Today is the 5th anniversary of the Literary Sofa, and instead of saying ‘I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly’, I feel the opposite. Running this blog has had such a big impact on my life that I can hardly remember the pre-Sofa days. Things have changed so much along the way. These five years, the majority of my time as a writer, have seen me progress from seeking an agent to publication of my debut novel Paris Mon Amour in June this year. I wrote about the happy combination of blogging and writing in this piece for the Ham & High.
The blog has been very positive for me on a personal and professional level, expanding my literary horizons, developing my critical faculties and giving me useful insights into the publishing business. But what I value most is what I hoped for at the outset: connecting with my fantastic guest authors and readers (many of whom I’ve now met in real life). I am proud and delighted to have created a place to share my love of fiction and writing with all of you!
Often I get asked ‘what makes a successful book blog?’ and in short, I think it’s down to passion, individuality and quality. (If it was all about the number of hits, they wouldn’t be consulting me!) And I’d like to thank my amazing guest authors, who do most of the work, and above all, everyone who reads and supports the Literary Sofa – some of you have been with me from the very beginning. Many thanks also to the editors and publicists who send me books and invite me to events and to my fellow book bloggers for the inspiration and enjoyment I get from reading their blogs.
Introducing SOFA SPOTLIGHT
Five years is a good moment to take stock of any project, and I’m making a few changes in order to prioritise my own writing and related reading, much of which is non-fiction, not recent or not in English. Therefore my two big selections of recommended fiction (Hot Picks and Summer Reads) will be replaced by a quarterly ‘Sofa Spotlight’ which will be more flexible and responsive to exciting discoveries; as it stands, I frequently miss books which deserve to be included and end up not covering them at all. With each new season (approximately), the Spotlight will fall on 4-6 books and in addition to a description, I’ll tell you why they impressed me. I hope this will be just as popular and an even better way to support books (and authors) I believe in, which don’t always get the attention they warrant in a crowded marketplace. The first Winter Sofa Spotlight will be in November.
The Literary Lunch competition
And now for the ‘traditional’ blog anniversary Literary Lunch competition. As with previous years (and various other occasions), I will take the winner out for a Very Nice Lunch in London – or Paris, if you insist – date and venue by mutual agreement to accommodate your food preferences. If past experience is anything to go by we will spend hours talking about books, writing, travel or anything else that crops up. It’s always been a pleasure and I look forward to treating this year’s winner!
COMPETITION NOW ENDED – SEE ABOVE FOR WINNER!
In the comments section below, name your (ONE) favourite book read this year. It can be ANY kind of book, published ANY year. If you want to say why, please keep it brief. It doesn’t matter if someone else has picked the same one.
The winner will be selected by random number generator on FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER at 6pm – so you don’t have long!