From last resort to new career – how I self-published and how it’s changed my outlook as a writer: speech for the Society of Young Publishers, Oxford

This week I was invited to give a talk on my self-publishing adventures to the Society of Young Publishers in Oxford. Inevitably they also got a few opinions (at the end) on how I now see my role as a writer  :)  

I’ve since had requests to publish it here, so…. here goes.

I wasn’t new to publishing when I self-published. More than two decades ago my first job was in the editorial office of a small publisher where I handled every kind of non-fiction title – books, directories, partworks, magazines, a newspaper – and even, once, a novel. From there I moved to magazine editing. In parallel I developed a career as a writer – I’ve ghosted 11 novels and 8 of them have been bestsellers. I also mentor other writers – originally for a literary consultancy and now freelance.

I’m fully armed with literary agents – two of them, actually. In spite of this, I ended up self-publishing. Here’s the story.

I self-publish a writing book

Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books And How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence was the book I published first. I wrote it as a natural extension of the writing blog I’d just started. It’s my writing process distilled into 10 steps – how to take an idea, flesh it out, draft it and revise it thoroughly. It’s 40,000 words, which proved too dinky for the market. But that was deliberate. I knew from the online community that writers wanted a book that wouldn’t snaffle their precious writing time but told them only what they needed.

No one would publish it, so I thought it had better not sit around. I set it up on Lulu – the most straightforward print platform at the time – and told my blog and Twitter followers. I also gave away free PDFs. This was three years ago, so the giveaway packed a punch. NYN got good reviews, sold about 20 print copies a month and became quite widely known – at any rate, strangers would email me telling me how useful it was.

So NYN ticked over on Lulu as a nice accessory to my blog, but I still wanted a deal for my fiction. It wasn’t respectable to self-publish fiction – especially if you’d secured an agent.

I am forced into the Kindle age

Most people self-pub with ebooks first, especially now. I didn’t. Three years ago when I brought out NYN I’d never seen an ebook. I had a house full of print. I’d worked with print and I wasn’t convinced that making an ebook was worth the fuss.

No doubt this reasoning has been repeated in publishers up and down the land.

I was even getting requests for a Kindle NYN but it took a catastrophe to boot me over. One day Lulu deleted a bunch of Amazon listings and then bickered with Amazon – and its authors – about whose fault this was. My book, which was generating a buzz, vanished from sale for several weeks – and so did my reviews. The links from bloggers who’d written about it went to dead ends.

Clearly I had to find out about sales avenues, instead of just being a writer. I read my most trusted bloggers, filled a few information gaps, formatted NYN and wrote a how-I-did-it post for my readers.

Woot, I’d launched an ebook. I say launch, but that ‘how-to’ post, a Facebook event and a few tweets was the only launch I did.

Launch. How do you launch?

Again, I was thinking with my writer head. I had no idea how books should be introduced to the market. When I worked for the small publisher, the marketing manager handled it. When ghostwriting, I was never the focus – the celebrity authors had an army organising bus stop posters and appearances on Breakfast TV.

But, probably only by the grace of bloggers, my tiny launch sold five times as many copies in one month as I’d sold in print. There must have been quite a few people waiting for a Kindle NYN because it spent a long time in the Kindle top 10 for books on writing and it’s still in the top 50.

Thank goodness I eventually listened to my readers. (It’s now also on Kobo and Smashwords.)

I revamped the print edition and put it on Amazon’s CreateSpace (because I’d got fed up of middlemen). NYN immediately got offered on a 4 for the price of 3 deal and is always on a bundle deal of some sort. Now it’s catching up with e-sales.

Does blogging and social media sell books? Yes, but I did it by accident

So, I had a book out but my goodness I needed to learn more about promotion. Off to my bloggers again. It turned out my blog got top marks for being a good platform -

  • I stuck to a subject I could blog about until the end of the world
  • I could demonstrate with my background that I knew what I was talking about
  • my posts were useful and accessible
  • I was happy to answer commenters and develop posts into a conversation.

All of this I did entirely by accident. The tight focus on writing came from my background in magazines – where you give readers useful advice and don’t dilute your value with off-topic material. The rest happened because I was having fun.

I was relieved to find I didn’t have to do a hard sell – because I’d seen some pretty grotesque campaigns around Twitter and Facebook.

