Thursday, May 28, 2009


Well, there is one, and we've done our utmost to succeed in the task of producing imaginative, different, and exciting books. Looks like up to end September 08 we succeeded.

Another profitable year, our accountant told me today. Turnover good, as high as last year (yes, you'll have to sneak a look at the records at Companies House to find out - it's a really good result for a small company but not the kind of thing that makes the front pages of the financial press). So I hope all you booksellers out there listen up and order more Marion Boyars books - front list AND back list. They are easy to sell - maybe because they are not genre books, and thus are desirable. Go booksellers - to your ordering stations!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I'll admit it, today I am absolutely floored by the value systems used by the mighty in this world. We're supposed to admire Quercus for creating some best sellers, while not being able to pay their authors, and I see mention of them going back to investors for more money while spending huge sums of Stieg Larsson marketing. And incidentally, his partner of many years is not benefitting from his fame either, as his children refuse to acknowledge her needs. And our politicians are busy claiming for duck ponds and moats, and apparently are on suicide watch as their guilt surfaces - a wee bit too late.

One of the good chains is on its knees, and Books Etc in particular has always been good at supporting titles from independent presses, and so we have one large quality chain left. There is no way that all the good books to be published can be promoted in one chain, and yet there is no other way to sell any quantity of books.

We're enjoying fabulous publicity - Daily Mail and Evening Standard books of the week, Lettice Wilkinson of Charity Shopping will be on Robert Elms next week, and yet you try getting books into shops ahead of this publicity. It's not possible to do it. No. Or rather a deafening silence from the over worked key buyers. It's a real shame, and I think my idea of getting the large presses in the UK to buy Borders is not a bad one. At least the publishers would then have an interest in bookshops, and make sure, with sound editorial values, that good books got to be seen by the public, who, luckily, still love books. As we do here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Wow - we have a HEALTH BOOK OF THE WEEK in the Daily Mail as of 12th May! The choice and review is by a doctor, no less than Dr Thomas Stuttaford, the former Conservative MP for Norwich South. Maybe he is a friend of Victoria Cator, who is one of the cooking duo Victoria & Lucinda, of Flavour of the Month, published by us last summer, and who also hails from Norwich.

Anyway, here is the glorious review by Dr Stuttaford, who is also pictured in the Mail - he looks like just the kind of chap you would want for your family GP. And no, that's not him on the blog - that's our author Rosy Barnes, who is also in the news at the moment. Although I am sure that Rosy would have made a lovely, symapthetic doctor if she had not developed an interest in experimental drama, art and literature which seems to have rather diverted her career away from medicine or anything else sensible (next thing she will decide she wants to be a publisher - the least sensible thing of all...).

I can affirm that all of us in this office followed the advice of Dr Carole Hungerford, our author of THE GOOD BODY GUIDE, while editing and after. So we snack on fruit and dates in this office, take vitamins and we're actually all pretty healthy. So it works - buy the book on amazon or via our own web site, using secure PayPal which takes all credit cards. It's a bargain of a health book, and you will not regret it.

'Orthodox doctors and their patients will have few worries about accepting her general advice on diet. Those who have fallen prey to illness may need the support of wise words of doctors from Harvard, the BMA, or the Royal Society of Medicine. If, however, the reader is keen to keep out of the doctor's surgery and hospital, they could follow this lifestyle plan.' Daily Mail Dr Thomas Stuttaford, former Conservative MP for Norwich South and doctor for over 40 years

And other news - coming up on June 20th - author of Sadomasochism for Accountants will be taking part in an event for debut authors - Borders Book Festival, Melrose, Scotland, Harmony Marquee, Saturday 20th June at 3.30pm. All you Scottish literary types - get yourselves over there and learn how to break into the book shops with your first novel. Sadomasochism for Accountants is presently on sale through WH Smith Travel and I spotted a good pile in Terminal 3, Heathrow, on my way to New York.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Massive fan gets to meet the author

I am just back from sales conference in New York, which was fun, buzzy and full of interest. After my presentation, I was walking near the village, and saw that Laila Lalami was giving a talk at Barnes and Noble on Avenue of the Americas near Washington Square. I went along, and she read from her first novel, Secret Son, and yes, I did speak to her and got a signed copy. She is Moroccan, and so is interested in reading our July novel, SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU by Luis Leante, about the Sarahawi people, who are still living in the Saraha desert, over 200,000 of them in tents. This is one of the humanitarian overlooked issues in the world, and there is a good chance that the book will bring international attention to the plight of these people, since at the moment the Sandblast charity in London are the only ones who are working on helping these people. (Go to the Sandblast web site, - even if it is just to hear the music which is wonderful.)

So, I saw someone whose work I love, got a signed edition, first of course, and also hope she will want to review Luis Leante's prize winning book in due course for its American publication in January 2010. And 2010 feels like it is quite soon now.

New York was at its best - sunny, people in restaurants on the sidewalks, lots of good humour, culture and amazing art galleries and people to talk to at the conference. What could be better - hopefully it will mean better sales for the front list also.