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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Oh, what's occuring?

What a week for Tonto Books!
With one of Tonto's best weeks for media attention to date, here's a round-up of what's been going on:

Sunday/Monday/Tuesday: Raymond Scott featured on Look North and in local and national press the following day.

The Telegraph feature.

Sunday Sun feature.

(also hoping for s Sunday Sun feature on Raymond tomorrow)

Thursday was launch night for Nik and Sarah's novels. We enjoyed a brilliant night of readings and prize giveaways.

Friday: The Crack magazine name 9987 as book for the month.

Friday: Tonto's latest signing, Charlie Walduck, is featured in the current edition of industry mag, The Bookseller.

Not bad at all.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Last night was the launch of 9987 and Make It Back at the Opera Bar, Newcastle.
The turnout was fantastic, the atmosphere was amazing. Of course, my photos from the night are so dark and don't do the event justice, so if anyone has any to pass on, please do so.
Caroline Smailes passed on a message to be read out for Nik on the night as she was unable to attend, the readings went down a storm and another point from the night to bring up... 9987 is not based on Nik's life whatsoever. I'm sure that will soon become his catchphrase - and one he can put into practise this Sunday at Borders Silverlink when he will hold his debut signing session! Nik will be there from 12-4pm to sign books and answer any questions about the book (and DVD rentals?).

9987 is also BOOK OF THE MONTH in The Crack magazine this month. No money was needed to get such a review - all that was needed was a brilliant debut novel, and luckily it is.

Remember you can vote in Tonto's March giveaway:
To celebrate the end of Tonto’s 'New Discoveries in Fiction' initiative, readers are able to vote for the title they'd like to see given away for free on 2 March - just in time to arrive in your inbox for World Book Day. PDF excerpts of each book can be obtained by emailing contact@tontobooks.com with the title of the book in the subject line. Voting is via the blog over there on the right...
Whichever title receives the most votes will be made free throughout March 2008 in PDF format and the paperback version of the winning title will also be half-price throughout March.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More Media

More material on the Raymond Scott case. This was on Look North tonight. Not sure how to edit down, but the news item is just under 12 mins into the programme.

More updates as they come in...


Raymond Scott made an appearance at Durham police station today with regards to the on-going saga of the Shakespeare Folio. Armed with a vintage bottle of Champers, Cuban cigar, trademark Tiffany sunglasses and erm... a Pot Noodle, Raymond was mobbed by press, photographers and TV crews as he stepped out of his low-key 16-seater Hummer.

Media interest in Raymond has been worldwide. He signed recently to Tonto Books and is in the process of writing a book about the his mysterious life and the curious case of the 'missing' folio. Look out for Raymond (and his publisher) on the news over the next few days.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some interesting links

After yesterday's long posting, I thought I'd send some links while I catch up on work.

Being Normal: The Movie

Facebook, eh? That'll never catch on. As you may know, I'm a Paul Weller fan. And for all Weller fans in Newcastle, part of his group will be playing at The End Bar on Wed 18 March. Trio Valore are Whitey, Damon and Seamus. Small venue, brilliant band.

Keep up to date with what's going on in publishing at The Bookseller website.

Bubble Cow - helping writers to write is a blog well worth following.

Always one to give a mate a mention - check out the Lego Trailer for Doomsday. Amazing attention to detail. And watch it in comparison the the real time trailer.

And if I carry on with this post, I really won't get any work done today. As if you need reminding, get along to the 9987 / Make It Back launch on Thursday 29 Jan. Opera Bar in the Gate, Newcastle, 7pm.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tonto Facts and Fiction

As you know from Newsletters and updates, Tonto Books initiated new fiction err... initiative in 2008 which will culminate more or less on Thursday this week when the two New Novelists competition winners are launched.