As with blogging, social media marketing seems to work by a gentlemanly process of relationships – people get to know you, enjoy your company in an interview or a blog post. It’s the way books have always sold on in traditional publishing – by generating curiosity so that one day the reader stops and picks up the book. It is, to quote one of my guru bloggers Joanna Penn, hand-selling on a global scale.

The unthinkable – I self-publish my novel

By mid-2011, NYN was doing well. My agent had given up trying to sell my own novel. The typical feedback was: ‘we really enjoyed it but it’s too unconventional’.

Meanwhile, in traditional publishing, a number of novelists were daring the unthinkable – they were going indie. They were writing articles explaining why, many describing exactly my predicament – too unusual for the market.

I decided it was time to publish My Memories of a Future Life. I put it through a rigorous round of edits and got an editor friend to scourge it as well, and it was ready to go.

The promotion problem

Publishing my novel was very liberating, but how would I launch it? People who wanted writing advice wouldn’t necessarily like my fiction. I couldn’t change my blog into a hybrid of writing advice and marketing for my novel – that would annoy the readership I’d built up.

I told my readers what I was doing, created another blog for the novel and a breakaway twitter ID dedicated to the kind of fiction and ideas that interest me.

That took care of its online home, but where should I promote it? So far I’d learned how to sell a book that was helpful to people – which was easy and unembarrassing. But a novel isn’t helpful and nobody needs it. All I could do was try to drum up curiosity. But where?

All the advice I’d found was about marketing genre fiction – where you create a buzz on forums, Goodreads groups and books blogs. But my novel is contemporary fiction with literary sensibilities. Its tag line is ‘what if your life was somebody’s past’, so it seems to be a reincarnation story, but is no more about reincarnation than We Need To Talk About Kevin is about a crime. Publishers said it was too much like a thriller for literary readers and too psychological and poetic for thriller readers. And the narrator isn’t regressing to a past life, but looking to an incarnation in the future – so that might add a label of speculative fiction – or not, depending on your take on the story.

I began to see why publishers passed in favour of something easier.

(You might be wondering if such a duck-billed platypus of a novel would ever work, but it’s got a respectable clutch of high-starred reviews, none of them paid for and none of them calling in favours.)

Some writers hire publicists but that wasn’t an option for me:

  • I wouldn’t know how to assess whether a publicist was any good
  • I didn’t know anyone else who’d marketed an equivalent book so couldn’t use them as a template or find suitable publicists through them
  • I didn’t have any budget anyway.

What I did – the episodes

I weighed up my novel’s biggest asset – a thought-provoking distinctive idea – split the book into four parts and released it as a Kindle serial over four weeks. Then I followed with the complete novel on Kindle and in print.

I called each instalment an ‘episode’ to echo the freshness of serials like Lost and also to suggest how to approach it – as a modern, multi-level thought-provoking story.

This meant I was handling an exhausting 4 launches instead of one – but it created an event, and people around Twitter, blogs and Facebook helped to build the anticipation – and even wrote reviews for the individual episodes.

My lovely readers

Here I found I’d underestimated my lovely followers – they were curious to see, at long last, the kind of novel I’d written. Also, subscriptions to my blog doubled – suggesting I’d passed some kind of test. Perhaps I’d proved, after all this talk, that I also walked the walk.

I was careful never to abuse this generosity. I wrote posts about the novel on my main blog only if they were useful to writers. For instance, I discovered that splitting the novel in four was an excellent way to test the story structure. I also wrote about how to produce a print edition  and another post about how to write back cover copy – with examples of my laughably rotten versions.

Another accident – the novel’s blog gets a new life

Once the releases were out, I was going to leave the novel’s blog as a static site. Then I wrote a post called The Undercover Soundtrack – about how I used music as inspiration to create characters and crucial story developments. It fitted nicely as the novel is about a musician.

I suddenly thought I’d like other authors to tackle this, rather like Desert Island Discs, so I turned it into a series. It’s building a following from readers who like the concept and it also allows me to showcase other authors – karmic payback for all the advice and support they’ve given me.

I now get emails from publishers and publicists asking if their authors can take part – which is nice for a site that started as a way to launch a self-published novel (and by the way, you’re welcome to email me too). The boundaries are blurring.

My changed outlook

So I became a self-publisher by necessity. It wasn’t initially as a positive choice, just the only way to get my work to an audience who were increasingly curious about it. But my experiences and the recent shifts in the industry have changed the way I think about my role as a writer.

