BooksMarch 2, 2016

How to make New Zealand writing attractive – A Spinoff exclusive


Steve Braunias has an amazing idea that just might revolutionise sales of New Zealand books.

William Gibson – “author of Neuromancer, etc”, as he languidly describes himself on his Twitter account – added to his collection of over 60,000 tweets yesterday when he wrote




Funny! But hang on. Wait. That’s actually genius. The spectacular popularity of colouring books for adults is a worldwide phenomemon, and the tide has yet to go out; authors should swing into action immediately, post-haste, and start drawing some cool pictures to boost sales of their novels, books of verse, etc.

I’m an author. I can draw, sort of. And so I made four drawings that an adult could colour in, and submitted them to three leading New Zealand publishers.

“The same week our fowls were stolen, Daphne Moran had her throat cut.”The Scarecrow (1963), by Ronald Hugh Morrieson


“He gestured at the guests and said, ‘Most of the wealth of this country is represented here.'”Opportunity (2007), by Charlotte Grimshaw


“Not I, some child born in a marvellous year,

Will learn the trick of standing upright here.”

The Skeleton of the Great Moa in the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch (1943), by Allen Curnow


“Dixon was mad.”The Scene of the Crime (2015), by Steve Braunias


Response from the publishers was swift. Penguin Random House wrote, “Can you draw Lebanese cucumbers and things like that? We’re thinking a colouring-in component might go well with our next Nadia Lim cookbook, Lebanese Cucumbers and Things Like That To Put in Your Food Bag.”

Victoria University Press took to Twitter, and denounced “a new low in New Zealand literature”. It was retweeted by a poet.

Luncheon Sausage Books wrote, “This is a new low in New Zealand literature. Congratulations! Please find enclosed a cash advance for a six-book contract.”


Simply do a screengrab or whatever of one of the pictures, colour it in, and chuck it on Twitter. Link to the Spinoff and Steve Braunias Twitter accounts so they see it.

One winner will be chosen and will win the entire catalogue* of Luncheon Sausage Books. Truly! Get drawing!!!

*two books. Madmen: Inside the Weirdest Election Campaign Ever (2014) by Steve Braunias, and the junior fiction novel Lily Max: Satin Scissors Frock by Jane Bloomfield (2015).

The Spinoff Review of Books is brought to you by Unity Books.


The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

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