Showing Tag: "book groups" (Show all posts)

Who is the most important person in the publishing business?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, February 28, 2017,

There’s a question many industries ask their interns: “Who’s the most important person in the office?” Many utter what sounds obvious, “The president.” Only to be met with a head shake. “The CEO!” Wrong again. They finally blurt out, “You!” But the questioner often gives a prim all-knowing smile before announcing, “The most important person is the patient/the client/the stakeholder.”

In publishing, the correct answer would be “the reader.”

However readers are us...


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Four novels in one year - who would have thought it?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, August 18, 2015,
It was all a step in the dark. For six years we trundled along running the Hookline Novel Competition with terrific participation from book groups, but all the time knowing we had to change.
And change we did! 
The Facebook page - Hookline's Discover New Author's Page was set up in February and already we have signed up two authors. 
Terms by Ben Lyle will be out on 1 September:

Twelve-year-old James hates life at his hippy boarding school where lessons are optional, homework forbidden and school...


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More than a little patronising

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, May 21, 2015,
Leading women unite to launch #ThisBookClub
The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction have asked six 'inspirational women' to reveal the novels they most want to share - and their suggestions are supposed to 'inspire book lovers across the nation to get together to talk about books.' The celebrities we've to be inspired by: Janet Ellis and her singer daughter; Emily Blunt and her sister; Mary Portas and her wife.
Hmm! Who has been inspiring book groups until now? Who are the readers who have been o...
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If everyone is writing, who's reading?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, March 27, 2015,
Small bloggers often worry about who reads them - those with many followers don't worry about this, they simply write.
But I worry about it - I give advice on starting a book group, my thoughts on e-book prices and even show you about the dress I bought for the London Book Fair, all with a vague niggle on who, if anyone, is reading my rants.
I recently went to a Bloggers and Vloggers networking event. The confident were out there discussing their Klout - a social networking rank that is based o...
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Starting a book group

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, March 18, 2015,
People often tell me they would love to belong to a book group, but they either don't have one in their community or, if they do, it is full.
'Start your own,' is my reply.
It sounds like a huge task, but it really isn't.
Firstly, put the word out - through word-of-mouth, a local newsletter, posting in a library or cafe, twitter, whatever. Provide an email address where people can contact you.
Choose a public spot for your first meeting - a cafe, pub, library. Check with the venue that you can ha...
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Taking our book groups online

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, March 4, 2015,
Change is never easy. We know that alterations to the Hookline process has not been popular among our book groups, but converting manuscripts to paperbacks and mailing them out was expensive. In addition, the ten-month judging process was too long.
We have kept some book groups on board but we have lost many.
In an effort to keep individual book group readers, especially those who own e-readers, we've set up online book groups on Facebook and Goodreads. 
I will post synopsis of manuscripts, and...
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Hookline's times - they are a'changing

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 9, 2014,

Publishing is evolving. When Hookline began, we were on the front line of changes. Lately we have felt as though we are standing still. We love the Hookline process of letting readers find manuscripts worthy of publication. However, it is time to speed up the process – over the years, we have lost out as good writers were snapped up by other publishing houses during our lengthy ten-month, two-stage selection process.

The first thing is to assure you all that book groups will remain an inte...


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Urgently seeking book groups who read specific genre

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 22, 2014,
I love Hookline. I love watching feedback from the book groups who read our manuscripts and I get excited watching the vote tallies that finally reveal a winner. However, I have long felt some sadness for writers who submit work that comes from less popular genre - sci-fi, fantasy and the dark arts tend not to find favour among book group readers.
But I know there are book groups who read these sectors of fiction - and specialise in only reading others such as crime, historical fiction, etc.
As...
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Book groups and new writers