In my conventional publishing experiences, the author is a cog and a lot of decisions are left to others: blurbs, covers, style questions – sometimes even editorial direction. The book becomes the ‘property’ of the publishing team. Now, though, I’m used to being in charge.

Message 1 for publishers – the new breed of author

The genie’s out of the bottle. Authors are learning what’s possible and that they can have far more control. And that’s before we even think about royalties, especially with ebooks.

But before you worry this will become a strident call to arms, let me say this – the ‘empowerment’ of writers works both ways. Level-headed, professional authors are also learning what we want help with.

To take me as an example: I’m writing NYN 2 and I’ll self-publish because I have the resources to do a good job and to find readers. (Indeed I’ve had 5 small-press offers to republish book 1, but I didn’t need editorial services and they didn’t have a wider reach into relevant markets.) So I can write, produce and sell books on writing.

But that’s non-fiction.

With my fiction, I can take editorial charge, I can find a compatible developmental editor – but I’d be just as happy to build a relationship with an editor in a publishing house. Also, I need help to find an audience. My novel does pick up new fans, but I have to work non-stop to get it to new readers and I’m doing it very inefficiently because I’m guessing. And I certainly can’t get the notice of influential reviewers.

Writers will weigh up these options, and savvy publishers could too. Some writers can lead the process and produce top-notch books. Others will gladly leave many jobs to the publisher. For every writer that equation will be different. Probably for every book it will be different.

To take an example – my husband, Dave Morris, recently had a critically acclaimed hit with an interactive app of Frankenstein. He’s a game designer as well as a writer and could have programmed the app himself and put it in the app store, but he preferred to partner with a publisher. He found a home for it with Profile Books – which gave Frankenstein a prestigious launch.

Message 2 for publishers – don’t throw away your competitive advantage

One of the problems is that marketing strategies are steering editorial decisions. I know Big Six editors who don’t read submissions from unknowns and instead trawl the indie bestsellers on Amazon. My own agent tells me he’s had plenty of phenomenal novels from first-time writers that reached the editorial board and were rejected because they didn’t fit with what sells.

Obviously there’s no simple answer, but this pressure is squeezing out the original, unusual books written by people who dared to be different, the game-changing novels that will be the classics of the future.

This is bad for our art form. It’s bad for everyone who likes a good read. It’s ghettoising our next generation of original writers, who 10 years ago would have had a chance to build a career.

It’s especially worrying when you consider that a lot of self-publishing bestsellers are not the most original work but derived from what’s already successful. So if publishers copy the copies, where does everyone end up?

Publishers need to take a longer-term view. They need to have confidence in innovation.

Innovation is where the big hits arise. Harry Potter and Twilight weren’t like anything that was already successful. The competitive advantage of publishers is their experienced editors who can take a nurturing view.

There can’t be a publisher – or indeed an agent – who doesn’t have a stack of outstanding manuscripts they couldn’t get commercial backing for. I’ve suggested before that agents should help them self-publish under a special imprint, but it’s not what they’re geared up for. But publishers are.

Publishers should start ‘Discovery’ imprints on print-on-demand and ebook, perhaps produced as a flexible partnership with the author but released under the publisher’s banner. They should showcase a handful of titles every few months that they passionately believe in.  The major reviewers would take notice, because the titles would come with the seal of approval of an editorial department. Those authors are going to self-publish anyway, so why not get involved?

This partnership approach is where the real publishing industry of the future will be formed.

Thanks for the umbrellas pic Philip Morton, the author in the arch pic marinalwang, the megaphone pic Neate photos, the launch pic beerandnoodles, the Oxford pic GlobeTrotteur

The session ended with Q&A … so who wants to start…?

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  1. #1 by gryphonboy on August 30, 2012 - 1:31 pm

    Great stuff. I hope your audience appreciated it :-)

    • #2 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 1:35 pm

      There was quite a bit of nodding and note-taking, so I think I got away with it…

  2. #3 by mgm75 on August 30, 2012 - 1:48 pm

    Excellent post. Will have to bookmark this for next year when I get to edit my own novel for the final time with a view to publishing.

    • #4 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 7:40 pm

      Thank you very much! There’s lots of stuff in my archives about editing and publishing, so dig around. And if you have specific questions, do email me – the chances are someone else wants to know the same thing and if I post about it it will help everyone.

