Guest Post: Sir Reg Futtock on Brexit Day 1

We’re delighted that Sir Reginald Futtock has taken time off from his busy schedule planning Britain’s post-Brexit economic miracle to share his thoughts in the first of a series of guest posts…

So, Day 1: and though I claim only part of the credit, so far so good. Yes, a few fly-by-night, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow outfits such as Lloyds of London have announced plans to shift jobs to the continent. But balance that against today’s spontaneous outpouring of national joy as we British throw off the oppressive yoke of the Brussels Eurocrats.

Brexit march

A typical scene of British people expressing their hatred of the EU. (Credit: Ed Everett)

Yes, there will be sacrifices. With the devaluation of the Pound, a decent bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild now costs well over £1,000. No doubt you will have noticed similar price rises in your own weekly shop.

But be reassured: the hard work of building the economic miracle continues. My Brexit Advisory Committee is looking at a range of soft, hard and harder-still options, of which ‘Eye-watering Brexit’ is the current favourite. In this scenario, we’ll have to replace up to £230 billion of annual exports to the EU. That’s a lot of boxes of speciality tea and pots of damson jam we’re going to have to shift to the rest of the world over the next few years. But it can be done.

It reminds me of my time at British Leyland. For all the sneering and jeering about the Austin Allegro by elitists such as my old friend and fellow embroidery enthusiast Jeremy Clarkson, we sold over 600,000 of them. (Almost entirely in Britain, as it happens, but that’s a detail.) With the right products, the right spirit and a large dose of tax breaks for the country’s wealth creators, we can Make Brexit Work!

And if you can’t wait for my book to come out in August to discover how you too can benefit financially from Brexit, then look out for my next guest post.

 

 

Curly Covers; or, the Secret Talents of Authors

One of the fun bits of publishing that readers don’t usually see is the process of working up the cover design. We produce a design brief and the artist or designer will provide some rough ideas which we can discuss and also share with the author. Our forthcoming title The Ballad of Curly Oswald is set in a hippie commune in the 1970s, and the mix of domesticity and drug culture was one of the themes that showed up in the very first concepts.

BCO image1 BCO image3 BCO Cover Mockup v1

Ignoring our designer’s wayward spelling for a moment, this is the stage where we start to think what we do want by seeing examples of what we don’t – from this batch, we said no to the fonts but yes to exploring the idea of an abandoned caravan, which picks up the theme of the narrator, Curly Oswald, recalling his lost childhood, and the idea of an abandoned caravan that had been his childhood home waiting to be rediscovered in the depths of an English forest.

But then the mysterious author – we still have no idea who Curly is or where he or she is based – offered us some idea of her or his own. (We should perhaps have guessed they might be good, as the Curly character grows up to be a designer himself.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 10.59.05

The left one perhaps falls into the ever-present trap of trying to tell too much of the story (what we call the Agatha Christie Cover syndrome – that’s for another post) but we simply couldn’t improve on the one on the right (save some tweaking of the title).  And you’ll be able to judge for yourself when the book is out next month. (Pre-order yours now!)

Mr Brexit: the Man with the Plan

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 15.00.38We’ve heard a lot about Britain’s destiny as a Global Powerhouse outside the European Union – but not so much detail on exactly how this will happen. So in the week that Article 50 is triggered, IndieBooks is proud to announce a new book that maps out Britain’s glittering economic future. And who better to pen it that Sir Reg Futtock, the Prime Minister’s newly-appointed advisor on Post-Brexit Prosperity.

For fifty years, Sir Reginald’s career has been synonymous with British business: from launching the world-beating Austin Allegro to taking RBS up to and beyond the pinnacle of international banking. Now he is bringing this wealth of experience to helping Britain plan for success in the post-Brexit world.

In Mr Brexit: the Man with the Plan, Sir Reg will set out why we joined, why we left and who will be the winners and losers as Britain returns to Splendid Isolation. This book is not clogged up with facts and evidence: instead, Sir Reg uses his own experiences, from sacking 31,000 staff at Marconi to bribing members of the Saudi Royal family, to explain how Brexit can achieve its essential purpose: ensuring that Britain’s wealth-creators remain in charge.

Although Sir Reg has a busy schedule caddying for Don Trump and grovelling to a range of foreign despots, he has promised us the book will be ready for publication in August.

