A blog from Tonto Books, featuring musings from the publishing world and some occasional special guest appearances.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another "Meet Pete" at Borders Gateshead

There's another chance to meet Johnny Lonely author Pete Tanton and get a signed copy of his award-winning novel (and a free badge) this Saturday 1st September at Borders, Team Valley Retail Park, Gateshead (0191 4877803). Pete will be there from 12 noon for much of the afternoon, so if you are in the area do pop along and say hello. Pete's last signing event was a great success, with Johnny Lonely outselling every other book on the day. If you can't get along, the book is also available direct from Tonto, or from Amazon and all other good bookshops.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Rocketbelt Caper in stock

The Rocketbelt Caper is officially released next week, more news to follow. The book is now in stock and can be purchased direct from Tonto or via amazon.co.uk. It will be available from all other good bookshops from Monday. If you'd like a signed copy just order via Tonto and drop us an email request.

Rocketbelt book


Friday, August 24, 2007

Rover Returns

For your chance to win an exclusive limited edition set of four Burglar's Dog badges...

Just answer the following question:

Who was Scooby Doo's annoying little sidekick who used to shout 'Puppy power!'?

a)Nappy Doo
b)Happy Doo
c)Scrappy Doo

Answers on an email to Tonto Press by 12pm today. First three randomly picked will win.
contact at tontopress dot com

Good luck!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

So, you wanna be a writer?

Yep, it's official. According to a new survey, more Britons dream about being an author than any other job.

YouGov reckon that nearly 10% of us want to be an author. The list goes on... next up is sports personality, astronaut and then event organiser. When I think of the months spent in front of my PC, sitting around in my pyjamas all day, unwashed, unshaven, with too much coffee and caffiene drinks in my system, with only the cat to talk to. Ah, those were the days. Hardly the most glamorous job in the world though, is it? The poll suggests that it is probably down to JK Rowling who seemed to bring 'sexy back' to writing. Personally, I think it may have been down to Pete Tanton with his first novel, Johnny Lonely, but it is great to see writing getting so much attention now.

There was also the suggestion that publishers and agents have had a huge increase in children's literature submissions.

Read the full article here.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

More appropriate approaches to approaching

Well, as it is still summer (just) and we've all got time on our hands, we are no doubt polishing our manuscripts down ready to send to publishers and agents. I know yesterday's post was a tad light-hearted, but I can't stress enough the importance of the correct approach.

Look at the three query letter examples in the Yearbook. I've more or less used their template in the past and I know it works. You only have a few seconds to catch a publisher's eye... don't over do your letter, don't be aggressive. Don't give them the excuse they are looking for to stop reading!

Here's an example of a recent submission:

Hi Tonto Press,

I’ve had four books published so far – (TITLES LISTED). My background is in freelance journalism particularly in lifestyle and women’s mags. For the first ten years of my career I devoted most of my time writing for football magazines like Goal, 90 Minutes, Shoot and Football Monthly.

If this book has piqued your interest I can send you a detailed proposal with chapter breakdowns, along with some sample chapters – (CHAPTER HEADINGS). The final book would be around (NUMBER) words in length.

I look forward to hearing if you want to take a look at (TITLE).



P.S. Why Tonto Press? Are you fans of the Lone Ranger by any chance, or is it you see yourselves as Lone Rangers in the publishing world?

As you can see, this writer got straight to the point, told us what the book is in a nutshell, their publication history, and that they can send samples of the book if we are interested. Nothing more required, although there is a P.S, which tells us a bit more about the writer and their humour which is used within the book. It is a friendly approach and informal because of the nature of the piece.

It worked. We asked to see more.

I'm not saying that this is a new template for you to use. You need to know who you are approaching as well as you know the target audience for your work. The next enquiry letter we received used our names. It showed they found out who they were writing to and they knew what we were looking for by checking the website.

Remember - publishers and agents receive gazillions of letters every week. Be patient. Don't contact them after 5 days and ask if they want to publish your book. If they've taken a good while, a polite nudge is acceptable. Publishers and agents are not just looking for quality/commercial work – they are looking for writers they can work with and who they see themselves working with over time.

Best of luck!


Monday, August 20, 2007

How NOT to approach a publisher

We've all read the Yearbook... so why is it that (very few) people still approach you in such poorly conceived ways?

As many of you will know, we set up Tonto Press with the primary aim of nurturing, discovering and developing new writers, as well as working with experienced writers. We made it clear we don't publish poetry and won't publish poetry - why? - Well, you can't do everything, it's not where our interest lies and there are plenty of poetry publishers in our region. Stick to what you know.

We're a friendly bunch... approachable, keen to hear good ideas and will advise if and when we can because we know what it is like to be a writer looking for contact with a publisher. We invite email submissions and we even look at work that doesn't come in via an agent!

