This week I was excited to be asked to write a feature article for the Booksellers NZ’s email newsletter. I thought I’d let booksellers know some of my tips for creating an online presence (I know, I should use “brand” but I just can’t, ok?) – have a read and let me know if I got it right! The Importance of Being Online: Ten top tips for having an online presence | Booksellers NZ.
From Penguin Australia.
It is with sadness Penguin Group (Australia) wish to advise that Bryce Courtenay AM passed away peacefully at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra with his wife Christine, his family and his beloved pets Tim, the dog, and Cardamon, the Burmese cat by his side. He was 79.
Christine Courtenay said this morning, “We’d like to thank all of Bryce’s family and friends and all of his fans around the world for their love and support for me and his family as he wrote the final chapter of hisextraordinary life. And may we make a request for privacy as we cherish his memory.”
Gabrielle Coyne, Chief Executive Officer, Penguin Group (Australia) said, “It has been our great privilege to be Bryce’s publisher for the past 15 years. We, as well as his many fans will forever miss Bryce’s indomitable spirit, his energy and his commitment to storytelling.”
Bob Sessions, Bryce Courtenay’s long standing Publisher at Penguin said, “Bryce took up writing in his fifties, after a successful career in advertising. His output and his professionalism made him a pleasure to work with, and I’m happy to say he became a good friend, referring to me as ‘Uncle Bob’, even when we were robustly negotiating the next book contract. He was a born storyteller, and I would tell him he was a ‘latter-day Charles Dickens’, with his strong and complex plots, larger-than-life characters, and his ability to appeal to a large number of readers.
“Virtually each year for the last 15 years, I have worked with Bryce on a new novel. He would write a 600 page book in around six months, year in, year out. To achieve that feat he used what he called ‘bum glue’, sometimes writing for more than 12 hours a day. He brought to writing his books the same determination and dedication he showed in the more than 40 marathons he ran, most of them when he was well over 50. Not to have a new Bryce Courtenay novel to work on will leave a hole in my publishing life. Not to have
Bryce Courtenay in my life, will be to miss the presence of a very special friend.”
The last word belongs to Bryce himself. In a moving epilogue in his final book, Bryce said to readers “It’s been a privilege to write for you and to have you accept me as a storyteller in your lives. Now, as my story draws to an end, may I say only, ‘Thank you. You have been simply wonderful.’
From Penguin NZ
Penguin Group (NZ) warmly congratulates Greg McGee on being awarded the prestigious Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship for 2013.
Greg McGee is an author, biographer and freelance writer who lives in Auckland. McGee’s first novel under his own name, Love and Money, was published by Penguin in March 2012. Love and Money is a stunning social commentary on New Zealand in 1987 as the stock market crashed. McGee’s portrait of the era is rich, funny, bitingly sharp, and disturbingly contemporary.
McGee further showcases his versatility as a writer with the crime fiction series penned under the name of Alix Bosco, McGee’s pseudonym. Cut & Run(2009), the first book in this highly successful series, won the 2010 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel. The second book in the series, Slaughter Falls, was a finalist in 2011.
McGee has written for theatre and is perhaps best known for the play Foreskin’s Lament (1980), ‘the great New Zealand play’. His television credits, for which he has won several awards, include Erebus: The Aftermath, Fallout, Street Legal, and Doves of War.
His 2012 biography of Richie McCaw, entitled Richie McCaw: The Open Side, further showcases McGee’s versatility as a writer.
The Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship is one of New Zealand’s most long-standing and prestigious literary awards. It commemorates the New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield who was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888 and died in France in 1923. The fellowship allows a New Zealand writer to work at the Villa Isola Bella in Menton, France for a period of six months or more in the year of tenure. The successful applicant is paid a sum which is intended to cover return travel to France and living and accommodation expenses, currently not less than $75,000.
Penguin Group (NZ) wishes Greg well with this wonderful opportunity.
Huge congratulations to Greg McGee! Read what I thought about Love & Money here.
Just through from HarperCollins NZ…
AUCKLAND, New Zealand — 24 October 2012 — HarperCollins today announced that thousands of its local and international catalogue of titles are now available on the iBookstore. This includes New Zealand classics such as Tamar by Deborah Challinor, He’ll be Okay by Celia Lashlie, Before Your Kids Drive You Crazy, Read This by Nigel Latta and The Winner’s Bible by Kerry Spackman.
