Most UK authors’ annual incomes are well below the minimum wage.
Last week the Guardian reported that novelist Joanna Trollope considers JK Rowling’s use of Twitter to be a threat to literature. Trollope was chatting at a London literary party at the time and it was probably the posh equivalent of pub talk, but what are the real threats to literature?
- work hard to write the best possible book
- are ignored by the publishing industry
- don’t make a living from writing
- continue to write
Book reviews – the buses of publishing – can take a book elsewhere. The preferred destination: discovered, bought, read and enjoyed is clear, although there’s no guarantee any book (however good) will make it.
‘Bussing it’ – catching a bus and staying on wherever it takes you – has its fans such as teenagers with free travel cards, OAPs and even rock chick Chrissie Hynde. It’s more about the journey, the opportunity to travel and discover unexpected places along the way that may, and often do, prove to be more interesting than the final destination.
Independent book blogs are the bussing-it-style trips compared to the straightforward journeys on offer via the book review pages in the mainstream media.
Book blogs, through their willingness to read widely and without prejudice towards self-published works, offer the chance for other voices to be heard and new, possibly more unusual books to be discovered. As Haruki Murakami says, ‘If you only read the books that everyone is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking’.