An interview with bookseller Sarah Bagby
Sarah Bagby owns Watermark Books & Café in Wichita, Kansas. Founded in 1977, the bookstore brings people together over books and eats via their dozen-plus book clubs—from Vampires Anonymous to the Classic Book Club—and their monthly Literary Feast, a discussion held over dinner and dessert, led by Bagby and Jedd Beaudoin, host of the local public radio station. Bagby was a nonfiction judge of the inaugural 2014 Kirkus Prize.
What is Watermark Books and Café known for?
Like most thriving ...
The state of the industry
Kirkus started its self-pubbed section in 2005 (it was then called Kirkus Discoveries and is now Kirkus Indie). Since then, Indie reviewers have critiqued thousands of memoirs, novels, mysteries, thrillers, etc., and have good insight and advice to share from the front lines of self-publishing. In this issue, several veteran reviewers note a few changes they’ve seen—better editing, more literary work and increasing diversity.
Steve Donoghue, who also writes for the Wall Street Journal and the Boston Globe, appreciates “the ...
Judging a book by its cover
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, here we are. Like it or not, a cover can say a lot about a book—about its content, its character and, in some cases, its quality. More and more indie authors understand the value of a great cover—particularly in the all-important thumbnail size. Here are a few that stuck out to us this year. —Ryan Leahey
1. Murder by Misrule—Castle’s laugh-out-loud mystery uses textured background and a unique serif typeface ...
How publishing veteran Carin Siegfried self-published
One of the benefits of the boom in self-publishing is that excellent, narrowly focused books with potentially limited markets don’t have to languish in a publisher’s slush pile. Carin Siegfried, a veteran of traditional publishing, knew that her book, The Insider’s Guide to a Career in Book Publishing, which got a Kirkus Star, had “a small and very specific market, and…figured it was probably too small for a major publisher,” she says, so she opted to publish it herself ...
Phenomenal growth & great reads
About 460,000 books were self-published in 2013, up 17 percent over the previous year, according to Bowker, which also noted that “the trend of self-publisher as business-owner, rather than writer only, continues.” The result—evident in our best Best Indie Books of 2014 list yet—is that we’re seeing many more well-written, tightly edited Indie books.
It’s even easier for self-pubbed authors to cross the shrinking divide between self- and traditional publishing. One of the Best Indie Books of ...
You'll be tempted to keep these books for yourself
This little elf did not write the books mentioned below.
A book is the perfect gift: meaningful, personal and usually not too expensive. Check out the latest books we’ve given the Kirkus Star to
if you’re wanting to give fiction, nonfiction or young adult and kid’s books this holiday season. If you’re looking to give something a little more visual (and expensive), check out our guide to some recently published, stand-out coffeetable, cookbook, and art books. Happy Holidays!
By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from ...
The PEN America First Editions/Second Thoughts Auction
PEN America, which defends free expression, has concocted a perceptive, insightful way to raise money: They’ve asked 75 writers and artists to annotate the first edition of their classic works, which they then auction off. First Editions/Second Thoughts consists of writers like Toni Morrison, Gillian Flynn, Philip Roth, Stephen Sondheim, Eric Carle and Patti Smith publicly wrestling with the books they’re best known for. Morrison, for example, makes a brief note in Beloved that “the last two pages of ...
We ask owner Kelly Justice what makes the store stand out
Kelly Justice owns Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, which opened in 1978. Its 1867 building has hardwood floors, exposed brick walls and natural wood shelves. It looks so much like a classic independent bookstore that when author Kelly Corrigan visited (as reported in Bookselling This Week), she said: “This is the reason people quit their jobs and open a bookstore. This is what they imagine.”
What is Fountain Bookstore famous for?
Our big mouths, maybe? When people come to ...