Friday, 11 December 2009

Half Price Sofa Slebs

A worrying sign of the times at Waterstones. Now that they are the only dedicated High Street bookseller these days since the collapse of Borders, it is disconcerting to hear from the powers that be, the reasons why they order books.

1. Track record of sales
2.Publisher Support
3. Market Context
4. Price/Cover

No mention of the word, 'Writing.' Nowhere to be seen. It is irrelevant. Half price Sofa Sleb musings on away days in the jungle. That's it. Good night.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


The Incwriters Society started a campaign at the end of September called, SAVE OUR PRESSES. It is a vehicle for all independent publishers and presses in the UK to get together and promote their books. They are starting a Blog in January 2010 and Bluemoose Books will be the first Publisher to write about what we're doing. Of course it's a great vehicle for our writers to talk about their books and writing. The first author will be Anna Chilvers',whose novel, FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS is published on the 9th of that month. This will be followed by Marc Radcliffe, GABRIELS' ANGEL and then Michael Stewart, KING CROW. They will talking about their expectations and the whole process of being published for the first time. I will, at a later date, give you the blog address.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Get out of Gaol free card

I went to bed last night with a fevered brow. I had read that the sainted Jeffrey Archer had just signed an £18Million advance with his publisher for a five book deal to produce a contemporary 'Forsyte Saga,' based on a fictional family called the The Cliftons. Now, whatever you think of our Jeff, he is a proven bestseller, so he's in the big league when it comes to advances, but 18 big ones is a tad excessive methinks. Just think how many new writers Macmillan could publish and promote that will be selling millions of copies when the dear lamented gaol bird 'Wor Jeff has long left this mortal coil. Forward thinking, I think not.

Friday, 4 December 2009


The Moose has secured a one hour slot at his first Literature Festival. I haven't yet had the pleasure of rubingb shoulders with the great and the good from the Literary world and so, next year, in March, I will be offering Moose opinions to those who wish to Listen at The Huddersfield Literature Festival. Me and Alexei Sayle. Or is that Alexei and I. I will have to buff up on Albanian tractor works and the like, as this Liverpudlian funster used to go on holiday behind the Iron curtain. Stephen Clayton and Anna Chilver's, will be reading from their novels, THE ART OF BEING DEAD and FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS and I will be talking about what an Independent publisher is looking for in a Manuscript. I could tell you here, but then I wouldn't be allowed onto the lucrative litfest circuit. I have bought my Moleskin and white linen suit and have joined the list for Hay on Wye tickets. I think not.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The books have left the building

The distribution Hub at Bluemoose will be working double shifts tomorrow as all the orders for FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS will be wending their way to the major wholesalers and library suppliers. We have already sold nearly 40% of the first print run, which is fantastic since the pub date isn't until January 9th 2010 and we have 600 Facebook chums on the FTC Facebook site. Fortunately we haven't sent any books to Borders UK, which has just gone into administration. I hope all the excellent booksellers there manage to keep their jobs or get something before it all goes pear shaped. I personally would like to thank the booksellers at the Birstall Borders near Leeds who made Stephen Clayton's signing there this year for his book, THE ART OF BEING DEAD, such a wonderful experience.
Off to make sure we have enough tape and labels.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Borders are breathing their last

The Abacus boys have moved into Borders and as eggs is eggs they will make sure they get their monies worth before they shut the doors forever. They are trying to get somebody to buy the business as a going concern but I don't hold out too much hope for that. The company has been run into the ground by the management for months now. I blogged here some six months ago and stated that you don't become a great bookseller by selling crisps and chocolate bars. The writing has been on the wall for ages but still a beligerent management continued on their blinkered path. You can't compete with the Tinternet and the supermarkets, so don't bother, do something different. Create a bookshop that is a customers delight. Fantastic customer service, brilliant events, become a part of the community, have a different stock profile. Even Amazon don't hold every book, they use wholesalers and publishers and it can take two weeks to get a book. The high street can compete, it just takes a bit of nouse and courage. Let the booksellers run the bookshops and the suits with their Harvard MBA's can count the pennies. Just because you've read Michael J Porter's Competitive Advantage, and Competitive Strategy don't think you have all the answers. You patently haven't.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Pre Pub Sales

The FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS Facebook site now has over 350 'friends,' of course some of these might be fly by night chums and don't really care, but the main idea is just to get the name of the book out there in the land of Twitter and Facebook, into the cyber bookselling land and it has worked. Pre Pub sales for Anna's book are excellent and the orders keep coming in, which is great news, considering the book isn't officially out until Jan 9th 2010. We've had some great feedback from Booksellers and authors, which is always great, but the proof will be in how many members of the Great British Public put their hands in their pockets and buy the book.

Monday, 23 November 2009


News that BORDERS bookshops are about to blow is very depressing, especially for all the dedicated staff that have ben trying to keep the company afloat. The writing was on the wall when they closed Books Etc in London and five prime Borders sites around the country. Another telltale sign that all was not well was when they started to sell Mars bars and crisps. Not that I have anything against such commestibles, but when you're trying to gain a competitive advantage against your competitors with Mars bars, the company model would seem to be broke. The printers have told me that posters for FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS have arrived
which is great news. Several books will be leaving Moose Towers this morning to the various Nabobs of the literary world. I will let you know if any of them have the decency to even regsiter our existence. Again, the Moose is fueled by anger and outrage that new writers get little or no coverage in the Metropolitan press. I have therefore sent a copy to Scott Pack at ME AND MY BIG MOUTH blogsite. He loves the cover and is calling it a Literary Thriller. He will post up a review in the next couple of weeks. Toodlepip.

Friday, 20 November 2009

New Frontiers

We now have an official Facebook site for FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS and it goes by that very name. Within the space of two days it has 220 friends. Scary as you like. I will post up the FTC World Book Tour which starts on the 9th January 2010.
Every day we are receiving pre-publication orders and invites for Anna to attend library events around the country, which is fantastic. Withering Heights News, our newspaper now has another writer on board. She has some great credits to her name and will be an incredible asset. I welcome her aboard.
You can go to follow the exploits of the town and comment if you like. Off to sunny Manchester to spread the word.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Falling through clouds

The books are arriving today. 'Falling through clouds'that is, the great new novel from Anna Chilvers. Very excited. Yesterday Anna was interviewed by Virginia Mason of The Halifax Courier. She's their features editor and the piece will be in the newspaper towards the end of November. That's when the media whirl starts. The Moose will be sending review copies to The Manchester Evening News and The Yorkshire Post. Start locally, build the momentum and then send s few copies down to the metropolis. The Guardain , Telegraph, Mail, Times, Independent. Our intern, Bernadette has set up a facebook site for 'Falling through clouds.' The site is called Falling through clouds. I may poke you one of these days and already facebooky chums I don't know have been contacting Moose Towers, via the internet. Technology. I might even Twitter around publication time, Jan 9th. I will also be sening copies to Scott Pack at Me and MY Big Mouth, Mike at A View From. Get a buzz going in cyberspace and who knows. But for now I'm Postman Pat. I will not strike.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Book Launch

It's a big week for Bluemoose as Falling through clouds will be arriving from the printers on Wednesday. And then it's all about press releases, contacting Literary editors from the regional and national press, talking to local radio and tv stations to coordinate with them with all the signings Anna will doing in January and February. The viral marketing will start Monday, with the help of Bernie, who will be at Moose Towers for the week, learning the publishing ropes. I will then get on my bike and take Anna's book to the main Waterstones in Manchester and Leeds and get them to read this great story and hopefully they will put it on their,'Recommends,' list and through word of mouth, Falling through clouds will become the bestseller it deserves.
I have created a fictional town near Haworth called, Withering Heights. I run the local nespaper The Withering news with my wife....Here's the blogsite link. I have just received an email form a BBC Producer who's interested. Move over the ARCHERS, here comes WITHERING HEIGHTS.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Discover something new

The Moose has returned from his trip to Scotland and although I wanted to post a list of books that was whetting the appetite of the readers north of the border, I have to report that as Christmas starts earlier and earlier, all the bookshops I visited had their Christmas bestsellers at the front, middle and back of store. So it was Ant and Dec, Peter Kay, Jamie, Jordan and a splattering of Martine. So, nothing new, which is always disappointing. Waterstones were piling everything high and selling them cheap. You can now buy one get one free, although all the titles were not new, but backlist titles. Same old, same old. I will be ordering books from my local independent from now on, at least they seem interested in trying to provide the reader with something new to read.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Ecosse and beyond

Greetings from Scotland. I'm in the Kingdom of Fife and about to head off to Dundee and all points North. Will report back on what books are causing a stir in these parts. Toodlepip.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Road Trip

The Moose is preparing for another sales trip to Scotland. My youngest is preparing a road trip CD, Ecosse desert Island Discs. I will be visiting Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Sterling and will let you know what new writers are causing a stir north of the border. There has been a notable backlash to celebrity novels in the wake of Martine McCutcheon's burgeoning literary career. I haven't read it but the word on the street is that it's a pile of the proverbial. Apparently she writes like an angel, according to her publicist. Mmmm. Enough said. Sales of Sleb autobiographies are significantly down on last year, even given that Wats and Smiths are virtually giving them away. People become wary of books that are so below the RRP. Editors and Sales Directors from the big six will be worried. Very worried and rightly so. When the investment in writing is so skewed towards the quick buck from 'sofa names,' then the car crash is just around the corner. Thank the Lord there are independent minded publishers out there like Bluemoose, committed to publishing great stories from talented and gifted writers.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Viral Marketing

The Artwork has been sent to the printers and so we will have the posters for Falling through clouds. very soon. The invitations too, are being printed for the launch at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge on January 9th 2010. Bluemoose has its very first intern who wil be starting at Moose Towers on Monday 16th November. She will be helping me with the viral marketing campaign. Hopefully by then we will have the books sorted, so we can send them off to reviewers. Time online and on the phone to start the momentum and keep it going until after the launch.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

I am Martine.

