Introducing ‘Books by journalists’

Ok, so this idea may be a) rubbish, b) pretentious, c) pointless or d) a, b and c combined.

But over Christmas, I spotted a whole deluge of Tweets, articles, Facebook statuses and so on from journalists – or their friends – talking about books they’d published.

Now, we’ve all worked in newsrooms where journalists have felt they’ve got a book in them. The problem, in the past, was that to get the book published was often quite tricky – particularly if doing it around a job in a newsroom.

Digital book publishing has changed all that. Look at Kerry Wilkinson, a Lancashire-based sports journalist whose crime book series came from nowhere to lead the Amazon digital book charts in 2011. He now has a deal for both the crime series and also a sci-fi/fantasy series aimed at younger readers.

Then there’s Paul Plunkett, a former sports editor at the Lancashire Evening Telegraph (where I worked with him) who is now at BBC Sport. He’s written Teen Idol Terror, the first in a series of books about a character called Jenny Johnson. From some of the reviews on Amazon, it’s gone down really well.

Or Garry Cook, a freelance photographer and experienced journalist who has turned his hand to a brilliant series of cartoon books for youngsters called Albert the Pug. Although aimed at children older than a one-year-old, my daughter loves to have it read to her at bedtime.

And those are just three people I know in real life.

So I thought I’d have a go at reading books by journalists in 2013. Generally, they won’t be books about journalism by journalists – ie, no memoirs – although I got two copies of Nick Robinson’s latest book at Christmas so that might be a flexible rule – but other than that, anything goes.

If you’ve got any suggestions on books I should be reading, please leave them in the comments box below. I’ll post the first book later – Mimi Johnson’s Gathering String.

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