Thursday, 29 December 2011

PIG IRON by Benjamin Myers

Bluemoose editors are in the final throes of finishing the edit for PIG IRON by Benjamin Myers, which we'll be publishing on May 31st 2012.

PIG IRON is a beautifully written book by a very gifted writer.


John-John wants to escape his past. But the legacy of brutality left by his bare knuckle boxer father, self-styled King of the Gypsies, Mac Wisdom, looms large over his life. John-John's new job as an ice cream van man, should offer freedom, but instead pulls him into the dark underbelly of life in a northern town where his family name is mud.

As John-John attempts tp trade prejudice, parole officers and local gangs for 'the green cathedral- - the rural landscape that provides solace for him - the story of Mac's rise and spectacularly bloody fall unravels.

PIG IRON is the story of a traveller who hasn't travelled; a young man fighting for his very survival.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Antler TV

Good morrow. Have been resting the antlers. A lot has happened since I last posted. KING CROW by Michael Stewart won The Guardian's NOT THE BOOKER and we have sold the rights to this book and GABRIEL'S ANGEL to Russian Publisher AZBOOKA-ATTICUS, owned by the chap who now owns Waterstone's, Alexander Mamut. Penguin Books USA are reading KING CROW too, with a view to publish, as are several European publishers. Alistair Sutcliffe, author of THE HARDEST CLIMB was invited to Buckingham Palace and there is now a Bluemoose book inside the throne room. We have full CCTV access and audio contact withing the palace. I will of course keep you updated about royal events before they happen throughout the year. Antler TV will be fully operational by January 1st. WATCH THIS SPACE.
This, and my Republican views has nothing to do with Philips' recent cardio thoracic difficulties. Several hundred thousand feathered friends, relieved that their festive tormentor spent Boxing day on his back and not armed with several shotguns, will be involved in a celebratory murmaration and fly past of the palace on NEW YEARS EVE. I am now reliable informed that The corgis too had a restful Saturnalia
Alistair was on MIDWEEK on the 21st December and sales went through the roof on Amazon. 39th bestselling biography and into the top 200 bestselling books too. You can also buy ANTHILLS AND STARS on KINDLE. I've got into bed with the 'A' beast,and all our titles will be avialable by electrickery by the end of the year.

Monday, 19 September 2011


I had a great time selling books in The Hebden Bridge Bookshop, even cajoled two unlikely browsers to purchase THORN by Michael Dean and The Hardest Climb by Alistair Sutcliffe, two of the latest Bluemoose titles. The Moose was on tour over the weekend, going down to Waterstone's Chelmsford on Saturday for the book signing of THORN by Michael Dean. It was a great success, good to meet Michael and have a chat to Marissa, the very passionate book lover and manager of the Wats store. Michael will be giving a talk and signing copies of his book at Colchester Library this forthcoming Saturday 24th September. And we've just had some exciting news about films and one of our titles but I can't say too much as blood has yet to be spilled in negotiations and we're trying to keep the lawyers at bay. Toodlepip book lovers.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Moose loose in a bookshop

This morning I am to be let loose on the unsuspecting book buying public of Hebden Bridge. Gillian and Ross, the proprietors of The Hebden Bridge Bookshop have left the county for the day and have given me the keys. Now I have been a sales rep for myriad publishers from pension stealing and spy Robert Maxwell to the Earl of Donoghmore's son, Tim Hely Hutchinson, but I have never sold books directly to readers. I'm also a publisher at Bluemoose books and the simple deal is that we publish great stories that engage and inspire. Well today, I'll find out how inspiring our books are. I have threateend to turn the bookshop into a shrine to the moose, and I may. Photographs will follow. But the great thing about bookshops is the browse factor. You can't get that with your Amazon online brief perusal nonsense. You have to pick ip a book, feel it, smell it and read the first page. At Moose Towers we pride ourselves on production and our jackets. We have noticed that potential purchasers when picking up one of our books find themselves stroking it. You can't stroke online, well you can but it is an arrestable offence.
Well, I'm Off to put some Eau De Biblio on, that should entice the book buyer public into the shop. That and shouting at them should do it.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

THORN signing

Michael Dean, author of THORN, will be signing copies of his new book at Waterstone's in Chelmsford on Saturday between 11am - 1pm. Award winning writer, David Nobbs, creator of Reggie Perrin, amongst others, has called it an, 'astonishing and powerful novel.' Come and meet Michael, myself and Hetha as we bring news of Bluemoose to the southern climes and educate those that have been in darkness for so many years.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The art of being dead.

