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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bookseller Sin Cities article

This week's Bookseller has a small piece on Ashley Hames's forthcoming Sin Cities, complete with LBF photo, and reports 'Tonto Books gets sinful with first tie-in title'. Click on the image below to see a bigger version.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Farewell Richard and Judy, I hardly knew thee

The news that Richard and Judy are moving to tinpot digital satellite channel UKTV has sent shockwaves through the publishing world. R&J - and their producer Amanda Ross - are among the most influential people in publishing due to the phenomenally successful Richard & Judy Book Club. The Book Club initiative, I'm saying, has been a very good thing. Persuading thousands of Tesco shoppers to buy David Mitchell's fantastic Cloud Atlas is reason enough for it to exist. But, with R&J's show set to lose a predicted 1.5 million viewers following the switch, will their influence remain? I think it will. The Book Club will no doubt continue, as will the practice of stickering their picks. Stickered titles will continue to be favoured by buyers, enjoy prime instore placement, and be pushed by supermarkets. Punters will see the stickers and buy the books, whether or not they've seen the show.

Thinking on, I'm pretty sure I've never seen a full episode of Richard and Judy, but I'm aware of the books that have been selected for the Book Club. Like a TV equivalent of David Beckham moving to LA Galaxy, R&J's transfer to the very fringes of tellyland can at least partly be explained by the fact that they will pocket a hefty retirement package (£1 million each). The TV show might well become an irrelevance, but the Book Club will continue to influence the publishing industry, for better or for worse, for a time to come.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Novelists update

The judging process for our North East New Novelist is underway - and what a task it is! There were 121 eligible entries, which is remarkable considering entry was restricted to writers in the North East of England with completed manuscripts. We knew there were lots of writers out there with first chapters and unfinished drafts stuffed away in drawers, but who knew so many had managed to finish their potential masterpieces? At first glance, I've spotted several that look very publishable, but thankfully I don't have to choose the winners. That task will be performed by Kitty Fitzgerald and Wendy Robertson, who will then work with the winning writers to develop their manuscripts. The winners will be announced in June, and the two selected novels will be published in January 2009.


Monday, April 21, 2008

London Book Fair: the aftermath...

Playing catch-up after the London Book Fair today, sending proofs of our 'buzz' titles off to all the interested parties and emailing general follow-ups all over the world. Personally, due to illness and a Tyne-Wear derby, I've still not really had time to process our first LBF. Our tiny stand only took half an hour to set up on the Sunday, so we were able to get out of the mayhem of carpeting and lighting and have a couple of afternoon pints with Martin from Zymurgy. We were located right at the very back of Earls Court 2, which actually had some advantages as we were in quite an airy and open position opposite the Arabic Deli and next to the bar. This meant queues of punters surveying our wares every lunchtime, although I'd guess that a lot of LBF visitors never made it back as far as our row Y.

On Monday morning we were at the stand bright and early for the 9am kick-off. We quickly realised that it would take even the most fleet-footed visitors a good 45 minutes to reach the back of EC2. A quick wander revealed an amazing array of books from all around the world. How on Earth could our little books have any chance against such massive competition? Gulp. A couple of positive meetings boosted the confidence, and at lunchtime I popped outside and found a cafe selling wonderful sausage baguettes for a quid. These one pound baguettes became somewhat legendary, as Martin began a one-man marketing campaign to inform everyone at the LBF of their amazing bargainous properties. Gordon Brown turned up at the cafe across the aisle (presumably not for a one pound baguette) but somehow none of us spotted him. Too busy, I'm saying. Jill arrived in the afternoon and, beginning to be feel the grip of the dreaded lurgy, I made an early exit to hunt for a pharmacist. I did managed to rally to meet Stu, Jill and Martin, and Andy and Emma from Northumbria Uni Press, for a quick pint, but I was severely flagging, and a quick pint was all I had. I retired to the hotel and resorted to gargling asprin. Meanwhile, I'm told, a good night was had by all.

Tuesday saw Stu hit the casualty list, with sore feet sending him off shopping for comfortable shoes. I was pepped up on paracetamol plus, but luckily, Ashley Hames had flown in for LA to act as wing man in a couple of great meetings. It was nice to see how many people from different countries recognised Ashley - his Sin Cities book really does have international appeal. Other titles also attracted international interest, but of course we'll not discuss that until the deals are signed! The day ended in near disaster when Martin realised that a very naughty passer-by had dumped two half-full coffee cups in the box containing our promotional stuff. After the stress and rush to get our catalogues printed in time for the fair, the last thing I wanted to see was a soggy load of them getting chucked out... I went back to my sick bed!

Wednesday was a blur of last-minute meetings and hand-shakings, then a quick pack up, a rush back to the hotel, and then negotiating the Tube back to King's Cross. Any chance of three hours of precious shut-eye on the way back to Newcastle? Not if the woman who was sitting next to me with her mobile on speakerphone had anything to do with it.

Odd but interesting introduction to the LBF from http://www.herecomestheboss.com

So that was the London Book Fair. Good stuff, bad stuff, ill stuff, funny stuff. Was it worthwhile? I suppose we won't know for sure until a few months down the line. Certainly it gave a very useful overview of the strange industry in which we operate. And, thankfully, I am now very much on the mend. God bless antibiotics and all who sail in them.


Friday, April 18, 2008

London Book Fair photos

Team Tonto: Stu, Ashley, Jill and Paul

Open for business: Stu Tonto and Martin Zymurgy await their first punters

Behind the scenes: Jill finds a "wi-fi hotspot"

Essential items: Spot the antibiotics (and some of our lovely catalogues before a naughty passerby tipped two cups of coffee over them all...)

