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Visiting Speaker: 404 Ink’s “Nasty Women”

March 30th, 2017 by katharina_dittmann | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Visiting Speaker: 404 Ink’s “Nasty Women”
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On March 23, the Stirling Centre for International Publishing and Communication and the Stirling Centre for Gender and Feminist Studies organised a launch event for 404 Ink’s first book publication, Nasty Women. We welcomed our very own Laura Jones and Heather McDaid, founders of alternative indie publisher 404 Ink, as well as Claire Heuchan and Laura Waddell, two of the authors featured in Nasty Women. They came to talk about the idea behind the book, discuss issues of class and diversity within the publishing industry and offered some advice on working in publishing.

404 Ink’s Nasty Women 

Nasty Women is 404 Ink’s first book, published on International Women’s Day 2017. It is a collection of essays on the experiences and the issues women face in a world in which right-wing populism, racism and misogyny seem to be on the verge of becoming socially acceptable once again.

Heather and Laura talked us through the idea behind the book and the adventurous publication process: The essays in the book are meant to “celebrate and showcase women’s voices” and to give a platform to those women whose experiences are often marginalised in the mainstream media. The idea was to represent current issues (especially in the light of Donald Trump being elected as President of the United States), which led to a heavily shortened publishing schedule. Setting the publication date on International Women’s Day left Laura and Heather about four months to commission, fund, edit, and produce the book. The overwhelming demand for a book that gave voice to the experience of contemporary women became clear when the project was fully funded on Kickstarter within three days and widely exceeded the initial goal.

Panel Discussion

After Claire Heuchan and Laura Waddell read extracts from their essays titled Black Feminism Online: Claiming Digital Space and Against Stereotypes: Working Class Girls and Working Class Art, respectively, the panel discussed possible crises of confidence and the feeling of imposter syndrome. This was related to both the issue of diversity in publishing as well as Nasty Women’s unconventional publication process.

In publishing, following your intuition is almost always a good idea, and if your gut (and experience) tells you that there’s a market for your project, seize the opportunity and get to work! From an author’s point of view, Claire says that faith in your own work is derived from how it is received in the public context and that the commission for Nasty Women was “incredibly validating”. When it comes to the relationship between publisher and author, trust is the most important factor. According to Laura Waddell, it is very reassuring to work for a publisher who believes in the project and is committed to their authors. Basically, everybody suffers from imposter syndrome from time to time, you just have to push through it and keep learning.

On the subject of tackling issues of class and diversity, the panel discussed the problems of gatekeeping and how it can narrow the level of representation within publishing. When commissioning the essays for Nasty Women, Heather and Laura were careful not to tell their authors what to write, but to respect their voices and to interfere with the content as little as possible. Their policy is to put the author first and to give the whole publishing process a sense of transparency, which benefits both publishers and authors alike. Claire says that writing for Nasty Women has given her the opportunity to “hold the doors open for other people” and encourage other marginalised voices to make themselves be heard as well. While gatekeeping is still a big issue in the publishing industry, 404 Ink shows that it is possible to have a relationship of equality between publishers and authors.

Some final advice

After answering questions from the audience, the discussion ended with Laura, Heather, Claire and Laura offering some advice for starting out in publishing:

  • Don’t do the work all on your own! It is easier to share responsibilities and take advantage of other people’s skillsets.
  • Look at the structure! If you want to make an impact in editing, start by paying attention to how things are composed.
  • Be authentic! Be true to yourself and keep your main objectives in mind.
  • Things will go wrong! People make mistakes, so don’t take anything to heart and just work through it.

By Katharina Dittmann

Internship: Scottish Book Trust

March 30th, 2017 by therese_campbell | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on Internship: Scottish Book Trust
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Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the Scottish Book Trust’s editorial board for their new online magazine, What’s Your Story?, which focuses on supporting and developing the creative writing talents of young people in Scotland. What’s Your Story? offers free support and advice to those under 18 who have an interest in creating content, be it poetry, short-stories, plays, or illustrations.

