Friday, 28 September 2012

Compass Points 16


Compass Points 16
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Who’s enjoying the latest series of Doctor Who? Exciting isn’t it – although can someone please explain to me what those people with the weird mouths had to do with the little black cubes – and oh dear, it looks as if  the thoroughly irritating River Song is back this week. However, what we Stephen Moffat fans are really salivating over is the return of Sherlock – although I think we’ll have to wait until 2013 to find out how Benedict Cumberbatch escaped from that roof. In the meantime, how about seeing things from a different point of view – from the point of view in fact, of Sherlock’s housekeeper. Mrs Hudson’s Diaries: A View From The Landing at 221b by Barry and Bob Cryer is a comic rethinking of the Holmes legend by a British comedy great and will make the perfect Christmas humour title for all of those Sherlock fans out there – and there are a heck of a lot!! The diaries reveal a portrait of life below stairs at 221b Baker Street that is by turns silly, slapstick and sentimental. What results is an affectionate and hilarious sketch of a remarkably enterprising Victorian female whose humorous musings cover everything from the Boer War and boxing, to where to buy the best accompaniment for mutton. In the Conan Doyle books, Holmes and Mrs Hudson’s relationship lasted for nearly seventeen years meaning that, for many fans, she has the greatest claim to be the woman in his life. Barry Cryer is one of Britain’s best-loved comedy writers and performers, and a great media favourite – he’ll be doing lots of publicity to promote this title in the run up to Christmas.  Mrs Hudson’s Diaries is published in October - find out more here.
However, in the ongoing debate as to whether Doctor Who or Sherlock is the better man – let’s hand the argument over to the super egotists themselves…

Three of the autumn’s biggest political books from Biteback are getting enormous amounts of press coverage this week, so make sure they are right at the front of the store as there are plenty more sales to be had, as interest in them builds!  The Edwina Currie biography was reviewed in the Mail on Sunday, the Telegraph, the Times, the Express, Private Eye, the Independent, the Guardian – everywhere basically; while the Andrew Adonis title Education, Education, Education had big pieces in The Financial Times and on Mumsnet. Stumbling Over Truth which is the inside story of the ‘sexed-up’ dossier, Hutton and the BBC; had a major piece in this Sunday’s Observer, which you can read here.  The book is by former Today editor Kevin Marsh who tells for the first time the inside story of Andrew Gilligan’s infamous 0607 broadcast on the Today programme. He explains how he was certain the story was true, but also how Gilligan’s ‘flawed reporting’ fatally damaged the BBC’s case. And he tells of his growing disillusion with the British media’s ability and appetite for holding power to account – or even telling the truth.

In 2009, sailor Steffan Meyric Hughes became the first to sail and row around London in a small boat. Along the way, he discovered both the loneliness one man in a tiny boat can feel against the vastness of the metropolis and the unexpected companionship that springs up between those who live on and around the river. Circle Line is the story of a unique journey on the forgotten waterways of one of the world’s greatest capitals, whose watery secrets and colourful past are unveiled with wry humour and wonderful detail. This engaging title is absolutely not just a “London book” – it will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about a life on the water, from Three Men in a Boat to The Lonely Sea and the Sky. Quirky adventure titles are very much in vogue at the moment, and this would make a good gift book for all the “difficult to buy for” fathers, uncles etc. It has also got a really beautiful cover illustration by Rob Smith, has had some brilliant review coverage since its publication in July, and I would urge you to put it on display! The author has a very engaging blog which you can read here.

The problems with the Euro – and with Greece in particular are much in the news at present. Greekonomics: The Euro Crisis and Why Politicians Don’t Get It by economist Vicky Pryce has just been published, and reflects on the current crisis– its causes and how Europe has responded, and what needs to happen if the Euro is to survive in its current form. Vicky is all over the media at the moment; she was on BBC World News last night, she was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Daily Politics today, is writing a piece for Saturday’s Independent and will be reviewing the papers on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC 1 on Sunday 7th October. In the book she pays particular attention to Greece, the country of her birth, the country first in the firing line in the Euro crisis and the country even now seen as Europe’s ‘problem child’. But as Pryce explains, the roots of the Euro’s crisis are much broader than a set of profligate governments in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy or Spain. The flaws in the current system were obvious to economists from the outset. Politicians ignored or downplayed these in creating the Euro and indeed made the problem worse by watering down the controls that were in place. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know how the crisis came about and how it is likely to end.

