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.