The internship is undertaken remotely, and as one of six editorial board members, it entails reading over submissions, offering feedback on each, and choosing a select few to be included in the magazine. My role on the editorial board mostly involves reading young people’s work and offering critical, yet encouraging feedback. For each creative piece I receive, I am required to comment on two things the writer or artist did successfully, while also highlighting a ‘wish’ which refers to something the author or artist could alter to improve their work. It is my responsibility as an editor to express my feedback in a way that will not deter or upset the author or artist, but rather that will encourage them to persevere and keep creating. The Scottish Book Trust hopes that What’s Your Story? will inspire and encourage young writers and artists who may not receive support elsewhere, and it is definitely eye opening to read submissions from young people from all over Scotland.

The training day for the role, which was held in Edinburgh on the 5th November, was particularly insightful and helped me understand the aim of the magazine and my role as one of the editorial board members. Organised by Nicole Brandon – Young Writers Co-Ordinator for Scottish Book Trust – we were guided through all that was required of us, and were given talks by YA author Keith Grey, as well as author and journalist, Kaite Welsh. While Keith Grey spoke of creativity outside educational boundaries, Kaite Welsh focused on how we might craft our feedback effectively when critiquing submissions. These talks were thought-provoking and definitely essential for us as new editorial members.

Since the training day, I have worked on two magazine issues for the What’s Your Story? website, with each issue covering a different theme. While this is a remote internship, we do get paid for each issue we work on (yay!) and I have found the process engaging. Each submission has made me realise that creativity is boundless, with each piece offering refreshing and unique perspectives. I have also been able to read submissions with an editor’s eye and offer helpful, yet direct comments which will – hopefully – help the authors improve their work and encourage them to continue writing. Each submission I have read has exposed me to a variety of genres and subject-matter, and by delivering useful feedback and advice, I am helping guide young writers who are just beginning to realise their potential.

What’s Your Story? is a new magazine for the Scottish Book Trust and it has been exciting to be a part of the project from the beginning. It has allowed me to exercise my editorial skills – such as proof-reading, editing and critiquing – and this will aid me in my chosen career. It has also taught me not to have preconceived ideas regarding authorship and writing, and that, no matter how young an author or creator may be, they can offer a variety of different perspectives, experiences and styles of writing. I often find myself surprised by the submissions I read, which present ideas and life-experiences in comical, shocking and often eloquent ways, and being exposed to a variety of creative writing has definitely been the highlight of the internship.

by Therese Campbell

2017 LBF : “Copyright under Threat?”

March 30th, 2017 by ruoqi_sun | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on 2017 LBF : “Copyright under Threat?”
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I just finished my travel to London Book Fare (LBF) two weeks ago and it was totally a new experience for me to get involved in the publishing industry in this way. Anyway, that was a busy and unforgettable time for me.

I attended “Copyright under Threat?”, a seminar in LBF 2017, which was held in the afternoon on 15th March. It lasted for an hour and consists of 3 speakers. I will focus on the first two:

William Bowes

General Counsel and Company Secretary at Cambridge University Press who also assists other departments on a range of Intellectual Property, Brand and Policy issues.

He mainly summarized the copyright situation in 2016, the development of copyright in recent years and British copyright issues etc. In the speech he mentioned that the social purpose of copyright is encouraging learning, and as publishers, we believe that  is achieved by supporting editorial impartiality, a fair days pay for a fair days work, access to high-quality education, the value of high-quality learning materials and a global framework for the exchange of knowledge, learning and research. In my opinion, it is because copyright has such a social purpose so that it has the value of being explored. Of course, this requires not only the publisher’s dedication but also need the government to actively promote this development process in order to achieve this purpose. Publishers should also help the government to solve these problems which may be encountered in the process because we all understand that copyright can be complicated to understand and manage. In addition, William is also involved in the current situation, like for the consumer, copyright prevents people exercising their “right” to learn, share, crate, collaborate and network. Indeed, when copyright protects the rights of authors, it also makes sharing less flexible. Compared with the consumer, copyright means more for the author and this problem is particularly reflected in the field of education. The limitations of copyright narrow the scope of educational reference and have a negative impact on better education. Therefore, we should also look for ways to ensure the definition of copyright can be more flexible.

Sarach Faulder

Chief Executive of Publishers Licensing Society, she was a partner at city law firm, specializing in copyright.