The head of big words at Leeds Metropolitan University contacted me yesterday and said that one of our titles, THE ART OF BEING DEAD ,was now being studied as the main text on their MA in Contemporary Literature. The hallowed walls of academia are trembling. A bit. Great news for Stephen Clayton, the author and Bluemoose of course. Toodlepip, off to dust down the ermine and mitre board.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Happy Birthday to us!

I have baked a cake for everyone at Moose Towers today because the Moose is five years old. It is five years since we started publishing here in Hebden Bridge and we have come a long way. Moose titles have been translated into Russian, Hollywood production companies have got excited and readers from Australia to the US have read our titles. Great stories have legs and find their natural homes amongst readers who are ready to engage and get inspired. I have ranted and raged and waved a clenched fist at the fiefdom of publishing that is run by the posh people in the Metropolis. We have had national reviews, sold rights abroad, been on local and national radio and last weekend, international radio. But the most important aspect of it all is that we have found great stories that have been beautifully written that otherwise wouldn't have been published because men with graphs and red pens didn't think they would sell. How wrong they were. Long live the Moose!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Worldwide Hit

Since Leonora's interview on Radio Netherlands worldwide we have seen sales of her book come in from the United States of America and Australia. That's the beauty of stories. You find them, or they find you, you polish them up with a bit of editorial shine, wrap then up in great covers and send them out into the world all on their own, and then wait. And you know you've succeeded when people email you with great comments. One lady, a vicar, has said that 'The book has changed her life.' Another from Australia can't believe that the authorities in this country have behaved in such a draconian fashion. Neither can I. The truth has a way have catching up with those that have manipulated a system for their own means. Watch out officials, the story is coming to get you.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Moose Summer Offensive

Leonora Rustamova, author of STOP DON'T READ THIS is on the award winning radio show THE STATE WE'RE IN, this afternoon at 14.00hrs. It is broadcast by Radio Netherlands and can be heard in the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and all of Europe.

The Bluemoose Summer offensive is bearing fruit. First Russia, then Bulgaria, Holland today and before you know it Col. Gaddaffi will be surrendering to all at Moose Towers. Let us hope the international community are generous with their support.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Sofia , so good.

It's been a busy week in Mooseland. Our foreign rights people have been meeting European Agents. Sounds all very James Bond, but the deal is, prior to Frankfurt, the biggest rights fair in the world, the agents are told about all the new titles that are to be published in the next 12 months and some books they may have missed that we recently published. This year we have already sold two of our books to a Russian Publisher AZBOOKA-ATTICUS, who are based in St Petersburg. They bought GABRIEL'S ANGEL by Mark Radcliffe and KING CROW by Michael Stewart. Yesterday we sold KING CROW to a Bulgarian Publisher called ARTLINE. Extremely pleased. The book is out with at least another 10 European publishers, so no doubt we'll have more good news soon. I phoned Michael to impart the good news that KING CROW would soon be hitting the bookstands of Sofia. He was suitably pleased but the line seemed a bit distant and as he only lives near Bronte country just over the hill I asked why? 'I'm still stuck in New York courtesy of Hurricane Irene.' He said. He was on his mobile and I was on the Moose landline. I did a quick calculation and ended the call. He's back on Saturday and we'll have a proper chat. I don't want to be wasting too much money on transatlantic phone calls when I should be investing the hard stuff in new writers. Wasn't there an incident on London bridge many moons ago about a Bulgarian diplomat being killed by an umbrella to the leg? Still the wall is down now and we're all chums, especially when it come to reading the same books.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

The suits just don't get it

There was a great piece in The Guardian yesterday by Jane Rogers. Her latest book, The Testament of Jessie Lamb has been longlisted for The Man Booker. She has written many books for established 'London' houses , as they like to call themselves but her recent sales have not been heading in the right direction on the sales graph. So they didn't offer her a new contract. She went to an independent called Sandstone Press based in Inverness. They loved the story and guess what? So did The Man Booker judges and now her sales are going through the proverbial. I bet there is one keeper of the sales graph at a very famous 'London' publishing house who is crying into his spreadsheet. And so he should. As Jane said, people want stories to read. Simple really, just a shame the suits get in the way sometimes.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Thorny issues

Team Moose off to Leeds Waterstone's this morning for a book signing by Leonora Rustamova. She will be talking to the book buying public about her book 'STOP DON'T READ THIS - THE STORY'
Yesterday we received THORN by Michael Dean from the printers and it looks fantastic. THORN is a Rabelasian tour round Amsterdam in the middle of the Great Dutch Golden era of the mid 17th Centruy. Spinoza and Rembrandt are exiled, one for his philosophical treatise and the other for his pictoral depiction of the great and the good. A great read and very funny. David Nobbs, who created Reggie Perrin says, 'An astonishing and powerful novel.' Top man.
It is published on September 1st.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Queen Moose

