Jeremy Corbyn: a lesson to publishers?
Who would Jeremy Corbyn it? A politician (apparently) without spin or guile whose supporters claim is introducing a new-found honesty to politics. Would that most of us in publishing might follow in his saintly footsteps when it comes to our job of selling books.
Bullshit words and phrases are endemic in our business although at least the newer ones have a novelty about them, which may however be short-loved.
The current number one suspect must be all those 'Enchanted Mandala Woodland Kingdom Mindfulness' titles (Exorbitantly priced colouring books. It might be cheaper to share your child's Charlie and Lola comic or ask for a free colouring sheet and crayon when you're next in Pizza Express and get it out of your system with some nice carbs.)
This is closely followed by 'healthy eating' (not quite a proper cook book or health guide, but the writer from west London - they're always from west London - looks lovely and who's arguing with half a million Instagram followers.)
Bubbling under comes 'Famous people's memoirs' (we're not allowed to say celebrity memoirs anymore, fingers' burned too many times, but we think Lulu still has some pretty amazing stories to tell.)
'Erotica' (what used to be called soft porn until it was felt to be empowering for readers and desperate publishers) looks set to run and run, as does 'Nordic Noir' (serial killers with frostbite).
And get ready for those 'Chinese boxes' as Tom McCarthy's Satin Island makes the Booker short-list. No one, but no one, wants to use the word 'experimental'. More attractive to say that this book is impregnated with DDT and causes cancer.
On the matter of 'fan fiction' (written by the kind of people who, in times past, would have been burnt alive at the stake) publishers are grudgingly being forced to admit that the gatekeepers aren't what they were and the barbarians are over the wall.
Of course no one says 'misery memoirs' anymore - or rather bottom of barrel scraped too many times. At least agents can be blamed for leaving no fake memory syndromes or coal hole violations unvisited.
Ditto 'chick-lit', for which no one will now take responsibility. Better to call it 'contemporary women's fiction' and hope the pink and lime-green covers hold out for brand recognition.
Of course the golden oldies have never gone away and will still be around when most of their younger brethren are lying discarded among the One Direction annuals.
We all still know what we mean by a 'Richard and Judy' novel (a book that makes you laugh and makes you cry, although possibly not for the reasons the writer intended).
Let's also hear it for 'self-help' (books that show you how to do things for yourself because, let's face it, there's no chance that anyone else will do it for you).
And who can resist 'sequel' (author dissuaded from writing anything original), 'adored by generations of children' (GCSE set text), 'satirical' (writer sniffy about being called funny) and 'about Britain today' (depressing).
All of which is, frankly, irrelevant as we know that now is the season when books must be sold in record numbers or else instant penury will result.
Which brings us rather naturally to 'Christmas bestseller' (a book you wouldn't dream of reading yourself, but is felt to be suitable for relatives and people you don't like very much).
Er, enjoy as they say.
Malcolm Burgess is the author of Don't Mention It: The A-Z of Modern Bullshit, published by Oxygen Books on 22 October 2015.