She gave the practical example of what exactly is going on at moment around copyright issues. Her speech was based on the Canadian education. In 2012, the Canadian government included education in the concept of “fair dealing” so that it quickly has a catastrophic impact on the educational publishing market in Canada. In just 2 years, the value of educational publishing sector dropped by 16% and since then, the number of imported US materials has continued to grow.  For an industry, such fluctuations are really worrying and I think whether it is “fair dealing” in Canada or “fair use” in the US, this is a new stage for copyright development (as they expanded the copyright exception). However, in the early stages of development, we still need to think about the risks of change and whether we have enough power to compensate for the loss caused by fluctuations when making decisions otherwise it will bring disaster to the industries involved, just like Canada. Educational publishers were forced to lay-off staff and Access Copyright (an institute in Canada) established a large fund to supporting this industry as a return.

Nowadays copyright does face a threat to some extent especially the development of digital technology also causes the positive and the negative impact on copyright. The three speakers set out a very professional explanation from the field of their work and left us with more thought.

by Ruoqi Sun

Internship at Saraband

March 27th, 2017 by claire_furey | Posted in Blog, Internships | Comments Off on Internship at Saraband
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I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to land an internship with Saraband. Cream of the UK indie publishing world in 2016; perhaps due to a book called His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Man-Booker-shortlisted title?! (If you haven’t already, go read it; it’s wonderful.) This internship involved mostly working from home, which has benefits (working in pyjamas! No travel!) and drawbacks (not so easy to ask for guidance, written instructions are more open to interpretation than face-to-face). Plus, as it is my very first internship, it would have been nice to have an office presence. On the other hand, I ultimately want to be a freelancer, so having the experience of motivating myself from home is invaluable, as well as learning to communicate in that instance.

The task I learned the most from was one of the novels I proofread. It was a new, unpublished manuscript and I carefully read through it and marked off all the things I believed should be changed using MS Word Track Changes and sent it back quite satisfied with myself. After some time, I received an email: could I check all the proposed changes had been made to this manuscript when it was typeset? There it was. A shockingly long list of things I’d missed that another proofreader had picked up.

Some were genuine mistakes, like ‘proceed’ instead of ‘precede’. Others were changes I would not have made. For example, ‘carpark’ I had left as one word. It was now changed to two words. After looking it up, (I live to find out small details like that. No seriously. My mom says I’m cool…) I found out the two-word version is the more common one, particularly in the UK. Who knew? Not me, clearly.

Buildings in the UK have ‘two storeys’ not ‘two stories’. That was news to me. Some of the dialogue, written in a heavy Scottish accent, was altered, which at first I thought was outrageous but then I could understand why. To an extent. It was mostly a case of out-of-place apostrophes, but I do feel the accent of the character concerned changed in a way that I wouldn’t have wanted it to with certain changes.

There were one or two things that niggled at me slightly at the time of reading, but I didn’t flag them. The experienced proofreader caught them. For instance, the metaphor ‘… the anger coursed through his veins like cancer.’ That just doesn’t make sense. But grammatically – how I was looking at it – it’s fine.

I learned so much from this mystery proofreader, even if I was rather indignant with the changes at first! But internships are a learning curve and this was a fantastic chance for me to realise the sheer level of detail and thought I need to put into a proofreading task. Nothing can be left to chance. This was a fantastic experience and Sara herself has been incredibly patient and supportive throughout the internship. I really couldn’t have asked for a better first internship.

by Claire Furey

Unearth Your Inner Editor at London Book Fair 2017

March 27th, 2017 by Amalie Andersen | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Unearth Your Inner Editor at London Book Fair 2017
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Having been up since 3 in the morning and realising upon arrival in Glasgow Airport at 5 am that our flight wasn’t as early as we had thought, I was exhausted when I eventually landed in London and went straight to the Book Fair. With its glass roof and the energy from the thousands of people gathered there, Hammersmith Olympia was an overwhelming greenhouse full of tiny networking and rights selling ants.  However, after a well-deserved coffee break and a Dairy Milk bar sponsored by Harper Collins, it was with renewed energy that I attended my first seminar of the Fair; Unearth Your Inner Editor by Cornerstones founder Helen Corner-Bryant.

