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Author Archive

Chris Ward

Chris Ward

Chris Ward writes and says things about books and music and films and what have you, even when no one is reading or listening.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.

Judy Blume’s first adult novel in 17 years coming in 2015

Judy Blume is primarily known for her beloved novels for young people but she has also written for adults throughout her long career, most recently 1998’s coming of age tale Summer Sisters. In the 16 years since, Blume has maintained a fairly relaxed work rate – editing a collection of short stories by authors censored in the USA (1999), a fourth entry in her Fudge series of children’s books (2002), a couple of picture books (2007, 2008). Next year, however, she is set to reemerge with a new novel for older readers, one based around a mysterious series of plane crashes that took place in the same New Jersey town over a three month period in the early 1950s.

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Survey reveals industry-wide pay disparity in publishing

Later today (16/12) the House of Commons will vote on a bill brought forward by Labour MP Sarah Champion that would make the need for large companies to reveal the disparities in their workers’ salaries legally binding. If passed, the bill could make for some uncomfortable publicity for publishing firms in particular, with a recent survey carried out by independent careers consultancy Bookcareers.com suggesting industry-wide failures on the gender wage gap and the disparity between entry level and salary average pay.

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Kobo releases figures to shame you into finishing The Goldfinch

Though online activity may offer the illusion of anonymity and impermanence – of a malleable realm where we can throw caution to the Vonnegut and not care how careful we are about who we pretend to be – everything leaves a footprint, as anyone who’s ever requested their tweet archive has no doubt discovered to their chagrin. Now, with the advent of e-readers, you can’t even do a simple thing like lie about having finished Infinite Jest or skipped merrily through Ulysses in under a week without cold digital evidence to contradict your claims: Kobo has released figures illustrating which books downloaded by British readers this year most often went unfinished.

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Hachette partners with Gumroad to sell books through Twitter

For the past few months, e-commerce platform Gumroad has worked in partnership with Twitter to allow users of the social network to buy products without leaving the site. Sellers can embed a ‘buy’ button in tweets, allowing customers to buy directly from them with a single click safe in the knowledge that Twitter now has easy access to their home addresses and credit card details.

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New Bill & Ted story to be published as comic in 2015

Readers of a certain age will likely hold near bottomless affection for the time travelling escapades of San Dimas High School metalheads William S. Preston Esq. and Theodore Logan, as chronicled in the films Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and various lesser spin-offs. Though a third film has long been (and is reputedly still) in the works, a more immediate sequel has been revealed as forthcoming: Bill & Ted are back in Pog comic book form for a six issue run beginning in March 2015, entitled Bill & Ted’s Most Triumphant Return.

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2014 Guardian First Book Award goes to Colin Barrett

Having already won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award earlier this year, Colin Barrett can now add another notch to his trophy cabinet after being presented with the Guardian First Book Award for his debut collection of short stories, Young Skins. The book takes this year’s prize ahead of Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos, Do No Harm by Henry Marsh, The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane and Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan. Barrett joins an illustrious roster of previous winners, including Zadie Smith, Chris Ware and Yiyun Li.

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2014 British Book Design and Production Awards presented

the sick rose

This year’s British Book Design and Production Awards – supported by the the British Printing Industries Federation and, as the name suggests, paying as much attention to the form as the content of nominated books – were awarded last week, with the big winners publishers Thames & Hudson, who took home three awards: Book of the Year and Exhibition Catalogues for Richard Barnett’s compendium of medical illustrations The Sick Rose [pictured above] and Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Education for OKIDO’s What’s Inside?

Judges said of The Sick Rose: ‘this beautifully crafted book held the judges’ attention and provoked our imagination like no other this year.’

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Belle and Sebastian co-founder Stuart David writing YA novels

It takes a lot of effort to be a die-hard Belle and Sebastian fan, what with all the myriad side projects and new endeavours undertaken by band members past and present: soundtracks to imaginary musicals followed five years later by an actual musical, tour diaries, collaborations with beings of pure gravel, excellently titled solo albums, stage shows, not to mention the assorted LPs, EPs and singles that make up the band’s core discography. Now, add a couple more items to the pile for completists: founding member Stuart David is set to release two YA novels.

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Let the YouGov profiler do your market research for you

If you’ve been on Twitter at any point since the weekend, chances are that you’ve come across the YouGov profiler, a jolly little plaything/terrifying cross-section of all the privacies we wilfully surrender that allows users to input the name of ‘any brand, person or thing’ then presents them with a picture of a typical fan of said brand, person or thing courtesy of the titular market research firm. It’s by no means exhaustive (apparently there weren’t enough fans of Yo La Tengo to constitute an appropriate sample size, which is of course just how Yo La Tengo fans like it) but it’s certainly an enjoyable way to pass a few minutes confirming your existing prejudices engaging in some low-level market research. With the profiler’s help, then, BookMachine proudly (?) presents a guide to the demographics you need to pitch to if you want to make it big in publishing [puts feet up on desk, taps out cigar ash].

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