Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Books For Older Readers: Newsletter One

Welcome to the very first
 Books for Older Readers Newsletter: March 2018

How it began……
During an online chat about six months ago 62 year-old debut novelist, Claire Baldry, asked a group of likeminded facebook users a question which generated hundreds of responses. She enquired “Why aren't traditional publishing houses more interested in novels with older characters at the centre of the plot?” Answers to her question immediately exploded over Facebook. She had inadvertently unplugged a torrent of opinions. One blogger spoke for many when she said “I've been banging on about this for ages, but no one seems to listen".
 So Claire set up a facebook group and created a website, which she called ‘Books for Older Readers’. She later confessed  ”I would love to tell you that my actions were the result of a longstanding literary vision, but that would not be truthful. I was motivated by a combination of curiosity, the desire to help out and a self-interested wish to increase the sales of my own recently published book”.
Initial reactions to the website were mixed. Enthusiasm and gratitude were interspersed with (sometimes angry) accusations on social media that Claire was being ageist and trying to pigeon hole reading tastes. But Claire kept going. As she explained “I never really understood the ageist argument, because books are already described as ‘young adult’ or ‘chicklit’. My website was certainly not intended to tell people of any age what they should be reading. It was simply a tool for readers who were seeking books which reflected some of those issues and emotions experienced by people in mid-life and beyond.”
Despite the occasional criticism, the facebook group proved extremely popular. Moreover, the website hits quickly grew from hundreds to thousands.  People began to blog about the initiative, and very many authors asked for their books to be featured on the site. Readers were interested in browsing the digital bookshelves to discover new titles which might appeal to them. Claire found herself at the start of what could now be described as a literary campaign.

The Website
The Books for Older Readers website now features 45 very varied titles with more on the way. If you haven’t had time to look recently, this is the link www.booksforolderreaders.co.uk

BBC Radio London

 By coincidence, at about the same time as Claire set up the website, a forward looking (and young) commissioning editor of a large publishing house put out a timely request for manuscripts which contained older protagonists. Phoebe Morgan had noticed a demand. One of the Older Readers facebook group with media experience alerted Claire, and in January this year Christine Webber and Claire Baldry, both now novelists, were invited to be interviewed with Phoebe on the BBC Radio London Jo Good Show. Christine was interviewed live over the phone, whilst Claire travelled to New Broadcasting House to meet up with Jo and Phoebe for a face to face discussion. The session proved popular with listeners and gave extra credibility to the idea that some themes in books are more likely to appeal to older readers, not to mention the commercial argument that readers of a certain age are often avid buyers of books.

Where Next?
There is no master plan for the future direction of the group. Claire’s view is that now the website seems to be taking off, she will just wait and see where it leads.
There will definitely be further (probably shorter) newsletters. More giveaways have been discussed, and hopefully the group will attract future and increasing press coverage. Look out for stalls and speakers at occasional Literary Festivals.
With continuing success, both ‘older’ readers, and writers whose books appeal to those readers, could become the winners.

With winners in mind, and to celebrate their very first newsletter, the Books For Older Readers group are offering a 3 Book Bundle to one lucky newsletter subscriber. For a chance to win, subscribers must have a UK address and sign up by 31st March 2018. This is the link.  http://www.booksforolderreaders.co.uk/subscribe-to-newsletter/4594153382

Thank you to the following authors for contributing to the giveaway

Changes’ by Voinks   "Changes happen in life. Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride."

‘Different Genes’ by Claire Baldry    “Brilliantly written with depth and heart”

‘The Faerie Tree’ by Jane Cable    “The whole emotional content is quite perfectly handled”

Dates for your Diary

13th March      Caroline James: Publication Date  ‘The Best Boomerville Hotel’ 

17th March      Claire Baldry: Book Signing of ‘Different Genes’ at Rother Books in Battle

31st March       BFOR Newsletter Subscription Giveaway Deadline

1st May             Linda MacDonald: Publication of New Edition of ‘Meeting Lydia’

4th May            Faith Hogan: Publication of New Edition of ‘Secrets We Keep’

5th May            Barbara Quinn: Book Signing of ‘The Summer Springsteen's Songs Saved Me’
                        at Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA

1st June          Bethany Askew: Talk Ilminster Literary Festival

We are delighted that you have taken an interest in our group.
Thank you for your support.


  1. This is a splendid enterprise, not least because older readers have the time to read and also still use libraries.

  2. A great idea. My debut novel, Grace's Turmoil, was published in mid-December and features a 68-year-old heroine and a 71-year-old hero. More than that it is the first of hopefully three books in a planned series that is set in a retirement village.It is available on www.devinedestinies.com and Amazon.

    1. We look forward to hearing about the next two, Peter!

  3. This is what we older writers have been waiting for. Thanks Claire.