This autumn, Hesperus Press (publisher of massive bestseller The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of the Window) is very proud to be celebrating its 10th anniversary. To honour the occasion, back in June they launched a competition asking members of the public to nominate one out-of-print book they would like to see back in print. The winning title is The Great Meadow by Elizabeth Madox Roberts which will be published in October. This is a terrific read – a romantic saga of young love on the Kentucky trail in colonial America. It’s a long neglected classic, first published in 1930 which was shortlisted for The Pulitzer Prize. It has a beautiful cover, and this breathtaking story of love and death, of settlers struggling to carve a new life on the unforgiving frontier at the mercy of shortages, harsh winters and the perpetual danger of Indian attack, is sure to find many new fans.  The New York Times described it as “Lucid and arresting, rhythmical and fresh.”

Who actually finds Fred Bassett funny? Well, whether or not you’re a fan, it’s hard to believe that Britain’s best-loved canine hero will be celebrating the big 50 in July 2013. The Daily Mail’s comic strip is read every day by millions of people, and the yearbook annually sells over 10,000 copies. The Fred Bassett Yearbook 2013 comes out in October, and if you need to remind yourself of exactly what the humour consists of – then take a look at this classic episode from the TV series in 1976.

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 550 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Compass Points 15


Compass Points 15
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

The nights are drawing in, and a bookseller’s thoughts must surely be turning to thoughts of their Halloween window display. Well here’s the perfect title coming in October from Carnegie Books. The Witch and her Soul by Christine Middleton is a gritty, sensual, moving and absorbing historical novel, published on the 400th anniversary of the infamous Lancashire Witch Trials of 1612. Find out more about it here.
And talking of all things witchy and wizardy – who’s looking forward to the new adult novel from JK Rowling, A Casual Vacancy, published on 27 September? Or maybe you’re one of those immune to the charms of this particular author? Whether or not you’re a fan, you’ll probably enjoy this – if you don’t get respect, put your wands in the air!

Publicity is building for the UK publication in October of The Gingerbread House by Carin Gerhardsen (Sweden’s number one fiction author). Bestselling author Peter James said recently “Gerhardsen writes so vividly, like she is painting with words, gripping your heart and soul in an ever-tightening tourniquet.” And there will be many more glowing reviews to come you can be sure of that! We had a terrific response when we offered to send you out the first chapter – this is now available online, so click here to go to the publisher's website to read it.

A couple of weeks ago we were talking about The Good Food Guide – which has had some amazing publicity! The PR team responsible for this have worked out that there have been 57 pieces of national news coverage for it, with a combined circulation of over 51 million people; and also 219 pieces of coverage in the regional press which had a combined circulation of over 7 million people! Wow! Let’s hope all of this publicity is leading to lots and lots of sales of the book for you! Now hot on its heels in October comes The Good Hotel Guide, which is generally agreed to be Britain’s leading hotel guidebook. As The Guardian said; it is “Number one of the guides that takes no freebies.” And the Daily Telegraph called it “One of the most reliable and independent guides”. Whatever must it be like to be in these hotels when someone arrives to check them out I wonder? Let’s just have a little look to remind ourselves of exactly how not to behave when The Hotel Inspectors come to call. Manuel – you are a waste of space.

Goodness me, have exams got harder than they used to be? Or are they easier they used to be? And will the EBACC replacement for the GCSE make them easier or harder – I don’t know it’s all so confusing. And should kids be allowed to just keep retaking an exam until they pass it, or is that cheating? Look out for F in Retakes: Even More Test Paper Blunders published in October which could not be more topical. The previous title in this hilarious series from Summersdale: F in Exams has now sold over quarter of a million copies so don’t miss out on what is a bit of a sales phenomenon!  Here are some examples from the Science test papers of some of Britain’s brightest and best…
What is an artificial pesticide?
Someone who’s only pretending to be annoying really.
Earth is closer to the sun than Mars, and bigger. What are two other differences between the two planets?
1.    Colour 2. Aliens
Name four diseases related to diet.
Fatness, really fatness, when you’re so fat you can’t move, death.