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Friday, October 25, 2013,
What brings readers and writers together?
Last night I met with a book group who have judged Hookline submissions for three years. We had a keen discussion, but one of my questions was: Does reading the work of new writers make you consider writing a novel yourself?
The group were flabbergasted at the idea, and "no way" was the definitive response. Many in the group said that reading the work of new writers made them appreciate the elements that go into a good novel - stretching the scale of th...
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Hookline - bringing together new writers and good readers

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 29, 2013,
Many years ago, a new writer sent their manuscript to a publisher, and they would hear a 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe'.
Today, new writers send their manuscripts to publishers, and they are likely receive a postcard telling them to get an agent. Many agents now act like editors, helping their writers through rewrites. In turn, publishers turn to agents they trust - and agents stick to writers who have earned their royalties, or are writing in a fashion that is likely to earn good royalties (hence the...
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How to find or start a book group

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, January 8, 2013,

There may already be a book group in your area. Ask at your local library or check with The Reading Agency, a charity that aims to promote reading:  http://www.readinggroups.org/find/location/

Or try: http://wwwbookgroupinfo.co.uk

If a group doesn't exist in your area, or the existing group is full, you may have to start a reading group from scratch.

First, ask among your friends, co-workers and neighbours. You are likely to be surprised at how many people like to discuss books.

If you ar...


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Publishing - who is it all for?

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, January 3, 2013,
Much is written about how it's the turn of the author, and publishers must take a back seat.
An article in Forbes magazine states: Publishers need to evolve their business models to reflect a new reality and one that is closely aligned to the authors
Self-publishing, author cooperatives, and pay-for-publication imprints are all receiving a massive amount of coverage right now. 
For a small publishing company such as ours, this discussion can make us wonder why we get out of bed. Yes, anyone ca...
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Hookline Winner 2013

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, November 5, 2012,
Congratulations go to Victoria Owens, of Bath Spa University, with her novel Caelica's Bridge. Set in 18th century Wales, the novel follows a young woman who finds the courage to stand up to her father and her fractured community.
Hookline book groups said:
"The characters were strongly developed as the novel progressed."
"It had a good sense of period."
"This was definitely our favourite."
I look forward to working with Victoria, and we aim to have her novel published by April.
Congratulations to ...
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Hookline 2012 - no clear winner, so far

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, October 25, 2012,
Book groups are sending in their results as we move toward the conclusion of the Hookline Novel Competition.
Usually, we see a particular novel rise above the others, and I can easily bet on who might win. Interestingly, so far, there seems to be no clear favourite. So all bets are off.
For those unfamiliar with the Hookline Novel Competition: We take submissions only from students and graduates of MA writing courses and ask book groups to judge their work - in short, we bring together serious ...
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Vampires not allowed - at least in prison book groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, September 19, 2012,
It will come as no surprise to read that Fifty Shades is massively popular in women's prisons. The surprise may be that it is also popular among the men's prison population. "Their wives tell them to read it," said one reading group volunteer at the Prison Reading Groups conference at Roehampton University last week.
No matter whether it is requested, not all libraries will keep it in stock. Books with sexual content are sometimes banned. This is easy to understand in prisons holding sex offen...
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Tea, biscuits and books - in prison!

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, September 18, 2012,
Tea and biscuits have a deep association with book groups, but this connection is significant for book groups that meet in prisons.
Almost every volunteer and librarian who spoke at the Prison Reading Group conference at Roehampton University last week, talked of tea and biscuits and how integral they are to meetings. It was just one of the details that fascinated me, that put prison reading groups on a par with any other reading group in any community.
The conference was held, primarily, to sh...
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All the news that's fit to print

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, September 3, 2012,
Publishing tends to keep readers and writers far apart - writers write; readers read and the publishers take care of the bit in the middle.
But there is a huge overlap as almost all writers read, and increasing numbers of readers write. The two groups no longer sit at opposite ends of the publishing table.
Hookline Books already brings readers and writers together - we take submissions from new writers, and rely on book group readers to decide the manuscripts that go to print. 
We would now like...