Cornerstones is a literary consultancy which offers editorial services to authors hoping to get published. Authors send them their manuscript and Cornerstones edits and improves these manuscripts to the point where they will (hopefully) get picked up by a publisher or a literary agent. On a very practical level this means looking at:

  • The structure and plot of a story – if this doesn’t work, Cornerstones and the author will go back to the drawing board together.
  • Characters and their development – are all characters unique and relevant or could some be cut or merged?
  • Dialogue vs description – dialogue brings the story to life in a way that description doesn’t. Helen Corner-Bryant was adamant that a good story puts the reader in the centre of events by using dialogue and an active voice rather than describing previous conversations and events.
  • The three (or five) act graph – how are suspense and obstacles distributed throughout the story?
  • Finally, and perhaps most important, is a story’s pace. To keep the reader reading, superfluous words, chapters or characters must be cut to make every word count. Secrets must be revealed slowly and not all at once to create and keep tension.

These all make up an editor’s tool kit.

Helen Corner-Bryant emphasised that, as editors, we should be directional but honour the author’s vision. If an author insists on keeping a character that you don’t see the point of, you must, in cooperation with the author, make this character work.  She also made the point that if she skims over a paragraph she knows that something isn’t working. However, this can be difficult to communicate to the author as “I just got bored” isn’t very constructive. An editor must therefore rely on their instinct but always back up their argument with their editing tool kit. So, instead of communicating to the author that their paragraph just couldn’t keep your attention, back this up by saying that the pace was too slow or that there was too much passive description rather than active dialogue. This is constructive criticism and suggests ways to improve the paragraph.

Finally, Helen Corner-Bryant reminded us that if you read back over a draft and nothing is missing, you’ve made a good cut in the first draft. Every word should count.

by Amalie Andersen

Net fiction, and the business behind the Wuxia World

March 24th, 2017 by biyan_gu | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Net fiction, and the business behind the Wuxia World
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Since my last blog about net fiction, it has been 3 months and I have kept eyes on this. In China, people are so used to net fictions. Some successful authors became millionaires overnight as their work become popular and the adapted rights for games and films were sold out. More and more young people try to start their own net fictions both for the high income and popularity.

But we Chinese are still are pleased surprised that our net fictions were so popular overseas (especially when some big social media reported this phenomenon and made this news so reliable).

And during my trip in London Book Fair, I was so surprised to find the China Reading Limited, an authorized digital reading platform and literature IP incubator. China Reading has a renowned collection of content brands of digital reading APPs and websites. This company has published over 10 million digital works, hosted 4 million authors. With over 600 million users in China, this company showed their ambition for the nationwide market.

When communicating with the CEO of China Reading, it was clear that the news about the Wuxia World popularity had made him more confident about the overseas trade of Chinese net fictions.

However, this company is too cautious to expand a market which it is not familiar with, at present, they just want to sell translation rights of their works. For example, Wuxia World is supported by volunteers who are net fiction buffs. They translate Chinese net fictions into English, Thai, and other languages. The readers could donate to their voluntary work as well. And this will result in a cycle: more updates => more viewers  => more donations => more updates. It is clear and obvious that the authors are not involved in this cycle, and the authors’ interest and right are ignored and damaged.

The thing China Reading wants to do is to sell the translated rights to these websites, so readers can read these fictions legally via the website. And China Reading is also looking for collaborations, it authorizes the website to use these net fictions which it owned, and China Reading can publish these translated editions of net fictions and sell them through Amazon.

Till now, for Chinese publishers, the national publishing business is under-developed, they still try and try to find a way to collaborate and win-win trade. Net fiction trade can be seen as an attempt by Chinese publishers.

But during the further communication, we all think that translation rights are the first stage for China Reading business actives. In future, Chinese publishers might keep on trying.

Scottish Book Trade Conference: Launching a Debut on a Low Budget

March 23rd, 2017 by nicole_sweeney | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Scottish Book Trade Conference: Launching a Debut on a Low Budget
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Next up at the Annual Scottish Book Trade Conference is Sam Eades, Editorial Director at Trapeze Books, an imprint of Orion. She tells us that to make a book sell, you don’t necessarily need a big budget or a large marketing department in order to get good sales. She lists there tips for launching a debut on a low budget:

1. Be Creative!

Eades suggests that one of the most important things, is to be creative as possible. Newspaper stories are a fantastic way to promote a book, and rejection stories sell far better than ‘author has a new title.’ Come up with a story surrounding the book such as ‘Cancer Survivor gets million pound book deal’ to ensure the paper will run the story.

