It’s been a weird year for publishing, with bad news about plummeting advances, disappearing bookshops and dwindling sales everywhere you turn.
But there’s been the occasional good news too. A couple of Australian authors – Hannah Kent and Graeme Simsion – set for international success (and five figure paydays) with their debut novels in 2013. The potential for small publishers to thrive in a future where adaptability is prized.
And there’s been the phenomenal, world-bestselling success of one author whose sales figures have defied the trends, despite widespread agreement that her books are terrible: E.L. James.
The Fifty Shades of Grey author has been named Publisher’s Weekly’s Publishing Person of the Year 2012 for showing that people will still buy printed books – she’s sold 35 million copies of her trilogy in the US alone.
The decision has sparked derision in many quarters – with reasons ranging from the fact that the books began as Twilight fan fiction, that the prose is bad, and that their success began outside traditional publishing channels, with a tiny e-book publisher.
The best thing about the announcement? It’s sparked another video review from the hilarious Totally Hip Book Reviewer Ron Charles, fiction editor of the Washington Post, with a BDSM flavour and lashings of satire.
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