Saturday, 28 February 2009

Writing for Ezines

Guest blogger of the day is friend of the Moose Craig Wallwork. He writes for eZines and knows lots about them.

So, you’ve written a story, or two, maybe joined a workshop, which has helped polish your mighty opus, now it’s time to send it out. As previously mentioned, there are many websites out there which will read your work for free, and, providing it’s noteworthy, publish it. Most never pay for this privilege; so don’t be booking that holiday in the South of France just yet. I would urge you to do your homework. Don’t settle on the first publishing website you find. Read their archive sections to determine the type of prose they prefer. There’s no point in sending out your transgressive neo-noir cyber-punk vignette, if they only publish horror stories. Moreover, don’t send out a story with a word count of 50,000, when the company only accept a maximum of 1500 for short stories. Read the submission guidelines, and make sure what you’re sending fits their style. There are plenty to go at, but a few good e-zines to get you started are, 3AM Magazine (UK), Beat The Dust (UK), Dogmatika, (US), The Beat (UK), Word Riot (US), and Thieves Jargon (US).
It’s unlikely you’ll receive a reply the next day, or the next week. If you’re lucky, they may get back to you within 3 months. So, don’t be disheartened, and however tempting it may be, don’t pester them. I think the first couple I sent out I added at the end of the email a request for notification that they’d received the story. I didn’t get one. My final words on this are don’t hold on too tightly to that story. The common mistake most new writers make, myself included, is thinking their work is too good for just publishing on a website. It might be, and you might want to send it to a few well-respected magazines to see how it goes (try Glimmertrain, and Succour, in the first instance), but the chances are you’ll receive a reply that only has its place on that spike. Let the story go, because if you can’t write anything better, then you’ve already ended your career as a writer.

Now, if haven’t already drove that spike into your forehead, or you still have enough sole on your feet to take a few more extra steps with manuscript in hand, then I’d highly recommend sending it to Bluemoose Publications. They’re one of the few independent publishing companies still out there driven solely by allowing new voices the freedom to reach a larger audience. Kevin Duffy’s intentions for Bluemoose is very much the same as the sorely missed Rebel Inc, in that it’s more about the story than it is about the pocket. In an industry that currently saturated with regurgitated chick-lit, reality bios and true life harrowing memoirs, Bluemoose has a lot to offer a new writer. As always, good luck. And if you remember anything from this, remember that, “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” – Richard Bach.

Craig Wallwork lives in West Yorkshire with his wife and baby daughter. His stories have appeared in Colored Chalk Magazine, Cherry Bleeds Magazine, Beat The Dust, Laura Hird, The Beat, Dogmatika, Thieves Jargon, and Nefarious Muse. He’s currently working on his fourth novel.
Follow his progress at:

Thanks Craig

Friday, 27 February 2009

Library Closures

Andy Burnham, secretary of state for Media Culture and Sport has said he is 'not minded to intervene' in the closures of libraries in Swindon and on the Wirral. Instead he is diverting governement monies into the pension pot of the man that broke the bank, Sir Fred Goodwin.
Now that's what I call good governance. Fail and we'll bail you out to the tune of 500 Billion. Serve the public in these dire economic times and we'll shut you down. Board you up. Give you the finger. The government fire sale has started. Libraries now. The Post office next.....and then what? All public services are now under threat. In a perverse logic, when you succeed you're closed down, when you fail you're rewarded. It's Alice in wonderland time. Write to Mr Burnham but don't hold your breath. I have yet to receive a reply.
Journalists at The Yorkshire Post are on strike today. Why? Because the company that owns it, although its making a handsome profit it's shareholders don't think its big enough , so 15 journalists jobs are on the line. A newspaper without journalists isn't a newspaper. Its an advertorial. Regional newspapers like The YP are essential for small publishers like Bluemoose and I would hate to see it lose its identity and run stories from a hub of journailists based in London. Or god forbid news stories being outsourced from Tirana.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Lost Poem

The Stanza Search and Rescue unit from The University of Manchester has found a lost poem in Hardcastle Craggs, Hebden Bridge, purported to be that written by Ted Hughes. Professor Haiku along with some research students found the poem under ' a deep,black,black winged stone.' Here it is.







Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pancake Therapy

The sons of Moose complained yesterday because they came home from school and college and were fed curry. They wanted pancakes. It was Pancake Tuesday and I fed them Sub Continent fare. Outragious. I simply forgot. I'm usually reminded by all the adverts on TV starring the little plastic lemon we used to call 'JIF.' I didn't see it. Has it too succumbed to the economic downturn or is it called something else in this homogenised world a la the Snickers Bar and Cif? However, Hebden being Hebden there is a therapist that deals in Pancake Deprivation and my two boys will soon be prone on a couch bad mouthing their father. Is there any justice? Tomorrow we have an exclusive . A new Ted Hughes Poem.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Queen is dead

Bluemoose Books can announce today the successful acquisition of World rights to the autobiography of The Queen. The Queen 82, has written her autobiography in light of the damning news that has just come out of the palace. Employees from the German firm of Bailiffs,
Shitzhstealkamphoff, are in the process of removing all the goods and chattels of the present incumbent and taking them to the German of town of Rust, where the real Queen is believed to live. It is believed that in 1926 the first daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York was taken to live with her aunt Henrietta Saxe Coburg as the result of a gambling debt that hadn't been paid. Speaking from the inn which she runs with her son Crown Prince Hollenzhein she said.' At last I am delighted to be reclaiming my rightful place at the head of the British Royal Family.' Constitutional experts are already applying to the courts in both countries to try and stop the repossession of Buckingham Palace. This heartbreaking tale of deception and lies is beautifully told with warmth and compassion. The launch will be held at Bonhams auction house in September 16th 2009 where Philip and Elizabeth hope to raise enough money to set up house on the Greek Island of their friend Viscount Stamford. Speaking to passing motorists she said .
' Don't worry I've got an each way bet on the 3.45 at Catterick this afternoon which should set us up for the Spring.' Liz and Phil will be appearing on the Jeremy Kyle show in March. Jonathan Ross is interviewing them in his Easter broadcast. The Times has bought world exclusive rights. TV and Radio adverts will be trailed before the launch with music by Morrissey.
The autobiography is an explosive expose of The House Of Windsor and will rock the very foundations of the British Aristocracy.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Book Banned

The book world has been rocked to its foundations today when it was announced that a British Book has been banned from being launched at an International Book Festival. Stephen Clayton, author of The art of being dead has been banned from The Emirates International Book Festival.
Organisers say that the book is too sexual explicit and the author Stephen Clayton will not be asked to open the Literature Festival in Abu Dhabi later this month.
Literary Editors in London are outraged about such censorship. However, because Mr Clayton is not a journalist they will not filling their organs with comment about the book. Said the Literary Editor for one esteemed newspaper.
'If Mr Clayton had been a journalist in London then we would have been outraged and filled several pages with our concerns. But Mr Clayton is a writer and therefore doesn't merit any mention at all.'
Publisher, Kevin Duffy asked whether he was disappointed about the ban said. 'The book was never banned but we tried to jump on the bandwagon and get a few more sales with the whipped up news about censorship. I apologise about the duplicity. However, what does concern me is that nothing was written about the non banning in the newspapers because the author wasn't a journalist .'
And now. The Pope is Catholic and Bears eveacuate in the woods.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

And the winner is.......

'And here we are at The Kodak Theatre Hollywood for the annual Moosecars.
To present The Most God like Person on The Earth award is Icelandic Mystic and Actor
Ghoost Godthefatherson.'
Ghoost, Over to you.'
'Thank You God....thank you, thank you......(Ghoost is wearing an Armani suit, a Paul Smith T Shirt and some Aramaic sandals)
And the winner is.....breathe, breathe, breathe........St Bono.....'

St Bono appears through a cloud on a crucifix carried by Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Bono frees himself from the cross, blesses the crowd and ascends heavenwards.
Spontaneous lachrimosity from the crowd. The tears of humanity. The voice of Charlton Heston is heard throughout the auditorium.
'That truly was the son of God.'
Ghoost Godthefatherson holds up the statueette of The Moosecar and hails St Bono of the Ages.
And speaks for everyone when he says.

Of course the winner of Best Book of the year is The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton.

