Friday 28 February 2014

Compass Points 76

Well, it's awards season, and we have some very exciting news – we are super-pleased to announce that last night at the 2014 Independent Publisher AwardsCompass won the award for Services to Independent Publishers! Hurrah! Well done us! There were 13 awards in all, which were: Independent Publisher of the Year - Usborne Publishing; Trade Publisher of the Year - Summersdale; Children’s Publisher of the Year - Usborne Publishing; Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year- Edward Elgar Publishing; Education Publisher of the Year - Crown House Publishing; Worldwide Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year - Absolute Press; The Nick Robinson Newcomer Award - Critical Publishing; International Achievement Award - Nosy Crow; Digital Publishing Award - Faber & Faber; Digital Marketing Award - Nosy Crow; IPG Diversity Award - Accent Press; Young Independent Publisher of the Year - David Henderson (Top That! Publishing); Services to Independent Publishers Award - Compass Independent Publishing Services

The awards were announced at a gala diner during the IPG conference, and the IPG Chief Executive Bridget Shine said:

“Huge congratulations all the winners of the 2014 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. The standard of entries was incredibly high this year, and our judges had to deliberate long and hard to allocate the Awards … they are wonderful celebration of the fantastic success and inspiring diversity of independent publishing in the UK”. The judges said that Compass “wins this Award on the back of a host of glowing endorsements from client publishers, many of whom have been grateful for its help in building sales through bookshops for a long time. “The Compass team are first rate. They are professional, experienced and effective… and we recommend them wholeheartedly,” read one citation from an IPG member. Another added: “Their professional and broad knowledge of the UK market is second to none.”

The awards are presented in conjunction with the Bookseller, and the London Book Fair, and you can find out more on the Independent Publishers Guild Website here.

There has been some brilliant publicity for I Know Nothing by Andrew Sachs. Have a look at the following clips and reviews: he made guest appearances on ITV’s This Morning and on BBC Breakfast . There has also been a feature in The Timesthere is, however, a lot more to the memoir than Manuel…as well as telling a jolly showbiz tale, he can also strike a more serious and insightful tone when the subject matter requires it”; and articles in the Mail on Sunday and The Guardian. As a result no doubt, the book has gone surging up the Amazon bestseller lists rising from number 27,308 to 189 in All Books; and going up to Number 3 in Television Titles! Do not let this online retailer get all the sales – put it on display and it will sell – Andrew Sachs has a very loyal fan base! I Know Nothing has just been published by Robson Press (hb, £18.99, 978 1849546362) and you can find out more and order it here.

Who fancies reading an incredible First World War escape story unlike any other with a film adaptation in discussion – produced with help from Neil Gaiman? Well I certainly do, and anyone else that would like a reading copy can email The Road to En-Dor by E.H. Jones is published by Hesperus today, and is a rather special book which first came out in 1919. This brand new edition features exclusive historical content including never-before-seen letters, postcards with coded messages, photographs and maps. This autobiography reads like a novel, and begins with Lieutenant E.H. Jones and Lieutenant C.W. Hill, who have been captured during the First World War and are prisoners of war at the Yozgad prison camp in Turkey. With no end to the war in sight and to save themselves from boredom, the prisoners hit upon the idea of making use of a makeshift Ouija board to keep themselves entertained. But Jones, it turns out, has a natural skill for manipulating his fellow inmates, and Hill ably fulfils the role of magician’s assistant and partner in crime. As their deception succeeds beyond their wildest imagination, other possibilities begin to emerge. What if this new-found hobby could be put to better use? Together Jones and Hill conjure up an almost unbelievable plot to dupe their captors into setting them free, featuring séances, ghost-guided treasure hunts and faked suicides. A runaway success when first published; this true life-story is a remarkable tale of courage, ingenuity and resilience in the face of adversity. Neil Gaiman is a huge fan of the book and has written a foreword. He is also working with Hilary Bevan Jones (E.H. Jones’ granddaughter) on a film based on the book; it’s still in the planning stages with a release date several years away, but it’s a very exciting project! The Road to En-Dor combines war-time drama with intrigue and illusion and alongside the paperback Hesperus are producing a free, exclusive eBook entitled En-dor Unveiled: The Story Behind The Road to En-Dor, which is available to download from the flashy new Hesperus website which you can go to here. This gives lots of history and back story to how E.H. Jones ended up in the prison camp and includes info on how he sent messages back in code to his family, exclusive photos which the prisoners took with hidden cameras … along with much more. The special website is:  and you can order The Road to En-Dor (978 1843914631, pb, £8.99) from Compass now!

Talking of the First World War; when British forces withdraw from Afghanistan at the end of 2014; (assuming we don’t enter into any new skirmishes) 2015 will be the first year of peace for the UK for at least 100 years. An interesting piece in the Guardian entitled 100 years of conflict charts every war Britain has been involved with since 1914.