Today the Moose is booked into a clinic and is undergoing plastic surgery. I want to become Martine McCutcheon. It would appear that Woman's Hour on Radio 4 only interview Soaplets, or other such Slebs for the book spot. So, it's under the knife I go and then I can appear on Radio. Of course you don't have to be beautiful to appear on radio, but it helps. I have tried the face masks, but these BBC Producers are made of sterner stuff and could see straight through my charade. When I'm next in London I may have to storm the Beeb and demand they interview a writer that hasn't received a seven figure sum purely because she's well known and appeared pouting on our screens. That lady is Anna Chilvers, author of Falling through clouds.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Archers Anxiety Attack

There is something afoot at the BBC. Although I don't want to divulge too much about my abluting habits, every time I go for a shower or bath, when I turn the radio on, there it is, the bloody Archers, up to their badass tricks down in Trumpton, or wherever they live. Either the plumber we gainfully employed is an Archers fanatic and has wired the hot water tap to Archers HQ, or the BBC are trying to destabilise Moose Towers with encrypted messages from Eddie Grundy and Co. I will be writing to the Director General of the BBC and an MP ar three. Bath time should be relaxing, not listening to folk prattle on about the best way to iodine the teats of your best dairy herd.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

No Tricks

Have donned the white sheet with eye holes cut out and will be scaring the beejesus out of the children later on. Last year, when asked 'trick or treat ' by the scary funsters who knocked on the door, I always said treat and was met with silence. The children ,togged up to the nines, simply looked at their parents for help. The parents just laughed. 'Trick' I repeated and still no tomfoolery ensued. After a couple of minutes of strained silence I gave in and handed out sweets. Is there nothing on the National curriculum about imagination? Eggs, Waters, perhaps the odd 'Moon' or two. Will report tomorrow if the standard has been upped.

Friday, 30 October 2009


Foyles is to open an E Book shop. Not convinced that it will work. Before you throw the luddite brick through the Moose Towers windows, look at the cost. £160 is the cheapest on offer and then look at how many titles you can buy. Not many. The E Book on offer today will be the Betamax of the book world. Electronic books do have a future but not in this format. I worry when tecchies try to sell the written word with whizzbangery. Publishers should invest in new writers, not batteries.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Much Smiting in the Marsh

Bluemoose Books is proud to announce the book signing of the Millenium. No, it's not Robbie Williams, it is GOD. We will be publishing the Uber Celebrity Autobiography of the year in time for his son's birthday 2010. It's AAA status makes it destined for the number one bestseller spot. There's famine relief solutions, astral ascension, sea splitting, much smiting and a host of animals descending from the heavens. GOD will be doing signings every Sunday in the months of October, November and December culminating in a massive multi faith event at Westminster Cathedral on December 25th. Everyone is invited.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Sleb sales down

Sales of Non Fiction celebrity books are down over 33% on last year. Does this mean the Great British public are now so disillusioned with whats on offer, they are taking their book buying wallets elsewhere? Perhaps. It could of course be that the titles out there don't titillate the customers pallette. But you can be damned sure the bean counters at the big six publishers are feeling very uncomfortable. Having shelled out ludicrous amounts of lucre to slebs, they need these pre Christmas sales. Its a one hit approach and if they miss, every new writer out there with even the slightest hope of getting a contract can go whistle. The fools are running the asylum. But they have been warned. Many, many times.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Moose Hob Heartache

Whilst all at Bluemoose Towers endeavour to get the word out about our next title, Falling through clouds, the mundane sometimes manages to derail the best of plans. The Moose's oven blew up on Sunday whilst I was cooking dinner for the family. A smoke filled kitchen, electrickery firing of in all directions and hungry mouths unfed. A man came round yesterday with spanner and a heavy heart brimming with sighs. The hob is dead, perhaps the oven too and monies will need to be spent. Moose Hob heartache. The Withering News banner headline disease is affecting every aspect of my life. It's a kind of journalistic tourettes.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Withering Heights

Think Lake Wobegon Days meets The League of Gentlemen and you will have the right sort of idea about an new Fictional town that will be coming your way soon. I will post the link for this a week today, Monday November the 2nd. The story concerns the lives of four people who run a provincial newspaper in the Pennine town not far from Bronte country. The town is called Withering Heights and the newspaper, The Withering News. Michael and Miranda are the husband and wife team who run the newspaper. They report on the comings and goings of a town noted for it's creativity. It has become the Sapphic centre of the UK which has caused, in the past, some discomfort amongst the more traditonal elements in this Yorkshire town. Plastic bags and Pagans, Lesbian Pole dancing clubs and images of Christ appearing in the most unlikely places are just a few front page headlines that will be coming your way. Toodlepip.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Jesus and Jamie

Yesterday was editorial day. The Moose family met up with Michael Stewart, author of King Crow, a novel we will be publishing. Michael is also the creative director of the Huddersfield Literary festival and teaches creative writing. He is an award winning playwright. I didn't ask him if he can do the Paso Doble, but I bet he can. Lin and Hetha, our editors, discussed his novel and all was fine and dandy. We then went to a secret location to discuss another book by someone we can't tell you about just yet. All very hush, hush but I hope Bluemoose will be able to publish. I'll keep you posted but if it comes off, then we can change the world.
Jamie left Hebden, no doubt his people were aware of the byelaw and by the time I drove out of town yesterday at 9.30am, Christmas had been sluiced away, the tree packed up and baby Jesus and Jamie had departed for the Metropolis. No more Turkey Twizzlers for us then.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Jamie and the Gibbut

Christmas has arrived early in Hebdonia. Jamie Oliver was in town to do the new Sainsbury's advert. I came back into Hebden at 1pm to be confronted by snow and reindeer. Plastic reindeer and perfect turkey slices. No turkey swizzlers here. Oh no. The crafty cockney performed his naked cooking duties, played the spoons for a couple of hours and exited stage left. He will probably return today to stuff the bird. However, there is an ancient byelaw that dates back to 1423 and states that a Cockney is allowed a 48 hour pass in Hebden but if he stays longer he will be hung drawn and quartered. The gibbut is being polished as I type.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Fiction Delivery Officer

Lord Mandelhson has been outside Moose HQ all night and wouldn't let me post this morning. Google all frayed at the edges. Anna Chilvers, author of Falling through clouds will be returning to Sheffield Hallam unviersity where she gained her MA in Creative Writing. Hilary Mantel, winner of the Booker with her novel, Wolf Hall, teaches there and Anna will be signing copies of her book on Wednesday 27th January at 6.15pm at the Blackwells Bookshop on campus. Sorry, they're not a bookshop anymore, they are promoting themselves as The Knowledge Retailer. Must keep up. I'm not a publisher. I'm a the fiction delivery Officer.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Moose runs amok in Grub Street.

The Moose was finally invited to pronounce on matters literary in the National press. PD James and Deborah Moggach were reported in The Daily Mail ranting about the state of publishing and in particular 'celebrity novels.' Mind you The Mail rants about most things and most of them unpleasant. However, The London Standard contacted me and wanted an independent publisher to comment. The rant ensued, littered with facts and figures, exposing the folly of the big six publishers paying ludicrous advances to TV Sofa Faces to put pen to paper. The Jordanisation of publishing was taking place. And publishers have lost tens of millions of pounds in their attempts to get a number one bestseller to the detriment of new writing and the promotion of new writers. The plus side however, is that Independent publishers like Bluemoose are filling the creative void and benefiting from the public's desire to read great stories, beautifully written that engage and inspire the reader. Back to Moose Towers.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Saltaire Bookshop

I was at The Saltaire Bookshop yesterday and its window is up there with one of the best displays this year. Saltaire is famous for the World Heritage village built by the Victorian mill owner Titus Salt, but just down the road is Cottingham, home of the famous faeries that were photographed at the start of the 20th century. It turned out they were faked images but several famous people were still convinced the little beauties were real. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle being one of them. The bookshop is celebrating the Cottingham Faeries and there is is a three foot mushroom in the window, with attending faeries. Its a stunning display. If you're in the area pop in, have a chat and buy a book. And they'll be doing a signing for Anna's book, Falling through clouds in January.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Taking the High Street

The assault on Waterstones starts today. I will be subbing Falling Through Clouds, the next publication by Bluemoose Books, to all the Wats stores in the country. To have a presence in the shops is essential, to try and usurp some space from the big boys will prove difficult. However, I already have three book signings in place. The first at Bradford Wats on the 16th Jan, then Leeds Wats on 23rd and finally Wats Nuneaton on the 30th. They will all have to have substantial quantities for these events, which means the Hub will have to preorder many copies. If we can replicate the stunning success of The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton, which was Leeds Wats most successful non promotional title, then we can roll the book out at all the Wats nationwide. That or holistic knee capping for all the Wats managers.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

To the Graucho, and don't spare the horses!

My old mucker Robert McCrum, aka Bobby McRumble, is waxing lyrical about the risk averse nature of 'London publishers,' in The Observer today. He is getting aeriated because a female friend of his 'on the sunny side of 30,' has had an offer of publication turned down because the sales and marketing team didn't think the numbers added up and so didn't sign her. Bob me old mucker, this has been going on for ever. I was wined and dined and contract pushed under my nose, and then had it withdrawn because chief stripy shirt and sales manager didn't think he could shift 20,000 units and that was ten years ago. It's illuminating that he's only recently getting exorcised because his friend has suffered at the hands of those nasty sales people. Perhaps if some of his friends like dear old Martin 'love forty' Amis didn't demand exorbitant advances and then sell so few books, publishers may have a few groats left in the new writers pile to publish books by friends of Bobby. Bobbus does wear his old literary prejudices on his tweeded sleeve when he witters on about London publishing houses. He appears like a character from a Jeeves and Wooster novel, but then again he is the great man's biographer.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Baltic Noir.