Scott will be twittering about the Oscars at so you can read if my predictions are correct. Star Spangled Schmaltz and all that bananas.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

No More Laughter

It's official. Because of the economic downturn publishers have decided that the public are too fragile too read anything original and different. How kind of them. Apparently in the present slough of despond all we can read is safe books. Books that we are comfortable with. Same old same old. So our fare for the next ten months will be Celebrity forensic misery detecive stories. What a load of the proverbial. Now, surely given these traumatic times we want something different to read to lift us out of the slump. To get us away from the trauma and tragedy of the credit crunch. Heaven forefend perhaps even a book that makes us laugh. By the way, where is the new Tom Sharpe? Has the humorous novel died a death? I was speaking to an editorial bod from Transworld recently, and he was telling me 'That they'd had their fingers burned recently with humorous fiction and so didn't feel brave enough to publish any more such titles.' So what is he doing, yes you got it, forensic crime pornography. You know the type. Page one. Slab on gurney and Lesbian Pathologist with her hand up to her elbows in innards, moving fleetly around on her Jimmy Choos listeneing to KD Lang wondering whether he niece will recover consciousness from her coma after stopping serial killers' chain saw with her iPod.
Batten down the literary hatches, Cheryl Cole's on her way dressed head to foot in Primarni. Serial killers beware. It's Charlies Angels time, but this time the right Charlie could be us.

Friday, 20 February 2009


The Moose awaits his invite for the opening of the new Central Library in Newcastle on March 3rd. The poet laureate will be there. A poem is being penned as we speak. Vol-au-vonts and peanuts will no doubt be on the menu and I'm looking forward to tucking my napkin under my collar. But the serious bit is the discussion I hope to start about libraries. And their importance. Libraries are now Learning resource Centres. LRC's.The new supermarkets for learning. A book is not a learning resource. That is a school. A book is a PEE. Yes the Moose has engaged the boy graduates who go under the moniker of, Managenment Consultants,' to research the book. And this is what they have come up with. PEE. It is goldust. A PEE is, a Prepackaged Entertainment Entity. See, all that money was worth it. LRC's should be filled to the gills with PEE. But libraries should be filled with books. When town hall Johnnies decide that books are the devil incarnate and the buildings that house them should be demolished, because Brian at the council can't add up with his new abacus, then we need to get angry and shout a lot. In these desperate times local councils are beig very opportunistic to attack public services. They will ask, 'is it better to keep an OAP home open or libraries?' Wrong question. Local Councils are are there to do our bidding. And reading is the start for all of us. Not everyone can afford to buy books. Libraries are essential. Don't let the Town Hall close down your library because its yours. Ask them about expenses and meals and consultants fees. And twinning.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Exclusively moose

Don't spare the horses. The Moose and author Steve Clayton are off to Londinium, as previously announced. Steve is giving a reading from his book, The art of being dead and I'm talking about publishing at Hammersmith and Fulham libraries. The date is to be confirmed and I'll let you know but it will be the week starting the 16th March. Come one and all. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, go to where The art of being dead is the book of the day. It is a great site which promotes new writers and small publishers that normally wouldn't get to see the light of the day and would never get reviewed nationally. Why?
Google your literary editors in the big newspapers and ask them. You can find their email addresses in their respective organs. Boyd Tonkin at The Independent, Claire Armistead at The Guardian and Robert McCrum at The Observer. They have all had Steve's book. Perhaps the reason they haven't reviewed it is because they don't like it, they think it's a pile of the proverbial, I don't know. If that's the case then although I disagree, that's their prerogative. However, being a paranoid Moose that lives in the northern hills methinks its because we're a very small publisher and they don't believe we have the right to find a brilliant author who has written a brilliant book. I know what you're thinking, get him in the straightjacket now but it would be courteous and manners if they could at least return my emails and say what they think. Even it was only one word. However from up here in the Pennines it looks like not only are Lit Eds losing their jobs, they are losing their manners too.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Moose Laureate

I have mentioned previously about my correspondence with Roy Clare, chief executive of the MLA, the museums libraries archives, which is there to make sure local authorities run libraries properly. As you may know the burghers of towns up and down the country have seen fit to close libraries in a bid to balance the books, philistines. Mr Clare has emailed and said that Andrew Motion will be opening the new central library in Newcastle upon Tyne on March 3rd. He has asked whether I would like to meet the man, apparently he may write a poem to honour the day. The Moose will be there to ask a few questions. Not about the poem, but about what he is doing to raise awareness throughout the country about what is happening to libraries. I Will let you know how it goes.
I don't know if anybody saw the front page love in with Ian Macewan and Martin Amis and Salman Rushdie. It was all kaftans, Khyber Passes and hiding the Rushdies from the prying guns of Mr Khomeni. It is 20 years since the Satanic verses etc and yes, it was interesting that Salman was hid under the stairs at his mate Ian's house, but a third of a page, a big photo of Ian and details of the two youngsters smoking their way through the Khyber pass. Fawning, drooly journalism at its pawing worst. Get a grip and write something newsworthy.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