I'm off to Londinium to see the queen this morning. Let us hope she has bathed and scrubbed up in preparation to meet the Moose. The talk at the society of young authors went really well. I spoke on how independent publishers are taking up the creative slack in publishing today. The big six are merely trying to replicate the successes they have already had, to keep the schekels coming in to satisfy their shareholders. This of course means they are publishing very little that is different to what you see on the 3 for 2 tables in our high street stores. Cast your weary eye, dear reader across the bookshelves and the covers of the books look remarkably similar. It is called genre publishing. Here at Moose towers we like to offer the reader something different to read. Not your average supermarket fare,there is no Scandawegian crime here, more like a delicatessan has to offer the discerning literary palette. Original fiction at its best. Now if I can get Mrs Windsor to read a couple of Bluemoose Books as she wiles away the hours playing backgammon with the corgis, the future will indeed be bright.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Society of Young Publishers

I am speaking at the Society of Young Publishers tonight in Leeds. They have never left London before and they might be a little trepidatious of our northern manners and customs. I'll be gentle. I will be talking about independent publishing and Bluemoose Books. It may be the first and last time I will be able to give a valedictory address to bright young things who have come to listen to pearls of wisdom. Well, that might be pushing it a bit. I won't be thanking my mum, or crying. The audience may by the end of the night after a thirty minute tirade against the evils of Amazon and Google. But these are great times for indie publishers. The big houses are too big to move to the constant changes within publishing and we're filling the creative gaps with great stories that engage and inspire the reader. We have come a great distance since we started five years ago. Hollywood directors are reading our books. Penguin in the States is also reading a couple of our titles and the Russians can't get enough of Bluemoose. All is well and long may that continue in the good ship Moose.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Guardian Shortlist

Heaven forefend! There's lots of angry people on The Guardian books website. KING CROW did get onto the short list for THE NOT THE BOOKER. The prize, a Guradian mug.Nothing to write home about, but the most important aspect of the whole process is that it gives a national platform to small and independent publishers to promote their books and authors to a group of people who wouldn't normally view such titles. Why is that you ask? Well, reviewers don't on the whole review books sent to then from indie publishers. Why not? You'll have to ask them I suppose, but my conjecture is that they deem books by those not already signed to the mainstream publishers not really worthy. Publishing is very conservative you see and run on very upper middle class sensibilities. I've worked in publishing for 25 years and my first job was as a rep for a new publishing house run by the son of an Earl. You get the drift. Eton. Oxford. Publishing house. Natch. And publishing is run via a very old model. Agent signs up new wunderkind, sells first new book to commissioning editor for zillions, publisher has to get buzz going so gets Camilla from in house PR to take reviewers out for lunch or the opera and over dinner, chats about new wunderkind and three weeks later wunderkind is all over the books sections like a priapic Oxford poetry lecturer is over a nubile undergraduate. Simple really. Access is denied to the likes of Bluemoose as we can only run to an Avacado and radish sandwich.
For 5 years I have tried to get one of our titles reviewed. Nothing. That is until this year when The Guardian ran their New First book Award and asked bloggers what titles did they think they had missed. Irate Moosers around the country told them about KING CROW. The books editor in her wisdom bowed to the presure, asked for a copy, read it , and loved it. Job Done. Then a week later a review in the newspaper itself. I doffed my antlers to her, now that she had seen the light, and hopefully new Bluemoose titles won't find their first port of call, a bin. Let us hope , dear readers, that all the harrumphing will stop, reviewers will realise that mainstream is replicating the same old, same old and its the bright new buttons in the sticks that are pubishling great new books.
Toodelpip, off to Waterstone's Bradford to see one of our finest writers, Leonora Rustamova, sign copies of her book STOP DON'T READ THIS. I've sent a copy to the shadow education secretary Andy Burnham. The great hope of newish labour. If he reads it, they may have a chance, if not, bunker down because the toffs will be running the asylum.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Book for Europe

Looks like KING CROW made it onto The Guardian's NOT THE BOOKER LIST. About time those scribes in Londinium realised what talent lay outside the gates of the Metropolis. We've got Hollywood excited about KC, and Penguin USA, so, its not before time that they realised we can read and write and publish great stories up here in the wilderness under Ted Hughes' eyebrows in Hebden Bridge. Having said that, they did give it a marvelous review a couple of weeks ago. Mustn't let my inverted snobbery get in the way of a good old rant. Well, its taken four years. So why not?
I received the last re-write of PIG IRON by Ben Myers yesterday and handed it over to one of editors. It's a brilliant story and beautifully written. It should win every prize on planet letters. Ben tells a story that beguiles and illuminates, is lyrical yet visceral, sharp and thoroughly entertaining. It is published next May 2012. Get your orders in now. And we have a jacket image that will blow the beejesus off you.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Its about the stories , stupid.