      • #5 by mgm75 on August 31, 2012 - 3:48 pm

        Will do, thanks!

  3. #6 by Susan Schreyer on August 30, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    I think your experiences are something all of us can relate to, and your assessment of what indie authors need accurate. The whole landscape has changed remarkably in the past couple of years, and your suggestions for future goals look like a logical progression — if good sense prevails (which, of course, it may not).

    As an aside, I adore your NYN. I’m currently working on my fifth novel and find the steps you’ve outlined just the thing for getting my left brain and right brain to work together for a change! Many thanks for your clarity and brevity.

    Also, thoroughly enjoyed Memories of My Future Self. Beautifully written and enthralling.

    • #7 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 7:43 pm

      Hi Susan! I think my points seem sensible to indie writers – it remains to be seen how they’ll be taken by others. At the meeting there seemed to be some thoughtful, nodding faces, but finance will always win out. All we can do is remind them of options. It seems that the industry is increasingly trying to learn from ordinary bods like us.
      And wow, thanks for the double endorsement. Feedback from happy or entertained readers makes everything worthwhile.

  4. #8 by Stacy Green on August 30, 2012 - 2:13 pm

    This is a great post, Roz. I do think it’s important for the Big 6 to change their ways and to stop letting the marketing heads make editorial decisions. And I think they will, at some point. I just don’t know if it will be too little, too late. I do love that editors and agents are scrolling the indie lists for bestsellers – indies deserve more credit for quality than they receive.

    Great post!

    • #9 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 7:46 pm

      Hi Stacy! It won’t happen overnight, but all we can do is keep persuasively making the point. On one side of the industry are the money people, but on the other side are a lot of book lovers.
      And yes,you’re right that indies are capable of professional quality – something that should be said at every opportunity. What’s interesting is that the publishing houses are more ready to acknowledge it out loud now.
      BTW, I’m looking forward to your Undercover Soundtrack to accompany your launch! Not long now…

  5. #10 by awriterofhistory on August 30, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    As others have said, a great post, Roz. Your journey is both fascinating and encouraging. Not long ago I received a comment from an editor saying that my novel “did not have the alchemy of favourite fiction” – whatever that means. I’ve had more than twenty people read it, everyone says things like ‘can’t put it down’ or ‘OMG what a great story’. My current conclusion is that publishers are having a terrible time figuring out what sells. Your story proves the point.

    • #11 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 7:50 pm

      ‘Did not have the alchemy of favourite fiction?’ That’s got to be the most ridiculous non-statement. If I got a rejection like that I’d march up and down repeating it in disbelief.
      As you say, no one knows what sells. But they never have. We are living in interesting times. Do you plan on self-publishing?

  6. #12 by Pamela DuMond on August 30, 2012 - 5:45 pm

    Enjoyed your post, Roz. Thanks!

  7. #14 by Dennis Hamley on August 30, 2012 - 6:05 pm

    Roz, am I to understand that youf talk to the Oxford Yound Pubs is OVER? I was looking forward nto Septemeber 20. Did I get it wrong? Please donlt tell me I misread it. Oh rats, as they say

    • #15 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 7:52 pm

      Dennis, I’m afraid so. It was Aug 28th. They didn’t advertise it on their website. Hence the glorious fully-illustrated version here. Sorry I missed you!

  8. #16 by Daniel R. Marvello on August 30, 2012 - 9:17 pm

    Great stuff in there, Roz. Being a regular visitor, I knew a lot of that story, but it was fascinating to get the full overview as well as your conclusions upon looking back.

    I’m afraid that big publishers are going to have a tough time in the new market. Most of them are large corporations with fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. Unless the shareholders, through the Board of Directors, are willing to make a policy of speculating on unproven concepts, the executives are legally responsible to make decisions based purely upon profitability. I don’t think anyone can make the case that taking chances with original works that are unproven in the market is a sound investment of scarce resources. That sounds like a good way to get yourself thrown out of your cushy office.

    However, I think the vision you have for what publishers could do may come to pass yet. When the big publishers explode, their scattered remains may coalesce into smaller, more agile publishers who understand how to operate in a “long tail” market. Not all authors want to take on the responsibilities of publishing their own books. Many would rather stick to the writing and have a publishing partner who manages the business end of things. I already see a few small operations that are going in that direction, and I wish them luck. I believe vertical publishers will replace mass-market publishers and become the new publishing partner that many authors crave.

