Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Sometimes I just don't understand the book world.
I've just read a brilliant book and under normal circumstances I'd now be linking exactly where you could find a copy and be urging you to read it too. However I can't.
The novel in question is called Looking for Buttons and it was written by a friend of mine, sadly the book can't find a publisher, she's been told by an agent that it is unlikely to be published but I'm hoping that they just mean in the current climate.
Looking for Buttons is an unashamed woman's read, I hesitate to call it chick-lit but it really reminded me of authors like Kate Long and Freya North. The characters live from page one, the story tells itself and there didn't seem to be any awkward chunks of description. It all just flowed.
I was kept guessing throughout and then ending is realistic rather than fairy tale.
Now it isn't without fault and as I was asked to give honest feedback I have done so - hopefully in a way that my friend is still talking to me - but there is nothing in there that a good editor wouldn't be able to fix.
As I was reading it I was thinking about how, if I still worked in book retail, I would 'sell' the book. There would be the obvious "if you like...you'll love" approach but I'd also have no problems hand selling the book with total honesty. The book is suitable for all ages of reader, it is modern enough that a twenty something would enjoy it but not so shocking that I'd have problems sharing it with my mum or my nan.
Now since I finished the book I've been trying to work out why it isn't being snapped up...
I've come to a few conclusions:
Chicklit is tending to be either more shocking or aimed at upper teens - Looking for Buttons doesn't hit this. It is just a realistic story with characters who are in their late twenties and early thirties living slightly larger than life lives.
There is a celebrity in the book and he is written in a way that breaks through the current cult of the s'leb - something that perhaps publishers are wary of in a society that seems obsessed by the famous.
The main reason I think it hasn't been snapped up though is snobbery:
The main character is a PhD graduate and all of her friends are also university graduates at varying levels. I wonder if there is the perception that this makes the book seem too high brow for general readers whilst at the same time there is the idea that people with degrees or higher can't be interested in chick lit.
I'm hoping that my friend doesn't give up on the book, I'd love to see it published and in the meantime I'm hoping that she makes it available via Amazon as an eBook. If she does I'll be pushing it like crazy.