Friday 23 November 2012

Compass Points 24

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

OK, we’re all now into the full blown run up to Christmas – and hoping that it’s a bumper one for the retail trade. What could be more tempting for your customers to feast their eyes on in your seasonal window display; than a good old fashioned Christmas ghost story? The Beautiful Child is based on an unfinished novel by Henry James – the enormously popular American writer, who has many many fans. The story has now been rewritten and completed by Emma Tennant - one of the U.K.’s best-selling female writers and an expert at revisionist versions of works of classic authors, the most well known of which is Pemberley - a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. The Beautiful Child is an unforgettable tale, which ends on a very Jamesian note of terror in a Christmas idyll, amplified throughout by Tennant’s trademark feminist-dreamlike style. A chilling account of cruelty and neglect, it suggests a terrifying real scandal behind James’s inability to complete his story of a couple who beseech a fashionable artist to paint the child they never had – none other than the dipsomaniac Mr and Mrs Smith, longstanding servants of James . . .
This title will be of enormous appeal to Henry James fans as this is a little-known tale by the author and its Christmas theme ensures mega publicity. This is kicking off with Radio 4’s Saturday Review, which will be talking about the book on Sat 1 December. And the Saturday Telegraph will be making it their lead review in the Books section on the same day. The combined figures for readers of the Telegraph plus listeners to Radio 4 are huge! And a very high proportion of them are keen book buyers who all will be looking to buy The Beautiful Child following the reviews – make sure they can easily find it in your shop!!

And if you want to remind yourself of the scary power of Henry James, watch this clip from The Others – based on one of James’ most terrifying and popular ghost stories – The Turn of the Screw.

Who remembers the news story about the little girl who blogged about her school dinners – and then got into trouble with the council? The publicity that the incident drummed up led to 10- year old Martha Payne being able to raise £120,000 for the charity Mary's Meals, which helps to feed children in Malawi. Her story is detailed in the new book Never Seconds: The Incredible Story of Martha Payne and every copy sold will result in a donation being made to the charity. Publishers Cargo have described the book as 'the story of the year' – and they may well be right; it’s certainly getting an astonishing amount of media attention!  In the last fortnight Martha has been on BBC Breakfast News, Newsround, Scotland Tonight, ITV Daybreak and The One Show. There has been an enormous amount of coverage in the newspapers too – you can see a round up of all of it here. All of this is leading to mega sales – the books is rising daily in the Amazon sales charts – don’t let them get all the action, order it here and get it on display!

Are you watching all those copies of Fifty Shades etc. whizzing through your tills and thinking “I’d like a bit of that?” If it’s the mega amounts of money that EL James is making rather than the S&M that appeals to you – then maybe you should give up the bookselling game and try your hand at writing erotic fiction instead? Mills and Boon are running a series of free workshops on writing erotica, which you can find out about here. You get free champagne and cupcakes too – now that’s more like it as far as I’m concerned. But of course they aren’t just running the workshops to give frustrated saucepots something to do in the evenings – it’s all part of a clever marketing ploy to promote a series of sexy books by Tiffany Reisz from her Original Sinners series. As an unknown debut author with monumental sales, Tiffany Reisz’s success not only mirrors that of Fifty Shades of Grey, but also demonstrates the reading public’s hunger for a new trend in erotic fiction: explicit yet well written novels, with sex and storyline in equal measure. An erotic novel within an erotic novel, in the Original Sinners series Tiffany Reisz examines dark compulsions and carnal hungers. Oooh er. The third book in this series is The Prince, and it’s published in December. Reviewers have described Reisz’s writing as “intense, heart-wrenching, sweet, and above all...beautiful” and she is gaining new fans fast. Don’t miss out – order The Prince and find out more here.

Yet again, finding enough affordable energy for the UK is in the news again today, and there's no doubt that the energy crisis is one of the most pressing and significant problems the world has to face. With limited resources of fossil fuels left, and the additional political and environmental issues that surround their use, it is clear that life on earth cannot continue as it is without the development of alternative sources of power. Wind power has been one of the most popular alternative forms of energy suggested – but increasingly, many are starting to question its effectiveness. The UK government’s policy of support for wind energy and its attempts to achieve 20% electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020 has been lauded by many, yet described as “a fatuous obsession” by others. So Much Wind by Struan Stevenson is just published. He has served as a Conservative Euro MEP for Scotland since 1999 and is President of the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Intergroup. He believes that the truth is that wind turbines violate the principle of fairness by transferring vast amounts of money from the poor to the rich. They despoil our unique landscape and environment; they risk plunging the nation into a devastating energy crisis and through noise, the flicker-effect and vibration, they abuse the health and welfare of people and animals which have to live near them. They are visual monstrosities that produce a trickle of electricity at vast cost to the consumer and they do not significantly reduce CO2 emissions.  Struan Stevenson believes that the time has come to expose Scotland’s green energy myth and that he’s the man to do it. This book is sure to ruffle plenty of feathers and you can find out more here.

And finally - The Hundred Year Old Man who Jumped Out of the Window continues to storm the bestseller charts - it was the number one in the Picks of the Year from Amazon.  The Odd Couple – which details the curious friendship between Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis, was highlighted in The Bookseller this week as being one of the week’s most reviewed titles in the national press.

And if you want to seem super up to date and trendy (what do you mean, no one uses that word any more), then why not waste a few moments watching this:  Pop Love 2012;  a great mashup of 24 of this year’s biggest pop songs!

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.

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


  1. I love Henry James - and Emma Tennant, so can't wait to read this one!