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

Whizzbangery

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

Kindling

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

Amazda

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

Slebattack

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.