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Guest Blogs

A blog by Tara Sparling

Tara Sparling writes fiction and satire. Her blog www.tarasparlingwrites.com looks at book humour, bestselling book trends, the realities of traditional and self-publishing, writing follies, book marketing, author success stories and spectacular failures. She also pokes a lot of fun at character and genre stereotypes. She can be found lurking @TaraSparling on Twitter.

You can follow Tara online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

You Think 5-Star Reviews Are So Great? Think Again

Posted by Tara Sparling on 17 February 2018.

I hate 5-star book reviews, and I'm about to tell you why. While I'm at it, I'm also going to try and persuade you to hate them too. Wish me luck.

Writing Freedom: Is There Something To Be Said For NOT Being Published?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 5 December 2017.

Writing in a different genre can be a difficult sell, even for a successful author Literary success seems to prescribe that you find a writing style, and stick to it. But not everyone wants to do that. And not everyone is able to do it either. J.K. Rowling made headlines when she began to publish crime fiction under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, having previously confounded the market with adult contemporary fiction in The Casual Vacancy. Both are far...

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What If The Movie Is Better Than The Book?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 20 September 2017.

We tend only to talk about the great books we know which were murdered by being made into terrible films, but we forget that there is another angle to this story. Producers of film and TV are always looking for new ideas, and screenwriting veterans will tell you that it’s a hell of a lot easier for an unknown writer to sell a script if it’s based on a published book – presuming  you have...

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Gender Is A Funny Thing. Does Comedy Depend On It?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 10 August 2017.

I said something disgusting last week. I was describing a book I’d read to a friend. “I think it’s for men,” I said to her. “I mean, it was good. But it wasn’t great, and I kind of waded through some of it. I think it was probably written for men.” To my credit, I slapped myself in the face with a large fresh monkfish after I said this, because it’s a really stupid thing...

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Theakston Old Peculier Crime Festival: A Microcosm Of Machiavellian Merriment

Posted by Tara Sparling on 10 July 2017.

In less than two weeks, the writing.ie team and I will be Ryanairing off in no style whatsoever to the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate, Yorkshire. I was there last year, and I still even remember some of it, despite the disgraceful amount of fun I had. Writing.ie will be live tweeting as much as possible, so that readers sadly unable to attend can get some of the flavour, wisdom and entertainment which characterises this festival of books....

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Literary Fiction: No, I Don’t Know What It Is, Either

Posted by Tara Sparling on 31 May 2017.

Here’s a quick literary joke for you: ************************************************ Q. What’s the difference between Literary Fiction and Crime? A. Two empty coffins. ************************************************ Isn’t that a brilliant joke? Aren’t you rolling around the floor laughing? Isn’t it crammed full of the sharp wit of the universe? Of course it isn’t. But if enough people said it was, you might believe it. Which seems to be increasingly how Literary Fiction once worked. Nobody’s saying that Lit-Fic (I know such snazz-tags are annoying,...

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Are Unread Books Piling Up On Your Shelf Of Shame?

Posted by Tara Sparling on 27 April 2017.

I have a stack of books on two shelves in my hallway which I liked enough to buy, but not enough to actually start reading. How did we come to this? They haven’t lost or put on weight. They should look just as good as they did on the day I bought them. But something happened to them in the time that they languished, horizontally, rather than standing upright and proud, on those shelves. Somehow, they...

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3 Foolproof Ways To Write A Blockbusting Bestseller

Posted by Tara Sparling on 7 April 2017.

Many great authors will tell you that it’s really hard to be successful in publishing. They will talk about doing boring things such as having a really good idea, perfecting your craft, editing, designing an expert marketing strategy, and all that other tedious stuff. I’m here to tell you they’re wrong. In fact, it’s quite easy. Here are three agonisingly simple ways of writing a smash bestseller. Method 1:   Spontaneously enshrine the cultural zeitgeist which began defining an entire generation...

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Don’t Judge Me By My Book Cover

Posted by Tara Sparling on 27 March 2017.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t judge a reader by book cover, either Sometimes it feels like we’re all boxed off into horribly homogenous categories. We’re segmented into target markets for fashion, food, cars, and even umbrellas. When it comes to books, it’s worse. We’re either into crime, sports autobiographies, romance, or hamburger history, but never all four. Everything must be packaged according to its genre, and there are labelling rules....

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