2. Look For Trends!

Eades highlights the importance of watching the various creative industries and their on going trends – particularly in film and television. She also highlights how crucial it is to watch the market for what new titles are coming out, and see if you can spot any similarities, or trends. She tells us of one campaign for a psychological thriller, released around the time of the buzz surrounding the hugely popular The Girl on the Train. Eades gave her debut author a reading list of titles in the genre, and pitched an article on upcoming psychological thrillers to a newspaper, with the article being written by the debut author. This coverage helped to raise coverage for the author, and resulted in 15,000 copies sold.

3. Partnerships!Image result for the snow child ice sculptures

Partnerships are a great way to promote a title, and they don’t always have to be paid for. With The Snow Child,
Eades was given very little marketing budget, but persuaded two sculptors to provide ice sculptors for free, and they were installed in Waterstones to promote the book.

Eades tells the audience to contact tourist boards, restaurants and as many different places as possible. It’s amazing what you can get for free. Be creative and try your luck!

4. Try some Stunts!

Image result for neil gaiman renamed street‘PR the PR that you already do’ states Eades. She gives us two examples of stunts that she organised in order to promote a title. Firstly for Neil Gaiman’s Ocean At the End of the Lane she managed to get a street name changed to the title in his home town, creating newspaper stories and buzz in his local area.

Secondly for debut thriller Ragdoll, the Trapeze team bought a mannequin and dismembered it, hanging it from the
ceiling at a publicity party, creating a buzz and sense of mystery around the title. This helps to spread word of mouth, and creates excitement about the title.

Finally she highlights some top tips:Image result for ragdoll daniel cole

– Spy on the competition, know what others in your sector are doing.
– Be aware of the trends, help to create a new one.
– Collaborate with your authors, allow them to come up with ideas and stunts.
– Be opportunistic!

by Nicole Sweeney

A Starter Guide for Students at London Book Fair

March 23rd, 2017 by marian_perez-santiago | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on A Starter Guide for Students at London Book Fair
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The London Book Fair is overwhelming, to say the least. It’s full of scary business people making, what I assume are, lucrative business deals with other scary business people. If you’re a student (or just a normal person with insecurities) it can be intimidating, especially if you’re a first-time attendee. Here are my top five tips for staying sane at LBF. Or, you know, as sane as any student can be.

1. Have a game plan. Look at the full list of talks and seminars beforehand and decide which ones you want to attend. See which publishers will be there and decide whose stands you want to visit. Gather your bearings before you get there. Make a list of where you need to be and when you need to be there. Save yourself the anxiety and plan ahead.

2. Divide and conquer. If you’re going with friends, don’t be afraid to split up. There are a multitude of interesting seminars at LBF and a lot of overlap. Unless you have a time-turner, you won’t be able to catch all the ones on your list. Instead, talk to friends to see if they’re attending any seminars you wanted to go to but can’t make and vice versa and ask if you can swap notes afterwards.

3. Know that people can be mean. There are people who will tell you that this is untrue to make you feel better, but I’m here to tell you that those people are liars. The very first stand we walked up to was a big five publisher and the Editorial Assistants manning the booth were dismissive and unkind. While we didn’t expect royal treatment, we were sort of hoping for basic human decency. This experience made us want to cry and also turned us off networking for the rest of the day. I hope it never happens to you, but know that it’s a possibility.

4. Know that people can be nice, too. For every mean person, there are at least five nice people.* You won’t find them if you don’t keep networking. The next day, we dusted ourselves off and mustered up the courage to talk to some other publishers. It went infinitely better and we had only good experiences. Networking is still the worst, but it’s less terrible when people are nice. Cherish the nice people!

5. The best place to network is after seminars. If you’re looking for the least painful place to network, look no further than seminars. Usually, speakers hang around afterwards to talk. It’s pretty easy to start (“Hey, I’m so and so and I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed…”) and the benefits are many. If you’re shy and don’t want to ask questions during the Q&A part of the seminar, this is your chance to do it. The few precious business cards I got weren’t actually from networking with publishers at their booths, but from talking to people after seminars.

There’s also the obvious stuff: wear comfy clothes/shoes, buy your lunch from the Tesco across the street, walk a block to avoid paying the ridiculous coffee prices in the convention hall, etc. Use your common sense. LBF is a good introduction to the publishing business world, I think (learn to time manage, people are nice/mean/somewhere in between, coffee is expensive, the future is terrifying, books are wonderful). As a student, my best advice is to not worry too much. You’re not there to make some lucrative business deal, you likely won’t land your dream job, and you won’t meet JK Rowling. However, LBF is a great place to learn about the publishing industry and the people in it. Get some ideas. Take it all in. This time, you’re along for the ride. One year, who knows? You might be driving.

