Hello to all of our blog-readers! If you have just started following our blog and receiving our emails and posts, a special hello to you. I love seeing your ‘likes’ and comments come in, it just proves that the connection our followers have to books and New Zealand’s literary culture is genuine and passionate.
An introduction: my name is Sarah Forster, and I have been running this blog for just over a year now, on behalf of Booksellers NZ. My role is to run all of the direct digital communications for Booksellers NZ, as Web Editor – you can find me on twitter, on Facebook over several pages, sending our regular newsletters Words of the Day (click to register), The Read and Preview of Reviews, and on our website. Booksellers itself is a membership organisation for bookstores in NZ – with over 300 member bookstores nationwide. We help our members to run their businesses in the best possible way, and we help them, especially, to sell books.
The focus of this blog is to fill in the cracks of mainstream media review coverage. We cover the big books, sure, but not all of them, and we are just as interested in those books that are not as likely to gain column inches. The areas in which we have a particular pool of talent are Poetry, with the likes of poets Sarah Jane Barnett, Emma Barnes, and English lit student Elizabeth Morton helping us to cover almost everything that comes out in the poetic field; Non-fiction, with reviewers including Gordon Findlay and Kimaya McIntosh; Literary fiction, with reviewers Chris Howe, Elizabeth Heritage and Feby Idrus; and Children’s books with myself, teachers Rachel Moore and Marion Dreadon, Angela Oliver covering YA, and tireless grandmother Christine Frayling. We have a lot of other amazing reviewers that I haven’t mentioned, and you can check out some of their short bios here.
We have such a breadth of reviews now that I am going to start trying to focus on one specific area of literature per day, with daily kids’ book reviews at 4pm when I have them. My initial plan for is for Monday to be Non-fiction; Tuesday to cover Poetry and/or New Zealand fiction; Wednesday to cover International fiction blockbusters of various genres; Thursday to focus on Literary fiction; and Friday to be small and self-publishers day. All of this depends on how many reviews I get in each week, but I am fairly confident we will be able to keep it going!
My own reading is very broad – I will give pretty well anything a go, and I have sometimes have a hard time letting books fly off my desk when I really want to read and review them! But with a background of six years working with kiwi authors at the New Zealand Book Council as Education Programmes Manager, and with my two children aged 2 and 4, my real passion lies in kiwi children’s and YA books. Our children’s book publishing culture is massively strong, and shows every signs of continuing to thrive, despite the doom and gloom predictions for the industry overall.
This is where I ask for your input.
Our blog popularity is rising constantly, thanks to review coverage of major festivals and the quality of our reviews – but what else would you like to see? Author interviews? Summaries of international reviews for bestselling international titles? More personal blog pieces from myself and booksellers? A bit more genre fiction? Introductions to new publishers?
Comment below before 5pm this Monday 29 September, and be in to win a pack of books: A New Zealand Book of Beasts, by Annie Potts, Philip Armstrong and Deirdre Brown (AUP), The Son-in-Law, by Charity Norman, The Lost Pilot, by Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, and Built for Caffeine, by Ben Crawford.
Thank you for reading us – Sarah.
* I sincerely apologise if you now have the Spice Girls in your head…