Monthly Archives: October 2014

Book Review: The Guard

This work by Peter Terrin is a fantastic book that looks into many areas of the human mind at the same time. Written in spare prose that reflects both the setting and the lack of information the guards have about the outside world, the novel is truly a literary and storytelling triumph.
I received a copy from the publisher so that I could write a review of the translation, and was rivited by the work. I haven’t heard about this author before but the concept was interesting. While I expected a dystopian style read, what I found was much more nuanced and stylistic than the usual novels in this genre.
The guard who takes the lead in the narrative is not the leader inside the two-person squad. That choice from the author opened up this story to telling a subtle yet powerful story about confinement, control, voluntary subjugation, and the dynamics of human relationships in personal and organizational terms. The same elements can be read on an extended level that touches on elements we’re experiencing in different developed cultures today.
All these elements unfold in tiny ways that are no less powerful for the gradual movements involved. Some readers have responded to this work with confusion, claiming that they either didn’t understand the work or that later events were not supported throughout. I disagree. This novel reveals itself to readers who pay attention. For those who want more from a dystopian story than the usual justice-is-served or all-are-doomed endings, The Guard is the one to read. The Guard will be available in English starting Jan 6, 2015 in the U.S. and Canada.

Traditional Publisher Interested in Self-Published Books

Paper Lantern Lit is a boutique literary development company bestselling author Lauren Oliver cofounded with former HarperCollins and Razorbill editor Lexa Hillyer. They look through self-published books to find those that deserve more attention then rerelease them under their name. Now they’ve added The Studio, a digital imprint, to produce ebooks.

If you’ve already self-published one or more of your books, check out Paper Lantern and The Studio. It might open new doors!

End-of-Year Book Marketing

As the fourth quarter of the year approaches, how will you handle your book marketing?
It’s important to consider a big push in the final quarter of the year.

First, you’ll be more visible during the gift-giving season. Print books have long been a staple for the gift market, and these days more people are giving ebooks as gifts.

Second, you’ll reduce your annual income tax by writing off any expenses associated with your marketing efforts.

Third, you’ll be in the best time of the year to increase your annual sales numbers.

Marketing plans from Writer’s Resource offer low-cost and zero-cost options for book sales…and have resulted in Amazon bestseller status. They can even give you access to the big bestseller lists from the New York Times and USA Today. 

Book Review: The Ice Palace

A beautiful fable for adults. This work has it all: a central character you really care about, descriptions of the setting and places she visits that come alive with meaning, and questions over not only whether she will survive this terrible winter but what will happen to her friend in the end.
The images drawn by the author were fantastical yet always stayed embedded in what might really occur. The danger was real while being heightened by her youthful outlook both because children can fear things they don’t understand and because they ignore risks adults know are extreme.
At the end, the heart of the book blooms. This is the girl’s heart, her way of looking at the world, and the shift that occurs for her because of what has happened to her friend and her friend’s mother. Truly a lovely, almost achingly beautiful work. If I could give this six stars, I would.

New Crime Imprint

Crime novelists Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman have launched Brash Books with a debut list of 30 titles by award-winning crime novelists. Brash’s books are available through an exclusive partnership with Amazon that offers special marketing opportunities.

They focus entirely on award-winning novels. If you have received an award for an unpublished manuscript, give this imprint a try.

2014 Book Sale Numbers; Children’s/YA Keeps Growing

These numbers just in from the Association of American Publishers:

In the first five months of 2014, total net book sales rose 3.9% over the previous year to $2.652 billion.

The children’s/YA categories continues to soar with sales up 30.5%, to $695.9 million.

Adult fiction and nonfiction fell 3.6%, to $1.726 billion.

Sales of religious presses slipped 0.1%, to $230.2 million.

Total trade e-book sales rose 7% to $669.7 million.

Trade paperbacks were up 6.3%, to $793.4 million.

Trade hardcover sales were down 0.2%, to $867.1 million.

Book Review: The Lace Reader

In many ways, this was a book well worth reading. I feared at first that it would turn out to be a “look at all the witches in Salem” story but discovered a nuanced, well-written book that delves into a woman’s past. The use of an unreliable narrator is always tricky for an author to pull off, and Barry does an exceptional job for the most part. She balances what readers learn through the protagonist with the viewpoints of other characters, all filtered through the protagonist but valid nonetheless.
In addition, the writing itself is of very good quality. That alone kept me reading long enough to give the plotline a chance, and to connect with the main character. I was happy that it kept me reading long enough to care about the woman.
There were moments when it slipped back into too-common cliches, and a few times I thought that if it continued in that vein, I would put it down. But I never abandoned the novel.
The ending was beautifully written, well crafted, and yet it was dissatisfying. Despite all the points that proved the protagonist was unreliable, her total lack of memory concerning her sister simply wasn’t credible. I was disappointed over this but not to the point that I will refuse to read other books by this author. I will seek out her other books to see if she handled them better.