*This statistic is entirely made up, but I hope it’s true.

By Marian Pérez-Santiago

The Cookbook: Fundamental or Fad?

March 23rd, 2017 by amandasarahbain | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Cookbook: Fundamental or Fad?
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Penguin Random House imprint Michael Joseph has just announced its 20th cookbook collaboration with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. The book Jamie’s Quick & Easy 5-Ingredient Food is to be released in conjunction with a new channel 4 tv series of the same name. Oliver, having previously topped the Christmas bestsellers list for three consecutive years between 2010 and 2012, has generated £149,383,819 in revenues from the sales of his cookbooks according to Nielsen Bookscan data. Despite Rux Martin, editorial director of Rux Martin books once suggesting that “nobody is going to be using cookbooks again”, the cookbook industry has been enjoying an impressive resurgence with unit print sales in 2016 rising 6% on the previous year, demonstrating the demand for cookbooks is still strong in the UK sales market.

This resurgence can be attributed to numerous factors. The prevalence of health and wellness gurus such as Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella) and Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) has undoubtedly contributed to the growing popularity of the cookbook, with the former’s debut Deliciously Ella: A Bible for Plant Based Living becoming the fastest-selling debut cookbook on record. Such cookbooks have become a gold mine for publishers and with impressive social media followings – Woodward and Wicks boast 171,000 and 263,000 twitter followers respectively – both authors have reinvented the traditional cookbook making cooking accessible to a new generation with little time and great expectations. Joe Wick’s debut Lean In 15 sold 77,097 in its first week, outselling Delia Smith’s 2008 bestseller How To Cook. The health-food craze has created demand for a new kind of cookbook and the food blogger has willingly filled the gap in the market. Alice Liveing (Clean Eating Alice) is a qualified personal trainer and nutritionist who overhauled her lifestyle and is now an instagram sensation, boasting 525,000 followers. Liveing’s debut cookbook The Body Bible: Feel Fit and Fabulous from the Inside Out has sold an impressive 50,644 copies since its publication on May 19th 2016 and it has outsold Mary Berry, Deliciously Ella and Jamie Oliver. The rise of “clean-eating” has forced the cookbook industry to become multi-dimensional and publishers are now beginning to see the benefits. The modern day cookbook author has to become a brand in order to be successful. Food bloggers turned authors have vast social media empires which guarantee a ready-made market of fans eager to buy their titles and with the health-food craze showing no signs of slowing, this seems to guarantee the continued growth of cookbook sales.

Although the health craze is largely responsible for the rebirth of the cookbook, there is still demand for more traditional titles. The Great British Bake Off is perhaps one of the most influential factors in the cookbook’s resurgence. Ratings for the 2016 final won by Candice Brown peaked at 14.8 million viewers, a vast increase on the 2015 final which recorded 13.4 million viewers. Such popularity has meant that the series has spawned no less than 18 cookbooks since its inception in 2010, yielding an impressive £14,032,553 whilst restoring the nation’s love for baking. Despite a book deal seeming likely for any Great British Bake Off Winner, it does not guarantee commercial success. Whilst content is indeed extremely important for any best-selling cookbook, the likeability of the author is also paramount to success. 2015 Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain is arguably the most popular of the shows alumni and her cookbook Nadiya’s Kitchen has sold 38,927 copies since its publication on the 16th of June 2016. The book offers innovative twists on traditional classics alongside her favourite bakes and has been billed as full of perfect family recipes. Nadiya’s Bake Me A Story was then published by Hodder Children’s Books on September 8th 2016 and has since sold 33,870 copies. The cookbook’s premise is to encourage families to enjoy baking together by introducing children to baking through storytelling, inspiring a new generation of bakers. Hodder and Hussain have tapped into a new consumer group in the cookbook market which is sure to see the demand for such titles to continue to grow.