They'll all be coming back from the Frankfurt Book Fair armed with tales, clutching the works of some uber wunderkind from the far reaches of the Baltic coast. The new Stig Larrson but a bit more literary, Baltic Noir. Fish based crime stories with a lone trawlerman as the anti hero. Commercial fiction as roll mop for the masses. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Friday, 16 October 2009


If you want contemporary art forget the plinth and the new daubings by M.Hirst, get yourself down to Southport and my favourite bookshop, Broadhursts. They have live window displays. In these straightened times, it takes wit and innnovation to succeed in bookselling, and that's why Michael Palin, has decided to discard the camel and wend his well travelled body to the North West Coast. He is to do a book signing because he's acknowledged how hard they are working to make their shop a different shopping experience. Knowledge and expertise come as standard but their passion about the written word means this independent will survive. I was talking to Jo, one of the booksellers about the Kindle, Amazons new e book. Amazon can delete anything that is on your Kindle without your knowledge. They can even inform the authorities if they deem your reading material innapropriate. Its already happened with a version of Orwell's 1984. I'll wait for your ironic sigh..............and then don't forget what Amazon is about. They are a shop, so expect adverts to interrupt your reading experience and then message from their sponsors and then politicians. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Triple barrelled adventurers

Why is it news that the thickness of ice in the arctic is thin? We've known that for ages, yet triple barrelled bearded adventurers set out on their polar expeditions, tells us its very cold and how they lost their fingers, invariable have to call out international rescue and then relate to us via book, radio and lecture that we're all going to hell in a handcart and we should turn off the heating. We know. I've put out my plastic bottles this morning and will walk to work. Honest. And why are they all called Pen, Piff or Ran?

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Fiction please.

I was in a very large bookstore yesterday in a huge shopping mall. As you entered the store you were assaulted with the Christmas Celebrity biographies. Everywhere. Even the chefs had to stand aside as Ant and Dec and Mr Kay pleaded to be bought. Behind the serried ranks of grasping slebs came the 3for 2's and xmas whimsy and I was utterly underwhelmed by the fare on offer. I had to go two thirds of the way into the shop to find any new fiction. Now I don't want to be a Jonah about this, Christmas is different. Publishers make most of their money at this time and slebs have always been there to raise a cheer come Yuletide. But can we have a bit more choice please? Or given that you can't compete with these orthodontally enhanced specimens, it would bring a smile to the discerning readers face to see a table of great new fiction on offer. Just put a few directions up and point us to the back of the shop if needs be, but give people the choice.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Book Signings.

Bluemoose now has two book signings for its next publication Falling Through Clouds. The first will be at Waterstones Bradford on Saturday 16th 2010 at 1pm and the second will be at Waterstones Leeds on Saturday 23rd January again at 1pm. This is fantastic news for Anna Turner and Bluemoose Books. Last year we had great success withThe art of being dead which became Leeds Wats best selling non promotional title. Start local, build up the momentum and then Wats all over the country take note of the fantastic sales and order the book. We will have of course have newspaper coverage from The Yorkshire Post and Manchester Evening News. Eventually the news will dribble down to the great Metropolis and they may review the book in their ailing Lit Ed pages. In these desperate economic times, the big publishing houses pull up the rug and hunker down. They refuse to take risks and so the creative void is taken up by independent publishers. Perhaps Falling Through Clouds will win prizes, if not it will win many followers and readers, and that's more important.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Royal Flush

Victoria Coren has written about the death of the book in her Observer Newspaper column, and states that the Kindle and ebook will see Guttenbergs invention bite the dust. I don't think so Victoria. I know that she is a gambling women, having won the pot at an European Poker competition to the tune of several hundred thousand Euros. So, Victoria, I bet you a copy of a your dad's finest works, that The Observer Newspaper closes before the book dies. I have no doubt that Kindle and ebooks will be extremely successful, but however you dress it up and market the new gismos, they're still plastic. People still go out and play sport, they don't all just stay at home and play on their Wii. A book isn't an essential but it is essential for the discerning reader of note. Poems and short stories are best read of a page not a screen. The book will still be here in a hundred years. The Kindle, piled high in landfills.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

FTC World Tour

The final artwork is with us for Falling Through Clouds. A few tweeks here and there and then it is off to the printers. Orders are coming in from the Wholesalers and Library suppliers, which is fantastic as the book isn't published for another three months. Libraries up and down the country are now booking in Moose tours for an event. We've got as far down as Cornwall, with a raft of Northern libraries also asking if Anna would be available to give a reading from her book, and then a Q&A about Independent publishing. The Falling Through Clouds world tour is upon us, official dates to be announced next month. Jill, our foreign rights agent is off to Frankfurt on Tuesday and has made Falling Through Clouds her Fiction title of the Fair. She's had lots of interest from European publishers and there is also the possibility that an American publisher is interested too. Nothing concrete as yet, but the momentum is building.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Sofa Lit.

The international news wires were in a frenzy yesterday as the earth shattering news landed onto editors desks that an amzing announcement had been made. Fern Britton, Good Morning TV presenter and cellulite dodger had signed a seven figure deal with Harper Collins to write two novels. Apparently the first novel is about a young female journalist who gets to the top of her profession and then falls in love. 'It will touch the hearts of her millions of fans.' Said her new editor. And induce cardiac arrests in everyone else. I may be wrong, Fern may have hidden her literary talents under her capacious frocks but I can gaurantee that come publication day, her new book will stacked high next to the low calorie spread in every supermarket this side of Rockall. Good luck to her, I say, if she can command such praise and money, then I tip My hat. But what does it say of the publishing world that they are willing to invest such monies in a Sofa Sleb? Where are the editors with courage, willing to take a punt on a genuinely gifted and talented writer? Come to the Moose I say one and all.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Library or bust

So far 5 library authorities have invited Anna Chilvers, author of Falling Through Clouds, which is published in January 2010, to do an author reading and signing. There always follows Q&A sessions plus I usually do a little talk about independent publishing. It is all part of getting your author known, selling some books and getting the momentum going about the book. Word of mouth is the best way of selling a book. It is virtually impossible for a small independent publisher to get review coverage. The thinking being that if it is not published by one of the big six London houses, then it doesn't have any worth. How wrong they are. If you can get people talking about a book plus some coverage in the local press, London finally comes calling. It did with Stephen Clayton's novel, The art of being dead, which won a national award. Dr Johnson was wrong, Fleet Street has long gone, the wine isn't flowing so much in those Hampstead Burbs, literary editors are worried, the tinternet is coming and the hubris and arrogance of the literati may yet be fatal. Welcome to the real world of publishing great stories and bye bye tricksy bolleaux.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Waterstones management have stopped their employees from accessing the trade magazine The Bookseller from work. There has of late been some comment about the workings of the Hub. The powers that be at Wats HQ, the Hubbologists, refuse to accept that there is anything wrong with the new Hub at Burton on Trent. According to the Wats PR manager,a Mr Ostrich, 'everything is fine and dandy, and all the negative comments are misleading and incorrect.' Of course there is a massive problem. Customer orders go awol and can take up to a month to arrive, if at all. Multiple copy orders do not arrive, to such an extent that publishers have had to deliver their big Christmas titles to the stores direct, and event copies do not arrive. It is a mess but the man at the top refuses to admit there is a problem. Bunkerism is the philosophy of choice with the CEO. Waterstones is a great chain of bookshops and salvation is at hand but they have to acknowledge that there are severe problems with supply and this has had a deleterious effect on moral. Do the right thing. Accept that there is a problem, sort it out and start selling books, otherwise that rapacious beast Amazda will rid our high streets of bookshops.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mr Amis's teeth

Hilary Mantel has won the Booker. Congratulations. I Haven't read it. Don't really like all this Faction stuff. If I want to read an historical account I'll read a history book. As a rule of thumb any book that has a family tree in the front and a chronology is given a wide berth by my good self. It means homework. Flicking back and forth seeing who begat whom, whose niece slept with which uncle and where did the mad bat from leftfield come from? I congratulate Hilary Mantel because one of her previous books, Fludd, is one of my favourites. If the Booker gets people into bookshops to buy books then I, for one, am all for it. But you know all those literary pundits will be out complaining that the sainted one, the Sting of Books, Martin Amis should have won because he has nice teeth and his dad owned a wonderful wine cellar. Pick up the tennis bat Amis junior and take your frustrations out on your wifes tennis courts. You will have to drown your sorrows at your etymylogical half siblings. In a grand gesture let us all raise a toast to Ms Mantel, she comes from Royston Vasey you know, where they filmed the league of gentleman. You'll never put her book down.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Astral Tar and Feathering

I've crossed Peter Kay off my Christmas list. It's personal. Unlike Alan Bennett, who very kindly replied to a letter I sent him, the blue suited Boltonian never did. Shame on you Mr. Kay. I will be having words with your mother and gran. Saturday night Peter, you'll be struck down with the curse of the Moose. I live in Hebden and I'm an international exponent of Astral Tar and Feathering never mind Holistic Knee Capping. You have been warned. Just as you are being handed your next award for mirth making, it will happen and I will laugh, oh yes, I will. See you. Off to realign the planets.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Frankfurt und Cannes

Jill Hughes is off to Frankfurt with the two new Bluemoose books in her bag. She will be trying to sell the foreign rights of Falling Through Clouds by Anna Chilvers and Gabriel's Angel by Mark Radcliffe to publishers. She needed two photographs of the authors. Headshots. Why we need to see the heads of the people who have written two fantastic books I don't know. Could it be to see if they are beautiful people and if they are, will foreign publishers sign on the dotted line purely because they like the cut of the jib of our authors? I hope not but I'm not that naiive to think it doesn't play some role. Those other doyens of the entertainment industry are meeting in Cannes to buy and sell films. The Moose film agents will be there too. They don't need photographs. They need content. Humorous well written words. Which they have. It all seems peripheral but if we can sell some rights it puts Bluemoose on a more substantial financial footing and we'll be able to publish even more books by great new writers.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Aunty Moose

I've stopped twittering. But the Moose is still available in every other format on this technological planet. I must admit I do prefer speaking to people. Arcane I know, but I like to look people in the eye when making big decisions. I know so many people who conduct their personal rows via text. I think this illustrates their total lack of intimacy. Leaving it to the texting gods to sort out your romancing is a sign that perhaps you should not be together. The Moose will now be giving relationship advice to all those book lovers out there need a bit of advice.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Astral Tarmacing and Chicken's Entrails

The Hubbanistas, Hubbologists and the Waterstones Hub Apologists were out in force yesterday. The Hub at Burton on Trent, where all Wats books are now delivered, isn't working and hasn't been working ever since it came on line. Of course the powers that be talk about 'streamlining' and 'ironing out teething problems,' but the simple fact is, if you can't get books into your stores, you can't sell them. Christmas is upon us but there is help at Hand. The Moose, living in Hebden Bridge, the counselling capital of Europe, will call upon all his energies and skills including the Astral Tarmacing of Ley lines from Burton on Trent to all known compass points in the UK and Ireland and the spreading out of chickens 'entrails, to find the best solution for their problems. If that doesn't work I can always distribute the books directly to the bookstores. Simples.

