remember how we haggled? Getting those fantastic jelly sheep for a quarter of their value?”

Tark And Mara Make Art Pay

His wife nodded.

“Well. I’m a big enough man now to admit that I was wrong.” Tark moved away from the piano, all five-feet-two of him casting an impressive shadow across the polished floor in a sudden inter-shower flash of winter sun. “Those artworks aren’t worth any more now than they were then. Sure: we quadrupled our money, but in terms of net present value, it was a bust.”

“But there was a recession, darling.”

“Yes. Which was all the more opportunity for stratospheric gains. We could have had our own artist-in-residence, for Christ’s sake. But I know what to do now.”

Mara unfolded her size minus-something frame from the table and walked to her husband. She felt that familiar flicker of excitement which always indicated that Tark was about to beat the bankers. “Tell me.”

“I should never have underpaid, my homicidal honeybun. I should have overpaid. Art is only worth what’s paid for it, and only ridiculous prices will lift our collection to the status it deserves. That potato photograph cost a million yesterday, but the four other pictures we have by this guy are now worth 127 times what we paid for them.”

Mara placed her hand on her husband’s shoulder. Tark liked her benediction almost as much as he liked winning. “I shouldn’t have been so shocked, Tark. It was just the potato. You know how I feel about tubers.”

“You’d better gird your loins for my next acquisition, in that case,” said Tark. “I’ve got an option on a black-and-white photograph of a rotten turnip which was thrown at rebels in the 1916 Rising. It’s been valued at one hundred thousand euros, with at least two Irish politicians in the bidding.”

Mara, content, settled herself on the arm of Tark’s chair. “And what will we be doing?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” said Tark. “A bid for nine hundred grand should do it. And then we’ll donate it to a museum, so it can never devalue, and make a net tax gain. You mark my words. The walls of Ireland will be fully decked out in vegetables by Easter. And by June, our collection’s going to make the Saatchi Gallery look like a car boot sale.”

****************

*Note: the following text is purportedly what the photographer behind the €1 million spud had to say about the meaning of his lucrative print, but it’s funnier than anything else in this post, so I had to include it. If he’s joking as I suspect, fair play to him. If he’s not, he’s still a million quid better off, so what can I say?

“I see commonalities between humans and potatoes that speak to our relationship as individuals within a collective species. Generally, the life of a harvested potato is violent and taken for granted. I use the potato as a proxy for the ontological study of the human experience.”

Your Annual Review Of Things That Haven’t Happened Yet

Welcome, dear friends, to the customary annual review of events in the bonkers book industry, which I do every year in January, before the future, because I’m far too busy in December, when everyone else is talking about the past.

As you’ll remember from last year, I got a depressing amount of second-sighted stuff almost correct. I say depressing, because things which start out as a joke in January, often end up being anything but in December. They say that comedy equals tragedy plus time, but in this case, I found out that unfunny often equals the ridiculous plus truth.

With that in mind, this year, I’m going to focus less on the probable, and more on the plausible. I’m also going to try and keep away from that sort of Holier Than Thou School Of Finger Pointing, and concentrate on other less divisive things in society, such as wordplay, surrealism, and, er, aardvarks.

And now, herewith, to the Review of Bookish Happenings In 2016.

 

January

The Fourth Estate broke with tradition in January when, upon finding that their previews of the big books in 2016 all looked identical down to the last semi-colon (almost as if they were slavishly following big budget press packs), they decided to abandon the big blockbusters altogether and focus upon the most obscure titles they could find.

This had the unintended effect of knocking high literary small press titles out of the running for all the major literary prizes because they were now deemed too popular to be good, but strangely, nobody seemed to mind.

February

Readers shunned fiction in February, turning their attentions instead to ‘shelf-help’ books, also known as ‘holistic space therapy’. This Second Coming for people who had already read all the self-actualization books a body could handle was based on the success of 2015’s smash hit The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo.