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National Reading Group Day

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, June 25, 2012,
Book groups are to be celebrated. As these dedicated readers meet each month and discuss their monthly read, they have become the backbone of the fiction industry. 
I will repeat my previous claim that Alexander McCall Smith and his Number One Ladies Detective Agency, Louis de Bernieres and Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Rebecca Wells and her YaYa Sisterhood would not be successful without word of mouth praise from book groups.
Here at Hookline, we have huge faith in reading groups. All the books ...
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An Underground Party

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, June 18, 2012,
Hookline Books do not publish many novels - one or two a year. So a party to celebrate one of our books is a big event. 
Underground by Gayle O'Brien topped the approval ratings from our book groups last year - and we trust our book groups so much we let them guide us in choosing what goes to print. Underground is our fourth winner and, as a lover of a good story, I am proud to put it to print.
Underground follows two young American women - one contemporary and another from the 19th century - a...
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National Reading Group Day

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, May 2, 2012,
National Reading Group Day is on June 30, and I think Hookline Books should do something to celebrate. After all, it is reading groups who choose the novels we put to print - we couldn't exist without reading groups.
But what do we do to celebrate this day?
Free books, deep discounts are all great ideas, especially for consumers.
But I'd like to do something to celebrate these communities of readers who meet regularly in homes, libraries, cafes and bars to discuss their monthly read.
How can we p...
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The Power of Book Groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, April 23, 2012,
No one expects prisoners to read novels, let alone discuss them. 
But the Prison Reading Groups have released a list of recent choices among prison book groups.
Women prisoners choose fairly predictable titles by authors such as Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Anita Shreve (Testimony), and Sarah Waters (Affinity).
But male prisoners selection of titles is a bit more surprising: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox.
Okay, Michael J. ...
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Book groups, air your views

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, March 22, 2012,
Book groups rarely get a mention at literary festivals. Instead it is the great and good among authors who are feted and discussed.
But a small forum at next month's Chipping Norton Literary Festival aims to change that. Book Groups - Not All Tea and Biscuits will discuss why book groups are popular and will ask book group members to talk about how they find the books they read, how serious does it have to be and even, critically, how do you deal with a difficult or dominating member?
The event...
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Book group perks

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Wednesday, February 29, 2012,
Yesterday we announced that Hookline authors were available to visit book groups in their area.
Today, we have another offer to make to book groups - 25 percent discount and free postage when you order directly with us.
Hookline Books could not exist without book groups - you choose the fiction we put to press, the least we can do is ensure a few perks.
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Book group visits

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Tuesday, February 28, 2012,
Readers like to meet writers - especially when they've enjoyed their work. 
Writers like to meet readers - especially when their work has been appreciated.
So Hookline Books is offering readers visits from authors.
Bryony Doran, author of The China Bird, and Jilly Wosskow, author of A Young Woman's Guide to Carrying On, are both able to visit book groups in the area around South Yorkshire.
Author of The Partridge and the Pelican, Rachel Crowther, can visit groups in Cheshire.
Book groups in London...
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Book groups

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Thursday, February 23, 2012,
Our 2012 manuscripts are going out to reading groups - always exciting as we pack, but daunting as we arrive at the Post Office and have to unload 30 boxes and queue for service. Those behind us fire daggers at the packages, but what can we do?
Reading groups - I hope you enjoy your work, and we look forward to hearing your results.
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Book groups and the Chipping Norton Literary Festival

Posted by Yvonne Barlow on Monday, February 6, 2012,
Mention reading groups to most people, and they expect middle age, middle class and middle brow.
How wrong!
Reading groups are a growing force in publishing, and some big name authors owe their success to word-of-mouth recommendation through book groups. For instance:
Number One Ladies Detective Agency
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Devine Sisters of the YaYa Sisterhood
The Kite Runner
These were all small-time debut novels until discovered by reading groups.

Following the success of these books, publish...
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Yvonne Barlow Editor at Hookline Books - where book clubs and readers choose the novels that go to print.

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