All Libraries to close

The Moose has been in correspondence with the chief executive of the MLA, it is a government body set up to give 'Best Practice to Museums and Libraries.' Sounds rather dodgy to me. Giving best practice. That's illegal in some southern states in America. The man's name is Roy Clare. You can email him at . He looks well and has the requisite number of gongs to hold such a position. He speaks in code. He probably doesn't know what a Dewey number is but he can express himself in 'Armani.' I wrote to him to ask him what he was going to do about the library closures in Swindon. They're closing four this week. Apparently he can't do anything. It's all down to the local authorities but then I should have guessed that a government initiative to promote libraries and museums would appear toothless in the current onslaught against another public service. You should all email him and get him to work for his zillion pound an hour job. It cost us the taxpayer £50 million pounds last year to run the MLA. Wasn't the MLA a guerilla movement in Southern Africa? I digress. For 50 million you could run a few out of town libraries. I bet in the forthcoming New Years honours lists, the man who ran the organistaion to promote and protect our libraries, and didn't stop the closures, will be elevated to the Lords or at least be awarded a knighthood for services rendered. Remember his name, history will.

Monday, 16 February 2009

The Moose Is Loose

The art of being dead by Stephen Clayton has been let loose on the book buying public of London courtesy of a promotion being organised byLegend Press. The promotion of new writers and new publishers to Independent Booksellers is being funded by The Arts Council, and gives an opportuntiy for smaller publishers to get shelf space and compete with the big boys with new writers. Do not get worried. This will not be an assault on the southern sensibilities from Northern Publishers with worrying novels filled with difficult vernacular. Visigoths and Barbarians we are not. The art of being dead has been heralded as 'a brilliant book from a significant writer and should be hailed as such.' We still haven't had a review from The Guardian, The Observer, The Times or The Independent but perhaps that it is now in bookshops near where they live, they will think it really does exist. If they don't like it, that's OK. It's that level playing field thing and having read all the reviews in the quality papers this weekend it is hopelessly apparent that they don't really give a fig for anything that's not published by the well known publishers. I came across a wonderful quote from Irvine Welsh about Creative Writing Schools. He likened them to the Intensive Salmon Farming Industry. Now there's pause for thought. Come on Lit Eds pull your fingers out and tell your paper buying public what is happening with smaller publishers as well as the London publishing houses. You never know if you do something different you may actually hang on to your jobs.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


In a week when Shepherd Fairey was arrested for his art, Damian Hirst's lawyers sent a letter with menaces to a young artist demanding monies. Apparently the young artist had made 200 quid on ebay by using 'Damian's Diamond Skull' as part of a piece of work. He was told he had to send the money he'd made to the multi millionare installation artist forthwith. I suppose in these financially straightened times when you're down to your last 100 Million, 200 quid makes all the difference. And the offence? Apparently the young artist put into a piece of his work the diamond encrusted skull that our Damian thought up a few years back. Now is the infringement on intellectual copyright using a skull, which means we should all expect a letter from those artistic and creatives souls, Damian's lawyers or that he came up with the ingenious idea to stick millions of quids worth of diamonds onto it and then ask for £50 million of the Queen's heads?Now I know which artist I would want arrested, don't you? Come on Damian pull the paintbrush out of your arthole.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Buy a book not a rose

Having survived Friday the 13th, the Moose now has to battle through Valentines day and the expectations that this throws up, especially with all the Marks and Spencers 'Dinner for two,' adverts that are running. £20 quid for a slice of cow, a chocolate pudding, some Cava and a red rose flown in from Kenya is good value for money, as our bankers would say, but what happens if there is more than one Valentine's day expectee in your life? What if you are in a menage a trois, have several special friends or are allowed , due to religious exception, several wives? And the cost. Never mind the stamina sapping performances you may be asked to conjure up at the drop of a rose! And spare a thought for all those people who are confronted by their loved ones all togged up in a Valentine's day credit crunch costume for a fiver that has been purchased from Ann Summers! They haven't got rid of the Christmas excess and yet they amble into the boudoir cossetted in the tiniest piece of underwear with a red rose protuding from where only the medics should go. You get my frift. Buy them a book. It lasts longer, will cost you far less than twenty quid and it won't put your back out.

