Author Archive

Laura Summers

Laura Summers

Laura co-founded BookMachine and is Head of Marketing at YUDU Media. She is into digital marketing, social media and EdTech. You'll find her tweeting @laurasummersnow
The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree wins Costa Book of the Year 2015: Frances Hardinge interview

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree is winner of the Costa Book of Year 2015 award. Here Laura Summers interviews Frances on the book and being a writer.

Laura Summers

Colouring-in books: not the novel idea now

Returning from the Christmas holidays it seemed as if the whole of twitter and his dog had a shiny new adult colouring-in book except for me. With the help of Huck & Pucker, we quickly put that right, and by 5th January, there I was: sat on my sofa on a Friday night colouring away in ‘Keep Calm and Colour for Mums’ – a hobby which will apparently help relaxation, combat stress and improve concentration.

It’s not just the twitterati who were gifted these therapeutic books, the adult colouring book craze has swept across the world. Toronto charity Story Planet charge customers $10 to colour, chat, and mingle in their shop for an evening. The events are selling out fast.

Even IKEA has jumped on the bandwagon. You can now colour-in minimalist Swedish furniture from the comfort of your sofa. The images include everything from kitchenware to sofas, from potted plants to light fixtures. For those of you who find DIY quite stressful, this might be the perfect antidote after an afternoon of wedging screws into holes that don’t seem quite big enough.

Publishers and booksellers have benefited from the craze, with demand driving up book sales by 2% at WHSmith this Christmas for the first time in over 12 years. Business isn’t limited to the physical book space, with Touch Press releasing a colouring-in app from author Millie Marotta, just two weeks ago. There are even young bloggers reviewing colouring-in books, in order to raise awareness of mental illness.

Despite all of this, some question the supposed stress relieving qualities of colouring-in books. In Canada, a recent clinical study run over the course of three days, found that participants’ stress levels actually increased by 40 per cent while they were colouring. Levels of adrenaline, cortisol and noreprinephrine, the three major stress hormones, increased during the study.

Dr. Renne Lynch, the leading researcher for the study, said that the stress increases she saw in the participants of the study were unhealthy. “When the body releases these hormones, it can be harmful, especially when you’re trying to relax”.

Another study, led by Newcastle University, showed quite the opposite. It found that art therapy has greater benefits than puzzles and exercises when it comes to improving memory function. Engaging the brain in new and creative ways may be the key to a sharper ‘younger’ mind. With this in mind, Orion has published: ‘Draw your way to a younger brain’. It contains 30 intricate line drawings of safari animals, with space on the opposite page for copying. On completion, there’s even the opportunity to colour them in.

Dr. Who fans will know that there’s no full series this year – there is a colouring-in book though, and a Doctor Who-themed dot-to-dot book. Not quite the novel experience fans are accustomed to. Is the colouring-in book here to stay? The verdict remains unclear.

ali muirden audio books

On audio books and their future: Ali Muirden interview

Ali Muirden divides her time between running her own digital publishing company, Creative Content and working on a freelance and consultancy basis for her publishing clients, specialising in audio producing/directing, publishing and also casting audio book projects on their behalf. She is a multi Audie Award winning and Grammy nominated audio book producer and director. Here BookMachine’s Laura Summers interviews her.
Fake Reviewers

Refugee libraries in Calais and beyond

There is a common misconception that refugee camps are temporary structures, built to house a population consistently on the move. The truth of the matter is, however, that these structures can remain in place for a long time and develop a life of their own.

Just like any other town, long-term refugee camps require supplies and structures to help their inhabitants learn and develop. The ability to access books and learning materials are crucial to this, and it’s often done through libraries.

Publishing Scotland launches a £25k Translation Fund

Publishing Scotland is launching a new Translation Fund, on behalf of Creative Scotland. Designed to encourage international publishers to translate works by Scottish writers, the fund will be launched this evening at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The purpose of the fund is to support publishers based outside the United Kingdom to buy rights from Scottish and UK publishers and agents by offering assistance with the cost of translation of Scottish writers. The funding will be received in the form of a grant.


Business Administrator [JOB POSTING]

Book Industry Communication Ltd is recruiting for a part-time Business Administrator on a permanent basis to start work with us ASAP.

Job Title: Business Administrator
Reports to: BIC’s Business Manager
Location: London, UK
Term: Part-time, permanent

Are you looking for a part-time job within the book industry on a permanent basis? If so, this job could be for you.

BIC is recruiting for a Business Administrator to assist the Business Manager in all areas of administration (including office management) that is associated with the running of BIC.

The position will be for 12 hours per week (3 hours per day, 4 days per week – preferably from 1-4pm).

For more information about this job and what it involves, please read the full job profile or visit our website: BIC’s Employment Page.

Interested? Apply with a CV and covering letter to Alaina-Marie Bassett:

Please note: all applications must be received by Friday 28th August 2015.

Junior Designer

Junior Designer [JOB POSTING]

Do you have a passion for good book design and a meticulous eye for detail?

Do you have never-ending ideas and a host of design solutions up your sleeve?

Do you see text as more than just grey matter?

If so, this could be the job for you. Quintessence Editions, part of the Quarto Group, is seeking a talented junior designer to join the young and lively team that produces the highly successful 1001 … Before You Die series and the critically acclaimed … Whole Story series, among many other high-quality illustrated reference books within the fields of art, design, music, film, fashion, literature and history.

Fake Reviewers

Malleable Models: The real effects of the digital revolution on business

This is a guest post from Jasmin Kirkbride. Jasmin is a regular blogger for BookMachine and Editorial Assistant at Periscope Books (part of Garnet Publishing). She is also a published author and you can find her on Twitter @jasminkirkbride

World-famous travel and maps bookshop Stanfords has announced that, alongside books, they will now be offering horse-drawn omnibus tours of London to their customers. While this idea fits well with their brand, it definitely breaks the mould of what we have come to expect from a bookshop. And Stanfords aren’t the only ones employing lateral thinking to revamp their brand: it’s a phenomena happening across the board and it’s results are as exciting as they are intriguing.

Why digital forced us to adapt

The last decade has seen a revolution in the way we use technology. It has become unimaginably mobile, instant, easy and relatively cheap. Smartphones were released in 2000 but the iPhone, which really lit the smart-phone fire in line with the roll-out of 3G internet access, was launched as recently as 29 June 2007. The iPad only followed in 1 April 2010. The first mainstream eReaders, the Sony Reader and Kindle, were only released in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Catherine Johnson

Being a full time writer: Catherine Johnson interview

Catherine Johnson has published 17 books and writes for Holby City too. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Catherine about her career so far, how she first got published and other tips for writers.

1. Please can you tell me a little bit about yourself and an overview of your career so far?

Gosh that’s hard. It’s been a long and not quite illustrious career although I have managed to be a full time writer since about 2007. I’ve worked around writing, as well as written, for most of the last twenty years. I’ve published 17 books, written one feature film (that got made- Bullet Boy – I have one in development), worked as a writer in residence in a prison and several schools, worked in local bookshops and in literature development, written for radio and TV and feel that I am amazingly lucky still to be published.


One Big Book Launch is the solution

On Wednesday evening, 10 outstanding authors launched their novels at CompletelyNovel‘s ‘One Big Book Launch‘. The Free Word centre was heaving with literary folks and friends and family of the emerging authors – it was a great evening.

Some authors don’t like book launches. Anticipating who might come, and being centre of attention, just isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. One Big Book Launch is the solution. Not only did CompletelyNovel and BookMachine promote the event extensively, but the authors presenting their eclectic mix of novels had a mixed and optimistic crowd who might never have stumbled upon their work before.

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