Heaven forefend! KING CROW did get onto the short list for THE NOT THE BOOKER. The prize, a Guardian 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 avocado 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.