I love reading books and writing about books. One of the things I learned is that if you want to write, you need to read a lot. Like maybe 50 books a year.
I’ve been lucky I had the opportunity to be one of the regular book reviewers for the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. And I’ve been enjoying that role a lot.
In the last couple of years that I’ve been writing book reviews, there are several things that I realised about books and authors.
The books are all unique
I know we all say there is no original work under the sun. While that may be true, I think it is also safe to say that there are a lot of great tweaks to the ideas already out there. I’ve never read two books that are very alike. Or close to being the same. Sure they may have the same topics and issues but they’ve been treated quite differently.
Authors are crazy brilliant
Sometimes when I read something so brilliant I don’t want to go to sleep, I keep thinking what are these authors eating to come up with such intricate and marvellous worlds? How did they do this? Where do they get their inspiration from? Do they have a story fairy they regularly consult? This is one of the reasons why I go to author talks as much as possible – to learn from these brilliant people and hope that, one day, I can be just as imaginative as they are.
Books are produced by a lot of people
I always read the acknowledgement page – more for my own curiosity than anything else. You’ll find how many people have supported the author to create the book. You’ll realise that authors aren’t islands. They need help, too. It takes a lot of work and a lot of people to push a book out into the world.
So my advice? Connect, network, don’t burn bridges and when someone who can help you has something to say, listen – and listen well. Also, go online to listen to authors talk. You’ll always learn something from each one.