And on that note… how is the post-holiday slim-down going? Not good? Well maybe you need The De-Stress Diet by Anna McGee and Charlotte Watts. This book uses the powerful and proven connection between stress and excess weight to your advantage; showing you how you can eat, relax and gently exercise your way to a better body for life. It is a unique book which can help you to lose up to 10 pounds in six weeks.  Look out this Sunday 23 September for a major three page feature in The Mail on Sunday’s You Magazine. The Mail on Sunday has a massive readership, so this feature will bring the book to the attention of millions of women – make sure it’s easy for them to find the book in your shop next week!

In 2007 Sophie Lancaster, a 20-year-old ‘Goth’, was attacked and killed in a Lancashire park by a gang of feral youths. The incident shocked the nation and was given world-wide media coverage. Poet Simon Armitage wrote the long prose-poem Black Roses about the incident specifically for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, last March. "It was immediate," he says of the reaction. "People were phoning in to the BBC switchboard on the day, writing in, emailing, getting messages to me afterwards about how much they'd been affected by the whole thing. ”If there's ever a signifier of whether something on radio has caught people's attention, it's where people get in touch and say 'I was driving the car but I had to pull over', or 'I'd got to where I was going but I had to stay in the car until the programme came to the end'. "I can't tell you how many hundreds of people got in touch with me and told me that had happened."
Now the piece has been adapted for the stage which you can read all about on a BBC news page here and is also published as a book with the profits divided equally between author, publisher and the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. There will be a lot of interest in this as we are coming up to the fifth anniversary of Sophie's murder, and Simon Armitage is well-connected in both the broadcast and print media.

And lastly well done again to The Garden of Evening Mists and Tan Twan Eng – which is showing a staggering sales growth of 512% this week according to The Bookseller; all thanks to that Booker Prize nomination! It's available in trade paperback (£12.99) here.

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 400 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Compass Points 14


Compass Points 14
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared continues to sell and sell! A contact at Waterstones Head Office this week described it as “One of those rare, magical titles which Waterstones sells by the bucketload for years.” And it’s not just selling in Waterstone’s – this heart-warming and hilarious tale is zooming up the bestseller lists everywhere!

Now – your little darlings may have gone back to school, but that doesn’t mean they’re not driving you bonkers every evening! What you need is The Manic Mum’s Guide to Calm Parenting and Co Operative Kids. If you’ve ever felt like you’re banging your head against a brick wall or wished sometimes that your children would take you more seriously and that you had the time and energy to be the mother that you want to be, then this definitely is the book for you.  It is packed full of jargon free, common sense techniques and tools and ideas that will turn you from manic to calm and in control in just seven weeks. The title is getting lots of publicity; Prima Magazine said “I’d definitely recommend this book to other stressed out mums.” and there have been lots of reviews in the parenting magazines; family pages of the national press and in the ever popular “opinionated mummies on their computers” social media!

Further events this week leave us in no doubt that we are living through a time of great revolution and change in the Middle East. Joumana Haddad is an award winning poet, publisher and journalist, and her new book Superman is an Arab: On God, Marriage, Macho Men and Other Disastrous Inventions examines the patriarchal system that continues to dominate in the Arab world and beyond. Haddad’s earlier book, I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman was critically acclaimed and translated into thirteen languages.  This book is not a manifesto against men in general. Nor is it a manifesto against Arab men in particular. It is, however, a howl in the face of a particular species of men: the macho species – Supermen, as they like to envision themselves. From monotheist religions and the concept of marriage to institutionalised machismo and widespread double standards; Haddad reflects upon the vital need for a new masculinity in these times of revolution and change in the Middle East. The Independent called her “The Germaine Greer of Lebanon” and the Guardian have just run a rave review which you can read here saying “The Lebanese writer knows her targets and tracks them with a steady glare….Haddad speaks out for those who cannot” You can watch a very interesting interview with Joanna here.  This title is going to get a lot more publicity – Joanna was on the BBC World Service week, and you can Order Superman is an Arab here.

