Adéle Geras is not just an
accomplished author for children and adults but she is also a passionate reader
– something I tend to think is highly desirable in a writer. Having met at
various events in the last 10 years, Adéle and I have an ongoing e-conversation
about which of our featured books she wishes to claim and along the way we
exchange brief information about what’s happening in our respective lives. Most
recently she asked whether our A Life’s
Work (nb61) on Anne Tyler was on newbooksmag.com as her husband Norman
wanted to cite it in his blog - http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2008/08/reading-anne-tyler.html.
Unfortunately, it’s not but that led to an extensive explanation of why, which
I thought might be worth sharing here as an end of year round up and glimpse
into the future.
That whole business of
clicking through from a reference on one website to another you might otherwise
have been blissfully unaware of is so effective, isn’t it. And even for a print
and paper man like me I can see that this is a brilliant way of engaging with
our readers – hence blogs like this. Much better than the pre-internet way of
being told about a source but then having to try to track it down.
So to give you an update, by way of explanation: the relaunch of our website
during 2010 has been done in conjunction with a dynamic young company here in
Winchester - http://www.parkcorner.com/projects/newbooks.html Until now,
maintaining our web presence has been like nailing jelly to the wall. Liz and
David are just so much better, more responsive and understanding of what we’re
trying to achieve than the previous charlatans I’ve used. And working with
somebody in one field gives you an insight into what it might be like in
another. So when Park Corner pitched for the design of the magazine, all
of us involved felt it was too good an opportunity. The synergies between
magazine and website were obviously there to be exploited in a way that we
hadn’t been able to do previously.
Unfortunately, that meant saying goodbye to freelancer Nikki who has delivered
our intentions so successfully for many issues. So from nb63, the May/June issue,
you will see a different style and approach in the magazine AND – to finally
get to the point of all this – a corresponding increase in what we recycle on
Don’t worry – the number of
times I’ve been exhorted not to ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’ is
well into double figures. As one reader responded to our subscriber
questionnaire – ‘stick to the knitting, you’re damn good at it and we don’t
want to lose you!’
We’re gradually adding other interesting content on newbooksmag.com – 3 or 4
video interviews to date for instance – so if you have any suggestions of
things we could do then speak up!