Notes from the field: An Evening with Hachette Publishers
The other week, I attended a Society of Young Publishers event in a tiny, Leaky Cauldron-esque pub in Manchester. It was the first one I’d gone to (it cost £4), and I’m glad that I did!
I feel like I learnt a lot about the various areas of publishing – including areas I didn’t know existed – as well as what the general landscape of it is like. Which isn’t too bad, considering the talk itself lasted only an hour (with the option to stay longer to ask questions, but it was past 8pm and I had a train to catch /shrug).
I initially got Tempests and Slaughter as a NetGalley e-ARC (which, omfg) and then proceeded to freak the fuck out when I found a signed copy of it in Waterstones. Because Tamora Pierce was my goddamn childhood, and with retrospect I’m so incredibly grateful for that, since Tamora is one of those authors that has always strove to be inclusive of POC, queer and fat characters, years and years before #WeNeedDiverseBooks took off.
And the great thing about Tamora Pierce is that… it seems like she was a big part of the childhood (or ..young adulthood? I don’t know math) for a lot of current best-selling SFF big names. Just look at these quotes:
And the reason that’s goddamn awesome is because I think that the support of newer SFF authors that are currently selling very well will help with a resurgence of Tamora Pierce’s books. Honestly, I think we can already see that happening: Tempests & Slaughter is a long time coming, but there’s other ways where the publisher (in this case, HarperCollins) has made a concentrated effort to go all out in support of Tammy in the UK.
A library book I’ve been sitting on for … an embarrassingly long time. It’s basically what it says on the tin, and it’s much more absorbing so far than I thought it’d be. It’s also #ownvoices! Which makes me happy.
This one is a book club read. Started off so incoherently it made me scream internally imagining getting through the entire 600+ pages, but… I’m slooowly getting into it. I do appreciate the self-awareness of the writer-within-the-writing has a girlfriend who gives him shit for taking so long to get to the point in his book.
COVER — I love dramatic colouring, sprayed pages, POC & plus-size cover models, foiling, and other unusual effects, like ribbon bookmarks, patterns on the spine.
CERTAIN TROPES — Time travel, alternative universes, & YA books told in university/college will always make me look twice. Not really a trope, but books about school shootings always catch my attention, too.
DIVERSE REP — Protagonists that are on the autistic spectrum, are LGBTIA, plus-sized, disabled or POC. This goes a million times more for #ownvoices. This is especially true if it has a SFF slant.
GOODREADS — Before I buy a book (even if only costs 0.99 pence), and most often before I borrow it from the library, I scan it to see: what its overall rating is, what the most-liked reviews star it as, if I already have it added to my shelves. If I’m on the fence about a certain aspect of the book, I’ll purposefully look for a 1 or 2 star review with a lot of likes to see if what didn’t work for them is the kind of thing that wouldn’t work for me.
FRIENDS RECS — Books I’ve read because one of my best friends highly rec’d them: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, the Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant, and the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.
PUBLISHER INDUSTRY HYPE — I’ve added books to my GoodReads list because of recs I’ve heard from Kelly Jenson & Eric Smith’s Hey YA Podcast, from bloggers … blogging about them, authors tweeting about them, and from trade magazines like Publishers Weekly and the Bookseller.
A library read I’m really liking so far! Also, I’m so here for the sprayed turquoise pages of this book, and just the author branding that McManus is getting in the UK – which I want to do a post about at some point.
3 Thoughts so far:
The main ship that seems to be happening is waaaay more interesting than in One of Us Is Lying.
I love the relationship between the protagonist and her twin brother SO MUCH… and not just because it reminds me a lot of some characters I write with My Swedish Friend.
The time-cuts are a little jarring. But maybe that’s the effect she was going for? Normally I like not writing everything thing out, and having to figure the story out partially through the gaps, but as of yet I’m not sure if it’s working for me or not.
I picked up My Box-Shaped Heart because the author is autistic, and her #ownvoices State of Grace really spoke to me, as someone who is being tested for autism. This book had a similar tone of ‘confused girl who panics makes good’ to it, which I liked. I also appreciated that it tackled what it’s like to have a parent who is a hoarder, and also what it’s like to be part of a blended family that falls apart. On GoodReads, it has an overall rating of 3.7 starts. For me, it was 2 stars. Mostly because of the way the goddamn blurb informed my reading.
The Burrow, Ottery-St-Catchpole, England (Book: Harry Potter).
Come on, how could this not be anyone’s first choice? The Weasleys’ are such a warm, welcoming family, with a breadth of personalities and experiences between them so you’re bound to find SOMEONE you can talk with. Plus, SO, MUCH, GOOD, FOOD. And low-key magic just going on in the background! The higgedly-piggedly high up house is awesome, and so’s the fact that Luna Lovegood doesn’t live that far away.