“Having HarperCollins’ books available on the iBookstore offers a great opportunity for New Zealand readers to get further access to a fantastic array of books,” said Graham Mitchell, General Manager, HarperCollins New Zealand. “The popularity of the iPad and the iBookstore in Australia, the US and the UK indicates that the market available to New Zealand authors through this platform will be significant and will also contribute to the accessibility of our authors in international markets.”
Download HarperCollins titles today from the iBookstore on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/ibookstore
In amongst the many, deserved tributes that have flowed for Margaret Mahy this week there has been one standout read, this wonderfully personal piece from Elizabeth Knox: Margaret Mahy, Hero. What better way to remember such a talent and such a lovely, lovely person?
And for a more group tribute I’ve joined the Margaret Mahy Nationwide Read. Join, organise an event of your own and let’s honour one of New Zealand’s best ever writers in a way that I’m sure would have made her very, very happy.
July 16, 2012
Murder, lust and revenge top the list
From murderous thrillers to scandalous love affairs, New Zealanders have revealed their favourite reads in the Whitcoulls Top 100 of 2012-13.
The Whitcoulls Top 100 has been the go-to guide for reading enthusiasts for more than a decade and with 20,000 votes this year, it’s proof Kiwis still love to have their say on their favourite books.
The number one spot this year remains the award-winning crime series the Millennium Trilogy, with popular teen trilogy The Hunger Gamestaking the silver medal and classic series The Lord of The Rings coming in at number three.
The timeless love tale of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice was voted in at number four.
New to the Top 100 at number 5 is the controversial heated passion saga of Anastasia and Christian in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy.
While the undiminished popularity of the top three comes as no surprise, Whitcoulls book manager Joan Mackenzie says the rest of this year’s list showcases the variety of New Zealand readers’ tastes.
“We are seeing a real diversity coming through in the books New Zealand adults are reading which is fantastic,” Joan says.
“There are classics that appear on the list year in, year out. But with hundreds of thousands of new books published every year, it’s exciting to see some new titles winning over New Zealand readers.”
“The Fifty Shades trilogy has taken the international reading world by storm and it appears New Zealanders are just as caught up in the hype. 28 books have made it onto the list for the first time so it’s good to see Kiwis like to mix it up a bit!” Joan says.
For the first time readers were also asked to vote for their favourite author. The top three further showed a range of reading tastes with drama queen Jodi Picoult taking out the top spot, children’s fiction guru JK Rowling coming in at second and the master of thrillers Lee Child being voted to third place.
Other interesting facts about the Top 100:
- General fiction is by far the most popular genre in 2012-13 with well over half the books coming from this category
- Adults are reading some of the same things their children read – Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and the Twilight series
- The most popular book since the Top 100 started in 1996 is The Lord of The Rings
The Top 100 books are available now at Whitcoulls stores nationwide and the full list is available online at www.whitcoulls.co.nz.
Dear New Zealand
All in all, you have pretty good taste in books. I’m not saying you don’t make some mistakes. I mean sure we loved the LOTR movies but Tolkein did not write the books about us, so can we let that go? And, ok, we like new and exciting things but lord above, the internet has been around for a while now and we’re only JUST discovering “women’s erotica”? Fifty Shades of Grey is not the fifth most enjoyable book in the world. It’s not even the fifth most enjoyable porn book (let’s just call it like it is) in the world. And Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series at 3-fricken-3? 33?? 33???
Aaanyway, at least you got it right with Pride and Prejudice. And The Book Thief. And The Time Traveller’s Wife. And Shantaram and The Great Gatsby and Dune and The Poisonwood Bible and 1984 and The Catcher in the Rye and the Edmonds Cookbook.
And at least you gave me a giggle by rating The Secret above Ian McEwan. Good one.
But I guess I just have to accept that this is your Top 100, not mine alone. So I’m okay with the things you got wrong and happy with the things you got right. And glad to see such a great mix of books being read by happy readers.
Cheers and see you next year,
P.S. Speaking of next year, would you care to place a wager on how quickly Fifty Shades of Grey drops off the list?