Clean Your Goddamn House, You Slattern!  by Jocasta Herringbone was a surprise smash hit, followed shortly by It’s Not You, It’s The Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath In Your Living Room; along with the award-winning tear-jerker subsequently made into a major film, The Girl With The Wrong Duvet Cover.

The Annual Review Of Things That Haven't Happened Yet
This is not an aardvark

March

After a lacklustre first quarter, publishers breathed a sigh of relief when the next big literary craze – called Science Fiction 2.0 – became apparent, following the stampede for the tills with the smash hit Neil deGrasse Tyson Licked My Aardvark. A swathe of comic, literary, crime and romantic fiction was hastily rewritten with scientists in the lead roles, instantly elevating previously lacklustre titles and their authors to bestseller status.

April

The search for the next Gone Girl/Girl On A Train was deemed to be over with the release of This Book Has A Girl In It, a thriller about an author being stalked by six unreliable narrators. She’s then forced at gunpoint to identify which one of them is telling the truth before she can bank £950,000.

May

Earning The End was the major talking point of May 2016. John E. Smith’s book, available in digital format only, caused a scandal when it became apparent that its final chapters could only be downloaded once the reader had left 5-star reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. The initial furore died down once the Financial Times called it “a masterful example of meta-manipulation which perfectly illustrates the forward-driven reader experience”, after which everyone agreed that John E. Smith was a bloody genius.

 

June

In another example of uncannily choreographed coincidence, it emerged that self-publishing service providers owned by the major publishing houses all suffered technical difficulties in the second quarter, meaning that some of the year’s most high-profile indie books had to delay publication and thereby completely missed the all-important summer holiday market.

July and August

Tables were turned on the press when the silly season produced the biggest book story of the year: the revelation that Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin had in fact finished the entire Song Of Ice And Fire series back in 2011, and was not therefore late in producing the last two titles as claimed. The news emerged when Martin admitted he’d lied in order to buy himself time as he transitioned to writing YA Romance, which he described as “literally an aching, painful process of getting to know the real me”.

September

Following the hugely successful re-release of Hitler’s Mein Kampf in early 2016, marking its first publication in Germany since World War II, a slate of new re-releases were announced in September for, amongst others, Zabiba And The King by Saddam Hussein; The Green Book by Colonel Gaddafi, and and See Spot, Run, the much-loved children’s book long unmasked as an explosive manifesto for Kim Jong-il, the dictator most famous for his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A revival of the sensational 1989 Taxi Driver’s Union mime performance of Chairman Mao’s The Little Red Book was rumoured, but never materialised.

The Annual Review Of Things That Haven't Happened Yet

October

The popularity of so-called ‘real’ women – irreverent comediennes and actresses who purportedly don’t care what you think of them – reached its peak with the simultaneous release of books from Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift, Cara Delevingne, Melissa McCarthy and Carrie Fisher, all on the 14th of October 2016. Unfortunately, this deluge resulted in a backlash against the ‘real woman’ trope, and spawned an additional five Kardashians nobody had ever heard of before.

November

Wednesday November 2nd became known as “Launch Of The Walking Dead” after no fewer than fifteen posthumous titles were published on this day alone. Events were not without controversy, as seven ghost writers had to be placed in witness protection, and four of the book launches used a wake as their theme, somewhat to the embarrassment of their publishers. However, relatives of the deceased authors in question, including Tolkien, Beckett, and du Maurier, took a break from counting money to give their blessing to the enterprise.

The Annual Review Of Things That Haven't Happened Yet

December

Nobody was surprised when This Isn’t  was declared the must-have gimmicky book for the Christmas 2016 market. Described as “refreshing” by the Guardian; “a truly original idea” by the Telegraph, and “grand” by the Irish Times, this blank, unlined book, with its plain brown cover, invited readers to enter their own thoughts, in order to form their own relevant narrative of what it means to be a human being alive today. It sold 73 million copies in December after the price was increased from 8.99 to 14.99.

