Meet Lucy Cruickshanks.
She is a multi-award shortlisted British novelist and co-founder of http://www.bookaxe.com.
Her love of travel inspires her writing. A great fan of the underdog, she’s drawn to countries with troubled recent histories, writing about periods of time when societies are at their most precarious and fraught with risk.
Her debut novel, The Trader of Saigon, was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and the Guardian Not The Booker Prize, longlisted for the Waverton Goodread Award and named a Top Ten Book of 2013 by The Bookbag. The Road to Rangoon was described as a ‘gutsy atmospheric thriller’ by Women and Home magazine, ‘enjoyable and well-written’ by the South China Morning Post and ‘haunting and heart-wrenching’ by Novelicous. It was chosen as Book of the Month by Candis.
Bookaxe is a fiction discovery website, changing the way readers source books they’ll truly love. They cut through media hype, subjective reviews and confusing descriptions to match the right book to the right reader, every time.
Guest Post – HELP, HELP! THERE ARE TOO MANY BOOKS! Why Bookaxe Began
If you’ve ever spent time with a kid in a candy store, you’ll know there’s a thing as too much choice.
Choice is a fabulous and exciting luxury, but it can also overwhelm.
I’m an author with two novels published by Quercus and available across the world. I’m also a devoted reader and so I understand from both sides of the page how difficult it is to match the right readers with the right books.
Since the printing press was invented in 1440, its estimated 150 million different books have been published worldwide. It’s a staggering figure and in the UK, (where I live) publishers add around 173,000 extra titles to the pile every year. That’s 20 new books being published for every hour of every day, and more per inhabitant than anywhere else in the world. In the US, the numbers are similarly dizzying. Almost 340,000 new titles appeared on the bookshelves in 2016.
Is it any wonder that readers feel daunted? Buying books isn’t cheap, either. They take more of our time and effort than watching a DVD. We invest our emotions and have high expectations. To not enjoy a novel is frustrating. To give up completely feels like a waste. We need to make our choices count.
From an author’s perspective too, it’s important that readers and books find their best match. My writing has had fantastic feedback from the press, bloggers and readers worldwide, but I’ve also had my share of one star reviews. My novels don’t fit neatly into traditional categories and have been variously described as Literary, Suspense, Historical and Thriller by booksellers and the media. They’re stories of hope but set against backdrops of war and vice. One has a pink jacket. Both have images of young women staring towards the horizon, despite male viewpoints outnumbering the women by two-to-one. Some of my worst reviews have come from readers who disliked a novel’s swearing or violence. Others had hoped the characters would fall in love. It’s not the readers’ fault they didn’t enjoy the books. If they’d had a better way to understand the type of story they were getting, they wouldn’t have wasted their money and time.
So where do you look to find a new book? If you search in stores, online or in the media, you’ll often only be shown the novels that the sellers and publishers are promoting that month. It doesn’t necessarily make them the most gripping or best quality – and it certainly doesn’t automatically make them right for you.
Even if you escape the marketing hype, it’s hard to know what you’re going to get. The ways in which books are described is confusing. What do terms like ‘Literary Fiction’ or ‘Book Club Fiction’ really mean? Wouldn’t Harry Potter and The Game of Thrones series both be found in the Fantasy section? Broad, vague categories help nobody out.
Reviews and personal recommendations are tricky, too. Tastes vary wildly and what one reader loves, another will hate. You only need to look at the feedback for your favourite novel on Amazon to see there are people who’ll have given it one star. And who’s to say that reviews are always honest? They could just as easily have come from the author’s rival as the author’s mother.
So how do you find the book that is right – to see beyond the names and titles that you already know, or those that are relentlessly marketed?
This month, my husband and I launched http://www.bookaxe.com, a brand new fiction discovery website, designed to make it quicker and simpler for readers to find books that better suit their taste. We cut through the media and marketing hype and allow readers to find that illusive needle in the haystack – their perfect read.
How do we do this?
We go beyond traditional book categories, changing the way in which we describe the content of books and meaning readers can be more targeted in their searches.
We also create detailed preference profiles for every Bookaxe reader, enabling us to make more precise and reliable recommendations.
Lastly, we understand that quality matters most, so we’ve done away with one-to-five star reviews and instead we only show you the opinions of readers with similar tastes.
Add to that a host of other features and benefits, and Bookaxe makes for reading recommendations you can truly trust. We leave you to focus on the thrill of rifling through the candy store, not the feeling of being overwhelmed!