I dare say there are publishers out there who don't like being hassled by writers. We're a bit different in this respect too because we're interested in hearing from writers. Of course, we still get our fair share of good and bad submissions. That's always going to happen. However - and no matter if the manuscript is good, bad or ugly - there are certain ways of approaching people like us and here's some tips:

1. Find out what the company publishes and is interested in before approaching. Sending poetry to a publisher who isn't interested in it is quite pointless. Even if your poetry is brilliant, they are not going to publish it.

2. Finding out their names is a good idea. It is more personal and shows initiative.

3. Ask if they are looking for fiction/non-fiction etc at present and if they'd be interested in - brief description of work. Don't just send BCC emails to all your 'publisher contacts'. Our website usually tells you what we are looking for and when. Asking is always the best way.

4. If your spelling is as bad as mine, run a spell check before sending it. It makes all the difference.

5. If they are not interested, don't just send them it anyway. They haven't got time to read it and are not interested! They weren't kidding!

6. If they offer you advice, take it. It will probably be good advice and it means they have bothered to read your submission.

7. Don't keep sending them unsolicited work 'on the off-chance'. This will just annoy them.

8. Importantly - BE POLITE. People tend to react better to polite enquiries.

The last two are specific to a recent writer:

9. No need to be abusive if your work is rejected. It just shows your lack of vocabulary and immaturity.

10. Stop sending abusive emails. It is not big or clever.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Burglar's Dog is back!

Yes, today we can officially reveal that The Burglar's Dog is back! And he's just as angry and rude as he was last time! The brand new revised and updated edition of The Burglar's Dog Alternative Guide to Drinking in Newcastle upon Tyne will be released two months from today on 15 October, but you can pre-order your copy now. The new edition of the North East publishing phenomenon of last year has been completely updated and revised, with new pubs and features, and a new cover design by Garen Ewing.

If you pre-order your copy from amazon.co.uk following the instructions here we'll send you a brand new set of FOUR exclusive Burglar's Dog pin badges, as shoddily illustrated below, absolutely free. You'll also be helping to push the Burglar's Dog towards being an amazon bestseller! (You can also save a few quid as amazon is currently selling the book for just £6.59, 34 percent off the RRP.)

The badge offer runs until 15 October or until stocks last - so don't delay. If you pre-order more than one book we'll send you more than one set of badges. You can read more about the book here, and the badge giveaway here.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rocketbelt Convention

Ahead of the September release of The Rocketbelt Caper, last weekend saw the 2007 Rocketbelt Convention at Niagara Falls, New York. It was a gathering of rocketbelt builders, pilots and enthusiasts, several of whom feature in the book. Here's a video showing clips from the 2006 event, plus a brief history of rocketbelts - yes they are real! Look out for veteran rocketbelt pilot Bill Suitor, who has flown rocketbelts for the US Army, in the James Bond movie Thunderball, and at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He also piloted the Rocketbelt 2000, the device at the centre of The Rocketbelt Caper, and is a key player and interviewee in the book.


Monday, August 13, 2007

When Harry met Johnny...

Pete Tanton's signing session at Borders Silverlink on Saturday was a great success, with Johnny Lonely outselling every other book on the day - even Harry Potter. The store sold its entire stock of Pete's novel - luckily he had brought a box of spare copies to replenish their shelves. Pete also found time to be photographed for local paper the News Guardian - North Tyneside residents should keep their eyes peeled for that being published. If you missed the signing the Silverlink store still has a handful of signed copies, or you can get a copy signed in person by going along to Borders Team Valley in Gateshead on Saturday 1st September. No doubt Johnny will give Harry another bloody nose. Bloomsbury and JK Rowling are quaking in their boots...

Pete on Google News: Teacher Pete Is New Novelist to Watch.

P.S. The Tonto office is a little emptier this week now that Marianne has finished her work placement. Both myself and Stu would like to say thanks very much to Marianne for all of her hard work, which was very much appreciated, and we wish her every success in the future. There's no doubt she'll make an excellent editor - assuming we haven't completely put her off the publishing industry!


Friday, August 10, 2007

My last day of work experience!

Hi everyone,

Well, after three very eventful and exciting weeks I've come to the end of my work experience with Tonto Press and I'd just like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to both Paul and Stu for firstly taking me on for three weeks but also for being so nice to me and very helpful, giving me lots of advice about the publishing industry. Me and Paul were talking this morning about how I have actually taken an active part in all parts of the editing process, having worked on several different manuscripts in their various stages of completion. This has provided me with excellent experience which I will never forget about. I also got the chance to go to Pete Tanton's book launch, which was a huge success and a thoroughly good night.

So most of today has been spent proof reading the Jonny Kennedy manuscript and although I obviously haven't spent any where near as much time on this as Roger, Paul and Stu I did feel a great sense of satisfaction when I finished reading it, and I can't wait to get my signed copy by Roger when it is released later next month!

Anyway it's time for me to go now, so make sure you carry on checking out all that's new with Tonto on their blog, and who knows, maybe some time in the future you might see me back on it!!!

By Marianne Lund.

