“If you want to be successful in this business, don’t be different. Be like someone else.” That’s how Phil Rickman, author of the popular novels, opened his talk at the Church Stretton Arts Festival last week. And it’s a perfect reminder of how publishers (particularly those publishing fiction) want more of the same. Ideally, they want more bestsellers. (Don’t we all?) “Publishers want something … they don’t really want something different. They want something that is guaranteed to sell.”
The London Book Fair is the trade show for publishers, agents and booksellers. Now in its 47th year, anyone in the book business anywhere around the world finds themselves heading for London in April. During the three-day event at London’s Olympia, held this year between 10th and 12th April, over 25,000 people connected with the publishing industry will pass through its doors. The question is: should you be going? Is there a business-case for writers making the trip?
Last Saturday, archaeologist and historian (and author and TV presenter) Dr Alex Langlands, came to my home town and spoke about his new book . It’s his own view about what craft means, and how the word has come to represent what it does today. And he also asks the question, does it still mean what it originally meant when the word was first used in Old English?