Now, not the jolliest subject for a grey February afternoon perhaps, but an important one nonetheless. Assisted Dying: Who Makes The Final Choice?  is a new work highlighting one of the most controversial debates of modern times. This hardback is published in conjunction with the charity, Dignity In Dying; is edited by Lesley Close and Jo Cartwright and has a foreword by Sir Terry Pratchett.  It contains a series of thought-provoking and heart-rending case studies and has just been published by Peter Owen Publishers (hb, £14.99, 9780720610147). Assisted dying is perhaps one of the most divisive issues of the modern age, generating endless headlines and moral debates so there will be plenty of publicity for this book – one of its contributors was on BBC This Morning on Wednesday to discuss it – and there will be more to come. There is going to be a panel discussion at the Hay-On-Wye Festival which will be heavily promoted, and no doubt will attract media attention; and Terry Pratchett; Jo Brand, Patrick Stewart and other well known names will be involved in the promotion of this title. This important new book provides a forum for expert commentators in a variety of fields, including religion and medicine, to explore whether the most humane response to the torment and helplessness of certain severely incapacitated individuals is to assist them in their wish to die. Assisted Dying; Who Makes the Final Choice? is edited by two proponents of greater choice at the end of life, and all the contributors support the need to change the law.

No doubt all of you Twitter users were entertained by that pic of David Cameron and Angela Merkel having a chat on the sofa in the kitchen at 10 Downing Street this week. Have look at it here if you didn’t see it – complete with various additional jokey tweets! However, what I’m interested in is what’s on Dave’s bookshelves – I think we can spy The Ginger Pig Meat Book, The Flavour ThesaurusThe River Cottage Every Day (by fellow Old Etonian Hugh Fearnley-Whitingstall), The Abs Diet (!), Art And Artists, Provence Interiors, Jeremy Paxman: On Royalty, Paris Interiors, The Family Cookbook, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a large selection of children's books, and Mrs Beeton's Household Management. Come on Dave – that looks like a pretty dreary and outdated selection to me – why not get yourself down to your local bookshop and stock up on something a bit more interesting – like the book below for example!

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall was banned on its publication in 1928, but has just been published by a new B format paperback edition by Hesperus Press (£9.99 978 1843914891) This story of social isolation, rejection and contradiction is a classic of lesbian literature and a powerful novel of love between women. The TLS called it “the archetypal lesbian novel”; while the Times said it was “the bible of lesbianism”. Meanwhile, the Daily Express somewhat less appreciatively thundered “I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel”.  With all of the recent publicity surrounding the issues of gay rights in Russia – and other countries – this is the perfect time to bring out a new edition of this book. The Well of Loneliness is a semi- autobiographical treatment of the personal and familial struggles of the author, set against the epoch-defining events of the Edwardian era and the First World War. Born into an aristocratic family at the end of the Victorian age, Stephen Gordon is so named by parents who had longed for a boy. So begins a life of contradiction and isolation. Attracted to girls and women from an early age, Stephen’s masculine appearance is accentuated by her preference for men’s clothing and unfeminine mannerisms. When her first, burgeoning affair is cut short by social scandal, she moves to London and becomes a writer. War soon breaks out, and she volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western Front. It is here that she is to fall hopelessly in love. Radclyffe Hall (1880–1943) was an English poet and author who is best remembered for this title, but she also wrote eight novels and seven poetry collections. The Well of Loneliness is going to be reviewed in the Daily Mail today – let’s hope they are a little more appreciative than the Express were back in 1928!

Alec Le Sueur, author of Bottoms Up in Belgium: Seeking the High Points of the Lowlands (pb, £8.99 978 1849532471) has been interviewed on Up All Night on BBC Radio 5 Live this week. Alec Le Sueur has had a long relationship with this unassuming and much maligned little country, and in this book decided to put worldwide opinion to the test: is Belgium really as boring as people say it is? Immersing himself in Belgian culture – and sampling the local beer and ‘cat poo’ coffee along the way – he discovers a country of contradictions; of Michelin stars and processed food, where Trappist monks make the best beer in the world and grown men partake in vertical archery and watch roosters sing (not necessarily at the same time). This colourful and eccentric jaunt (just published by Summersdale) is proof that Belgium isn’t just a load of waffle. Alec Le Sueur’s writing is very popular – his previous title, The Hotel on the Roof of the World: Five Years in Tibet (978 1 84024 199 3) has sold over 20,000 copies to date.

There has been some great publicity for England's Motoring Heritage from the Air, published by English Heritage (hb, £35, 978 1848020870) by John Minnis which we mentioned a cou0ple of weeks ago. The Express is going to run a piece this weekend and the specialist car mags and nostalgia mags like Best of British absolutely love it! There has been lots of coverage in the Midlands regional papers (presumably because of the historic links with motor industry). The coverage so far includes a big spread in the Telegraph; a 4 page feature in Best of British magazine; and reviews in Metro, Classic Motoring Classic Cars ; Classic Car Weekly; Classic and Sports Car; Country Life; Discover Britain; Digital Photographer; the Birmingham Mail, the Coventry Observer and more!  You can see the spread in the Telegraph here – with some of the great photos included.

OK – but rather than seeing footage taken by a camera in an aeroplane – what about if we were to look at a film taken by a camera falling out of an aeroplane?!? Have a look here at this fun footage from a camera that does exactly that – and ends up somewhere rather surprising!

And while we’re on the subject of the skies, who saw the Northern lights last night? Not me sadly – we’re a bit too far South here in London unfortunately – but it looks as if plenty of people around the UK got a good look at this stunning display of the Aurora Borealis. Have a look at some brilliant photos here - amazing!

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

This blog is read weekly by over 700 booksellers as well as publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.