It doesn't just stop there. Tonto was supported by Arts Council England through Lottery Funding, and love or hate ACE, their support enabled us to do a lot for writing in the north east. Not only have those writers been published, but they were mentored through to publication, have been promoted and will always be promoted as long as their books are in print. Rosalind Wyllie and Stephen Shieber have had almost as much press as Victoria Beckham would if she ever entered a pie-eating competition (OK, slight exaggeration) and now Nik Jones and Sarah Shaw are about to launch their books with signing sessions being pencilled in by the day.

This isn't an own trumpet-blowing rant by any stretch. From my point of view, it is important for publishers to support and nurture their writers and offer them the best deal possible. Of course it doesn't always happen like that. Tonto can offer that because it is an independent and often needs to diversify and rethink strategies in order to survive.

Tonto Books is keen to keep running such projects for writers, but it is not always possible. The company is not regularly funded - it is a business that seeks commercial titles, just like any other publisher, to generate an income. In that respect, any titles commissioned are very select. Budgets are limited, credit is crunched and so on. We've always been sent unsolicited manuscripts - that's the nature of publishing. Even when we said our submission window is closed, the same day we'd get emails saying 'I know your window is closed, but I thought I'd send you my manuscript'.

So... the plans are to still support fiction. As the website goes into redesign, details will emerge as to the direction of this. It may be new anthologies, it may be a new novelist comp, it may just be a window for novels. To keep up to date with Tonto News - please sign up to the newsletter on the website, visit the Facebook page and keep reading the blog. To find out what Tonto publishes, come along to the launch on Thursday 29 January and meet some of the authors (before they get too drunk) or even purchase from the website. The sale is still on! It's Open Season! Take advantage of it before the new web wizard gets his hands on it.

Submission Windows: For the sake of giving me more material for a 'how not to approach publishers' rant, I'll leave it up to you to call it. At the moment, three new authors have been signed to Tonto and all are non-fiction. The window will open officially at some point this year. Please be patient.

*Next Tonto Signing Sessions*

Nik Jones: Borders Silverlink - Sun 1 Feb
Sarah Shaw: Borders Silverlink - Sat 14 Feb

Sarah Shaw: Borders Team Valley - Sat 7 Feb
Nik Jones: Borders Team Valley - Sun 8 Feb

All signings from 12-4pm

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where for art thou, Folio?

News in today's Sunday Sun newspaper of Tonto's latest signing, Raymond Scott. Raymond's story is a fascinating one and one that has had so much media attention in recent months. 'Shakespeare And Love' has just been signed and full details will be posted up very soon.

Also in the news is/or may be Stephen Shieber. A local newspaper photographer was at Stephen's Gosforth library event yesterday, so if any eagle-eyed readers spot Stephen in the news this week, please drop me a line. The library gig went down a storm and was a great success. I've now got some great new 'expert testimonials' to go on the cover of the reprint too!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stephen Shieber Author Event

Stephen will be reading from Being Normal today at Gosforth Library, Newcastle. The event will run for around two hours and there will be an opportunity to ask questions and to listen to Stephen talking about the process of putting his first collection together for publication.

And of course you can buy a copy of the book and have it signed by Stephen. It's worth a trip to Gosforth just for that!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I want THAT one!

To celebrate the end of Tonto's 'New Discoveries in Fiction' initiative, readers are able to vote which title they'd like to see given away for free on 2 March 2009. PDF excerpts of each book can be obtained by emailing contact@tontobooks.com with the title of the book in the subject line.

Voting is via the blog... just over there on your right. No, right a bit more... there!
Whichever title receives the most votes will be made free throughout March 2008 in PDF format. The paperback version of the winning title will also be half price during March... your vote counts... get voting!

New Tonto Signing

New Year, new signings...
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Charlie Walduck has signed up with Tonto to release his biography later in the year. Charlie's story has been an inspiration to the millions of viewers who have followed his journey on ITV1's 'This Morning' show. Charlie weighed close over 44 stones when he first appeared on the show and with the help from Dr Chris Steele, the record-breaking slimmer got that weight down to 14 stones in two years.