************

And there we have it, folks. Tune in next December, when we will review my review, and judge mercilessly accordingly. In the meantime, if I’ve left any major trends out, do please oblige by giving me what for in the comments.

The Book Awards The Big Guys Don’t Want You To Know About

We all know about book prizes. We know how important they are, and yet how unquantifiable.

There are basically two kinds of book prizes: those which are decided by a panel of estimable judges, and those which are decided by public vote. Both are problematic.

So What’s Wrong, Ya Big Whinger?

When it comes to panel-decided prizes, the route to the judge’s eye is too often fraught with unassailable obstacles such as elitism, fashion, favouritism, or the lack of a marketing machine.

The Book Awards The Big Guys Don't Want You To Know About

Which might make it look like we should go with a popular vote instead – if it weren’t for the fact that a public vote is more to do with the popularity (or social media reach) of the author, rather than the merit of their book.

In fact, popular votes are more liable to drive me mad than any other modern inconvenience. I’ve been forced to ask for them myself from time to time, and I hate them. The fact that people are voting on something where they may have read only one – or more often none – of the entries, is the most cynical exercise even I can think of.

Yeah, Whatever. So What?

Both of these types of awards are open to criticism: and yet, there are no real alternatives. Either a judge must judge, or a vote must be counted. At the end of the day, when it comes to literary prizes, no author can afford not to be included, and few if any authors can refuse to let their work go forward. Because awards mean sales. Even nominations mean sales. And of the two types of recognition for their art, most authors would rather the sales, given the miserable state of author earnings at present.

The Book Awards The Big Guys Don't Want You To Know About

I tried hard to think of an alternative to the estimable judge or the popular vote models, and I’m not going to lie. I couldn’t think of one. But this failure led to me thinking two things. And because this is my blog, I am going to tell you these two things.

(i) The problem might be in the very structure of these awards themselves.

The categorisation of awards can end up becoming the decider. Books which cross genres are often ruled out, or books which are self-published. Territorial publishing limitations can hinder the most talented, and an inability to lobby the right people can bury the shyest of geniuses.

It seems clear to me that we need to write some new book awards from the bottom up.

With that in mind, welcome, ladies and gentlesirs, to the…. *drum roll*

BOOK AWARDS WITH A BIT OF SENSE 2016

There are no nominees in these book awards: only winners. As I am not sure that the global reach of this blog is great enough as yet to, eh, influence sales, I really couldn’t be bothered making shortlists.

I hereby announce the awards as follows (all winners receive a year’s free subscription to the ads I have nothing to do with on this blog)

1. Best Book Sales Despite The Huge Misgivings Of Most Buyers:

Harper Lee – Go Set A Watchman

2. Most Profitable Resurrection of a Dead Author:

David Lagerkrantz (after Stieg Larsson, dec’d)- The Girl In The Spider’s Web

3. Most Blatant Exploitation of The Book-Buying Public:

E.L. James – Grey

4. Best Hopping On The Bandwagon:

Every Adult Colouring Book published after January 2015

5. Best Book Cover Even If Content Didn’t Live Up To Packaging Brilliance:

Timur Vermes – Look Who’s Back

The Book Awards The Big Guys Don't Want You To Know About

6. Best Book Sales Despite Lazy Covers Which Didn’t Even Try:

Anything by Lee Child, John Grisham, Clive Cussler… basically any book written by a famous American male author, really

7. Book Club Darling Most Likely To Cause Smugness When The Movie Comes Out:

Paula Hawkins – The Girl On The Train

********

Which brings me to my second thought.

(ii) There Is A Gap To Be Filled By A New Awards Platform.

Over the past few years, indie publishing awards have been growing abroad. Indie authors generally can’t compete with traditionally published authors: quite apart from the marketing might, they don’t have the money, influence or resources to submit to the established literary competitions.

Indie book prizes bridged some of that gap, although there were none in Ireland. But why shouldn’t the cream of the Irish self-published crop be recognised too?

Well, now it can. Because as of right now, in 2016, the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors is entering the stage.