Yet more amazing publicity this week for Education, Education, Education:  Reforming England’s Schools by Andrew Adonis. The Bookseller included it this week as one of the UK’s most reviewed books, and there was a superb piece in the Guardian yesterday which said “this is an exhilaratingly unapologetic, well-sourced, highly readable and generally persuasive account of why the late-20th century English schools system had to be reinvented, has largely been reinvented, but still needs to be reinvented further. Read it.” You can read the whole article here.

Now who can complete the following line: “My old man’s a dustman, he wears a dustman’s hat…”? If so, you’re obviously as ancient as I am – or maybe even older! If you haven’t got a clue then click here to hear the rest of the song!
Coming in October is The Lonnie Donegan Story by Patrick Humphries. This is the story of the man who arguably kick-started the British pop and rock scene and remains one of the most important and influential figures in British musical history. It is the first full-length biography of the skiffle king and godfather of British rock’n’roll and is sure to be very well reviewed.  The book contains numerous revelations about Lonnie’s extraordinary life and includes exclusive interviews with Mick Jagger, Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Brian May, Tim Rice, Bruce Welch, Richard Thompson, Bill Wyman and the late George Melly and John Peel, plus many, many others. Here's some footage of Lonnie playing live - great stuff!

But despite all of these terrific books coming out – if things carry on the way there are, will there actually be anyone interested in reading them? The latest research shows that children are reading less than ever before – the figures show a scary gradual year-on-year drop in the number of eight- to 16-year-olds choosing to pick up books outside school. Data published by the National Literacy Trust shows that just three-in-10 now read every day in their own time compared with four-in-10 seven years ago. One in six children admitted they were too embarrassed to read in front of their friends for fear of being labelled a geek.  How can this possibly be – surely we all know that bookshops are the coolest places to be in the world and booksellers are the hippest cats in town? You can read the whole article here and have a look here to see what we could maybe do with all of those unread titles.

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 400 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Compass Points Booker Special

Compass Points Special
Exciting Man Booker Prize News!

Hurrah, hooray and many many congratulations to Tan Twan Eng and Myrmidon Books. We are pleased to tell you that a book from one of the Compass publishers is on the 2012 Man Booker Prize shortlist, which was announced this morning. 

The Garden of Evening Mists has the same sumptuous style and exotic imagery which was so beloved by readers and critics alike, in the author’s first novel, The Gift of Rain. It deals with Malaysia’s turbulent road to independence: a time of insurrection and uncertainty and terror. Yun Ling Teoh, herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan.  Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice ‘until the monsoon comes.’ Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day.
But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling’s friend and host Magnus Praetorius, seems to almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of ‘Yamashita’s Gold’ and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?


The Gift of Rain is the first novel by Tan Twan Eng, which has so far sold over 60,000 copies and was longlisted for The Man Booker Prize in 2007. This is a sumptuous epic of a book, set in Malaya predominantly during the time of the Japanese invasion in 1939. Sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton is a loner. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo trains him in the art and discipline of aikido.  But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip’s family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei – to whom he owes absolute loyalty – has been harbouring a devastating secret. Philip must risk everything in an attempt to save those he has placed in mortal danger and discover who and what he really is. The themes of identity, war, cultural clashes, loyalty, loss and the nature of enduring love are all explored in this powerful first novel.

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London and later worked as lawyer in one of Kuala Lumpur’s most reputable law firms. He also has a first-dan ranking in aikido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings. Tan Twan Eng lives in Cape Town where he is working on his third novel.


The six authors on the 2012 Man Booker Shortlist are: Tan Twan Eng, The Garden of Evening Mists (Myrmidon Books); Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories); Hilary Mantel, Bring up the Bodies (Fourth Estate); Alison Moore, The Lighthouse (Salt); Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury); and Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber & Faber). The overall winner will be announced at a dinner on October 16.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Compass Points 13


Compass Points 13
Your weekly round up of publishing news, publicity information and trivia!