The Guardian's NOT THE BOOKER LIST is in its final hours of voting. KING CROW by Michael Stewart, which we published in January of this year, is in the running to be one of the 6 titles they choose to review and discuss over the next 6 weeks. As 83% of all books are sold on recommendations, getting a book seen and reviewed by the press is essential to get the book seen by as many people as possible. To get a reviewer to open the first page and jump in is the trick. For the bigger metropolitan houses this is far easier than small indies in the beautiful north. There is still an institutionslised bias against small presses. Small is not beautiful in the reviewers eyes. Small means not being part of the established more successful publishing industry. HOW WRONG THEY ARE. Look at the Man Booker long list. Of the 13 on the list, 9 are from independents and 3 from very small presses. What does that say about the huge houses? Same old same old. For a long time, which started in the mid '80s, publishing got obsessed with literary theory. You know all the post domesticated modernism and the story, where a book has a start a middle and an end, revolutionary I know, became old hat. It became all tricks and whistles and plot and structure went out the window. In my experience, most people want a damned good story, and a great plot that is beautifully written. Period. Now the great unwashed are fighting againtst those books that are only concerned about what happens between each full stop. Most of us don't care about isms. Isms are self generated ivory tower building exercises by professors of long words who are trying to create their own legacy. Stories have been with us for ever, and they always will. From the oral to the written we all need stories and KING CROW is one of the best you will read. I guarantee it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Book banning Mormons

Now those far sighted followers of Joseph Smith have got an old testament bee in their bonnets. They have complained to the local authorities in Alabama, or some such creationist state in the American south and said because Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 'A study in scarlet,' has some anti mormon passges in it, it should be taken out of every school library and off any reading courses. The authorities in their wisdom have done just that. It is now banned. You know what is next. Every book will be banned bar Mr Smith's words and God's diary. Oh dear. No wonder America is such an intolerant country. My dad burned my copy of 'A clockwork orange,' because of what he read in the press in 1973, I told him about another book burner, Adolf Hitler. He wasn't impressed with my history lesson. My reward?A fat ear and a few more prayers to commit to the ceiling. Now, if there is one book that should be considered off the curriculum....Nah, people should read as much as possible. It helps, it really does. You might not understand everything, but you'll have one thing in your favour if you do read. You'll be more willing to listen to another's view. Remember, you read it here first.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Those boys and girls at Google will have you believe that everything should be free. The search engine that is taking ove the world, made zillions of dollars for The Brothers Grin last year, wants to abolish copyright. They want all books to be available free at the click of a mouse. Sounds brilliant doesn't it? Every book online free. Literacy rates would soar and we would all have a library at our fingertips. But stop there reader and just think . Google doesn't do everything out of the kindness of their corporate heart. Google exists to suck as much money out of advertisers as they can. They are The Goldman Sachs of the internet age. Don't be fooled by their zany ball pool head offices and driving around the grounds on big boys toys. They want dollars, and they want them now. Free books? What about the content? Who provides that? of course the author. The Creator of those magic words that transport each and everyone one of us from the tedium of our daily existence. How does the writer get paid if the copyright is free? Content is king and the writers need some sort of protection to put food on the table Mr Grin. Copyright is there for a reason, to give them enough calories to finish the next chapter. When the CEO's of Google are taking their billion dollar dividends and buying spaceships to go to Saturn because its a hoot, remember, your search enging relies on the content of others. Journalists and writers. Without them you will have nothing to search for. And if they do get their way and abolish copyright and everything is free, then we will see them start to charge for everything. When the fences are broken, the big bad fox won't have to blow anything down because dinner will have been provided, all trussed with condiments too. Beware those that say all lunches are free. They're not and they never will be.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


We have an extremely busy few weeks ahead of us at BLUEMOOSE BOOKS. On the 1st September, we are publishing an historical fiction title called THORN by Michael Dean. Spinoza and Rembrandt on a Rabelasian tour of Amsterdam in the middle of the 17th Century. David Nobbs, the acclaimed author and creator of Reggie Perrin, says, 'It's an astonsihing and powerfull book.' Praise indeed. Michael will be singing and talking about his book at Colchester Central library on Saturday 24th September at 11am and at Waterstone's Chelmsford on saturday 17th between 12-2pm.
KING CROW by Michael Stewart has been nominated for The Guardian's NOT THE BOOKER LIST, get your votes in now.
Leonora Rustamova, fresh from espousing her thoughts on BBC Radio Leeds on Thursday 11th August and after being interviewed by The Telegraph and Argus, will be signing copies of her book STOP DON'T READ THIS at Watesrtone's Bradford on Saturday 20th after 1pm and the following Saturday between 11 - 2pm at Waterstone's Leeds

