A sobering fact landed in the inbox last week – that NZ fiction accounts for just 5 percent of the books sold at retail in New Zealand.
Is that because our writers don’t stack up internationally? Hardly.
We have just as much talent, if not more, on our domestic shores than we could ever import, no it has a lot more to do with a publishing and promotion model chasing its own tail to find out what’s popular and supply only that.
That’s the model that feeds us some hideously mediocre books – usually prettily packaged and fetchingly marketed from dump bins at airport book stores.
There’s talk of introducing quota systems for book reviewers and the like – similar to those put in place for New Zealand music in the 1980s – and that’s a great start – because the beauty of New Zealand writers is they are writing our stories and recording our history.
And right now there are Indy labels – like Write Answers – pushing the boundaries, telling stories of and by New Zealand.
Why wait – you can set up your own quota right now.
Just because it’s harder to find – and buy – doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Or that it isn’t every bit as good – maybe better – than the books you’ll find on the top 40 best seller lists stocked by your mainstream retailers.
Two 2022 books you might like to check out … When the Robins Left by Hazel Burgen (Amanda Nally calls Hazel as the hot new voice in speculative fiction) then there is The Library of Unfinished Business by Patricia Bell published by Cloud Ink, you’ll find a review on Kete here.
These books are not available in store, nor do they come with a free set of steak knives, but they are worthy of your time.