The Book Awards The Big Guys Don't Want You To Know About

Carousel Writers’ Centre has teamed up with Aware, a charity which assists those directly affected by the illness of depression, to establish this new prize.

There are six categories, which you’ll be glad to know are a little more traditional than the ones I listed above, and the submission deadline is Monday, April 11th 2016. Further details can be found on www.writingcap.ie.

This is an excellent opportunity for Irish indie authors to have their work recognised and promoted on a wider stage. The prize has been established with a view to recognising books which are too often ignored by the mainstream media, and all monies raised through submission fees will go directly to the charity Aware. It’s a double-whammy of positive positivity.

If you have self-published and fulfil the entry criteria, what have nothing to lose by entering this prize. It could mean more exposure than all the Bookbub ads in China. (Or perhaps another, more apt, analogy.) Why not get your hard work and talent recognised? Why not give it a try?

So there you have it. I might have taken a round-trip to get to the actual point, but I do try to trade information with entertainment, and you don’t read this blog for snappy summations (or if you do – do I have to apologise every week?!)

‘Tis The Season To Hate Yourself: 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers

Ah, January! The month after the month when you were told to eat, drink and be merry.

Now we get to turn the tables on ourselves. Now is the time when everyone in the world gets to feel a bit Irish. Because now is the time you get to hate yourself.

No more are we encouraged to love one another and raise a glass to life, good health and happiness. No, indeed. It’s time instead to put down that glass, become self-obsessed, and loathe ourselves with a passion unparalleled since that time you got laughed at for walking across a crowded room whilst wearing your skirt firmly tucked into your knickers.

‘Tis The Season To Hate Yourself: 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers

Regrets, I’ve Had A Few

Every candle-lit memory, every glowing sense of sugary bonhomie which Christmas brought you: they’re all ruined now. At least until Lent, anyway.

That glass of champagne shared at midnight on New Year’s Eve with those you love best in the world is now a lingering manifestation of a memory of a hangover.

That trifle with the alcoholic clip on the ear, which made you laugh, now resides just beneath your belly button, making your waistband scream.

The delightful presents you bought are now a financial crater so deep, your photograph is displayed on cash machines around the country.

And that quarter pound of Quality Street, which you inhaled in an subconscious haze, is now a festering spot upon your upper lip.

Oh, yes. January is a grand month for hating everything.

Which Brings Me To Writing

Every blog/newspaper/website/toilet roll with a literary section, is currently bellowing at you about New Year writing resolutions. Now is the time to write that book! they say, safe in the knowledge that whenever the hell it is, now is definitely the time for people to make sweeping statements of intent they will regret later.

However, along with New Year But what do you REALLY want from life?  interrogations, these writing resolutions have become a new tool to bash the creatively-inclined with.

Writers are ideal for this kind of torture. I could say that nobody doubts themselves more than a writer. However, most Irish people – well, above a certain age, anyway – feel a sense of inadequacy so deep, that the mere hint of pride in themselves will trigger a guilt trip so festooned with potholes that they end up with post-traumatic stress which forever thereafter makes them break out in a rash in their nether regions upon even hearing a compliment in the wind. Fact.

Therefore, to be an Irish writer is to languish in a pit of despair-filled paralysis. And by Jesus, do we love our Januarys to do it in.

 

Don’t Give In

Fight this cesspit of feel-bad journalism. DON’T make any writing resolutions. If you can’t be dissuaded, I heartily recommend that you make some Anti-Resolutions instead, which don’t make you feel bad, are easily kept, and won’t add to your acne.

Without further ado, therefore, here are my 10 Anti-Resolutions For Writers.