Since his discovery by the BBC in 1997, Jamie Oliver’s authenticity and easy to follow recipes have propelled him into stardom and he is now the best-selling non-fiction author of all time in the UK. It seems that regardless of the competitive cookbook market, Oliver appears set for success in 2017 and beyond given that his 2016 title Super Food Family Classics has already sold 156,241 copies since July 14th 2016. Oliver announced his excitement for the publication of his new book via twitter where he regularly interacts with his 6.4 million followers. There is no doubt that social media is effective at marketing books. Authors such as Jamie Oliver can utilise online interactions with fans to aid sales by reaching a wide audience without the need for expensive marketing and Oliver’s 22,400 tweets suggest that such strategies are beneficial.

The nation’s obsession with food has made cookbook’s a profitable commodity once more. However, it is author likeability and interactivity that have propelled cookbooks to the top of best-seller lists and thanks to the social media age it seems that the cookbook is here to stay.

by Amanda Bain

‘India at 70’ at the London Book Fair, 2017

March 22nd, 2017 by Kanika Praharaj | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on ‘India at 70’ at the London Book Fair, 2017
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14th March, 2017: It’s my birthday and I’m at the London Book Fair. I am also nursing a horrible headache. I make my way to the English PEN Literary Salon for what is the first seminar I will be attending at the LBF. Friends and classmates OtienoKatharina, and Lenka come along with me. I sit up front and psych myself up for what I think will be a drab discussion. Boy, am I wrong.

Chaired by Jonathan Morley, the ‘India at 70’ seminar had doctoral researcher Somrita Ganguly, writer and activist Bidisha Mamata, poet Mohan Rana, and translator and editor Arunava Sinha as speakers. The aim of the talk was to discuss the multilingualism that characterises India and the role of literary translation in the Indian publishing sector.

Mohan Rana started off the seminar by talking about growing up in one language and living in another. While he writes in Hindi, he believes that the translation of his poems opened up new worlds for his words. His poems have now been translated into Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, German, Dutch, Marathi and Nepali. He lives in the UK now, and is comfortable with “being a Hindi poet in a space that is totally occupied by English.” He then read out a section of his poem ‘This place is enough’, which is now available as a part of a collection in a bilingual chapbook.

Bidisha took the floor next as she stressed the need to “honour the variety of the world” and a contemporary Indian writing which panders to no stereotypes. She talked of the recent drive amongst Indian writers to write in Indian languages instead of privileging only English. She then cited the examples of writers such as Rushdie and Naipaul who write in English not because they’re trying to increase their readership but because their privileged upper-class educations have made English a language of their own. She also talked of the Indian writers of yore who are now being reclaimed and put back into the Indian literary canon. However, she warned against creating a new hierarchy that replaces English with a chosen few of India’s many languages. According to her, the question that needs to be answered here is “what do we want to say and how do we want to say it?”

Arunava Sinha then provided a history of the sub-continent and its languages, essential for those in attendance who weren’t that well-versed in the same. He pointed out the fact that India is extremely diverse when it comes to its languages and people and that it would make more sense to say the “literatures of India” instead of Indian literature. India makes for a large market for English language content, which brought in major international publishers into the picture. These publishers began by translating Indian writing into English, which isn’t happening that often now. According to him, publishing works with a more utilitarian perspective now, changing books into what he calls “book-like objects”. He believes that smaller publishers (such as Seagull Publishers, whom he works with), however, can afford to be more “whimsical” in what they publish. He finished by saying that English is a very convenient “bridge language”, which makes it the language that is generally chosen when it comes to translation.

Next, Somrita Ganguly picked up where he left off as she talked about the politics of the mother-tongue. English, she claimed, is her first language. While it is important to promote Indian languages in the country, it isn’t an act of betrayal if one chooses to speak in English. We need to be wary of the politics of assigning a mother-tongue to a child who grows up in a region where another language is the lingua franca, as many do in India. She pointed out that English is considered by many to be a “caste-less” language, which meant that marginalised sections of the Indian populace decided to opt for it instead of Sanskrit which they were not allowed to speak. English is no longer considered to be a foreign language in India, with plenty of upwardly mobile people using it in their day-to-day lives.

The session was brought to a close with Mohan Rana reading out another poem of his, ‘The Photograph’.

What all the speakers agreed on was the fact that a single, cohesive India doesn’t exist. Neither should it. The complexities and contradictions that make up the country make it a fertile ground for all sorts of writing and publishing to thrive. While we may not agree with all that the speakers have said, it is important to keep the discussion going. There is plenty of potential in the creative industry in India to fuel decades of successful publishing, if we choose to work towards fulfilling this potential.

Kanika Praharaj