I went to the Auckland launch of New Zealand Book Month last night. It was lovely. A smart and interesting crowd, superb local wines and food and a great success all round (Beth - you are a star). I counted myself lucky to go although it did mean having to talk with lots of grown ups. Held at St Matthew in the City the event included a celebliterati debate around the topic of 'should New Zealand Books be given special treatment here in NZ?' Folks this is a serious issue that has been much on my mind. Being an author in New Zealand is an exhausting business requiring writing, editing, persuading, selling, marketing, promotional and other skills and efforts. I sometimes feel like a character in a Dr Suess book, 'would you like it in a house, would you like it with a mouse, on a train, in the rain, buy my book please...' (sorry it scanned better until i took a swear word out). But I had forgotten that the debate was an 'entertainment'. Some argued passionately, 'book sales for NZ titles are a small fraction of total book sales here' vs. 'buying books should be about quality not where the author comes from.' Some took a circuitous route through their own pasts to the topic but all the speakers were excellent and we laughed, a lot. And because they were most entertaining the negatives won. But folks the question remains - Should NZ titles be given special treatment? Could someone please explain to me why it seems so few NZ titles travel to overseas markets but so many overseas titles, irrespective of their quality are sold here. The traffic is not 'both ways'. Here in New Zealand it feels as if we are on the 'give way' end of the one lane bridge. The 'quality' argument is fair enough but the playing field is not level. I haven't received Creative New Zealand funding, I don't receive special treatment, and my readers know me because I have gone out and visited schools and libraries, attended Storylines festivals and done my best to be visible. I keep writing and submitting and working on my craft. Maybe I am missing something but I don't even think its about special treatment - just equal treatment with overseas titles would be nice.
And because I love you all so much, here are some juicy links for your entertainment (Surgeon general's warning: a hot beverage should not be consumed while reading this) and your edification (this link should be filed for future reference). Have a safe and happy weekend people, go buy a book by a New Zealand author and keep the folk of Christchurch in your thoughts.
Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: The Were-Nana
- Educational Resource: The Half Life of Ryan Davis
- Educational Resource: Made With Love
- Educational Resource: The House That Went to Sea
- Educational Resource: A Winter's Day in 1939
- Educational Resource: While You Are Sleeping
- Educational Resource: The Song of Kauri
- Educational Resource: Fuzzy Doodle
- Book List - Complete List of my Publications