    But I’m a dreamer.

    • #17 by dirtywhitecandy on August 30, 2012 - 9:40 pm

      Hi Daniel! I wondered how much to put of my ‘origin story’ as I knew some old-timers would be muttering the words as they read them. It was quite interesting for me to write it as it put some parts into perspective – especially the haphazard business of learning about an industry by trial and error!

      Your financial arguments make sense, of course. But someone’s got to talk about ideas like this. Also, as publishers shed staff, some of them will start up new ventures. With luck, they’ll be allowed to invent their own rules.

      And I don’t think it ever does any harm to emphasise the amount of talent that is going undiscovered :)

    • #18 by Daniel R. Marvello on August 30, 2012 - 9:52 pm

      You won’t get any argument from me regarding undiscovered talent. Emphasize away! The rise of self publishing has certainly not solved that problem. Obscurity is still a bane to all of us, regardless of how talented we may be.

      The shedding of staff and start of new ventures you mention are exactly the kind of “coalescing” I was talking about. I think the publisher “explosion” has already started, but it is still happening in slow motion.

  9. #19 by Joanne Phillips on August 31, 2012 - 12:28 pm

    I totally agree that a partnership publishing model will be the way of the future. Great post, and I wish I’d been there to listen in person. And not only are publishers failing to find new writers because they’re trying to predict what will sell, they’re also ditching existing authors with good track records if their books don’t fit into their genre categories. Look at Linda Gillard, an amazing author, whose third novel House of Silence was turned down by tons of editors (including her own) because it would be ‘hard to market’. Since Linda has gone indie, she’s continued to build a great following – and she certainly didn’t find House of Silence hard to sell. Meanwhile, her former publisher hold on to the electronic rights of her previous, award-winning novel, making money off the back of her indie success.

    • #20 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on August 31, 2012 - 1:23 pm

      Joanne – Linda’s a brilliant example. She continues to produce quality fiction using her own judgement and resources, and has gone from strength to strength since she leaped over the wall. I didn’t know her publisher was epublishing her previous work – that’s an interesting inversion. I’ve persuaded her to write an Undercover Soundtrack post for me, so stay tuned and watch out for her on the Red Blog in the next couple of weeks.
      But I could strangle some of the publishers I meet. Just last night I was talking to one who was actually complaining about the indie books he was having to read because they were topping the Amazon bestsellers, and he didn’t think they were much good. I said to him: ‘why don’t you look for genuinely well reviewed books and see if there’s someone of quality you could get behind?’ (I didn’t mean myself, BTW – he’s looking for fantasy.) But he had no answer.

    • #21 by Daniel R. Marvello on August 31, 2012 - 1:36 pm

      [Raises hand sheepishly] I write fantasy.
      ;-)

  10. #23 by Jonathan Moore on August 31, 2012 - 3:52 pm

    Hi Roz,
    Do forum regulars not object to authors turning up on their favourite haunts to flog books that haven’t been taken up by a publisher? I’m not saying they ought to, just I’d expect them to.

    I agree that traditional publishers will be less significant as book shops are replaced by online sales, so I can see myself self publishing when I eventually get my WIP sorted (still realising things that need to change in the story), I can see myself making it as accessible as possible to people on Amazon, but the main way I stumble on things is the “people who bought this also bought” feature, and until some people also but my book I can’t see how it can be visible.

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    • #24 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on August 31, 2012 - 7:13 pm

      Hi John – visibility is the main problem. If a tree falls over in a wood and nobody tweets about it…. etc etc… I was just listening to a podcast where a bestselling indie author said the secret of selling books is to write lots of good ones and then wait for people to discover them and tell their friends about them. In other words, time and patience. And you try to help the gossip part of the equation along as much as you can.
      Being on the Amazon recommendations is a definite bonus – and that’s how I do a lot of my shopping too. I search for a particular kind of book, then see what else is recommended.

  11. #25 by Jami Gold on August 31, 2012 - 5:40 pm

    Great post, Roz! I’ve had a lot of similar thoughts as those you listed in your concluding paragraphs. I wrote about the “new publishing paradigm” after hearing Stephanie Laurens’s keynote speech at RWA.