  1. I will not attempt to write down ideas while I am driving.
  2. I will not summarise my work-in-progress into one or two confidence-shattering sentences when people say to me “so, what’s the book about, anyway?”
  3. I will not follow any writing, marketing or publishing advice issued through barely-disguised advertisements for someone else’s own writing, marketing or publishing services.
  4. I will not feel like a lemon when someone introduces me as a writer – or a blogger.
  5. I will not allow myself to be forced to say something about my writing which sounds stupid, even to me.
  6. I will not take serious rejection seriously.
  7. I will not revel in self-imposed deadlines.
  8. I will not rewrite the flogged, dead pony.
  9. I will not immediately seek out the worst parts of honest criticism.
  10. I will put anything which doesn’t fit me to the back of the wardrobe, where it belongs, for the six months before I am ready to throw it out.

Apologies for the last one. Writers are human, too, and the circle of life would collapse in on itself if I didn’t put at least one fat reference into a January list.

Sigh. Seems I’m not the renegade I thought I was. Happy New Year everyone.

 

Probably The Most Disingenuous Blog Post In The World (With 45% Extra Lies)

It’s that time of year again, folks. Time for taking stock – and selling it off.

No sooner have you burped your last turkey-laced memory, realising you can’t even remember eating the last seven Quality Streets, than the ads start zinging at you thick and fast, telling you that you can get what you already have for a quarter of the price you paid for it.

It’s a terrible time. It’s the time of year that old, loyal customers get to feel like prize lemons. Despite sticking by their service providers all year, fly-by-night newbies are the new must-have thing. Only new customers matter. Old customers can go and boil their heads in a vat of brandy butter whilst being back-combed by a reindeer.

Probably The Most Disingenuous Blog Post In The World (With 45% Extra Lies)

I’m as bad. Over the last four months of 2015, this blog got a whole truckload of new followers. And so, in the grand tradition of lazy, linky blog posts, I’m going to do a review of this blog’s most popular posts in 2015 – in a pathetic attempt to impress new readers, with little regard for the boredom levels of loyal followers who’ve stuck by me in thick (headedness) and thin (pickings).

To soften the blow, however, in between some facts, I will be making up some shocking and vile falsehoods, which only long-standing, habitual blog readers will be able to spot. I swear.

  1. Topics I Never Thought Would Become Topics

A blogger will generally get inspiration from obvious places, such as newspapers, other blogs, animal behaviour studies, and oversized dustbins. Yet there are certain things you never think you’ll end up writing about.

Probably The Most Disingenuous Blog Post In The World (With 45% Extra Lies)
We’re going which way exactly??

I never saw myself hopping on a soapbox about the wanton destruction of childhood innocence, for instance, but How To Torture A Beloved Story To Death (And Ruin Children) described how one of the best-loved Irish legends of my childhood was ground into dust by a misogynistic schoolbook publisher.

The Secret To World Domination Is… A Hairy Irishman was a little off-topic, but no less true for it. In fact, I’m growing new sideburns as we speak.

I found myself exploring further weird territory with Why I’d Be Really Crap At Having An Affair, which examined the inability to spread ourselves thinly between those close to our hearts. Then, in the spring, I found myself looking at the other side of romance, in Love, And The Way It Might Steal You Away, when for the first time in years, I fell blindly, torridly, and sleeplessly in love.

However, I surprised myself most in 2015 by writing A Mindful Conversation With My Arse. I’m close to my arse, I can’t deny it: but putting our personal ruminations out there in public for all to see was never part of the plan. It led to the offer of a modelling contract with that esteemed publication most famously associated with Kim Kardashian, Posterior Philosophy; but(t), despite sending them my arse’s portfolio as requested, I never heard from them again.

 2. Ye Olde Safe Targets

As usual, some of the most popular rants of the year were about author behaviour on the Internet. The Thin Skin of Self-Publishing was of a mind with 15 Reasons Why I Muted You On Twitter (And Other Rancour) and a little parable set at a cocktail party,  What If Authors Behaved In Real Life Like They Behaved Online?

Each became inexplicably popular, particularly with a few high up in the Vatican, which proclaimed me Patron Demon of the Internet. It also sent me a lovely purple-and-tarmacadam robe, which I now wear on public transport.