Friday, 13 February 2009


The tinternet gremlins have flown and I am free to scribble. At present I am reading Graham Greene's 'The Power and the Glory' which I'm thoroughly enjoying. Dissolute priests and whisky , what a hook. I'm also reading The Blue Fox by Sjon. I picked up Blue Fox because of Scott Pack's recommendation and there is a brilliant quote on the back of the book which says that 'It is the literary equivalent of a snowflake.' Will tell you later If I agree.

It is Friday the 13th and if you see a man with a black cat strapped to his back 'Quasimodo' like lurching around the many ladders in Hebden Bridge it is I, The Moose. Not that I am superstitious, Jaysus no, but I have hired a Friday 13th minder to ward off any evil demons and to fall into any nasty holes before I do. If I survive the day I will be back tomorrow with tales of derring do.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Cyber Terrorists

The site has been infiltrated by little Green Men. This morning when I tried to get on and Blog, agents from Bill Gate's office held me hostage and wouldn't let me write. Or perhaps it was The Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport suppressing any debate on the closure of Libraries in The Wirral. I have just got back from a national library supplier. We go back years. Two middle aged trying to save the world of Books. Sad as you like but we managed it. I'll post the plan later. Or perhaps we won't. Speaking of Bill Gates, did you know you cannot get hold of his address. His snail mail postal address. It is impossible. Anyway, several years ago when the cyber world was in it's infancy I deceided to set up an internet sperm collection agency and was going to ask the great and the good to donate. I asked if they could download three children's worth, you know to help infertile couples. I wrote to Bill, he owns a hill overlooking Seattle Lake. He didn't reply, miserable billionaire that he is. Other people who didn't reply.

1. The Archbishop of Canterbury
2. Prince Charles
3. Mr Dyson
4. Stephen Hawkings.
5. The Pope.

You have my permission to write to all of the above and complain. Just think what a better world we would live in if they'd just pressed send.

Hopefully I'll be up and running tomorrow morning if the cyber terrorists are not around.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Cage Music

Yesterday morning I had to listen to a professor called Rainor Neugebauer. He was German. Not that that's a problem and I suppose if you're going to be a professor then thats the kind of name you should have. No, the problem was he was spouting forth about a piece of Music by that old rabble rouser and techno kid, John Cage. You see they were performing a piece called, 'As slow as possible,' and one new note was being played every year in a cathedral and the organ was rigged up with sandbags and pulleys. It was supposed to be all ethereal, creating harmony and rapture in these busy times. Now John Cage might have been a good old stick, but I wouldn't have wanted to go to any of the Cage parties, they must have been really jumping affairs. How do you cop off with someone when the music is that slow, or if he's playing his latest hit 4' 33'' of silence you'd all be standing there like a bunch of lemons. Where's the pogoing? No. Not for me. Now I know all the musical Blah Blah Blah about Cage being minimalist and a Pioneer of Chance music but this is just Bobbins. I do chance music and its crap. If we did the same in publishing we would be laughed out of the artistic and creative world. If I published a 'chance' book with a letter on each page, No that's called the alphabet, and had it read out in a disused church in Ruritania, do you think I would get a four minute slot on Radio 4? I think not. Professor, your clothes have been ripped from your body and you stand naked in front of me. You may not be the emperor but you look just as silly.
And as I was listening to the one note opus I found out that on the Wirral, councillors have voted to close down 13 libraries. Cultural vandalism. Sod Mr Cage and his lack of plink plonk and get this story on the airwaves. Write to Andy Burnham who has the bizarre title of Secretary of state for Culture Media and Sport but heads a department that seems to want to rid our country of libraries. He may not be burning books but it is having the same effect. Book Burning Burnham. It has a kind of ring to it doesn't it?

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Man Booker Reading Group

He didn't turn up and I'd bought some Hobnobs. Peter Kay that is. Steve Clayton and I were at Heaton Library in Bolton to talk about his book, The art of being dead and publishing. There were about 30 people but the Bolton gagmeister was absent. More Hobnobs for everyone else. Your loss Mr. Kay. However, we nearly didn't get there. I had Googled for directions but like the great navigator Iam, I didn't actually look at them and found myself headed towards Wigan. Scott and Aumundson were correct not to hire my forbears. They would have ended up in Brazil. I stopped at a bus stop and asked for directions. A lady popped her head in the window and said 'I've lived 'ere forty years luv, and I've never heard of Heaton Library.' A man next to her didn't have such reservations. 'Heaton Library?,' 'Yes.' I replied. 'I'll get in and show you.'.
When this happens two thoughts jump into your head.