Not pictured: Gordon Brown, the male stripper, Doctor Who, the one pound sausage baguette, the ginger beer, and the King's Head and Blackbird pubs. Thanks to everyone who took the time to come and say hello or meet with us. Thanks also to Stu, Martin and Jill for covering for me as I took medicinal breaks (Manflu? I wish!). Same time next year?


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Boys are back in Town

Terrible blog title, I know.
So, we got back to Newcastle last night and are now taking in the last few days properly. London Book Fair? It was definitely worth going to and hopefully the contacts and meetings will mean that there will be a lot more to show for it in time. The main reasons for going for us were to strengthen our presence, discuss rights opportunities with overseas publishers and meet up with already-established contacts.
There's always the bizarre meetings... authors and agents touting their wares, printers looking for business, other publishers not wanting to talk to you without an appointment as they are 'too busy' and probably think you are one of those in my list, and of course, the socialising.
We met a few people from the North East who were passing and dropped in to say hello, met up with NEPub members and I even dropped in on John Blake Publishing to be an 'annoying' author myself (Blake is publishing my next book in August).
Roll on next year...

Team Tonto: Tonto Stu, Ashley Hames, Editor Jill, Tonto Paul


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day Three at LBF

More contacts made last night at the Bookseller party, and today has been another interesting one.
A quick health update: Another relatively tame and early night later Paul is still suffering from man flu and I am still in need of new feet. However, there have been some good meetings over the past few days and we have some great leads to follow up, once back at Tonto Towers. Ashley HHames dropped in again today and helped with some further Sin Cities promo (more on that if and when and photos to follow).
Cherie Blair is apparently here today, so maybe she will drop in on Y820 to discuss her sequel.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blogging the book fair

The last time I was in London I was scowled at by Nicholas Witchell. No BBC royal correspondent shenanigans so far this year (although still time to be sworn at by Jenny Bond) but with me struggling with man flu and Stu with sore feet it has been a tough introduction to the London Book Fair. We had a couple of good meetings on day one and everyone else apparently had a good night out afterwards while I went back to my sick bed. Gordon Brown was here yesterday, although he didnt make it as far as stand Y820. Ashley Hames is coming along today to help with efforts to sell rights to Sin Cities. If you are going to be here to feel free to stop by for a Lemsip.


Friday, April 11, 2008

London Book Fair preparations

We're currently loading up the horse and cart ready to set off for the London Book Fair, which runs from this Monday 14 to Wednesday 16 April. We'll be at stand Y820 if you're going to be visiting. If everything goes to plan, we'll be blogging daily from the fair with photos, so watch this space.


Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Free book winners

A week or so ago we gave away 50 free copies of Jonny Kennedy and The Rocketbelt Caper. The lucky winners are listed below, if you're one of them your free book is on its way:

Paul Gandy, Catherine Yuill, Joanne Maggs, Katie David, Stacey Williams, Emma Tallett, Lynda Shrubb, Derek Lavery, Vikki George, Mary Cronin, Carrie Ford, Vikki Colman, Vickie Kenyon, Marina Kinsman, Ali Bonham, Miss C Gregory, Amanda Stephen, Paula Wheeler, Suzie Mosson, Dave Rossiter, Sabrina Fancy, Ross Coyle, Deborah Fisher, Lloyd Sequeira, Emma Mannion, A Bowers, Victoria Mann, Samantha Nemeth, H Dudhwala, Audrey Kane, Emma Louise Felkin, N Daley, MJ Thompson, Chris Reed, Denise Soos, Jackie Cassidy, Sue Danim, Lesley Gregory, Shirley Hopkinson, Anne Murray, Shirley Donovan, Lisa Stout, Kevyn Whitelaw, Nina Timmis, Natasha Gandy, Michelle Davies.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

London Book Fair preparations

We're busy getting ready for the London Book Fair, which runs next week from 14 to 16 April. This means running around trying to get hold of our (worryingly delayed) catalogues, posters and other promo stuff before we set off to the big smoke. If you are going to be down there we'd love to meet you at our stand, Y820. We might even buy you a drink. Why not take a look at our 2008 catalogue and rights guide.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Roz reading reminder

A quick reminder that Rosalind Wyllie will be reading from her forthcoming novel, Everything You Ever Wanted, at the Jesmond Festival at lunchtime today. The event takes place at the Jesmond Methodist Church between 12 and 1 and is absolutely free. If you can't get along you can preorder the book here.


Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Tonto Swearbox

T*gb**t. M*dfl*ps. H*tst*nd. Clearly publishing is the hardest game in the world, and for that reason the air here at Tonto Towers does occasionally turn very slightly blue. So today's big news is that we have implemented a swear box, with all proceeds going to our pub lunch fund. What a chuffing brilliant idea.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Jesmond Community Festival

Jesmond is a residential suburb of Newcastle trying to regain its community spirit after several years of being completely overrun by a transient student population. To that end, some of the the residents have organised a community festival, and two Tonto writers are involved.

TODAY (Tuesday) between 12 and 1, Stephen Shieber will be reading from his forthcoming collection, Being Normal.

Later, from 7.30, Rosalind Wyllie, author of the forthcoming novel Everything You Ever Wanted, will be taking part in a discussion about new writing.

Then, on Friday 4 April between 12 and 1, Rosalind will be reading from Everything You Ever Wanted.

All of the events take place at the Jesmond Methodist Church, and are free.