Friday, 2 October 2009


Apparently it was Super Thursday yesterday as the Sleb Attack on the Christmas number one bookselling charts took off in earnest. All those Sleb autobiographies were published. You can buy them for a quid if you purchase 1000 HB pencils at WHSmiths. Madness. It would appear that bookselling is dying a death by a thousand cuts, and it is past number 750 and counting. So, I will have to put up with the smiling physog of Peter Kay pretending to be John Travolta plus those stereo funmeisters from Newcastle, Anthony and Decally. But, reader, you only have to wait until January 9th to get your hands on some truly great new fiction from Anna Chilvers and her novel, Falling Through Clouds.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Falling Through Clouds

I have contacted all the Reader Development Officers at the 208 library authorities in the UK with details of Anna's book, Falling Through Clouds. I want to replicate the great success we had with Steve Clayton's novel, The art of being dead, when we did a world wide tour of libraries in the North of England and spoke to around 35 library reading and writing groups. Hard work, with some difficult questionss superbly fended off by the very articulate Stephen Clayton, but successful. I am meeting Laura Brudenell tomorrow to put into place all the marketing for Falling Through Clouds. And then its Frankfurt, the biggest book fair in the world where our foreign rights sales agent, Jill Hughes will be selling the rights to two of our titles. Scary times but very, very exciting.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A great author and fine chap

One of the Bluemoose family came up North on Sunday. Mark Radcliffe, author of Gabriel's Angel, which we will publish in July 2010, came to Hebden Bridge. We had coffee and cake and chatted about the book, publishing, why Sting always takes his top off in photo shoots, music and football. He cut a rakish figure and half way through our conversation a bloke came up to us and commented positively on Mark's hat. Bluemoose not only has great writers, we also have style.
The artwork for Falling Through Clouds is now done. The typesetters will send all the artwork and the typesetted manuscript to the printers and by mid December we will have the books ready for publication on Saturday 9th January 2010. The book launch will be at 5.00pm at The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge on 9th Jan . At 8.00pm there will be a free party organised by Anna to celebrate the publication of her first novel. DJ's and such things. I believe it is all on Facebook and no doubt Mr Fry on Twitter will soon be accepting the invite.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

In Absentia

Apologise for the absence.....The Moose has been away. Lots to tell. Will catch up later, off to Lincolnshire now. Toodlepip

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Rabbit, Rabbit

There was many a tear shed yesterday at Moose Towers when the news filtered through that one of popular music's most famous combos, Chas and Dave are to split. Their musical take on a Philip Roth character, Rabbit, is a classic. farewell you cockeneyed boys you, lay down your spoons and please, do, go gently into the night

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New Titles

I have been contacting all the reader development officers at the 208 library authorities in the UK about our next publication, Falling through clouds by Anna Chilvers. Libraries choose their new titles and stock in various ways. The main avenue for selection is to be sent new title information on CD from the two main library suppliers, Bertrams and Gardners. They make the selection and then order the titles. Some library authoriites are now linked to 'Supply Selection,' whereby the library supplier chooses what titles the authority should order. This saves time and money for the authority but could mean that the larger publishers, through greater discounts, influence the library suppliers selection to the local authority. I'm sure this doesn't happen, but given the constraints of the industry, if you can make more money out of promoting a new author, then the library supplier will probably do so. Again, money may be dictating what new titles are in your library and not simply the quality of the writing itself.. Toodlepip.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Gabriel's Angel

I've just read 'Gabriel's Angel ,' again. It's written by Mark Radcliffe and it is still fantastic. I'm meeting Mark next Sunday when he comes up from Hove to stay with some family up here in the North. I'm really looking forward to it. Coffee and cake and chat about jacket covers and marketing. We will be publishing July 2010.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Final proof reading

The final, final proof reading is being done to Falling through clouds by Anna Chilvers this week and then it will be sent off to the typesetters. For the hardback, we have to do the copy for the front fly sheet and the back cover, which will consist of a short synopsis of the story and the full quote from Lesley Glaister, ISBN and price. On the paperback we have to do a brief synopsis of the story and Lesley's quote plus ISBN and price. All the artwork will then be sent over from our designers in Canada and the book will arrive at Moose Towers in mid December for the publication date of 9th January 2010. By that time it will be in the two main British wholesalers Gardners and Bertrams ready for distribution. Before then of course all the marketing and review coverage will be set up to give the title all the momentum possible. Red pen at the ready.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

King Crow

Bluemoose Books has signed up award winning author Michael Stewart. We will be publishing his new book, King Crow in January 2011. Michael is a playwright, screenwriter and has been commisioned to write plays for BBC Radio 4. We are delighted to be publishing his first novel. It is a stunning piece of work. A brilliant story, beautifully written and crafted. I'm very excited and proud to be publishing his book. I met Michael yesterday in Hebden and I had one of the most expensive pieces of cake ever. We went to Organic House, where the world is safe but smiles come as extra. Michael is also creative director of the Huddersfield Literature Festival and I will be posting up future events. Off to drive a van today. Helping a friend move to Horsforth, Leeds. Bluemoose Van Man.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Lidl by Lidl

I woke up this morning singing an Oasis song, which in itself isn't that bad. However, the song in question, Little by little, has been affected by the state of the economy, the split up of the band and reduced royalties. I woke up singing, Lidl by Lidl. Worrying. As I career headlong towards the big 50, well in two years time, will I find that rock and roll is totally consumed by my obsession with getting the best prices for my groceries? Worrying times indeed.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The spell of Americana.

I don't know whether the whole Dan Brown farrago has gone to the heads of Marketing bods at the high street bookseller Waterstones, but they've gone all Americana. I was in their Liverpool One store yesterday. All glass and steel and very bright, that is apart from a banner that was proclaiming their 'Favorite Books.' Thats right, FAVORITE. Yes, we're in a book shop. One promoting reading and literature. To compound the problem, on top of a bookshelf nearby was the correct spelling. It irritated me to such an extent I had to tell someone. I don't like doing such things. I don't read The Daily Mail or write in Green Ink or live in Royal Tonbridge Wells. But it was such an error, I needed to alert someone to the glaring glitch. They didn't seem overly concerned, which worried me even more. I phoned their HQ in Brentford and I was told that all the senior managers were at the Christmas conference, so nobody could help me. That told me a lot. Perhaps they were practising their spelling. I hope so.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Book signing.

Bluemoose Books has secured its first book signing for, FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS by Anna Chilvers at Waterstones Bradford on Saturday 16th January 2010. We have yet to sort out the time, but as soon as we do, I'll let you know. Wats Bradford is in the old Wool exchange building and is the finest building that sells books in the country. It is without doubt an architectural jewel. Columns and vaulted ceilings. Pevsner would have been very excited. If you're ever down that way, pop in, say hello to Ian, the assisitant manager and have a coffee upstairs and marvel at the place. It is in stark contrast to the architectural brutalism that blights the centre of Bradford and those bow tied, fat corderoyed architects of the 60's and 70's should be shot. I will shoot them .Not that I want to hark back to what the apprentice king wants, classical columns and all that schemozzle, Poundsbury is just awful, but brutalism as a concept was fatally floored. I went to school in Manchester and they tried to recreate the Crescent in Bath in concrete in Hulme. It won lots of awards but as a place to live it was a social disaster. Ruined thousands of lives and after twenty years was demolished. Lego's fine for the playgroup, but not for real people.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Twas the masons.

Twas the Masons that did it. Yes, millions of people world wide have read the new Dan Brown book The Lost Symbol and have found out that all the world's wrongs have been instigated by those apron wearing ,knuckle touching holders of secrets, the masons. Now, lets move on. The other Mr Brown will be at the TUC conference in Liverpool today blaming the workers for the world's financial troubles. Yes, You and I are the instigators of the global meltdown and so we will have to pay the price. I heard a banker yesterday say that 'the banking business model is still robust.' Deluded Abacus wielding purveyor of half truths and lies. Off to Leeds today to tell them the good news about Falling through clouds.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Viva Dan

Its hard hat time. Wherever you are this week, Dan Brown will get you at some point. The publishing world think he's their saviour and in terms of sales he certainly is. Anybody that can sell 81 Million copies of their last book is worth their weight in gold. Forget the Fryisms about it'being stool water,' that's mere commercial jealousy. The fact is simple. He's bringing new readers into bookshops, supermarkets wherever, and they're buying books. That's good news. What the publisher does with the vast profits is another issue. If they invest in new writers and don't simply go out and buy another sleb biography, we're all quids in. If they simply reinvest in Dan Brown like novels then that is hardly visionary. If bookshops are full for whatever reason, apart from a riot, then we have to celebrate, especialy in these straightened times. I will buy a copy and read it and if it's a good story I will let you know. Remember he doesn't pretend to be a literary giant. He won't be gladhanding at Fey on Whey. He's telling a story and hopefully he's got a good editor.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Happy anniversary

Happy anniversary to my wife and I. We have been married for twenty years. Moose Towers will be full of cake today and perhaps the odd balloon. The key to our success? Best mates. Simple.