1.Psycho nutter.
2.Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
3. Care in the community.

But I shouldn't have worried. He took us straight there. He was a diamond, my head stayed connected to my neck and my faith in humanity was restored.

The reading group were vibrant, knowledgeable and passionate. Not all of them liked Steve's book, and that's their prerogative. However, most of them did and asked some very pertinent questions. They had some very interesting thoughts about Creative writing courses but that's a topic for another day. It just proves however that libraries are more than just the issuing of books. They are a vibrant, integral part of a community where groups meet up everyday to discuss a myriad of things. They are essential services and for some along with the Post Office they are their only contact with other people. And you can't put a price on this. This is something for councillors to ponder when they dig into their free meals after their umpteenth committee meeting on twinning their town with Ulan Bator.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Having Coffee with Peter Kay

The shirt has been ironed, the jacket dusted off and shoes polished. The Moose and Steve are back on the road promoting his book The art of being dead. Today we're in Bolton and although we don't expect Peter Kay to turn up we do expect to be grilled by the various members of readers groups. It will be fun.
The jacket arrives today for Falling Through Clouds by Anna Chilvers. It's all very exciting and although you've given a brief to the designer you never know what the final jacket will look like. The problem with designing something is that ultimately decisions have to be made. You can't design a jacket by committee. There lies madness. Look at the camel. It started out as a house dog and then, well, other camels like them but you wouldn't have one as a pet would you?
Must dash, dig the car out from the snow and head off into the northern lights.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

The man without

I have just read The Man Without by Ray Robinson. It's published by Picador in paperback. I met Ray ten days ago at Watertsones in Manchester and we had a coffee and a chat. He asked if I would review his book. I said yes but then started to worry that if I didn't like it what would I say. You see Ray's one of the good guys. I needn't have worried. It is a fantastic read. A great story and Ray's observations are razor sharp.It follows the life of Antony, a care worker who is under the psychiatrist as the medics say. The narrative is beautifully layered and punctuated by some brutal and dark episodes that are written with great skill. Ray writes with an honesty about a subject few of us understand. The humour and wit illuminate Antony's struggles with his transvestism which at times made me want to laugh and cry in equal measure. That we are allowed into the tortured soul of Antony and endure with him in his daily struggle to cope with his past, his present and the future is testimony to Ray's great skill as a storyteller. I loved the lricism and barbed humour. When he talks about ' the clarty arsed sheep of Ted Hughes' poetry,' you can't hellp but laugh. His references to Morrissey and The Smith's about being' miserable now,' made me titter. There is a beautiful but tense scene when on meeting his father for the first time Antony says. ' He could sense his father grasping with something. The wings of words trapped in his mouth.' Absolutley fantastic. This is a book that we all should read not because it will give us a great insight into the world of 'The Tranny,' it will, but because it is a stunning story, beautifully told by a writer with a gift for the written word.
There is a slight problem and that's with the publisher. There is no blurb on the back of the book to tempt you inside and read. There are fantastic quotes, which are a guide I guess, but I peronally like to see a little of what I'm going to jump into before I buy. However, buy this book, it is one of the best books I've read in along time.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Bolton or Bust

The Moose and Steve Clayton are going to Bolton on Monday to do a reading at Heaton library. Steve will be reading from his debut novel The art of being dead. There was a superb interview with him yesterday in The Yorkshire Post and sales have gone bananas.
Now Bolton is the home to Peter Kay. Mr Kay was in the stage show of The Producers by Mel Brooks and I gave him a copy of Anthills and Stars, Bluemooses first publication. I left it for him at the stage door of The Palace Theatre in Manchester in March 2007. I have yet to hear from him. I thought he was very funny before March 2007 but he isn't anymore. If he replies or returns the book, he will become funny again but until he enters into some sort of correspendonce he will remain unfunny. He will be just another corpulent smiley northern comedian trying to increase my titter quotient and failing. I saw Dave Sparkey on TV on Friday, he's from Bolton and he's very funny. He's much funnier than Peter Kay. Perhaps I should see if he'll read anything from the Bluemoose stable.
I read an interesting article from a QC yesterday on The Booksellers online magazine. It's the trade mag for the world of publishing. It was related to celeberity authors and the writing of their novels. If they haven't written them themselves then the publisher has to make it clear that the novel was 'inspired by,' or 'is from an idea from.' If the publisher tries to pass off the novel as written solely by the celeb then it is in breach of 'The trades descriptions act,' and can be fined as such. I will be waiting to see if the new Cheryl Cole novel will be advertised and promoted as a work written by herself. If it is written by her. Fair play. If not and those pesky editors at Harper Collins are fibbing, then a writ will be fired their way by the Moose Department of Correction

