It snowed a lot in Ireland this week, and nobody could talk about anything else. It’s very difficult to argue about snow, and a major weather event tends to bring people together. Thankfully, though, there’s always somebody online having a book-related brawl, just in case we’re ever in danger of getting too complacent about humanity.
In January I shocked the world by reviewing the Year In Books 2017 before any of it had already happened. I am now reviewing my review in an even more reflective piece which is not to be mistaken for the kind of end-of-year filler posts one sees around this time where bloggers go over what they already said because they’re too drunk to provide new content. Merry Christmas!
It is a little-known fact that the old trope of a piano falling on someone’s head was inspired by every Irish person ever who felt proud of themselves for even five minutes. In this post I deal with misplaced pride, indie publishing scams, bogus bestsellers, my difficult childhood, and why if you want to be original, you should never read anything written by anyone else. Ever.
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.
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?
There are certain classic novels which we all know, because they’re still widely read today. But what would they look like if they were being published for the first time this year? Would Jane Eyre fit the Domestic Noir genre profile? Would the numerous plot strands of Bleak House be dumbed down? Who would supply the perfect cover quote for Robinson Crusoe? And who would dare to pigeon hole Ulysses? I would, that’s who.
When customers want things, they want things now. They don’t want to wait for things to be manufactured or delivered or tested or marketed. If the fashion industry is now managing to get from catwalk to customer in six weeks, why does it take a year for a book which has already been written to get on the market? Also, naked men. Honest.