Friday, 11 September 2009

High street mugging

I have to send all the bibliographical information about Falling through clouds to the wholesalers. Gardners and Bertrams are now the two biggest players. They also, between them own the three major library suppliers in the UK. Big potatoes. In a previous existence, I sent a very angry email with the odd expletive by default to an executive at one of the wholesalers. The email should have gone to my wife. I was upset, I thought they were demanding a rapacious level of discount. I had to phone the chap concerned and apologies for the content of the email. Discounts are now a huge issue to such an extent that one publishers, Marion Boyars have decided to cease trading next year because of the level of discounts on the high street and internet. They can't turn a profit and when you see what the major booksellers are demanding I can see why. Authors advances in some cases have fallen by 80%. The business model of huge advances to authors is now in question, apart from the slebs who are being given football like payoffs for their pearls of wisdom. We're all going to hell in a handcart. See you there.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Bluemoose Facebook site

Bluemoose Books is now all tooled up on the tinternet. We have a Bluemoose Facebook site and I now have lots of friends. Every ten minutes or so there is someone emailing me to have them as a friend. No wonder people of a certain age never go out and see the daylight. You could be on these things for years before you realised it. I've come late to this sort of thing but I can obviously see the benefits. Next we're going to set up a Bluemoose Books Group, and before you know it we'll be on The Today programme talking to Jim Naughtie, chairman of The Booker panel about our books. Might even be in the three for two's at Waterstones but then I'm not going to pay for the privilege, thank you very much. I might have to eat my words somewhere down the line but I'm sure you can succeed without selling your soul. Famous last words. Eekamouse.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


The Longlist is out and The Shortlist is in. No surprises. Hilary Mantel will win with her Historinovel about Thomas Cromwell, Henry V111's mate. As I've stated previously anything with a family tree in the front plus a chronology of events means I won't buy. It means the book may contain Elfish peoples from otherworlds. A definite no no at Moose towers. The Booker marketing people will now kick in and the world of books will be Bookered up to the max. More stickers. A longlist sticker, now a shortlist sticker, a Booker sticker plus a 3for 2 sticker and perhaps a winning sticker. Who needs a jacket?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Anthills and Stars

There was a great review in The Telegraph and Argus yesterday. Here it is.

Anthills and Stars by Kevin Duffy.

Set in 1968, the year of political revolutions after the Summer of Love, an unmarried hippy couple, Solomon and Cas, arrive with Leo, their son of 18 months, in this Calderdale backwater to set up house in Prospect Street.
Their next-door neighbour, Ethel Hebblethwaite, is a cross between Nora Batty and Hyacinth Bucket; the difference being she is a righteous Roman Catholic – not a hypocrite, as the novel reveals, but ardent.
Their arrival causes uproar. But after Solomon deflowers Ethel’s 19-year-old grand-daughter Margaret, the local war against the flower children gathers hysterical momentum, culminating in a petition to Bishop Bone to exorcise the flared-jean spawn of Satan before the entire town is corrupted.
Stir into the mix a couple of insane zealots, a comic policeman and a Roman Catholic priest, Father O’Dowd, troubled about his sexuality, and you have all the ingredients of an English Father Ted seen through the eyes of Joe Orton or Peter Tinniswood, with perhaps just a dash of David Nobbs.

Go buy a copy or The Moose gets it.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Its Dan Brown Week. His new book, The Lost Symbol will be published on the 12th to much hullaballoo. Waterstones are now the official Dan Brown Franchise. Whole stores are given over to selling his oeuvre. Now I'm not going to say like Stephen Fry that his work is like 'stool water,'because he gets people into bookshops and supermarkets buying books which is surely a good thing. Dan Brownites may even buy other books while they are getting his latest, but when the whole bookstore is given over to shifting zillions of books, at jaw dropping discounts, new writers suffer because they haven't got a prayer in seeing their work on the shelves. After Dan we then have the race for the Christmas Number one with a whole host of Slebs being given huge advances for their lif stories. I am writing a Zygote Writes, which should challenge all the Z Sleb books that will clutter up bookstores. Watch out, it will be number one.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Priscilla The Driller Killer

I'd put aside the day to write. Children away, large mug of coffee and quill at the ready. Unfortunately, Tapping Tex, a neighbour has decided that today is the day to christen his Christmas present. A drill. A Hammer Action Drill. I am trying to be all Zen Buddhist about it and block the sound out but my Zen Buddhist skills desert me and I want to kill him. Not content with the filming of Driller Killer on our street I get a phone call from Barclaycard South Africa, saying I owe them a few quid.' It's Sunday I say, or you related to the Driller Man on our street,' This confuses the Afrikaans sales rep,' I'm only doing my job.' She says. I refrain from saying that the Nuremburg defence doesn't hold any water these days but stop myself for fear of an international incident. Instead I walk out of the house and knock over the ladder holding Driller Man. I will take him to hospital if he asks nicely.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Pie Line

The selection criteria debate for The Northern Book Award continues. Where does the North start? Stuart Maconie, in his bestseller, Pies and Prejudice, states that the north starts at Crewe, because it is the first place that sells decent meat pies. Possibly. Another geographical point I heard yesterday is that the north starts in Doncaster, becuase that's where the Nightingale stops flying North, it is a southern bird that refuses to go further than Donny. Sounds good to me. So there you have it, it's either a pie line or an ornithological stop. We will decide in due course and let you know. Anthills and Stars is being reviewed in the T&A, or to those from the south, The Telegraph and Argus, and the reviewer is Jim Greenhalf, award winning journalist, one of the good guys, well he is until I read the review, poet and short story writer. I'll post the review sometime next week. Toodlepip.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Mr Alan Bennett

Alan Bennett has communed with The Moose. Yes, the great man of letters has sent a postcard. I had written to him last week inviting him to Huddersfield to attend the launch of the Northern Book Award at the literature festival. Unfortunately he can't come, which is a shame, poor health and a diary that means he's already attending Ilkley Festival in October. But I think he's in agreement with the idea of The NBA and its aims. I hope it doesn't sound too sad that I'm bellowing such news from Moose Towers but Mr Bennett is a bit of a star in these parts, and he makes me laugh, essential when we're fighting our corner. We need all the help we can get and even a postcard of support helps in the fight against the evil forces that are gathering.
Off to write to several other stars of stage and screen and I will let you know those that do the decent thing and those that don't.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Library supply

Off to see the library suppliers today in Preston. Libraries are one of the few organisations that are benefiting from the economic meltdown. The numbers of people using libraries has gone through the roof, with more and more people using their facilities and borrowing books. Long may that continue and if you hear of any blinkered politicians looking at proposals to save money for the local authority by cutting the library budget, have them sectioned. Libraries are essential for our communities. Library suppliers are now choosing titles for authorities. It cuts down on the expense of librarians choosing books once a month at the central library on a Tuesday afternoon. However, it does mean all control passes to the supplier which in the long run doesn't seem to me to be the most democratic way of choosing books for library customers. Heaven forefend that a publisher would offer bigger discounts to the library supplier to promote one of their authors, who then in turn could get their new author into every library on discount and not quality terms alone. I know I'm a cynical old Hector, but I'm sure some sales director sat in his leather chair has not thought the same things. Toodlepip.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


It's a general rule of thumb of mine that when buying a book of fiction I will think twice if, at the start of the book, there is a family tree or a chronology of events. I automatically think of gnomes and warlocks and kings and queens and I put the book down. The books are called Faction titles and Hilary Mantel's Booker favourite is called Wolf Hall. Its about Henry V111's court and the political machinations . Now I like Hilary Mantel, Fludd, is one of my favouite books but I start grinding my teeth at Wolf Hall and their like. If I want to find out about history I'll read an historical tome. Fiction is just that, fiction and non fiction, yes you got it, factual. I like my fiction to be just that, fiction. Made up, a story, artifice. I feel cheated by Faction. There you have it, a confession.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Falling through clouds

It's all now been sorted. The advance information sheet for Anna Chilver's book, Falling through clouds , has now been edited and produced. The books' image is on the front plus all the bibliographical information required to order the title. There is also a diluted synopsis of the story, the price and the all important ISBN number which means the title can be ordered by the high street booksellers. It is an essential tool in selling the book to the bookselling profession. Of course withought passion for the story, this means little. It is the story and the beautiful way it has been crafted that is everything. Now we just have to get the marketing right, get the book seen and read by reviewers, the odd Latte and piece of cake as bribery and hopefully the public will get to see what a fantastic read it is. We will of course start with the local journalists and newspapers, build the excitemnet locally and regionally and then who knows, those literary titans in the metropolis may pick it up. If they have the time of course.The marketing process
starts today. All very exciting.

Monday, 31 August 2009


Carnival at Bluemoose towers. Sparkly outfits and tinselled antlers are the order of the day. Free books to fellow carnivaleers. Now lets see if the weather can sort itslef out. Toodlepip.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

James Kelman's hissy fit.

Great news from the Edinburgh book festival where James Kelman has stuck the knife into genre fiction and especially Scottich detective fiction and Harry Potter. Kelman uses a lot of expletives and is none to happy with Mr Rankin and Ms Rowling, calling her Harry , a *******middle class wizard, and ******* detective stories are ruining Scottish literature. He's having a bash at the Scottish literary establishment which is always a good thing. Get a debate going, few column inches in the press. More people buying books. Great marketing James. All sides have come out swinging and throwing adjectives around. Good stuff. We want more debate, more new writers and more great stories. Cue the Bluemoose Bugle.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

King Crow.

It's official. Bluemoose books has now signed another writer, Michael Stewart and we will be publishing his novel, King Crow. Michael is an established playwright and scriptwriter. He has won may awards. He also teaches on the Creative writing course at Huddersfield university. We are now building a family of writers at Bluemoose who write brilliant stories that are beautifully written that engage and inspire the reader. Simple really. No tricksy styley nonsense, just great stories.
I'm seeing the library supply people next week, so have got all the bibliographical information required to impress. They buy and select the titles that you see in your local library. With the economy in the gutter it is great to see that finally people are now using this great resource. Footfall is up by over 40% in libraries as people turn to them to borrow and read books. Hopefully the men in suits at Town Halls up and down the land will realise the unique position libraries have in this country and stop trying to close or reduce their budgets. They are simply irreplacebale in the community landscape.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Panda Porn and Penguins.