Friday, 6 February 2009

The Bluemoose Challenge

I've thrown down the glove to the Marketing Director at Bantam Books. I have bet the marketing supremo that if they give me the marketing spend that they had for the promotion of Paul O'Grady's 'At My Mother's Knee' I can make more money from out next publication FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS, than they did with their celebrity autobiography. They sold over 600,000 copies of Mr O'Grady's book. It has an rrp of £18.99 but given that it was selling at £10 in most high street book stores and at some £8.99 .This means that the publisher must have received no more than £6 per book. The maths: total revenue of about £3.6 Million. Knock off a cool £1Million for the advance and that makes £2.6 million. Very few publishers make more than 10% profit and so give or take a few shekels they probably made a profit pf about £260,000. I don't know how much TV advertising costs but with print and TV monies I bet the marketing budget was about £100,000. Now I could sell a bucket load of books with that figure to promote Anna Chilvers new novel, and yes I would have had to shell out a few more discount points but once the profit rolled in, I'd pay Bantam their monies back, the public would have a brilliant new novel, and Bluemoose would invest the profits in publishing new writers and not in the second auotbiography of Paul O'Grady, however riveting that may be. Pick up that glove.Let that Bantam go. Go on, I dare you!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

All Systems go

A date has been set, ISBN numbers allocated, the jacket is wending its way from Nottingham via the cultured and artistic hand of our illustrator Ian Dodds and so FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS by Anna Chilvers will be published on 22 June 2009 at 11.00am. OK I lied about the hour but the day and month, put it in the diary and get down to your local bookshop. It's a wonderful story. Beautifully written. That's what I and I think most people want . A great story beautifully told. It's all about storytelling. Lesley Glaister thinks so and she's reviewed and given it a fantastic quote. We'll drip feed you bits of the story to get you all excited, I hope. We will have an interview with Anna soon about writing and getting published.
The Moose got an email yesterday from a Prison. Nothing untoward, although you do get worried when you see in your inbox an email from Her Majesty's Prisons. I'm going to give a talk and read from my book, Anthills and Stars. It follows a group of hippies moving into a traditional mill town in the late 60's. The locals are less than impressed. Scott Pack said it is 'a warm and beautifully observed comedy that was very funny indeed. Kevin Duffy has Alan Bennett's fine ear for dialogue.'
Sorry about the shameless plug but I received a letter from our man with the tattered bowler hat at Lloyds TSB. He wants monies and he doesn't care how he gets it. The credit crunch has done away with any attempt at decorum and etiquette when it comes to letters from the bank.
I don't know whether I'll have to sign some kind of confidentiality thing for the visit to the prison and of course I wouldn't speak about the people I meet or divulge escape routes, but it will be interesting. And please no comments about a captive audience.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Kareoke Writing

Any budding author now has a new route to success. Shut down the PC and get singing. That's right. Singing. Kareoke is King and Creative Writing Courses are now officially dead. Get an audition on a Reality Singing Show, come second, join an all girl band. Become successful, sell bucket loads of records and shed the odd tear whilst listening to the stories of other budding contestants. You see Cheryl Cole has just landed a Book deal to write a series of 'Chick Lit' books. I don't know how many zeros she's been offered and I'm sure she's a delightful soul, but can she write? Perhaps she will prove us all wrong and produce a brilliant novel. We'll have to wait and see won't we. But it brings us back to 'Bling Publishing.' All commissioning editors have to do is Secure a Star personality, produce a book and the tills will be awash with credit crunch lucre. And the literary tradition is once again secure. Perhaps with Cheryl's previous record of fisticuffs, she could call her book, FIGHT CLUB. I don't know but it's certainly raised the antlers of the Moose as well as some other well known authors like Freya North. Read her comments on her website. . She has a point, several in fact.
I received several emails yesterday from other people concerned with the closure of libraries up and down the country. Swindon and Argyll and Bute are just a couple of authorities that are following the Wirral in their zero library policy. If you have the time could you write to these councils and state your objections. Perhaps Ms Cole could launch her debut novel at a local library to show her committment to the written word. Now where is Simon Cowell's mobile No.?

