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Comment from the book world in May 2013

May 2013

From minimum wage to a £100,000 advance

27 May 2013

‘She had called my agent and said: "Name a price. I will pay it. I want it off, so there's no auction or anything." I'd only ever earned six pounds an hour, so I thought," What do you do when someone says that?" My agent went back and said to Arzu, "It has to be something where Abi can stop waitressing and write." That was what we agreed on...

‘I also have a US deal and a number of foreign publishers so there is more (money) involved now. That was absolutely mental. I'd had barely earned money, ever.'

Abigail Tarttelin, author of Golden Boy, in the Evening Standard



Dan Brown: 'I'm writing for myself.'

20 May 2013

'I'm writing for myself. I'm writing the book that I want to read and I have come to know that there is a broad spectrum of the population that like to read what I like to read. What I do, I do very intentionally and it takes a lot of time and energy.  And it's funny to me that there are critics who say, "Oh, it's a lazy style." I believe that the purpose of language is to convey an idea and I personally don't like language getting in the way. I don't want to read things where I'm just drowning in the prose. There are times when you read for the beauty of the language, but there are also times when you read to be entertained or to get information. That's how I try to write - as clearly as possible so you don't have to read a sentence twice. All of that is intentional and there are various kinds of devices that I use - very intentionally and very carefully - to create that.'

Dan Brown in the Sunday Times

'The great taxonomy of literature'

13 May 2013

'Video games influence our narrative structures; people are telling stories in the way we never had before. I think people can be snobby about that, but people used to be snobby about the influence of cinema on literature. But if you look at Source Code that movie is essentially a structured video game as you keep reloading and trying again. That type of storytelling is bleeding into books.

I realised when I was starting out that writing humorous crime fiction put me in a small subset of the great taxonomy of literature. There is maybe something more off-the-wall in my style which identifies it as something a bit more leftfield, but I think what I write about and my inspirations are quite mainstream.'

Christopher Bookmyre, author of Bedlam, in the Bookseller

The creative writing bandwagon

6 May 2013

‘While I'm sure that some of the many available writing courses now on offer are worth the time and their fees, I do worry that so many people and companies are looking for ways to profit from the never-ending queues of unpublished writers wanting to be published. It's an ever-hopeful, never-diminishing number, with few ever questioning their own talent, so they are vulnerable, and ripe for exploitation. Lack of expertise in the topic they are teaching does not seem to be a barrier for the tutors. For example, surely someone teaching a course on how to get published should at least be published themselves?

Buyer beware, every time: check the success rate of people who have previously taken the course, check how qualified the tutor is in their subject. Cynicism is helpful here I'd say. I feel like that about the major publisher who charges for a tour of their offices too. Diversification is a smart tool for business, but some of these practices are dangerously close to exploitation.'

Carole Blake of agency Blake Friedmann