Science fiction and fantasy                                            







   

Musings and rants

Nine Political Books That Change The Conversation
Following news that Simon and Schuster plan to publish an inflammatory commentator, here are nine political books that deserve more attention.

Penguin Random House Withdraws Union Recognition
Penguin Random House have decided not to recognise Unite and the NUJ as a result of staff negotiations, leaving the publisher with a stain on its reputation as an employer.

Women In SFF: Indie Edition
A list of indie and self-published women writing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction genres.

Amazon Finally Makes KU Appealing For Novelists
The new per-page payout for the Kindle Unlimited subscription service makes it a much better deal for authors of longer novels.

Thoughts On The Sieghart Report On Libraries
The Sieghart report on libraries missed its mark by miles. Yet the real cause of the decline of the UK library network is depressingly obvious.

A Shout-Out For The Good Guys
When nastiness dominates online conversations about books it is time to appreciate the well-behaved authors.

Critique Circle: Shaping Fabulous Stories
The appeal of a certain writing critique website. Or, why I have neglected this blog.

Where Shall I Point This Pitchfork?
Some thoughts on Jonathan Ross, Loncon, and the twitchfork mob.

Reading Is Not A Race
Why I will be abandoning annual reading challenges in 2014.

What Book Discovery Is Missing
The current state of book discovery is narrowing our reading choices and squeezing out midlist writers. How can it be fixed?

An Explosion Of Discovery Tools
New book discovery engines are popping up all over the web. But which ones will come out on top?

Blog Tours From Both Sides
Blog tours are the lastest marketing fad. But what are the pros and cons of this kind of publicity?

It's Not Your Story Any More
When a book is published, authors lose control over how the story should be read. They should let go the reins and enjoy the ride.

Same Old, Same Old
Are current methods of book discovery pushing us further away from original literature?

Female Protagonists In Genre Fiction
A list of recommended SFF books for adults which feature a female as the main character.

Is This The End Of Sweeping Vistas?
Do recent trends in fantasy art styles and the constraints of online book discovery mark the decline of landscape cover art?

A Rising Tide Floats All Boats
Authors: stop thinking of other writers as your rivals. They're not the enemy.

Reviews Are Useless Without Context
With so many review blogs, quick ways of understanding their authors are more important than ever.

Great Scriptwriters: Sometimes Overlooked, Always Vital
Sometimes it seems like the only way to get known as a scriptwriter is to do something else entirely.

The Going Rate For Fake Reviews
Now you can buy your way to critical success, at least until you get caught.


Authors Support Stop Funding Hate

16th November 2016

 



For anyone living in the UK, the divisive tone of certain newspapers has been hard to avoid, moving from a national joke to a skidmark on the nation's consciousness, soiling our debate and souring everyone's mood.

The Mail's "Enemies of the People" headline crossed a line, but it wasn't the first one crossed. For years the anti-immigrant, anti-democratic, hate-fuelled headlines have been building in certain sections of the British press. The murders of Jo Cox and Arkadiusz Jozwik didn't take place in a vacuum. Jo Cox was a British Labour MP who campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU and worked hard to protect the disadvantaged, no matter the colour of their skin. Arkadiusz Jozwik was a Polish man living in Harlow, Essex, and the police are treating his murder as a hate crime.

As the rhetoric has become increasingly rabid, people have begun to ask themselves what can be done about it, when the press regulator IPSO has proved to be utterly toothless. IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, recently failed to uphold complaints about the Sun's treatment of Fatima Manji in spite of receiving 1900 complaints about Kelvin MacKenzie's article which criticised her for wearing a hijab and reporting on a terrorist attack in Nice. The ruling is chilling for anyone who expects freedom of religion, and has rightly drawn criticism. Meanwhile the billionaire-owned press feels free to print increasingly incendiary and racist pieces with impunity.

This is the catalyst driving Stop Funding Hate, and it's urgent. What's at stake isn't just a few hurtful words: it's already life or death for some people. So Stop Funding Hate is a movement exercising its freedom of expression by letting people know which big brands are being hypocrites by claiming to have strong ethical values yet advertising in newspapers which represent the very opposite of those values. It has produced some videos that explain its aims, along with a call to action: put pressure on brands to withdraw their advertising from the Daily Mail, The Express, and The Sun. And people have responded, with over seven million views of the video below on Facebook (the YouTube version has some catching up to do). Lego has also pledged to withdraw from its advertising relationship with the Daily Mail.



For many people, this presents the choice to boycott those brands whose response has been less than ethical. Some authors are taking things further. Melissa Salisbury, author of The Sin Eater's Daughter, has agreed with her publisher, Scholastic, not to provide her books for review to the Daily Mail, the Express, and the Sun. "I can’t, in all good conscience, let my work be “advertised” or promoted in publications that advocate an increasingly fascist attitude," she states on her blog.

I don't know what sales can be expected from a tabloid review, but this is a brave move for an author who is still at an early stage in her career.

Bestselling thriller writer Ken Follett has also tweeted about his stance.

I applaud Melinda Salisbury and Ken Follett, and hopefully they will have great sales this year. They have put their money where their hearts are, and it's a move that should inspire us all, writers and readers, to consider how everything we do has ripples of consequence, whether it's where we advertise or where we spend our spare cash.

As a self-published author I don't even consider sending ARCs to national papers, so it means little for me to say I won't be sending them ARCs or offering interviews (I won't, of course). But I'll be talking to my friends about authors who do the right thing, and word will spread. One snowflake at a time is how you create an avalanche.