Love her or hate her, Edwina Currie falls comfortably into that category of celebrity you simply cannot ignore. The first volume of her diaries explosively revealed her affair with former Prime Minister John Major. This second volume, Edwina Currie Diaries: Volume II 1992–1997 which begins in 1992 with her refusal to serve in Major’s Cabinet, is no less revelatory about her colleagues, encounters with others in the public eye, and, of, course, her extraordinary career. It covers her life in Parliament up to the election of Blair’s Labour government, but more importantly sees its subject’s emergence as a mainstay in the public imagination, first as a bestselling author, then as a commentator, broadcaster, presenter and performer – most recently on the BBC’s flagship entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing perhaps you'd like to remind yourself of exactly how she looked dancing the cha cha. Ahem, not her finest hour perhaps. Anyway, this book as you would expect is getting an enormous amount of publicity. The Daily Mail will shortly be serialising it and there were interviews with her in many of this weekend’s weekend press. She has been all over the BBC national and regional radio stations , including  BBC Radio 4  and BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Show ; there’s a piece in the Guardian at the end of the month – the list goes on and on. No one but no one is a keener self publicist than Edwina Currie, (oh alright then, maybe Boris Johnson is) and as she never tires of reminding us, all of her previous books have been big bestsellers – so it’s highly likely this one will be too. As the Daily Telegraph (unsurprisingly) said “Few women can lay claim to the word “magnificent”, but Currie is now surely one of them.“

Another book getting a colossal amount of media coverage is Education, Education, Education:  Reforming England’s Schools by Andrew Adonis What children should or shouldn’t be learning in schools – and how to asses them has never been a hotter topic, and the press are queuing up to talk to Andrew about his quest to transform standards and opportunities in England’s schools, and his ambition to make English education truly world class. The Daily Mail serialisation has just run and The Sunday Times will be running a major interview with Andrew Adonis this Sunday. Then there is plenty of publicity all over the BBC including the Today Programme on Radio 4. Make sure you have plenty of copies on display – it is fast becoming one of this autumn’s most talked about titles!

Last week’s question – what’s the best loved film of all time; this week’s question – who’s the best loved comedian of all time? Well a strong contender must be “the one with the glasses.” Eric Morecambe: Lost and Found is a collection of not just the very best of this British comedy great, but also a plethora of never-before-seen material. Pulled together from a variety of dusty archives and private homes across the UK, this material includes notebooks, sketches, skits, musings, interviews and rare photographs of the comic genius. Written by Eric’s son, Gary Morecambe, and film & TV historian, Paul Burton; this book gives the British public the opportunity to view a host of these hidden interview transcriptions and photos firsthand, and is  a rare insight into the man behind the legend. From the many hilarious moments that Morecambe and Wise have given us, my own favourite must surely be the classic stripper/breakfast sketch. Books of reminiscences on comic heroes tend to sell very well – The Unpublished Spike Milligan sold over 26,000 copies – so this is definitely one to display all the way up to Christmas.

The Good Food Guide 2013 has just been published – a review of all the best restaurants, pubs and caf├ęs throughout the UK. This title is consistently the nation’s bestselling restaurant guide, containing over 1,300 authoritative reviews and recommendations, foodie features and interviews with top chefs and lots of brand new eateries alongside newly reviewed perennial favourites. It’s a great price point - £17.99 – and don’t forget to remind your customers that it contains £50 worth of money-off vouchers – which makes it a real bargain!

Now – is the extraordinary UK success of Fifty Shades of Grey due to a) the rise of the Kindle and eBooks in general; b) the fact that British women are all secretly spicy saucepots; or c) the power of word of mouth – no one wants to miss out on a trend? Well according to the author EL James – it’s none of the above – it’s because we girls just can’t resist a good old fashioned love story. James gave a rare interview this week, which you can read here.

This newsletter is sent weekly to over 400 booksellers. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website.

That’s all for now folks, more next week!