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Bishop Of Bradford

We're off to BBC Radio Leeds this morning. That is, Leonnora Rustamova and I. She has been invited onto the morning show to talk about how she managed to engage with five disaffected young lads and get them to come back into school and finish off their education. She succeeded and the result is her book, STOP DON'T READ THIS - The Story. Because she was so successful, she was sacked. Madness I know, but when the educators find somebody getting great results but not following the dictats and formula, they get worried. Then we're off to see the Bishop of Bradford. He's worried that he can't speak to the youth of Bradford. He doesn't know the 'idiom and argot' in which they speak. He's blogging. We're going to see if we can help. Leonora's not one for pointing. She lsitems. Perhaps there should be more people like her. You can't have a conversation without listening, and defintely not with water cannon and rubber bullets on the streets. Wasn't Mr Cameron part of a social group that met in pubs in Oxford, got drunk, trashed the rooms but then paid the owners for the havoc they'd wreeked? It's called hypocrisy. The youth know, you know.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


I heard Andrew Wylie on the radio yesterday. The press have given him the moniker 'the jackal.' He was the chap in the late eighties that ramped advances to authors through the roof. Now I'm all for writers getting what is their due, but the astronomical sums that are still being given to writers is unsustainable. Mr Wylie was moaning about Amazon and digital rights. Should one of the questions being asked, do we really need agents? What do they really do for their 10%? The most important person in publishing is the creator of the content, the writer. After that it is the editor. Now, there are some unscrupulous publishers out there, but surely it is not beyond the wit and ken of writers to have a template for a contract that gives them ample reward for their efforts. They surely can use the author's society as their union to watch and advise with contracts.I don't think we need Mr Wylie to advise on the publishing model. No doubt he has the writers welfare at his heart, and of course his cut of their earnings. There's a word for that.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Mooses and Pirates

It's Sunday, Purple Jesus looks down on me, no this isn't a new sect started by his purpleness Prince, the diminutive musician of a paisley persuasion, but the purple Jesus that resides on the top of my bookshelf and looks down on everyone at Moose Towers. It has no religious significance, its just a great statue and makes me laugh. We also have a Ganesh and a plastic Moose to cover all faiths, well two. This revisionist look at religion has started after I bought a book called'the Gospel To the Flying Spaghetti Monster by Bobby Henderson. It is a response to the propogators of Intelligent Design, those flat earthers who think that the world is only 6000 years old, creationism is a scientific hoax and the world will end in a rapture in a Macdonalds off Route 66 some time in 2020.It is hilarious and the premise is that if followers of ID can put their belief system forward with little if no scientific findings, established religions too, then why can't anyone have their own beliefs that can't be challenged either, in a scientific context. One theory that is very funny is his statement that global warming has got significantly worse sinse the demise of PIRATES. HAHAAAARGH to that.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The Moose on Tour

We have four new author events to tell you about. Leonora Rustamova will be signing her new book STOP DON'T READ THIS-The Story at Waterstone's Bradford on Saturday 20th August 11am-2pm and then again at Waterstone's Leeds on Saturday 27th August between 12-2pm.
Michael Dean, author of THORN will be signing copies of his book at Waterstone's Chelmsford on Saturday 17th September, 12-2pm and the following week he will be talikng and signing at Colchester Central Library between 11.30-2pm.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Moose Abroad

A massive publishing house from the USA got in contact yesterday and asked if they could read two of our books, with a view, I hope, of publishing in the States. The two books in question are KING CROW by Michael Stewart and GABRIEL'S ANGEL by Mark Radcliffe. Now, it's alright to get excited , but I've been here before, and sometimes it doesn't work out as planned. However, it really is pleasing to see that stories have a resonance and can be truly international. It is one of our basic traits as humans to tell and listen to stories, wherever we are. It helps. When you realise you've just spent your last 17 trillion dollars and the credit card company have come round to seize the laptop, keys to the car and the house, its time to grab a book and head for the cave you bought on a timeshare four years ago. Books matter. They can't save lives and feed people , but they do matter, simply as a way of easing out the creases of our daily lives.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


