At last week’s Writing Race, we were joined by book-selling extraordinaire, Fiona Stager. As the co-owner of Avid Reader Bookshop and Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop, as well as a judge for various literary prizes, Fiona’s insights gave Racers a glimpse into the competitive, yet curious, world of book-selling. Here are some of the tantalising tricks of the trade that Fiona divulged…

…on author platforms and community engagement…Fiona Stager

It’s vital that authors are part of their communities. Basically, if we want people to support us and our work we need to support them. It’s important for profile, and for creating opportunities.

…on the key features of a successful book…

A successful book is one that finds it’s audience, which is different to a good book. A cover is everything! As is paper quality, font size, and a good blurb on the back. Also, I think it’s valuable to know that something like 80% of a book’s sales will occur in the first 3 weeks of publication. So it’s important to think of ways of extending the sales life of your book.

…on YA readership…

I’ve been fascinated to read that 55% of YA novels are bought and read by adults. Because we opened our new dedicated children’s and YA bookshop Where the Wild Things Are I am reading much more YA and loving it! A good story, well paced with great characters will appeal to all ages.

…on the intriguing nature of hotspots and pen names…

We have areas called hotspots and also our ‘magic dumpbin’ and whatever we put there just sells!

[Hotspots are] one of the reason’s Eric Blair changed his name to George Orwell . It meant his name was in the middle of the alphabet and because he had worked in a bookshop he knew that’s where you needed to be on the shelves. In Eric Blair’s day, the shelving would have been high and mostly against the walls. So you wanted to be at eye height. Now with more contemporary gondola shelving it’s probably better to be at the beginning of the alphabet.

At this week’s Writing Race come join us and our special guest Charlotte McConaghyan internationally published sci-fi and fantasy author and author of the Australian Writer’s Guild award-winning screenplay Fury.

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