The challenges of writing and publishing literary fiction

I attended an excellent talk at The Institute of Creative and Critical Writing in the School of English by Alan Mahar, novelist and former Publishing Director of Tindal Street Press last Wednesday.

Alan discussed writing and publishing literary fiction in today’s very challenging market.

 Alan raised many issues, but here are a few key points I tweeted during the talk:

E-books are not the answer for small independent publishers. At least not for the literary novel. The returns are not worth it.

Reviews & recommendations do not necessarily mean sales. So many other platforms. You try to chase endorsements to attract editors.

The significance of prizes for contemporary publishing. Potential prize winners? Like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Independent publishing needs prize listed novels. Talked about novels, to drive sales.

Alan seemed both optimistic and quite gloomy about the implications for writers and readers. His concern is Amazon and the dwindling opportunities for new writers to break through and be published. Given that Tindal Street Press has just been sold to Profile books, he should know something about the challenges.

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