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It's 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.

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.

All Google Eyed

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 CEOs 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.

Moose on tour

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.

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. 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 listens. 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.

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