One of the great things to come out of KING CROW's recent review in The Guardian and on their blog site is that I several indy publishers have been expressing the same views about getting their books reviewed. Or lack of it from the broadsheets. There seems to be a consensus that the smaller presses don't get a fair look in. Fortunately we have cyber allies, readers who have come across websites and bought some great books and then gone on various blogs and spread the word. Hopefully now that reviewers know who and where we are, the great stories we publish, they will give us a fair shot next time. But chickens will remain in their coops uncounted. What we have to do collectively as independetnts is to work together, signpost our readers to other publisher's websites and let them know about the great books we are publishing. BUILD A READERSHIP FANBASE. INDY POWER. THE INDY SUMMER OFFENSIVE
It's simple really, it's all about the stories and that's what readers want. Something different and they're voting with a click of their mouse.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The middle class sensibility

I thought I'd draw attention to the reality that publishing panders to many middle class sensibilities in that the vast majority of Literary agents and editors are middle to upper middle class, and as they control the gateways to most of our contemporary fiction, they are somewhat disdainfail of working class lives characters in fiction today.

Here's what Helen Walsh, author of GO TO SLEEP, published by Canongate, has to say about it.

'Prior to writing, I worked in a literary agency in London, and I was acutley and horribly aware of the prejudice against working class lives and characters in contemporary fiction. The 'taste-setters' the agents, junior agents and readers who are the first port of call for manuscripts - are largely upper middle class, as are most of the editors working in British publishing today. This raises many questions then about the non-varied and class dimensional reading of manuscripts and the extent to which such readings reflect and pander to an upprer middle class sensibility.'

I take my hat off to her.

Monday, 1 August 2011


I'm not going to go all Oscar Night on you, dear readers but KING CROW by Michael Stewart has just been praised by leading Literary editor Claire Armitstead, who runs the books section at The Guardian.

'King Crow reminds me of Kes, both in its use of birds and in its setting.' Praise indeed. Now as KES is one of my all time favourite books, I'm loathe to make such comparisons because it just doesn't feel right. Perhaps in time we can put them side by side but let's just see what longevity KING CROW has. I'm convinced it will, but then we published it. As we all say at Bluemoose, great stories travel. And look how far. All the way to London.

Cyber- Ink Synergy

I have been told that 83% of all book sales are through recommendations. Either through reviews in papers, from friends or on the net. That is a big figure. I would presume the other 13% of impulse buys are mainly through the supermarkets and a some through the high street. This is the new frontier for indy publishers . Getting an audience for your books. Finding readers. With high street and wholesale discounts being so high, we have to look elsewehere for readers whilst still using some of the traditional outlets. Waterstone's is still the shop window but gaining readers from previous visitors to the website and finding book lovers and telling them what great stories we have is the key. There was a commentary on a website about KING CROW, one of our recent publications and the lit ed of a national newspaper picked up on it, read the book, liked it and then reviewed it in the newspaper. Now Techhies will have you think that INK is dead in the dailies but the sales from that review provided a spike. Reviews do matter but the cyber readers and followers are making great inroads.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Books in Space

I have not only got into bed with the rapacious beast that is AMAZON but I've been nuzzling up and tickling toes. I've converted my book ANTHILLS AND STARS into a KINDLE format to see what all the fuss is about. I'm trial running this ebook stuff because at Bluemoose Books we'll soon be all digitised on the ebook front and I want to use ANTHILLS as a sort of cyber guinea pig. You know, how to market on the web and create an audience, upweight our digital activity and outcare our competition. I haven't been to a seminar but have learned that all these terms are imperative when trying to sell literary wares on the cyber market. Will let you know how it all goes. I have even started twittering, which is just insane but necessary. I won't tell you what I have for breakfast but hopefully give you some insight in to running an indie press from the shores of HEBDONIA.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Rest Home For Men Who Wear Cravats

It's already started. The literati who think The Man Booker has been sullied by books that don't, in their opinion, reach the literary standards of the past, are moaning. In 'their' opinion it is all down hill from here and literature these days is nothing more than commercial pap. These are the people who only read the great works in their original language and if you haven't got a double first in Classics your existence is worthless. They career round this green and pleasant land on Penny Farthings, doff boaters to corseted women and spend their afternoons reading Proust whilst spearing small men 'who do' with hot crumpet forks. It is they who should be removed, quietly to The Rest Home for Men Who Wear Cravats.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Bookerati

The Booker list has been announced and everyone who knows what a compound modifier is, is going all Doolally tap. Of the 13 on the list, 9 are from independent publishers, although I do struggle to see how some are indies. Of those 9, 3 are from smaller presses, which is great news. Again, I won't go all Colin Welland and state that 'the Indies are coming,' but it does say something about the state of publishing in the UK, that the stories that are making the biggest impact are from those houses willing to publish writers that the main stream deem too quirky, and for you and me that means, not commercial enought to take a punt on. I know that one author on the list was dropped from a major house and was subsequently signed by one that is now on the Booker Long List. They must be gutted and the sales and marketing director may well have his head in a bin this morning. He should have. The sales graph is now the most important part of the publishing house and if the trajectory isn't stellar, the boys and girls in suits harrumph, point and show writers the door.
Well, suits will always be that, suits. Shame.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Stop Buy This!