The art of being dead was reviewed yesterday in the literary ezine The view from here. You can click on the following to read about the author Stephen Clayton, his life in a rock band, art and his latest offerings to the world of opera. Renaissance man, I should Coco!
Later on today I'm meeting Michael Stewart, author, playwright, director of the Hudds Lit festival and lover of William Blake. We'll be talking about his novel King Crow. There is an hilarious commentary on Penguins and Pandas and how we emotionalize them. If Darwin had his way they would be joining the Dodo on the shelf of extinct animals. He has a go at Morgan Freeman too over that film, Walking with Penguins. Very witty and perceptive. Hopefully I can bring you more. Will let you know at a later date.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


I met Jim Greenhalf yesterday, he's a journalist from the Telegraph and Argus in Bradford and one of the good guys. He likes reading, hates pretension and has won lots of awards for his writing. He likes the idea of The Northern Book Award. We had a good conversation about books and how importnat the 'voice' of the author is rather than just their style. Of late publishers keep going on about style or the tricks they are getting their writers to perform to sell books. Literary critics and academics too have fallen into this club of introspection and despair. If you're not part of the club you're out. I am starting my own ism today, so you heard it here first. It may take some time before it reaches academe but here goes. Linenism. It is the pursuit of a literary style without any talent bar the ownership of a linen suit. Offenders can often be seen wandering round literary festivals armed with a Gaurdian, a glass of something red and wearing wacky wellies, because, well, they're wacky.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


The moose returns from Scotland. On the way up I stopped in at Barter Books in Alnwick. It was busy as. In fact, it was the busiest bookshop I have witnessed in many years. A converted railway station, bibliophiles thank Beeching, it is crammed with second hand and antiquarian books. The novel idea being that on production of a receipt you can bring back a book and get half the cover price back as a credit on future purchases. I bought 'Poor Mouth' by Flann O'Brian. Very funny indeed. Later on today I'm meeting Jim Greenhalf from the Telegraph and Argus and Yorkshire magazine. We'll be discussing The Northern Book Award. Much coffee and cake will be drunk and eaten to thrash out the selection criteria for the annual award. It's official. Bluemoose Books now has a film agent, I've signed the contract. I won't be doing a Colin Welland and telling those bods in Hollywood that the,' Brits are coming,' but it's a start. I might get the smoking jacket out and hang it on the cupboard door. Can't stop dreaming though.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

To Scotland

I'm off to Scotland tomorrow to sell some books. Cal, my youngest son will be compiling a Road Trip CD. I will let you know what books are selling in Scotland other than all that 3 for 2 stuff that seems to transcend borders . Today, I'm putting togeher the AI sheet for the Bluemoose title, Falling through clouds. This is the information that will help booksellers decide if they want to buy the book and is an essential part of the selling process. If, like all the big publishing houses I had zillions to buy space in the bookstores, it would be a lot easier. However, with a great story, passion, a ringing endorsement from Lesley Glaister and some shoe leather, this book will sell in bucket loads. I'm convinced of that, but then if I wasn't what would be the point of Publishing.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Mr Hockney and Mr Bennett

I've written to Alan Bennett and David Hockney about The Northern Book Award. I want Mr Hockney to design the poster and Mr Bennett to give out the prizes. Mr Bennett and Mr Hockney, sounds like the working title for a Jane Austen Novel.
We received the cover design for Falling through clouds yesterday and it is absolutley brilliant. When you read some Ms you automatically have a feel for what the jacket should look like, however, when I read Falling through clouds, I didn't. I gave the brief to the designer and hoped and prayed. Well the God Dawkins waved his magic wand. When I saw it, and I will post it up here soon, I immediately new it was what I'd been looking for. Its all in the yes. Beautiful green eyes that stare out at you from the cover. Eyes that have that look of being troubled and you want to know why. It'll be out in January next year so you can find out for yourself.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Strictly come Booker

I met Michael Stewart who runs the Huddersfield Literary festival yeserday. We had several cups of tea and coffee and talked about books and stuff and The Northern Literary Award, The Ferret. The award will be launched at The Huddersfield Literary Festival in March. Official. Those Man Booker types are already quaking in their boots. We have to work out the selection criteria and tweak a few things but we've started. Now we have to get the news media excited. A nude Alan Bennett would be good, well, we'd get a few column inches. And I think yer man David Hockney should design the Ferret. We'll let him smoke at the awards ceremony so he'll come. He'll probably draw a man smoking a cigarette sticking two fingers up. See, it's all coming together. Before you know it I'll be on Wogan spouting about etymylogical half siblings and marvelling at Martin Amis's teeth. I've already booked some dancing lessons for my arrival on 'Strictly come Booker.'

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The Northern Book Award

Today I'm meeting the director of a northern lit festival, and the head of a creative writing course at a university for coffee and a chat about The Northern Book Award. Our designers have come up trumps with an utterly compelling design for Bluemoose's next title, Falling through clouds. I will speak to the Moose IT department and try and load it up on here over the next couple of days. Laura Brudenell , who looks after Moose PR will be sending it to newspapers across the land and some monthly magazines. We have already had interest from a national newspaper and a magazine that sells trillions a month, so fingers crossed. It is a fantastic read but in these troubled times every new author needs some review coverage or column inches to get the word out. We can't compete with massive discounts to the high street retailers , so we need to go at it slightly different and hope the reader will come along with us. And then its on the road, touring with the book to speak to every readers and writers group in the land. Car loaded up with pies and a rack of CD's and point ourselves to the North, East, South and West.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Management Constrainters

I sign the film contract today. People getting excited but it could be a while yet before the Moose hurtles down the red carpet at The Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I have more mundane things to sort out today like the jacket cover for our next title, Falling through clouds. The designer is sending through some proofs this afternoon. With the recent rush of good news stories, we've had a raft of great manuscripts through the doors at Moose Towers, which is really encouraging. I am meeting up with an author tomorrow to discuss his work. There was piece in The Bookseller yesterday about how many zillions of books Ian Rankin sold in the last week. What it didn't tell you is that at certain high street book chains, if you bought one book you got the Ian Rankin at half price, which means the discount from the publisher to bookseller will be very, very high indeed. Nobody making any money and even the writer will see his royalty cheque shrink as a consequence. But then again no doubt the suits have had the Management consultants in to tell them what's best. As always the boy graduates know best. Toodlepip.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Hubbanistas

I was at a large Waterstones yesterday and was told that the 'Hub' still wasn't working properly, which doesn't bode well for Christmas. Before that, however, is the Academic season where the poor students turn up at their university bookshop with a reading list and a pocket full of money. If the books aren't there, the money is spent on curry and beer. Period. I really do feel sorry for the booksellers. They are getting all the flak from the customers but it is the suits upstairs that deserve the approbrium. It has not been thought through properly and given enough time to bed in, but then when the tecchies are given free reign and large cheques, rarely is the outcome a positive one.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Coffees and Cake

Meeting several people this week to talk about the Northern Booker and Moose Mentoring, the scriptwriting course we're going to set up for those people who wouldn't normally have access to courses about writing, or even think about it as a job. Trying to find some Northern business person with enough lucre swilling around in their coffers to help make a difference to northern publishing. Shouldn't be a problem.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Vulpes Libris

I'm in Berlin competing at the World Athletics Championships. Steroids in bucket loads have been consumend and I'm racing Usain Bolt later on today.
There was a fantastic review of The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton yesterday. You can read it at: . Lisa Glass said it is an 'Existential masterpiece.' Praise indeed. Go buy it and keep an independent publisher in coffee and cake.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Moose Mentoring

I have been speaking to a scriptwriter who has written for all the top soaps in this country and we are going to set up Bluemoose Mentoring. The idea is to go into inner city libraries, community centres and young offender institutes and talk to young people about ideas for characters in sitcoms/soaps/TV. This is no do goodery. We want to write srcipts and sell them to TV companies. The standard of TV sitcoms in this country is dire, doesn't reflect what's going on for the mass of people who live here. The Americans have got it write. The script is everything and a team of great scriptwriters are given the time to write fantastic stories. Will let you know how we get on.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Northern Book Award

The Northern Book Award is gaining some momentum. We now have an academic institution interested plus an international literary festival, a leading national newspaper and a national bookselling chain. So far so good. What I am trying to do is get an award up and running that will be judged on the main by people who read and don't critique for a living. So initially I would like two members of a library reading group, an independent bookseller, a chain bookseller plus a member of the public and Scott Pack from the acclaimed internet website, . Anybody who wears a linen suit, has ever worn a linen suit or has been to Hay on Wye will be excluded form participating. Anybody who subscribes to The Literary Review or celebrates being an 'Odernist' will be disbarred. I will chair but have no input in to which books are chosen. Now, I have to write to Alan Bennett to gain approval from this man of letters.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Anthills and Stars...Sells

Now here's some proof that will win the Moose a Nobel prize for science.
Waterstones Manchester have had 5 copies of my book, Anthills and Stars for the past two years, spine out under D for Duffy. Now, its good that they have multiple copies but if they don't sell any, its just bibliographical wallpaper. However, I decided to place the copies on a table Waterstones called Cult classics chosen by their booksellers and guess what? They've sold 4 copies in three weeks. It may not breach the bestseller charts but proves the obvious point that if a book is placed in the view of the browsing public and is good enough, it will sell. The Nabobs at Wats HQ will now send out an arrest warrent because we at Bluemoose haven't digged deep and handed over Dane Gelt for the privilege of putting our titles on their tables. Guilty M'lud but again proves that a decent book given table space will sell. Simples.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Looking for Eric.

The Bluemoose crew went on an office outing to see ' Looking for Eric' last night at the pictures in Hebden. What a fantastic film. Laugh, I laughed buckets of the stuff. Some of the best scenes you'll see in years. I left the cinema glowing. That's what films should do. And as for the two Erics, Oscars all round please. Although, half way through the film stopped. Apparently it had fallen off its spool. Only in Hebden and not a torn up seat in seat. I don't like doing the critic thing but I'll make an exception here. If you only go and see one film this year, choose this one, you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Anna Chilvers

ISBN's fired off to Nielsens and so Falling through clouds by Anna Chilvers now exists in bibliographical format. Amazon and every internet bookseller will now have the information to put onto their sites. Publication date is now 9th January 2010. The final edited rewrites have gone to the foreign rights people who will be meeting European publishers in September prior to the Frankfurt Book Fair. A national newspaper will be viewing the book also. I will be putting together the Advanced Information sheet in order to sell the title into Waterstones and the library suppliers. I spoke to Tom Tivnan yesterday, he's the features editor for The Bookseller and is interested in the whole idea of The Northern Booker. Those smoking jacketed fops in the Metropolis are quaking in their boots. Off to Sheffield to see if they're experiencing a flood.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Falling through clouds

The rewrite for Falling through clouds came in yesterday, it has now been edited and will be fired off this morning to our foreign rights people. I am having two copies bound and sent to Laura, who looks after Bluemoose PR and she will be sending it to one national newspaper and one monthly magazine. Fingers crossed that they love it and offer Bluemoose a few shekels to serialise. We now have an official Publication date of Saturday 9th January 2010.
All very exciting and it is up to us to get some momentum going before publication. The jacket will be wending its way from our designers this week and then we have to write the advance information sheets to then sell the title.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Ditchins and Co.

