Wednesday, 26 August 2009

EI News!

As you know, the monthly final ten titles are chosen by an industry based panel.

We try to keep the panel as diverse as possible, therefore representatives from a wide range of aspects to the industry are involved.

Our independent bookshop representative has unfortunately had to leave the scheme. However, we are happy to announce that Roz from Peckham Review Bookshop will now be meeting with us, once a month, to help decide on the new selection.

While already stocking and promoting the project, Roz has been involved from the very start of the initiative. The store is always busy, offering a variety of titles in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

We're really happy to have Roz on board, and hope she likes her new position on the panel!


Visit for more information about Review Bookshop.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

EI on Twitter!

Exclusively Independent is now on Twitter!

Seeing as Twitter has become somewhat of a growing phenomenon, it probably seems about right that EI should be taking part! I know very little about the networking site, but it can't be that hard, right?

All publishers and authors who are - or have been - involved in the project can now login and 'tweet' away.

I'm hoping this will establish itself as a more immediate and faster way of announcing or simply airing thoughts on the latest from the project.

So if you are on Twitter, go ahead and follow us, staying up to date with the latest EI news!


Monday, 24 August 2009

A nice mention in the Bookseller this week for Exclusively Independent, announcing the new selection.

"Exclusively Independent's panel has also announced the ten newly selected titles to be featured in independent bookshops and libraries, in its scheme, which aims to bring together independent publishers with their bookselling counterparts."

It's always great to hear the project being mentioned, and highlighting the new cycle's favourites.

See for the full piece.


EI Call for Submissions - Now Open

So the new ten titles have just been announced, and now Gardners will be sourcing them for distribution. In the meantime, the next call for EI is open!

Please email me the title's AI and ms, you can submit up to three titles.

We'll have a few author blogs here, and an alteration to announce about the current list over the next few days.

For anymore information about the project, please do get in touch.


Friday, 21 August 2009

Gary William Murning's Blog

It's always good to take time out to simply stop and take a look at the scenery -- where we are and, perhaps more to the point, where we have been.

And that's where I find myself this morning. Enjoying the buildup to the publication of If I Never on the 29th and thinking about just how easy it would have been for things to have turned out very differently.

I read a quotation recently on how to achieve success as a writer. Unfortunately, I can't remember the original author's name -- but the quote really struck a chord; according to him, achieving success as a writer was a matter of "practising until you're really good and then persevering until you're really lucky." And, for me, that seems to sum up the whole business of writing quite perfectly.

When I first started writing novels, I was at least wise enough to know that the work I was producing was pretty naff! I didn't expect overnight success (although I did secretly hope for it!) and understood that only with a lot of work would my writing become publishable. So I did what all my favourite writers insisted I must do; I wrote, I read, I submitted, I wrote some more and... yes, read some more! And, as they promised, with time I saw improvement -- to such a degree that, by my fourth novel, at the age of just 24, agents were using phrases like "well written" and "engaging". So I kept writing and submitting...

... writing and submitting...

... writing and submitting...

... but still publication eluded me. The comments that came in from agents and editors were, on the whole, extremely encouraging -- but the overwhelming feeling that I got from them was that my work didn't "fit" neatly enough into any of their pigeonholes. The majority, it seemed, were looking for easy and immediate bestsellers, high concept novels, and they most certainly weren't prepared to take a chance on this particular "first-time novelist". Even the agent I managed to snare didn't quite "get" me as much as I'd originally believed! I submitted a novel to him which had crime elements. Nevertheless, he correctly insisted that it wasn't a crime novel -- what it was was "a bloody good read ". Needless to say, the next couple of months were spent with him trying to edit it down to a crime novel. A tense time that ended with us parting company.

And then I, quite by accident, stumbled across Legend Press. I think I originally found them on, of all places, MySpace. The most unlikely of places for the future of independent publishing, but there you go! If memory serves me well, I originally submitted a novel called The Realm of the Hungry Ghosts. The slightly supernatural theme didn't quite fit their lists but it nevertheless caught their attention. More work was requested and I quickly sent them If I Never... and with time, I heard back from Tom, wanting to discuss the novel further and, as it transpired, offer me a publishing contract.

Would this have happened with one of the big publishers? I don't know. It can and certainly has for many people I know. But I have a sneaking suspicion that, however good my writing may be, it requires the independent approach -- the friendly, forward-looking approach that Legend Press and other independent publishers bring with them... publishers who are prepared to take a chance on something they like, however difficult it may be to pigeonhole.

It's fair to say that, prior to finding Tom and the rest of the really quite incredible Legend team, I was growing disillusioned with the whole process of submitting my work. It was so frustrating to hear so many positive comments and, then, ultimately have the work rejected that I probably wouldn't have continued putting my work out there for too much longer.

And that, for me, is why independent publishing is so incredibly important. Both from the perspective of a writer and reader, they take that chance and publish the kind of material I want to write and, also, the kind of material I want to read.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

Final Ten Titles!

The new selection has been chosen!

Something Hidden by Nick Blackstock (Picnic Publishing)

The Village that Vanished by Ann Grifalconi (Ragged Bears Publishing)

If I Never by Gary William Murning (Legend Press)

The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery (Gallic Books)

The Darker Sex selected and introduced by Mike Ashley (Peter Owen Publishing)

Black Mongoose by Jon Haylett (PaperBooks)

Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful by Deborah Kay Davies (Parthian Books)

Noughtie Girls' Guide to Feminism by Eleanor Levenson (One World Trade)

Taynikma Book 1: Master Thief by Jan Kjaer and Merlin P. Mann (Young World Digital)

The Wall- Menders by Kate Noakes (Two Rivers Meet Press)

A great selection, and hopefully you agree there's a little bit for everyone...

Gardners will be sourcing the titles over the next two weeks before it is launched into bookshops and libraries across the country.


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Titles all in!

So all of the submissions for the next cycle of Exclusively Independent are in!

With over sixty titles entered, the competition is yet again, extremely high. Many thanks to all of the publishers who are taking part this month, you have set the standard quite high!

The next Panel Meeting is 19th August, when we will meet and decide on the new selection of ten titles. The information will then be sent to Gardners for sourcing, and I can announce here what the new titles will be.

Best of luck to all of those who submitted, and happy reading Panel members!


Thursday, 6 August 2009

Kara May's Blog


‘Where do you get your ideas?’ Always a tricky question for me – even before I finish a book or a play I’ve forgotten what triggered it. Baffling, but true. The Dream Snatcher is an exception. When the council compulsorily purchased our beloved Victorian house for a pittance, I vowed I’d write a story about a town consumed by greed and obsessed with shopping.

When eventually I came to write the story, the first character to appear was the Dream Snatcher – mysterious, dangerous, with a secret longing. Having an adult male protagonist, I needed a child for readers to identify with. A girl without parents is more in command of her life so like many child protagonists in children’s fiction Jodie is an orphan.

I was about two thirds though the story when I realised I’d given Jodie an impossible dilemma – she must choose between saving her skin and saving her town from the Dream Snatcher’s wrath because the people failed to keep their side of a deal.

If I’d planned the story before I started I’d have realised then there was no convincing way out for Jodie, and abandoned it. But I had a commission …

I was thrashing around, rejecting one idea after another, when into my mind floated the wisdom of Willy Wonker:

‘If you don’t know where you’re going,

you’d better keep on going.’

So I kept on writing. In a million years I couldn’t have pre-planned what happens.

In author talks, when I ask children who’ve not read the book, ‘What should Jodie do? their concern is for Jodie, sometimes for the Dream Snatcher too (‘He’s not bad all the time’) and the town is left to its fate. But when I read what happens, the nods and smiles are wonderfully rewarding.

In fact, a story that began as writer’s revenge has had a fortuitous journey. First Barn Owl Books publish it - so refreshing to work with a publisher who makes it a priority to consult with its authors and, what’s more, prints their books on quality paper.

Then a musical adaptation is commissioned by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College– music by the composer Peter Readman, book and lyrics by myself,. (Music clips and info about the show etc. on

And then a stage adaptation (with Sian Williams) is commissioned by Once Seen, a company of professional adult actors with disabilities at the Theatre Royal, York.

And now a much appreciated bonus - The Dream Snatcher is selected by that imaginative, much needed venture - Exclusively Independent. Linking up independent publishers, their authors and independent bookshops - brilliant! I’m delighted to be a part of it.


Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Submission Call Closed!

The current cycle of Exclusively Independent has now closed.

We have had submissions from all over the country and it's fantastic to see such a positive response.

The project was launched just before Christmas last year, and yet the flow of submissions that come through never wavers in it's quality and entertainment. Independent talent is clearly showcased, at its finest, every single cycle.

The submission pack will now be collated and distributed to the industry based panel. They have two weeks to look through the titles, and select their final ten.

The new selection will be announced 19 August.