Charlie recently featured on Extreme Slimmers on ITV1.

Publication date is to be confirmed.

There's another Tonto Author event happening this weekend. Stephen Shieber, of Being Normal fame, will be at Gosforth Library in Newcastle on Saturday 24 January from 2pm. Stephen will be reading from his debut collection and talking about his work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tonto Author in Cambridge Union Society Debate

So, although Ashley Hames and I visited Cambridge at the end of last year and had a monumental night out that lasted until 5am and woke up with total 'beer guilt', it seems we didn't upset as many people as we imagined.

Ashley will return to Cambridge Union Society next month to take part in a Sex Debate titled 'THIS HOUSE IS OVERWORKED AND UNDERSEXED' (yes, really)

Joining Ashley in the line up will be tabloid sensation Jodie Marsh and north east agony aunt, Denise Robertson (Tonto Link Trivia: Denise provided a testimonial for Pete Tanton's novel, Johnny Lonely)

The event:
JODIE MARSH, first evictee from the 2006 edition of "Celebrity Big Brother"
ASHLEY HAMES, author of "Adventures of a Sex Reporter"
DENISE ROBERTSON M.B.E., agony aunt for "This Morning"

Venue: Chamber

Date: Thu 12th February, 2009 at 7:30pm.

I had a sneak preview of Ashley's script yesterday and I think Cambridge is in for a treat. My main concern is the night out after the debate as I'm not so sure Hames and Marsh will be able to keep up with a Sunderland lass. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Two New Tonto Titles

9987 by Nik Jones and Make It Back by Sarah Shaw are officially released today.

For those that have been following these titles throughout their journey to publication, it now means that you can come along to the launch party on Thursday 29 January, Opera Bar, The Gate, Newcastle, to congratulate both writers on their achievement.

Since winning Tonto's New Novelists competition last year, Nik and Sarah were mentored by Caroline Smailes and Wendy Robertson respectively. It has been a joy to work with all writers on this project, not forgetting Rosalind Wyllie and Stephen Sheiber who were published in 2008 as part of the project.

"I've always been writing. Always. First thing I remember getting in trouble at school for was for not putting my 'writing book' away. Getting published is all I've ever wanted. I'm thrilled," said Nik Jones.

The project shows how rich the north east is in writing talent. We had hundreds of entries into the New Novelists competition and the writers I see constantly breaking into the lit scene backs this up. The north east now has four new editions to that scene... four new writers with a track record in publishing, sales, events, signings, reviews and media features.

All I need to do now is give my big Radio 1-style shout outs: Roz, Stephen, Nik and Sarah the writers, mentors Caroline, Wendy and Laura Hird, Arts Council England, Tonto Paul and Editor Jill for all direct input.

Both of these new titles can be purchased from the Tonto site or on Amazon.co.uk, as can Roz and Stephen's works.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

Ahhh, 2009!
I hope everyone has had a great holiday and peaceful New Year. As you'll have read on Paul's last blog, there's been a few changes going on at Tonto Towers in recent weeks. Never fear... it is business as usual. Tonto continues and will still be publishing, will still be looking for authors, will still be promoting existing authors. Paul and I will no doubt still be working together from time to time on various projects.
So really, it isn't quite like when The Jam split in 1982, or as shocking as when Whitey left the Paul Weller line up last year.

And just to keep spirits up - there's going to be a party! Not just one in fact, but two in one! On Thursday January 29, 7pm, we'll be having a double launch party for Nik Jones and Sarah Shaw with '9987' and 'Make It Back' respectively. Regular blog readers will know that Nik and Sarah were the winners of our New Novelists competition last year. Nik was mentored by Caroline Smailes and Sarah by Wendy Robertson.
The books are officially released on 19 January.

The launch will be held at the Opera Bar in The Gate, Newcastle. There will be an opportunity to meet the authors and get books signed on the night (and importantly, everyone will be able to buy Paul that farewell drink they promised).

Look forward to seeing you all there.