Probably The Most Disingenuous Blog Post In The World (With 45% Extra Lies)

As usual there were a few pot shots at the blockbusting end of the book industry, such as EL James Murdered Your Children And Stole Your Kidneys, where I discussed the myriad of stuff EL James is accused of (making sure to throw in a few more accusations myself). Meanwhile, The Seven Deadly Sins Of Bestselling Authors looked at how success is always derided by those who don’t have it.

In a less ranty mood, my favoured fiction genre of the year was Historical. It starred in The Past Is A Foreign Country: Why Historical Fiction Is Surging, as well as How To Know If You’re In A Historical Fiction Novel, which explored (amongst other things) orphans, cutlery, and a dearth of medium-sized towns.

And when I was being in a more helpful frame of mind, topics such as Authors! Your First Chapter Is Killing Your Book and Authors! Your Free Book Is Worthless seemed to strike a chord. In a minor key. With diminished sevenths.

Probably The Most Disingenuous Blog Post In The World (With 45% Extra Lies)

3. Things That Exploded

When all is said and done, my personal highlight of the year was getting Freshly Pressed in August. The holy grail of WordPressery picked up a post written in June about the supposed concentration deficiencies of the Millennial generation – Why Your Attention Span Is A Great Excuse For Someone Else’s Failure. It was a great excuse for smiling at a time when the real world, quite frankly, wasn’t so bloody brilliant, which I touched on in another surprisingly big post: On Waiting Productively, And Why There Isn’t A Word For That.

I thought that was as good as it could get, until November, when the rant I Hate Women’s Fiction And I’ll Tell You Why splattered hits all over the blog like butter on a lobster bib. It blew the Freshly Pressed post out of the water, and even started a few fights, one of which ended up on the front page of every newspaper in the Low Countries.

The Book Title Generators steadily gathered momentum over the year, until their little nest gradually became the consistently most popular destination on this blog. They continue to do the business, and I frequently take them out, stroke them, and blow their noses.

Finally, the blogging year ended on another high, when in the same week the blog reached one hundred, er, million hits, it went on its holidays for a guest post on US Superblogger Anne R. Allen’s site at Christmas. Ten Reasons Why Being A Writer Is Like Being Santa Claus was fun to write, which more than made up for the extremely nasty letter delivered to me on Christmas morning with enough coal for a Siberian winter.

Probably The Laziest Blog Post In The World

4. 2015: A Good Year For Tark And Mara

Let’s face it – Tark and Mara always have a good year – but it’s not everyone that can say they did their bit for the poor by getting revenge on the super-rich and joining their ranks in the process. They also spat venom about that insufferable Spalding woman getting Freshly Pressed, and, literally and finally, broke the Internet by inventing the Post-Bloggerist movement.

*****

So there we have it. 2015 in blog posts, rants, shoutiness, intermittent sentimentality and unexpected milestones.

If you’re new here, you’re very welcome. You’ll be most welcome again, if you should decide to stop by. If you’re an old friend – well, hello you. Thanks for sticking around. You’re my favourite, but you knew that, right?

See you in 2016, lovely people.

10 (Elaborated) Reasons Why Being A Writer Is Like Being Santa Claus

A word of warning to you all, this festive season: henceforth, I am going to be insufferable.

Because I’m only after getting a coveted guest post slot, over on US comic mystery author and SuperBlogger Anne R. Allen’s site today. This is about as good as it gets in blogging. I’m not even going to bother employing the modishly ubiquitous curse of the Internet, the humblebrag, about it. From the moment I was asked to do the guest post, I was fecking delighted, so I was.

10 (Elaborate) Reasons Why Being A Writer Is Like Being Santa Claus

Those of you familiar with this parish might remember a so-called ‘listicle’ I did last year called 10 Reasons Why Being A Writer Is Like Being Santa Claus. But there is now a new and improved, much expanded version, with 55% extra jocularity, over on Anne’s blog today. Hop over and have a look: I hope you get a smile out of it, and in the meantime…

Happy Christmas to you all!