PS. Don't forget Pete's Johnny Lonely signing at Borders Silverlink on Saturday from 12 noon!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Drop-in at the Tonto Office

It's a sunny Thursday and I (Pete Tanton) have just dropped into the Tonto HQ, ostensibly to pick up copies of Johnny Lonely and to pick up the nifty new JL badges for distribution at my upcoming signing at Borders bookstore at the Silverlink, and have found my exit barred until I cough up a blog which will meet with the combined approval of Marianne, Stu and Paul. It looks like I'm going to be here for a while...

So, I've just been coasting along since the launch of Johnny Lonely back on July 26th - thanks to all who came and made it a success. Thanks as well to everyone who has bought the book, making it Tonto's best seller, and thanks as well for all the excellent reviews of the book on Amazon. Johnny will be happy.

Paul and Stu have been beavering away on the final edit of Jonny Kennedy: The Story of the Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, due to the printers soon. Stu has bravely come into the office after being poorly this week. The show must go on. Marianne, meanwhile, has been an oasis of calm and good cheer. She's been reading the Stephen Miller story, and has only one day left of her placement. I know Stu and Paul will miss her when she goes.

If any of you are around on Saturday, drop into the Silverlink Borders, and say hi. You might get a cool badge!

by Pete Tanton

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Filming begins on rocketbelt caper story

We have exciting news for all you film enthusiasts out there - the film that Stu mentioned a few weeks ago based on the rocketbelt caper story began filming on the 1st of August in New Jersey, USA. The film is called Pretty Bird, which was the nickname for the Rocketbelt 2000. The movie's star and producer is Paul Giamatti, who also starred in Sideways and American Splendour.

Paul Giamatti

The film has slightly fictionalised the true story told in Tonto's forthcoming non-fiction book The Rocketbelt Caper. In the movie, three friends - Curt, Rick and Kenny - successfully build a rocketbelt, only for jealousy and distrust to turn the men against one another. The film also stars British actress Emily Mortimer, who was in Notting Hill and Number 13, Garret Dillahunt, who was in Deadwood and ER and lastly Billy Crudup who was in Almost Famous and Watchmen. You can check out audition and plot summary details by searching for "Pretty Bird" here. The Tonto book, The Rocketbelt Caper, will be released on 3rd September 2007.

By Marianne.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Introducing Jonny Kennedy

If you're not one of the millions of people who watched the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, you might not be aware of Jonny Kennedy. We're publishing Jonny Kennedy: The Story of the Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, as told to his friend Roger Stutter, on 24 September. In the meantime you can see Jonny in a trailer for the documentary here. Roger is also in the trailer.


Monday, August 06, 2007

What the hell is a rocketbelt?

The Rocketbelt Caper is being printed this week, but what the hell is a rocketbelt? This short video should explain...


Friday, August 03, 2007

Durham Literature Festival 07

This year's Durham Literature Festival is being held between the 29th of September and the 13th of October and for the first time the event will feature cutting edge fiction from four writers published by Tonto Press. The event is called Pete Tanton and Friends and is the festival's opening event on Saturday 29th at 2pm. The event will begin with forty minutes dedicated to three of the writers published in More Tonto Short Stories, Roz Wyllie, Stephen Shieber and Katie-Ellen Hazeldine. There will then be a twenty minute interval before Johnny Lonely author Pete Tanton takes to the stage for thirty minutes. There has been a set designer commissioned for the event so the lighting and general stage area is sure to look exciting.

The capacity for the Gala Studio venue is a maximum of seventy five people so make sure you get your ticket soon. You can buy tickets through The Gala Theatre's box office by calling 0191 332 4041, or online here.

You can find out more about the Durham Literature Festival here, and download a PDF of the festival programme here. We hope you all have a really good time, and look forward to seeing you there!

So, it's Marianne here again, and I've been working with Tonto Press for the last week. The last few days have been exciting and kept me busy with the proof reading of the Jonny Kennedy book and with the initial stages of reading through and editing an upcoming book Tonto Press are working on, which is an autobiography by the Paralympic champion Stephen Miller, who has already won 3 Gold Medals, and is set to get his fourth in the upcoming games next year. I'm very interested in Athletics myself so I've really enjoyed reading about his experiences and gaining an insight into his training. I'm sure this will be a successful book when it is published, so keep an eye out for it over the next year.


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Johnny Lonely book signings

If you didn't manage to get a signed copy of Johnny Lonely at last week's launch don't despair! Author Pete Tanton will be signing copies at Borders Silverlink, Newcastle on Saturday 11th August from midday AND at Borders Team Valley, Gateshead on Saturday 1st September from midday. Head along to get your signed copy, or if you've already read it why not pop along to have a chat with Pete? Tomorrow we'll be announcing another exciting date for your diary...

Pete signing stock copies at Borders


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Johnny Lonely on the radio

Johnny Lonely author Pete Tanton was interviewed on Radio Newcastle last week, and you can download the interview as an mp3 (some say podcast) here.

Pete with Carol Clewlow