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.