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Comment from the book world in January 2006

January 2006

'A hard slog' for a small publisher

30 January 2006

'It's been a hard slog - the first 10 years were much more difficult as we established credibility and a backlist. You always think you're just about to turn the corner but it takes longer than you'd think, a bit like a petrol tanker. It does help if you have a few stokes of luck. You can have a bestseller after a year or 50 years - but by then it's too late.'

Pete Ayrton of Serpent's Tail on setting up a small publishing house, in the Bookseller

'From "competitive" to "ludicrous" pricing'

23 January 2006

'I think book retailing passed a tipping point this Christmas, from 'competitive' to 'ludicrous' pricing. That tipping point was when bestsellers were sold at less than half price. Sweet David Baldacci - how's that going to help book retailing? It looks like we don't value what we're selling and makes it appear we're ripping people off when we sell a book at full price. Book retailing must feel it's made a bit of an arse of itself at an office Christmas party: it can't quite remember what it did, there was a lot of drink, things got a bit messy and maybe it owes someone an apology. Not sure who though. Maybe another lap of the track and we'll have got it all out of our system. Happy New Year.'

Nigel Jones of Ottakar's in Publishing News

'This private secret place'

16 January 2006

'This private secret space, this hidden empire that opens out between the book and yourself, is precious. In an age when there are more distractions and ways of filling time - or wasting time - than human beings have ever had before, this rich, consoling, inspiring, liberating solitude is more valuable than ever. We must lead our children and show them the way.'

Philip Pullman


9 January 2006

Stories go back as far as humankind, for the good reason that the world is incomprehensible without them. By establishing relationships between things, a story permits meaning and memory. Plain lists are notoriously hard to remember: stories and theories act like mnemonics, allowing elements to be strung together and interrogated. Uniting emotion and intellect, stories can recount a complex technological narrative with breathtaking economy.'

Simon Caulkin, writing in the Observer about Storytelling: Branding in Practice by Yakaboylou, Fog and Budtz

'There's no short cut'

2 January 2006

'If you want to write you have to put in the hours. There's no short cut... It never ceases to amaze me how many writers insist on writing stuff they don't have a hope in hell of getting published. Look at what's selling in the bookstores and supermarkets.

Don't think that you can just write one book either. Publishers often want a novel a year from their authors - in the same style and genre. This is how you build your readership. Many people seem to want to be writers without having a real idea of what it entails.'

Carole Matthews, author of The Sweetest Taboo, in Writers' ForumBritish writers' magazine which is highly recommended for all writers. It features wide range of news and articles which help writers to improve their work and get published: