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May 21, 2007

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Lovely, that has solved my birthday-gift-for-someone-with-quirky-tastes dilemma very nicely.
On the subject of chains I hear that Waterstone's can't quite tear itself away from the posh end of Oxford Street and is taking over the Books etc. store opposite Selfridges...

This rings a bell with me. I did some part-time PR for a miniscule publisher (he published a single guidebook, updated annually).

Getting it into magazines etc wasn't hard but the battles he had with the likes of WH Smith left him banging his head against the wall at the 'system'.

This book sounds right up my dark alley, and I'll definitely be seeking it out. I'm not really surprised, though, that it a) didn't find a bigger publisher or b) hasn't been wildly pushed by the booksellers. My own first novel (which I won't namedrop here for fear of accusations of hijacking comments for base self-publicity; if anyone's that arsed they can follow the link) treads a very similar path to Thirteen. It was only the small press http//:www.immanion-press.com>Immanion Press that took a chance on it after some bits of interest but ultimate nothing more from the bigger publishers.

Waterstone's in the place I live now, Bradford, were great and we had a launch party and they've kept it in stock ever since, but other stores haven't been interested. I did have exchange a few e-mails with some bloke in the buying dept at Watestone's HQ but shortly after I sent him a copy he apparently moved on...

I've skimmed the first part of your post because I'm reading Thirteen now after seeing it on your list and all I can say is the first 70 pages are cracking.I love the voice of the narrator, felt like I knew him from p1 and that reminds me of the way Chris McEwan writes in The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam.Entirely different book of course but yes, shaping up into a great read.

To break this conceptual circular logjam of lack of retail/wholesale interest/ high street promotion in independent publishers' lists I propose a NATIONAL DAY OF INDEPENDENTS (hell, even the title could stir some interest from The Independent) during which Waterstones, Borders, ALL bookshops (yes, even Smiths) ALL national and regional dailies, ALL TV and radio stations are cajoled, blackmailed, whipped into line (even possibly politely requested) to celebrate and promote the UK's fine stable of independent publishers (and not just fiction and poetry but non-fiction too)for just ONE DAY.Surely not too much to ask the big boys to step aside for just one day? Yes, all very bold, and perhaps a tadge naive - but worth a try. Yes, it would require cabals of independents working together, probably aided and abetted by paid co-ordinators. But as a concept I'm reasonably sure Mr Hewitt at the Arts Council could be persuaded - the Day would cost a snip in the context of other arts lottery funded projects. And, when considering translations, European culture budgets could be lined up. The potential is vast.Book readers clubs, writers' groups, ceative writing courses, libraries - schools etc etc etc -- all co-ordinated to celebrate the independents. The NATIONAL DAY OF INDEPENDENTS - I can visualise Richard & Judy mouthing their introduction now. If the UK as a whole won't go for it I bet Scotland will. The press in the UK needs seriously working on in terms of the general culture coverage and book coverage especially. I'm lucky, I live in Barcelona where we still have a version of the net book agreement in place, where the regional government has recently set up and funded what they call an observatory for books and reading (through which they will be promoting book reading and book buying and negotiating subsidies for school texts and generally keeping a close eye on book buying stats and demographs and sharing that information with libraries and publishers)and where you can make a fairly lucrative living in literary translation but where, most importantly, the press and media still take books, writing and writers with the seriousness deserved. The UK's current World Book Day and Bookbag initiatives (as laudable as they may be) are not enough. And all this because of your review of Thirteen - which I'd never heard of before but which I will seek out. Thanks for your insightful observations.

A splendid idea. On the subject of national newspapers doing reviews, I tried in vain to get the Independent, The Times, the Guardian and the Observer to do a review of my book. Of the broadsheets, the Guardian came closest but regretfully declined due to "lack of space for small presses".

The only national who obliged? Bizarre as it may seem, The Sun.

As he's a local(ish) author, I'll definitely stock it.

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