    As you said, I think there are a lot of things publishers can do to become better partners for authors and how all middlemen need to add value to justify their cut. (http://jamigold.com/2012/08/the-new-publishing-paradigm-what-value-do-publishers-add/)

    Now that authors *can* arrange things on their own, publishers have to reexamine their role in offering “services” to their new customers: authors.

    • #26 by rozmorris @dirtywhitecandy on August 31, 2012 - 7:17 pm

      Hi Jami – nice post there. Good to see this kind of model being discussed widely – I was just listening to a Litopia podcast where this was being discussed. I’ve been stomped on most ungraciously in the past by publishers, and so have many other authors I know. But if handled properly, the relationship should be very creative.

      • #27 by Jami Gold on August 31, 2012 - 9:38 pm

        That’s a shame about how you’ve been treated. A fair number of people at RWA thought Stephanie Laurens was being adversarial with her speech as well. Some thought she was being rude to her publishers (who were present) to even bring up the fact that she didn’t NEED them anymore.

        I didn’t take it that way at all. I thought it was more about education and empowerment. Just because authors might feel more empowered now doesn’t mean the relationship has to be combative. True partnerships can be a win-win.

  12. #28 by Suzanne Purewal on August 31, 2012 - 6:41 pm

    Very insightful. And I do hope that the publishing industry evolves into the partnership concept you described. It’s a win-win for everyone – the publishing company, the author, and most importantly, the readers who will be exposed to a wider variety and availability of material.

  13. #30 by Gloria Alden on September 1, 2012 - 12:12 am

    As soon as my graphic artist granddaughter gets my cover done, and I get up the nerve to take the plunge into self-publishing, that’s what I’m going to do. I recently finished my third book in my series and have lots of favorable comments by beta readers. That’s why I enjoyed your blog. It makes me that much more sure my decision is the right one.

    • #31 by dirtywhitecandy on September 1, 2012 - 6:43 pm

      Glad to have given you the courage, Gloria – and best of luck. There’s quite a bit of stuff here about self-publishing if you need advice. And I’m happy to write posts based on questions if you’ve got a burning dilemma.

  14. #32 by acflory on September 1, 2012 - 12:56 am

    Great post Roz! I especially like your vision for the future. In the software industry there are venture capitalists who specialize in funding what are called ‘incubators’. Developers with new, innovative ideas are nurtured in the hope that at least some of these ideas will take off in the future.

    The partnership you envisage between publishers and writers feels very similar but will only work if the goal of publishers is to nurture innovation. If the goal is to make money then the same old mistakes will be made. I’d say publishers have to learn how to nurture without attempting to drive the process.

    • #33 by dirtywhitecandy on September 1, 2012 - 6:45 pm

      ‘Incubators’… I didn’t know that. And yes,you’re quite right about publishers and their goals. I think it isn’t easy for them at the moment, but it would be nice if the industry thought more about readers and less about booksellers. Even though that might seem like pie in the sky, we need to remind them.

      • #34 by acflory on September 2, 2012 - 1:55 am

        Corporations are like people – they won’t change until they have to and again like people the changes can be very traumatic. I suspect that the Big Six are going to go the way of IBM and even Microsoft. They’ll still be around but small, hungry publishers will be the ones galloping off into the new directions epublishing has opened up.

        Just by the by I read recently that Apple has overtaken Microsoft in terms of market share etc. Not bad for a company that was almost bankrupt 13 years ago.

  15. #35 by acflory on September 1, 2012 - 1:10 am

    p.s. I just read the comment by Jonathon Moore about ‘readers who bought this also bought…’ and a little light bulb went off in my head. I very rarely even look at that feature but I often follow up on recommendations by indie authors I admire. Perhaps what we need [as readers] is a second feature that showcases ‘What your favourite author is reading’? I know I’d find that a huge help in choosing new books to read.

    • #36 by dirtywhitecandy on September 1, 2012 - 6:51 pm

      I look at that all the time!
      As for knowing what authors are reading… most of the authors I know are reading stuff that isn’t representative of their true reading tastes because it’s research. Maybe for the style, maybe for the information, maybe for the treatment of a subject, maybe to see how a very different author might have handled a distinctive kind of character or narrative approach. It’s a magpie style of reading, for the purposes of collecting rather than doing honour to the book in its entirety – and probably only makes sense to the writer themselves.

      • #37 by acflory on September 2, 2012 - 1:57 am

        lol – that’s a shame. I guess I’m still very firmly in the camp of Readers rather than Writers then. :D

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