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Celebrity Libraries

As is the way of the book world these days, what with celebrity autobiographies rammed to the rooftops in the high street bookstores, we are now being bombarded with the 'Celebrity Library.' In the broadsheets recently we have had 'Obama's Library,' The Guardian did a piece on David Cameron's' library, Tony Blair doesn't have one because he's read everything and on Sunday The Observer reviewed a book on Hitler's Library. No wonder the councillors on The Wirral have said enough is enough and decided that their libraries lack any celebrity merit at all and have decided to close 13 of them. Andrew Motion, bless his cotton socks is rallying the troops as is local boy Frank Cottrell Boyce. You see its all about value for money. The market dictates. I would have thought recent events would have given us a clue to where that particular belief leads us. What is wrong with public money being spent on a public resource for the benefit of everyone? When bankers seem to have all the 'get out of jail free cards,' and hubris wins out over public service, it's about time we decided that libraries and post offices are essential assets that shouldn't be sold off to the highest bidder because some boy wonder from the town hall has got his boxers in a twist. The Wirral library closures is being featured on PM on Radio 4 this Thursday 5th Feb at 5pm. You all must listen and get angry. When incompetence is rewarded with multi billion pound pay outs and pay offs, a few quid here and there to local authorities up and down the country is a small price to pay for the excellent service libraries and librarians give.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Bling Bookselling

On Friday I met up with a sales director form a large publishing company who had been invited to hear what Watertsones had to say about 2009. It was mission statement stuff and once they'd exhausted all the management speak, the gist was, that they were going to become ' more front of store led.' This is bookselling speak for selling front list titles only. New titles heavily discounted. They are going to give the customer even more value for money. Great sentiments but what they're really trying to do is compete with the supermarkets by stacking high and selling cheap. Any bookseller knows that it's the backlist that provides the profit. All publishers know that without backlist sales they will perish. You cannot invest in new books and new writers without the solid base of backlist sales. Period. It would be like Tesco's deciding not to sell milk, bread, cheese and concentrating on Avocados, Yakult and Ostrich meat because they're new and sexy. It won't work. It's become Bling Bookselling. But once you've sold all the new stuff the cupboard will be bare. Of course you can sell both. You need new books to bring customers in and drive footfall but you also need decent stock to keep the customer interested and browsing so that they will pick up another book and perhaps, heaven forefend buy more than one book. Waterstones is a tremendous brand and customers are very loyal but if they continue down this route they may end up looking like a Turkish bazarr with customers haggling over prices at their 'counters of discount.' They will become discounters of all books and that path leads to TOP TEN ONLY. Agents will only sign and promote authors they think will sell more than 500,000 copies, which is what every author wants, but if this means you can only write in one genre, then It's Celebrity Historical Forensic Crime by Dan Brown Patterson O'Grady for the nest few years. Editors will only buy books that are from confirmed celebrity nail ons with TV backed marketing and voice overs called. 'How a turned my Life From Lard to Laughter.'
It all makes sense, the mists have cleared and now I'll go and make a snowman.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Northern Soul

Wade In The Water by Ramsey Lewis is one of my desert island discs. I have it on CD but not on vinyl. Anna, author of FALLING THROUGH CLOUDS came round yesterday and gave me a copy and it' s vinyl. Johhny her husband is a DJ and so they have lots of the stuff. They put nights on at various venues in Hebden, Leeds and Manchester and know lots of young happening DJ's like Kid Knievel. All I know is that Wade in the water is a stunning piece of music. Haunting, soulful and if you want to throw some shapes as these younger people say, its the song for you. It was taken up by Northern Soul in the 70's and became a torch song. Now to impress the ladies at a soul night then, you had to be able to dance. And you had to be able to spin. The more spins the more ladies. It was a simple equation. If your spinning wasn't up to scratch then you went home alone. A friend of mine dug the rubber out of the heels of his shoes and put ballbearings into them. He span like a top and the ladies queued up. Innovation is the mother of getting laid. But when the ballbearings eventually work themselves free and your spinning comes to a deceitful stop, you are banished forever. A Northern Soul pariah. But what a few months.