Wednesday, 21 October 2015

BLOG TOUR | 'The Human Script' | All Hail The Book Blogger

Hello, readers! Today I am delighted (haha, see what I did there?!) to tell you I am on BLOG TOUR! I haven't participated in a blog tour in a while, so I am honoured to be part of the wonderful Johnny Rich's blog tour for his brand new book The Human Script. As soon as I was pitched The Human Script I knew that it was a book I would love... Tom McCarthy has described the book as 'a captivating, intelligent and deeply affecting exploration of science, literature and ideas'.

I was kindly sent a copy of The Human Script by Red Button Publishing, and I will review it as soon as I tackle my mahoosive TBR pile for October! However, in the mean time, I have the amazingly talented Johnny Rich here on Delightful Book Reviews to talk about one of the things closest to my heart... book bloggers! I hope you guys enjoy it :)

What if The Perfect Novel had just been published? How would you expect to know about it? 

The newspapers would be full of rapturous reviews. Social media would whip up a force 9 storm. Book awards would dispense with the formalities and surrender their prizes without ceremony. Bookshops would clear their window displays in anticipation of the flood of demand for That Book. 

How sure are you about all that? How sure are you that The Perfect Novel has not just been self-published somewhere, perhaps as an ebook? 

The newspaper book reviewers haven't read it because, well, why would they? After all, there's no hype from a publishing PR machine and the newspapers’ readers aren't demanding opinions. The media moguls and editors have no commercial interest, so why would the newspapers bother?

Meanwhile, the bookshops have no deals in place to stock the book, let alone to promote it. Being a self-published ebook, it's not eligible for most awards and the ones it could win aren't taken seriously. As for the word on the street, the word has to get out of the front door first. 

Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect novel. Different books appeal to different people for different reasons. Even if we could all agree on a perfect book, it might still be hard to hear about it. So how much harder it must be to get to hear about a novel you would love when it isn’t released with an expensive fanfare. 

This is the problem of ‘discoverability’. Depending on whom you ask and how you count it, there are upwards of 10,000 novels published in English every week. That’s more than were published in a whole year two decades ago. Add to that novels in other languages and non-fiction. A few of these books arrive amid a fabricated buzz of publicity. But most do not. 

Most of these books, we have to admit, may fall far short of perfection. Discovering quality has never been harder and – for exactly the same reasons – never more necessary. 
And yet most newspapers have given up on serious book reviews. Between the three or four in the UK that still do it, there's no more than a couple of dozen books featured per month, many of which are different reviews of the same few books. What’s more, in the last ten years readers have abandoned newspapers like the air from a whoopee cushion. Those who do still read them don't necessarily read the books pages. So the once all-powerful book critic may now reach an audience of only a few thousand, many of whom might well work in publishing anyway. 

What then is the key to discoverability in the digital age? If a book can start to gain a little foothold with a niche audience, Amazon's recommendation algorithms might bring it to your attention. But even they require a book to fit neatly into a genre to get rolling. 
Enter the book blogger. Readers – passionate devourers of books – have taken the task of discoverability into their own hands. Unlike the more established critics and literary editors, they read according to their own tastes, not a publicity cycle. They read books of all genres and none. They read looking for quality, but also for entertainment. They read for the love of it.

And then they write. Their passion for consuming books is matched only by their passion for sharing their thoughts, their enthusiasms. These are honest reactions to the literary landscape, guiding other readers. No matter your own reading preferences, there are bloggers out there who share your tastes.

Amid all the cacophony, they are the still, small voices.

My appreciation of book bloggers comes from my own experience. My debut novel was published as an ebook by a small independent publisher, who, like the bloggers, was far more passionate about my book as a story than as an investment opportunity. It is largely thanks to bloggers loving it and generously sharing their enthusiasm that The Human Script has recently been described as a ‘whisper hit’ – a book that has caught readers’ imaginations on the strength of recommendations – and, as of this month, it’s finally made it into print. 

Johnny Rich is the author of The Human Script, published by Red Button Publishing, available now in paperback (£9.99) and eBook (£2.99) formats. To celebrate the launch of the paperback the author will be reading extracts from the novel followed by a Q&A on 17 November 2015 at the Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL. To find out more and to book tickets, visit

Until next time :)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Hay Levels!

Hello readers, and happy Sunday! I must apologise for not being very active recently- university is much busier and a lot more work than what I thought it would be! But anyway, today I wanted to talk to you all about a really exciting project...

Hay Levels (from Education at Hay Festival) are stimulating, snappy videos from inspirational and professional people- giving you insight into topics you may be studying for your A-Levels. Hay Levels covers numerous subjects- from Economics and Law to English Literature and Sociology- you are sure to find the subject and topic you are looking for. Hay Levels has been described as a #lightbulbmoment... And I can see why.

A few weeks ago, Hay Festival unveiled the second series of Hay Levels: an inspiring, free series of educational videos starring thought leaders from a range of disciplines, to stimulate students preparing for A Levels with a bank of educational resources.

Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, said: “Hay Festival continues to bring some of the best thinkers to audiences all over the world, developing an ever-growing community who enjoy engaging with ideas and each other. We wanted to share this opportunity with even more people. Hay Levels is the result. We hope they will be widely used and shared and are deeply grateful to these fabulous academics that have supported us so far.”

Dr David Landsman OBE, Executive Director of the Tata group, said: “Hay Levels is a really inspired way to spice up exam revision. Congratulations to Marcus du Sautoy and the Hay team. Partnering on the Hay Levels fits well with Tata’s commitment to making a difference in education and training beyond our factory gates and office doors. We enjoyed contributing and watching the films.  We hope students do too - and that their revision is genuinely invigorated.”

Highlights from the first series of Hay Levels include: Sarah Churchwell on Gatsby; David Crystal on Pragmatics; Marcus du Sautoy on Triginometry and Logarithms; Richard Dawkins on Irreducible Complexity; Gabrielle Walker on Climate Change; Oscar Guardiola Riveira on Globalisation; and Shahidha Bari on Wordsworth and Coleridge.

If I had discovered these before my A-Levels I would have been a lot better off- there is just the right amount of detail in these videos to bump up your essays to the next grade, and impress your teachers and the exam board (which is the main thing after all). There are so many different topics and the videos are entertaining as well- which is helpful as well because it avoids the head bashing on your laptop when you fall asleep- lol. 

But in all seriousness, this is a really great project put together by Hay (the coolest literary festival in my opinion) and the people who narrate these videos are lecturers, professors and fellows- people who are not only outstanding in their field but passionate but what they teach. So altogether, you know you are getting a really comprehensive and well-rounded overview of the topic you are learning. 

I will be posting some reviews of the Hay Levels clips in the next month or so, so keep an eye out for that! 

Check out the website here:

Check out the YouTube channel here:

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Interview with Estelle Maskame, author of DIMILY

Hello, readers! Today I have a VERY exciting post for you: an author interview! I haven't done one of these in a really long time so it's great to get back to it! A few months ago I was sent an ARC of Did I Mention I Love You by the extremely talented young author, Estelle Maskame. I absolutely adored DIMILY and I'm so proud of everything Estelle has achieved- she is an example to adults everywhere that young people can do incredible things and achieve their dreams. 

Of course, when the opportunity came along to interview Estelle I jumped at it! I know Estelle has a huge fan base so I am so excited to be able to post this interview on Delightful Book Reviews. I hope you enjoy!

What inspired you to first start writing DIMILY?

I was really into reading YA books about teenagers who couldn't be together for one reason or another, but I always thought the reasons they couldn't be together were possible to overcome. I was never really satisfied enough and I began to think of more serious reasons why two people couldn't be together, and that's when I thought about the complications of step siblings dating. It's neither illegal nor incestuous, yet it's not considered normal and people tend to look down upon it. It was the idea of a  forbidden relationship that inspired me to write DIMILY.

How did your online success change the way you went about your writing and pursuing a career in that field?

When writing online, my aim wasn't to get a book deal, but the more attention my work got, the more I looked at a career in writing as a possibility. I definitely started to work harder and to take it all a lot more seriously as more and more people started reading it.

What is it like writing full time at such a young age?

There's a lot of pressure. In a way, it sometimes reminds me of exam seasons back at school, but much more intense. I feel lucky that I get to stay at home and do my hobby every day, but I do have to work hard and sometimes it can become a bit overwhelming! 

How do you come up with your story lines and characters?

I usually create my characters first and let them drive the story forward. I try to come up with complex characters who each have individual quirks, and I just write what feels right for them. 

What do your family and friends think about your publishing deal?

They're all so proud. Everything is just as exciting for my family as it is for me, and I'm constantly filling my friends in on what's been happening! 

How do you deal with criticism or bad reviews?

I don't mind them. I try to learn from criticism and I view it positively as a way to help me improve. Sometimes bad reviews do hurt, but I always just remind myself that it's okay for other people not to like my writing. I don't write to impress people, I write because I want to tell a story, and having people love it is a benefit, not the aim! 

How important is social media in modern publishing and getting your work out there?

There's definitely a lot more opportunities nowadays for people to get their work out there. Before, people only really read your work if you were traditionally published and your work was on shelves. Now, we can post our work, promote it, AND build up a following of fans just by using social media. It's amazing.

How do you feel about the DIMILY fandom? (fan accounts, ect)

I absolutely adore everyone who's ever taken the time to read my work, whether it be back 2012 when I was posting online or whether it be now as they stumble across the book in a store. I'm so grateful to have such supportive people who do read my work and do dedicate time to it, from promoting it online to asking friends to read it to making fan accounts and trailers. To put it simply, I'm kind of in love with my readers. 

What are your plans for the future?

Writing, writing and more writing. Whether it be a career or a hobby, I don't think I'll ever stop. I'm really looking forward to all the new novels I've got planned and I can't wait to start working on them! 

Describe DIMILY in three words.

I think "summer, secrets, stepsiblings" pretty much sums it up! ​

Thank you so much, Estelle, for being interviewed on my blog!

Check out my review of DIMILY here:

Check out Estelle Maskame here:

Buy DIMILY here: