The bestselling author Joanne Harris has set the cat among the pigeons with her latest blog which puts forward the radical suggestion that authors should be paid to turn up at literary festivals.
Harris says she loves festivals, but also points out that some of the more lucrative ones are taking the mick. “We can’t afford to pay you,” they plead. And yet readers are paying up to £25 a ticket to see the author, and not to see the caterers, organisers, printers, and marquee builders who usually are being paid for their work.
Harris should sign up to the Facebook group “Stop Working for Free”, where freelancers and creatives get together to compare notes on cheeky “job” offers, and repeat the old adage that nobody would ask a plumber to work for nothing. Or perhaps Harris should write a novel about an author who is asked to work for “exposure”, and then remembers that exposure is something people die of. That’ll get the festival invites piling in.
Publishers at Transworld are rushing a new polemic to the presses by the “No More Page 3” campaigner, novelist and heroine Lucy-Anne Holmes. How to Start a Revolution will be published in ebook (99p) and paperback (£2.99) later this month, and tells “the story of how I started ‘No More Page 3’ … I really hope it inspires people who are passionate about issues to recognise that now is an incredible time to speak up, form movements and effect change.”
As well as launching the petition that led to The Sun scrapping topless models in January … and then unscrapping them … and then apparently scrapping them again … Holmes is an actress and novelist whose latest book, Just A Girl, Standing in Front of A Boy, is currently nominated for a Romantic Novelists Award. Perhaps this book is being published so quickly to benefit from all the excitement surrounding the awards on 16 March. Or perhaps they want to get it out before The Sun changes its mind again ….
This week’s slightly alarming new book news is off Game of Thrones on Business, by Tim Phillips and Rebecca Clare, which coincides with April’s return of the HBO series. In it, we can learn: what Tywin Lannister shares with Steve Jobs (neither favours mothering leadership styles); what Daenerys Targaryen can teach us about servant leadership; and why behaving like Jon Snow will antagonise your boss. But no tips, apparently, for prevaricating fantasy series authors.