Leonora Rustamova signed copies of her new book at Waterstone's in Huddersfield yesterday and once again records were smashed, for Bluemosoe that is. We sold 25 copies of Stop Don't Read This, which to some may not seem record smashing but for someone like myself who has organised and been to a couple of hundred book signings, it is.
I have organised signings for Duchesses, screen royalty, TV Soap stars and multi million book selling authors. One decided to get her own motorcycle outriders and police escort without telling the publishers, cost us thousands, another brought five wigs, three types of different water, usually brought to these shores from an Himalayan spring by a posse of indigant Sherpas, and she ordered lots of food and ate not a scrap and at another signing no one turned up and we had to dress up members of staff, divvy out fivers from petty cash and get them to buy the book as 'random members of the public.'
Book signings can be fraught not only with indifference from the great British public but from the machinations and egos of self interested and demanding 'artistes.' It takes a lot for somebody to meet their literary idols or to ask questions from somebody they have never met. But they did yesterday. And they bought Stop Don't Read This, and perhaps after they know the truth about what really happened, more questions will be asked and those in the upper echelons will have to answer. Of course they will obfuscate and deflect and bewigged corpulant men from far off places with twinkling cufflinks will hurl long words around, but a course has been set and without the need of a custard pie, Leonora will have her day in the court of the public and those that have bore witness to this travesty will be shamed and pilloried. And rightly so. There endeth the lesson. Well it is Sunday.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

It's the Story, Stupid.

KING CROW by Michael Stewart is the first Bluemoose book to be reviewed in the braodhseets in the UK. It is in THE GUARDIAN today. Congratulations Michael. This is what they said. 'Michael Stewart is a poetic writer - about nature, about boys and casual violence.King Crow's psycholgy is spot on.'


After four years of trying to tell the people who review books in Londinium that we are publishing great stories up here in Hebden Bridge, they are starting to listen. It's a start. There are many other great indie publishers up here in the North. I won't go all Colin Welland and start excaliming that the northern publishing hordes are coming but it does behove everyone in the publishing industry to start looking at other indie presses and publishers. Having lots of money does not necessarily make you a great publisher. Remember, it's all about the story. Put down your bells and whistles and post domesticated modernism, readers want stories, period.

Thursday, 21 July 2011


The acclaimed and multi award winning author David Peace has given this quote for KING CROW by Michael Stewart.

"KING CROW is a gripping and moving story told in a unique, yet authentic Northern voice. It is a brilliant first novel and the best debut I have read in a long time. I am excited and intrigued about what Michael Stewart will write next."

Top banana.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Custard Pie Free Moment

We received plaudits from a writer and the literary editor of a heavy hitting broadsheet yesterday. No monies changed hands and no custard pies were used to elicit the responses we gleaned. David Peace, author of The West Riding series and That Damned United, and an internationally acclaimed writer has just read KING CROW by Michael Stewart. He said it was 'Brilliant.' And then news from The Guardian Books Blog that Claire Armitstead has also read Michael's book. She said. 'We have made some great discoveries and enjoyed KC.' Praise indeed. Here at Moose Towers we have been trying to get our books through the Praesidium Guard of Londinium people of letters for four years and at last we have. Of course the deal is to get the story to as many readers as possible and you have to use all avenues. The twitterati and facebook acolytes still herald these sites as the way to get your story to the readers but STILL the review pages of the newspapers, or certain newspapers means readers will use these 'recommendations' to search and purchase the book.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Stadium Lit