I'm reading Reason, Faith and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate, not just because it's Sunday, but because it dismantles some of the Shiboleths in the scientific community and what they have to say about God. Terry Eagleton takes great delight in reducing Christpher Hitchins' and Stephen Dawkins' arguments to a pile of insubstantial neurons...His attack on Amis and Rushdie is hilarious and poor old Marty must want to curl up in his etymylogical blanket and suck his thumb forever. Great stuff to ponder.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Ceck and coffee.

Finishing off the final, final edit of 'Falling through clouds' which now has an official publication date. January 9th 2010. We have had interest from one major national newspaper and a monthly magazine who are both interested in serialisation. Will let you know more at a later date, but it's very exciting indeed. The jacket should be here sometime in the next 10 days, then it's Advanced information time, which will be them sent off to all the major library suppliers who need info 3 months prior to publication. We will be paying a visit to the Metropolis to see Waterstones and Smiths buyers. Right now, off to the library to collect a book, which means all day today will be spent reading and drinking cups of coffee with the odd slice of Ceck. Marvellous.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Numbers day

I've had lots of respones to the interview I gave to Vulpes Libris yesterday. You can read it here:

Next week there will be a review of Stephen Clayton's novel The art of being dead. Today we will be sending off 'Falling through clouds,' by Anna Chilvers to our foreign rights agents who will be meeting European publishers in September prior to the world's largest bookfair at Frankfurt. I will also be firing off ISBN's to Nielsen and BDS which is the start of getting all the bibliographical information out there, where Amazon and all the internet book sites get their info from. It's the start of the life of the book where selling concerns. This is where we start the momentum for publication date on the second Saturday in January 2010. To try and get space for a book from a small publisher in the Autumn and Christmas run up will be virtually impossible. There is far too much pressure on space and the booksellers in the run up to Christmas. After the madness Falling through clouds will get seen and the press will want new writers to talk about. And with Anna's book there will be a lot to talk about because it is a great story beautifully told.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

The ear of Bennett

The Northern Booker goes from angry tilt at those metropolitan types to reality-ish. I was in Leeds yesterday and spoke to a bookseller who will be getting behind it. Now I'm looking for a Northern industrialist to cough up the cash. I'm on the case to try and get Alan Bennett into the idea. I will have to sort out the qualifying criteria and make it robust enough that those effete elites with their pipes and linen suits can't ridicule it from the start. The PR person who does for Bluemoose is seeing a noise from The Bookseller tomorrow, so hopefully we will get the'organ' of the trade interested. I am being interviewed by Vulpes Libris online Lit magazine today and I will give you the link tomorrow. I haven't had my online haircut for the piece so be scared, be very scared.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

The Ferret Award

Apparently, all you need to do to win a prestigious literary prize these days is grow a Goatee, appear at four lit festivals, be seen carrying a silver topped cane in Bloomsbury cafes and play tennis with Sebastian Faulks. Now, why don't they tell you this on Creative writing courses?
Together with other Northern Publishers we are establishing an annual Ferret Award. Conditions of entry are restricted to those authors who can prove at least four generations of Mill/Coal/Factory based work life. Those who wear linen suits, or whose fathers wore linen suits and went to schools where Tiffin and prep were parts of everday life are disqualified. Off to hew the Ferret from a lump of coal.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Halifax to Hollywood

The road to Hollywood is long and troubled, filled with hubris and promises of untold riches. Well, the road started yesterday in Halifax.

If the Fat, gapped tooth writer is scaring you, buy a book and I promise it will be the last time I stare out at you from the pages of a newspaper.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Beans and Buadelaire

Apparently, one in every five books is bought in a supermarket, which is good news for the book buying public, isn't it? Well, you'll get the top twenty cheaper and all of the Celebrity stuff will be half price, so if that's what you want, I don't have a problem. The issue is with publishers. If they are spending all their money and marketing budget on getting volume through the tills, where is the investment in new writers? When you have to spend a seven figure sum promoting a celebrity autobiogrpahy at Christmas , there's not much left in the publishing pot for new writers. Of course there are many other issues, about range and back list. And yes, it is up to the consumer, but that's all a bit disingenious from both the publisher and supermarket. When they are directing readers down the formulaic and generic route because it is a safe bet, the reader has to know his ISBN's if they are to find what is new and exciting out there. If a book isn't face out, it isn't going to sell. Off to buy some beans and Baudelaire. I know I'll find one of the two, but which one?

Sunday, 2 August 2009


The event went very well at Brighouse Library yesterday. Stephen Clayton, author of The art of being dead and I gave a talk on independent publishing. We have morphed into a double act, which seems to go down well. I'm always surprised, I shouldn't be I know, when I explain to people how getting books into the high street booksellers works. In the 3 for 2 section, as a publisher, to get one of your titles in this 'front of house area,' you have to give Wats £1500 and exra discount. You pay for your spot. No democracy here, just hard cash. They want to make you believe you are getting choice, but you're not. The titles are chosen at their HQ in Brentford and money talks. Its a Shamocracy of titles. There are always gasps of disbelief when I tell the attendant audience these facts. Now Waterstones is a business and they are trying to make as much money as possible, I don't have a problem with that, I just wish they would make it abundantly clear that publishers buy space and that the titles there are not there on merit alone. As it's Sunday, I'm Off to mow the cat.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Brighouse Library

The Bluemoose bandwagon rolls into Brighouse today. Stephen Clayton, author of The art of being dead, will be speaking about writing, and his novel, whilst I'll be answering questions about independent publishing and the constant fight to get space in bookshops. Should be a good day. There are a series of one to one events, where writers from the film world, TV, poets and novelists will be giving advice on their particular skills.

Friday, 31 July 2009

The Rooker

As I've said previously here before. For small independent publishers like Bluemoose, it is essential to get coverage in the local press. To this end, today in the Halifax Courier and Next week in The Yorkshire Post, there will be a two page feature on Bluemoose books and what we have achieved in the past two and a half years. Of course the nationals won't give a hoot, but with the Bluemoose family of writers , what is essential, is building a regional fan base first and then you see your books eventually get onto the national stage. This is how Tindall Street in Birmingham have done it over the past ten years and it has been incredibly successful. The London Houses speak disparagingly about the regions, however, it is the regional presses that are producing some fantastic books by great writers. I might start the Rooker, a regional Booker, but then everyone will think it is a second class prize. So I won't. The books stand out in their own right and eventually everyone in the UK will realise what we're doing, the tills will be popping and we can publish more new writers. Sweet.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Same old

The Booker long list is out. Nothing new to shout about. Oh well, there's always next year. And the year after that, and that, and that.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Red Carpet

I now have a film agent. Scary stuff. Now the hard work starts trying to find the production company with enough money and foresight to make the film. I spent an hour and half talking about options, percentages, clawbacks, back end and renewals. It won't happen over night but it is another huge step forward and to be perfectly honest if it means more money in the Bluemoose pot, its all well and good because we can publish more great stories from great new writers . In our conversation we talked about the rarified world of publishing and agents. I was told about a very senior CEO of a UK publishing company who had it written in her PA's contract that she had to take her pooch walking and clean up after it. Nice.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Special Day

It's a special day. Off to see the Queen and two film agents. Have deloused and ironed my T shirt. So far so good. Will let you know what hoops those gatekeepers for Hollywood try and get me to jump through. My aim is to speak to ten people on the tube. Looking forward to the banner headline. A Northerner from the Terrorist group Al Whippet arrested for engaging Londoners in conversation. The appeal fund will start tomorrow. Toodlepip.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Selling your soul

Off to the Smurk tomorrow to see some film agents. Getting excited but won't be putting on the Tux just yet for the Oscars. These things take time and I've had my expectations raised before. However, there is a chance that Anthills and Stars will be made into a film. After the meeting with the bods from the same agency that brought us Slumdog Millionaire, I am meeting our foreign agent, Jill Hughes, who is pitching three of our titles to foreign publishers prior to Frankfurt. Jill has already read Falling through clouds, by Anna Chilvers and thinks it is a great read, which of course it is. I have asked two of our authors to write a synopsis of their work. 250 words which get across the story, spirit and character of their novel. They found it hard but have come up with the goods. Writing a book nowadays is more than just putting down a great story. You have to sell your work. How can you expect the public to shell out monies if you can't , in a few words, encapsulate what your story is about. It's all abut selling. The story and you.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Rail Hell

Hetha, my wife and the leagl department of Bluemoose has returned form working in London. Due to the fact that the British Rail system isn't working, a journey that normally takes three hourse, took five and half. You buy a rail ticket and spend the best part of Saturday sat on a coach. Thank you Gordon and all your PFI nonsense.

Saturday, 25 July 2009

DJ Honoured

Steven Gerrard, footballer and possessor of a haircut only a mum could love has been acquitted of affray at a nightclub in Southport. Apparently he hit the DJ three times because he thought he was going to be hit. Its the Tony Blair defence. We bomb the shit out of you because we think you've got weapons of mass destruction defence. What is more alarming is that Stevy G, as he is known on the terraces, went into battle because he wanted to change the music and put some Phil Collins on. Now, pass me the black hat whilst I deliver my verdict. Surely if only for crimes against music and humanity he should have been found guilty and sent down for at least ten years. Perhaps if we'd have piped Mr Collin's 'No jacket required,' into Iraq, Saddam and his mates would have surrendered without anybody dying. The DJ might have lost the case but he deserves a medal for standing up to footballers who should never, ever, be allowed to choose the music at any given function. Mr G you stand guilty as charged.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Esoteric Bookselling

Spies have been coming out of the woodwork recently and I think I have discovered a way of finding out who is, and who isn't selling state secrets to the enemy. Anybody who wears a tie and went to Public School and studied The History of Art at Oxbridge is a spy. Can I now collect my £100 spy finding fee?

