Collage of the Facebook Group Members' Book Covers designed by Jan Ruth
In late October 2017, a small group of writers, readers, and bloggers found each other on facebook.
I was one of that group.
We had uncovered a shared interest in establishing a genre of books which would appeal to readers in mid-life and beyond.
We started to tease out a set of themes which would give a clearer identity to the content which might fit into the new genre. Several book bloggers began to post about the possibilities. We wanted our own genre, but we didn’t want to be written off as outdated and out of touch.
Author and blogger, Paula Harmon, summed this up brilliantly in her blog post ‘Just A Number’. "There is a prevalent attitude in western society that youth is king and that getting older means no longer being switched on to the modern world or able to keep up. It’s total nonsense. "
Between us we had clocked up many years of life skills, and we began to use our experience to promote the idea. A few members of the group offered to contact the media to see if they could generate some national publicity. (Watch this space!) As for myself, now a sixty-two year old retired headteacher and amateur website designer, I set up a website called ‘Books for Older Readers'. I didn’t particularly like the title, but I couldn’t come up with anything better.
We all wanted to avoid age related stereotypes, and any terms which implied we were grey haired 'has-beens' heading towards our twilight years. Nevertheless, we did have some shared interests which were not so relevant to the young. People live so much longer these days, and frequently start new careers or relationships well into mid-life and beyond. We wanted to focus on books which reflected the changing roles and concerns of our generation. We may not be quite as an energetic as we once were, but, with decades of experience behind us, we still make a massive contribution to society. Our group of readers should not be struggling to find books which reflect their interests. They deserve a genre in its own right.
The group has already begun planning newsletters, a series of talks, and promotional giveaways for 2018. I suggest that successful book sellers and publishers keep an eye on our activities. We have no intention of retiring quietly into oblivion.
(Claire Baldry’s debut novel ‘DifferentGenes’ about love in later life was published in October 2017.)