Leonora Rustamova, of Stop Don't Read This fame, will be signing copies of her book at Waterstone's at Kingsgate, Huddersfield on Saturday 23rd July between 1-3pm. Alistair Sutcliffe, the maruading GP and author of THE HARDEST CLIMB gave a presentation and talk at The Ripon Yarns Festival on Sunday 17th July. It was exceedingly successful. The point is, that for small publishers getting your authors out onto the road to greet and meet the public is essential. We don't have the spending power of the more traditional houses. So we have to be smarter to get the story to the reader. It's like when you start a band and you have to play all the pubs and clubs before you get to the stadiums. You have to do many, many library events and become a rash on the social networks. It does pay dividends as we have seen at Bluemoose, with more and more readers coming to the site and to events.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Just as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and other such worthy freedom of speechers failed to turn up to Julian Assange's party last week, they also failed to turn up to the launch of STOP DON'T READ THIS- The Story, by Leonora Rustamova at The Hebden Bridge Bookshop yesterday. Rather amiss methinks but they were probably rescuing a waif from some Australasian shore. However, many people did turn up and bought bucket loads of the book. It was a great success. SDRT has become,overnight,the bestselling book the bookshop has had in over a year, so gold stars all round and now the story must travel and the truth will finally be heard.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Hebden Bridge Launch

Today we are launching STOP DON'T READ THIS - The Story by Leonora Rustamova at The Hebden Bridge Bookshop between 12 -2pm. As we have witnessed of late, some of the press always sink to the lowest common denominator and go for the salacious aspects of any story. We appear, as a nation, to decry acts of goodwill that are done purely to help an idividual or a group to get along. In our cynical world there must always be a personal motive for doogoodery, and doogooders are 'interfering ne'er do wells,' who practice the dark arts. Leonora wrote a book for 5 pupils who had been marginalised and were on the edge of being excluded. Her book was heralded as a great success and she was promoted but then arrived the serial careerists, small people with small minds and blinkered vivions, the type who like uniforms and always point to rule books and harrumph a lot. We won't be letting these people into the bookshop to celebrate what is a brilliant piece of writing. They will be banned and banished for their lack of humanity. We will kill them with our smiles. Oh ,and they wear brown. A lot.

Friday, 15 July 2011

London Calling

After four years of publishing in the northern outposts of Hebden Bridge, the carrier pigeon of news has just reached Londinium. I received an email from the books editor of THE GUARDIAN asking me to send two copies of KING CROW by Michael Stewart. They wanted to read it as part of The Guardian's First Novel award. They'd asked for titles they might have missed. A lot of people commented on the web blog malarkey thing and left great messages about KING CROW. So the pigeon was sent Dar Sarf with a couple of books. It is a stunning read. KES meets FIGHT CLUB as one reviewer said. There is a conversation to be had about access to the lit ed pages but one for another time methinks suffice to say that when there was a two line review of GABRIEL'S ANGEL in The Gaurdian on the 1st January 2011, it was a readers GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR, we sold over 300 copies in ten days. The social network wallers and the twiterati may bleep you into submission but a decent review in the hot metal press still works wonders. I've lit two candles in the publisher's chapel of rest for the safe passage of the pigeon.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Rusty on the airwaves

Leonora Rustamova, author of Stop Don't Read This, was on TV and Radio yesterday and the sales of the book on AMAZON went through the roof. It is now in the top 800 bestselling books in the UK. The old adage about , Product, price , placement and promotion, is true but I'm not about to go all Marketeery on you. Great stories have a way of getting to their readers. It does help of course that newspapers and the media are alerted and you don't publish stories in a vaccuum. At a time of great austerity, economically, it is to such stories the public go for reassurance that there is more to life than paying back debts to usurers and their ilk.
Off to Whitby tonight to present a talk by Alistair Sutcliffe, author of The Hardest Climb. Alistair is the first man to summit the highest mountain on each of the seven continents at the first attempt but last Feb 1st 2010, he suffered a massive sub arachnoid haemorrhage. The doctors told his wife to say her last goodbyes as he would be dead in the morning. He survived. This is the stuff of legend and he'll be at Whitby library tonight from 6.30pm to talk us through those desperate times. The credit cards can wait.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Shameless meets The Famous Five

Today we publish STOP DON'T READ THIS - The Story by Leonora Rustamova 9780956687630.
Leonora was a teacher who wrote a book for and about 5 pupils. She did so to get them back into class and start reading again. They were all in danger of being excluded. It was a success. The head called it a triumph but there was a few swear words and it appeared on the internet. People panicked. The walls were closing in and the careerists needed a fall person. Leonora was sacked. It became a Kafkaesque nightmare but like Terence Blacker said in The Independent. 'WE SHOULD BE HIRING MORE PEOPLE LIKE MISS RUSTY, NOT FIRING THEM.'
Every parent and teacher should read this book, as well as young adults. It gives great insight into disaffected teenage minds and reveals how the education system in this country is failing so many pupils because they don't fall easily into the education box. Carnegie medal and multi-award winning novelist MELVIN BURGESS has heralded it as ' a model of its kind for working with disaffected male teenagers.' And more importantly all the lads stayed on at school, and have progressed either to college or gained apprenticeships. Inspirational teachers do matter.