Amazon have been accused of gaming the system – or perhaps the algorithm – in favour of books published by their own imprints. But are they really as bad as we fear? I know they’re huge. I know they’re watching us. But how scared should we be? And is there ever a case for a benevolent dictator?
Amazon’s algorithms don’t like the concept of General Fiction. If books are being sold more on the basis of genre than content, is content changing to suit genre fads? I think so. And if you’ve ever read a book which promised something it didn’t deliver, or seemed like two different plots or styles clumsily slapped together, you might think so, too.
Historical fiction can be a refuge for people exhausted by modern problems or fearful for the future. A panacea for all today’s ills. Nobody is more reassuring than the hero of a historical fiction novel – the man who has the answers to everything whilst somehow also understanding the consequences of his actions.
But what would it be like to live with a historical fiction hero? Would it make life simpler? Or might dead pigeons and his fear of toasters make it a generation gap too far?
We’re told that by far the best training for writers is reading. But what happens when what you’re reading is being a big bully? Tempting you with sweet nothings? Calling you names? Interfering with your confidence and ability to write? I have a conversation with an unbearably smug book to explore the concept, and discover something nasty.
Cookery books are always popular, so I’m finally jumping on the foodie blogger bandwagon with my own recipe. In other news, the numbers behind book sales can be a lovely thing, but only if used for good. Unfortunately this information is currently being used for evil, which means I’m about to get ranty.
No matter how good a Grip-Lit book is, there are only so many psychological thrills we can stomach in a row. With the help of some tenuous and downright cheesy food metaphors, this week I’m asking you: what’s for dessert? What do you, the reader, want to read next? Shouldn’t we, the actual consumers have a say?