Monday, 23 April 2007

If you build it, they will come

I don't know if you've heard about the creation of the funpark Dickens' World as yet - and yes, it's as ghastly as you imagine - but the Guardian blog today has had fun with the idea: check out I particularly like the idea of Kafka's castle and the Alan Bennett World of Adventure. As a parlour game, see how many you can come up with ...

I also read today that Kazuo Ishiguro bought a study guide to one of his own books (see, we authors don't know what we're writing after all) - and ever since, Amazon has been recommending his own books to him!

Finally, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Jenny Colgan has landed a £1m deal to write 2 novels, because she now ranks as a "recognised brand" in the romantic comedy genre. (You may have noticed that authors are increasingly becoming brands.) All credit to her for breaking free from the day job - she was originally an NHS administrator. However, the article on her in Scotland on Sunday goes on to say that 'According to experts, only a small number of authors earn a fortune from their novels' - this is news to us? - and 'there a large number of well-reviewed, high-profile writers living on around £30,000 a year.' Don't know about you, but from my perspective at present £30,000 looks damn fine ... Then again, having watched a programme last night about city traders and their bonuses and the Maseratis and £5m crash pads in London they buy with them, and knowing how many hours of hard graft go into writing a book, £30,000 is actually sod all.

Anyway, back to the article - Jenny Colgan's agent says the deal is a reflection of Colgan's 'potential to make huge sales at a time when readers were staying loyal to well-known writers. ... It reflects what's happening in publishing now. Books are achieving either massive or miniman sales. Supermarkets are fuelling the huge sales. The top 50 titles in the UK are selling 40% more than they did five years ago. And titles at positions 51 to 200 are selling 40% less than five years ago.'

Laugh. Cry. You choose.

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