Off to see how the Waterstones staff are baring up. Not a week goes by without some new earth shattering technique is used to deceive the book buyer. Recently they were using the esoteric arts of that well known avatar, Dan Brown. White witches and sales dust are sprinkled from jets positioned at each entrance in a well known store in the North. The results have been phenomenal and each sales assistant is now required to have the sign of the beast tattooed on the nape of the neck.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sizzling summer reads

Wel that's it. Sainsbury's have decided they want their customers to read, so they are promoting their 'Sizzling summer reads,' at the end of July. Two great reads for £5. Fantastic bargains for the shopper but perhaps not so for the independent bookshops. Well, I think those bookshops that specialise, cater for their customers needs, have quirky, different and local stock will survive. There are hundreds of indies up and down the country making a difference. When the high street and supermarkets seem only to be promoting the mass market paperback , there are now gaps in the market. Yes, independents will lose out in the sale of the top ten but can gain sales by becoming a central part of the reading community in their area. Bookshops can be become great centres for reading and writing. Meeting places for the like minded. Author and writing events. When schools won't let writers in because they deem them a sexual threat to their students, bookshops can become the oasis of literature that schools once where.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

John Siddique

I had a coffee and a chat with John Siddique on Monday in Hebden. John is a writer and poet. You can catch his latest offerings in a book of poems called Recital. It is published by Salt. Go buy a copy and help a great indy publisher and keep John in bacon butties. John has just returned form LA where he was the writer in residence there, a position sponsored by the British Council. He was telling me about a unique and very successful reading group which helps gang members in prison move away from violence and to try and turn their lives around. Run and organised by a previous gang leader, they are only allowed to read books, short stories or poems that don't glorify their positions. It has reduced recidivism from 85% to 30% which doesn't even go to show the turnaround in the lives of individuals, but to keep their funding, stats like this have to be trailed out for politicians to spout about. He's on a world tour of schools and libraries this Autumn. If you get a chance go and see him. He's got me interested in the short story writer and poet Raymond Carver, and for that I thank him.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

T'internet reviews

The Moose is on the t'internet again. I did an interview with those fine souls at The view from magazine, an online lit magazine with excerpts from well known authors, cutting edge short stories. Go download and buy a copy know and contribute to the lit community.You can read what I said at I've also just done an interview with Vulpes Libris another online lit magazine. With the once former lit broad sheet newspapers bogged down in their club styley review coverage of mates, mates of mates and people who pay large sums of money to advertsie their mates work, it is up to the online community to bring democratic review coverage to the airwaves. Let the revolution commence.

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Moose has landed

The Moose has landed and we have transported our HQ to the Moon Titan, three miles down the road from the new Waterstones HUB. We will be out of communication as we are passing the dark side but will return tomorrow as a new management buyout kicks in where we will be selling clothes from our flagship store on Mars.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Alan Coren

I'm just reading Chocolate and Cuckoo clocks, an anthology of the best writing by Alan Coren. He was one of the greatest humourists in the English language. I bumped into a chap from Birmingham once when I was on a small Greek Isle and we spent the best part of the hour conversing in Idi Amin, Alan Coren styley. Memorable. If you get a chance to pick this book up, please do and you will realise what a real wordsmith is. The columnists of today can't hold a candle to the man. Brilliant.

Saturday, 18 July 2009


The fashionistas at New Look have bought five prime site locations from Borders including their flagship store in Oxford Street, London. There's more money in £2 T shirts. I was in a Borders recently and saw that they were selling more sweets and crisps than books, which if you're trying to fill the till makes some retail sense but proves that you're not providing the reading customer with what they really want. Great range at competitive prices. I don't go into a bookshop to buy a Mars bar. Yes you might add, but it's all about add on isn't it? Indeed. But if they had a better selection and a more wide ranging stock, the odd on buy would be another book, or perhaps even two.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Child Catchers

The outrage about having to get a certificate to talk to children about books in schools is growing. You now have to prove you're not a paedophile to talk to classes of thirty children. And it will cost you £64.00 You're now guilty as charged if you don't become certificated. Absolute nonsense. All authors are now seen in the same light as the child catcher. Very sinister indeed. The dark arts are at work and they belong to those that want to ratchet up the fear in our society and a private company will make millions. Despicable.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Improvised party poppers of death

A friend and I went shopping yesterday for party things. You know, balloons, party poppers and other such things that make a day go with a bang. However, I couldn't find any party poppers and was told by an assistant that they didn't sell them anymore because they were dangerous. Party poppers are now officially banned because they can take down a party goer at fifty paces. Now I've been to many a do where I would loved to have downed several drunken guests, but with a party popper? Have they all been secereted to various war zones around the globe as a fiscally astute budgetary tactic on behalf of the treasury? Are our boys in Helmand province attacking the Taliban with the party poppers of peace and democracy? We must be told about these lethal improvised explosive devices that sear the flesh with their multi coloured streamer like capabilities of evilness. Madness. Absolute madness.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


I was driving ove the moors yesterday and passed a country Inn which proclaimed that they were taking bookings for Christmas. It was the 14th July. I nearly left the road and eviscerated three sheep. Today I'm having a lie down. Christmas!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


Borders Bookshops are closing down 5 stores including their flagship store in Oxford Street, London. Everybody is saying its because of the enormous rents and a national fashion store wants the flagship site. Sad days but I don't think it is the end of the bookshop on the high street. In my travels up and down the country there are still some fantastic bookshops that are doing great things. Individually tailored shops that reflect what their customers want and not dictated to by the central buying constraints of head office. Borders orders centrally. They have some fine buyers but surely even they can't know what a store in Manchester wants as compared to London. I hope Borders survive and I'm sure they will. Its not brain surgery but why not get great managers, give them a budget and let them decide what to order. Surely, they know their market best?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Rumble Bumble McCrumble

I must stop reading Lit ed pieces in the papers. There was a piece in the Observer yesterday about the lit magazine Granta. Apparently there has been a bit of a clear out, one of the people now without a job is an ex colleague of the person who was writing the piece. He wasn't happy. Finger pointing, much puffing out of chests and the literary world is heading to hell in a handcart. What does it matter you ask? Well about a full page it seems. Bob McCrumble, lit ed and angry person is all of a tizz. Rich people now own Granta and apparently they're not worh a fig because they've got some American ne'er do well on the case as editor. Posturing at its worst.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


Its is Frankfurt time already. Well, for the Moose it is. Our foreign rights agent is already talking up the next two Bluemoose titles. Falling Through Clouds by Anna Chilvers and Gabriel's Angel by Mark A Radcliffe. Both authors are busy compiling their literary CV's this weekend plus a synopsis of their story. These will be pored over by foreign publishers in September before the bookfair in Germany and hopefully by the time Frnakfurt arrives, rights will be sold. Simple really. If only.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Schools out forever

The government has decided that all authors are potential paedophiles. Now admittedly some could fall into the dubious category of dissolute, badly dressed and partaking of the odd glass of claret, but child molestors? All writers who enter schools and colleges form November 2010 will have to be on the Independent Safeguarding Authority database. Philip Pullman is calling it 'the clause 28' for writers. Now it has taken over six months for me to clear the CRB check for a visit and talk to a gaol in West Yorkshire. Aside from the outragious premise that everyone is guilty before they get scanned by the governmets safety police, it will take an eternity. And what if an author, through no mistake of his or her own but because of the petty jealousy of some civil servant who doesn't like their books, is not given the all clear, and refused entry into schools? Will this impact on their professional writing career? I can see the Daily Mail and othert right thinking organs of the Fourth Estate, having a field day with their sanctimonious declarations of concern.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Swallowed by Amazons

Anthills and Stars is now available at Gardners wholesalers. I Sent off a load of books yesterday as part of the exclusively independent promotion. I've also been getting orders via Amazon Advantage, which, apparently is the all singing all dancing ordering system from the bookselling behemoth. However, it wouldn't accept my password and when I logged in to change it, it took umbrage and spat out the answers to the security questions. It told me I wasn't born where I know I was born and my mother's maiden name was not the one she was born with. Now I know Mr Bezos is a man with several brains and who am I to question him? However, I know where I was born. After several emails to the Amazon technical centre just left of some orbiting software planet a quark away form Pluto, all is well. I know you have to deal with 'The long tail,' but it's a pfaff and and a half. By the time I get paid I will have to resort to quantative easing from Moosebank International.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Moose versus Tabloiders

Moose HQ has been hacked into by Murdoch . I can't say too much suffice it to say our communications director and CEO of Spinning are filing a law suit. Nuff said Skippy.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Wades Bookshop

I was at Fred Wades bookshop in Halifax yesterday. It was all lights, cameras and action. Photograph taken, interview with local newspaper and hopefully some book sales. However,. the best bit was when I was leaving the bookshop and Jennifer, the owner of Wades Bookshops and a well read lady in her mid seventies, stopped me and said that she had just read the first two chapters of my book, Anthills and Stars, and they had made her laugh and giggle. Well, smiles all round. I'm a simple soul.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Surgeons of literature

The Moose is being interviewed today. I'm meeting a journalist form The Halifax Courier, Virginia Mason. I've bathed and brushed my teeth. They're doing a feature on independent publishers. Local boy made good kind of thing. Start local and then who knows next week it could be The New York Times Literary Section. Mmm not sure. Not sure I'd be up to the etymylogical half sibling brigade. Those didactic surgeons who take all the pleasure out of reading with their academic insight into structure and meaning. Semantics, semiotics. What about Soul and pleasure? Can't get an MA in Soul now can you?

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Quill is mightier than the PC

I met a poet yesterday and liked him . A first. He didn't rant or shout or show off with his understanding of etymylogical half siblings. He liked reading, had a list of books that was chosen because he liked the stories and not their improving nature. He also railed against the education system in this country, telling us that teachers taught literacy and not literature. I enjoyed what he had to say a lot. His name is John Siddique. However, there was another writer of non fiction who stated that she always knew when a writer had written on a computer. Their sentences weren't constructed properly. Utter bolleaux me dear.