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Weekly Write-Up: January 22nd 2020


Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we collect together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: Lee Child hands over the reins for Jack Reacher, book covers turn blobby, and the self-help genre turns to philosophy.

Lee Child Gives Up Jack Reacher

Far from self-publishing, but still news of a literary nature: thriller writing legend Lee Child has decided to hand over the reins of his Jack Reacher series to his brother, Andrew Grant (who will write under the name Andrew Child).

Child said he had been looking for a way to kill of the title character, but in the end decided to keep the character alive (for the fans – I’m sure he doesn’t need the money). There’s no news on whether Child intends to continue writing other books.

You can read more about Lee Child’s decision here.

Book Cover Blobs

Here’s a new trend for book covers, apparently: abstract blobs.

As the original article points out, they’re colourful and eye-catching. But as any indie in the know will respond: what do these abstract blobs and flat images actually tell a prospective reader about the book? Am I looking at “women’s fiction”, or general literary? For all I know there could be romance or even fantasy elements to the story, and yet from the cover alone I wouldn’t have a clue.

I suppose it demonstrates that book covers follow trends (which bolsters the argument that familiarity is key – people bought other books with covers like these, so they’ll recognise and buy others like it). But this seems to have taken the idea to an extreme.

You can read more about this cover trend here.

New Trend: Philosophy Self-Help

It’s the next big thing: positioning the old philosophers as self-help gurus. That’s what the big publishing houses are hoping, anyway. In these troubled times, why not turn to Nietzsche? I’m sure he’ll make you feel much better…

That said, Stoicism and Existentialism appear to be the current focus (in their simplified and no doubt heavily commoditised forms, of course). If you’re writing in the self-help genre, perhaps this is a trend worth implementing?

You can read more about it here.

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.