 

To Syria With Love

From Syria With Love is going so well that we’re already reprinting, so we can continue assisting this wonderful charity in raising much-needed funds. So it’s a good time to update on where the money raised for the charity From Syria With Love has gone, including:

  • £600 to help distribute fuel to 60 families within the Dier Hassane refugee camp in Idlib, Northern Syria and food baskets to displaced families from Aleppo
  • £395 has helped with the third From Syria With Love School, including building/rental, stationary, fresh water, and transportation costs and the fourth From Syria With Love School, including salaries for two teachers as well as the provision of stationary and transportation
  • £50 for the transportation of desks to the For Syria With Love Kindergarden (set to open in 2 weeks time)
  • £635 is helping to stock the bags in the Bag of Happiness (Part II) Project and contain activities for refugee children such as puzzles and drawing books, pencils, crayons, and erasers

If you would like to learn more about some of the children featured in From Syria With Love, please watch this short documentary.

(Values in Great British Pounds Approximate due to conversion from Dollars)

Celebrating International Women’s Day

With a real lack of strong female characters in children’s fiction, we are choosing to celebrate International Women’s Day with Worrals, a character created by Captain W.E Johns to inspire and encourage women into aviation.

Johns, who championed the role of women in aviation in ‘Popular Flying’ magazine, took the chance of an invitation by the Air Ministry to write about the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force to create a true feminist icon. In addition to Nazi spies, Worrals is also battling the chauvinism of the RAF ‘Top Brass’, who think girls have no place at the controls of an aeroplane.

Get all 3 books in the series for £15 for today only!

World Book Day 2017

Happy World Book Day!

This year, World Book Day is marking its twentieth year anniversary. It is a joyous and animated celebration encouraging children to read. Across not only the UK, but the globe, children and adults alike will take part in a variety events proclaiming their love of a good read. From dress-as-your-favourite-character parties and putting on plays to story-time and craft workshops, World Book Day hopes to get a book in the hands of as many children as possible.

indiebooks-wbd

 

Here at IndieBooks, we’re joining in on the fun. Already this week, we’ve been sending out free copies of Why Willows Weep to many of our loyal customers.Tomorrow, we’ll be out on the streets handing out free hardbacks of Worrals of the WAAF and A Young Person’s Guide to the Gothic. Fancy a copy yourself? As Worrals of the WAAF is published in conjunction with the Royal Air Force, try heading to the RAF Museum to snag one – they’ll be handing out books to some lucky museum-goers tomorrow.

Won’t be up that way? Well, you might just find a few hidden around the coffee shops near Chancery Lane or spot us up ’round the British Museum. We’ve got towering stacks to give away!

Check our Twitter feed tomorrow if you want to stay in the loop or feel free to tweet us if you want to track us down.

Happy Hunting!

People’s Book Prize Interview

The second interview with The People’s Book Prize comes from From Syria With Love’s Molly Masters.

  1. Have you got a message for your readers?  Use and enhance your passions, skills, and knowledge. Invest time in what you love, and do it for a cause you love. Amplify the voices of those who need to be heard. Read, read, and read even more into what you feel passionate about. Create something meaningful, create something with impact, create something with love.
  2. What can we expect from you in the future?  Expect more books and advocacy raising awareness for the plight of refugees and others in crisis and need, as well as continued support for the charity sector. Supporting, caring for, and giving voice to people will forever be a permanent passion of mine, and I personally only expect for that love to grow stronger through more learning, understanding and writing.
  3. Any suggestions to support libraries?  As ‘From Syria with Love’ is now being created into an eBook by Apostrophe Books, I have been enlightened as to how some 40,000 libraries worldwide will now have access to my book. This is an incredible thought, and I hope that more libraries will be endorsed financially to enable them to embrace the growing accessibility of eBooks in order to provide even more literature to the public. Furthermore, as a child, I attended a library group called Chatterbooks, and the library has long been a place of community and togetherness for me. It is a place where the new generation’s investment in literature and learning can be supported. It is important to forever cherish and protect libraries as a place of wonder for children, and continue these projects, both in our own libraries, and the invaluable libraries working in crisis areas.

…Brian Bilston is voting for it, will you?

screen-shot-2017-01-25-at-20-08-32

“A sharp-as-steel lawnmower of a book”: latest Quintember review

There’s a wonderful review of Richard Major’s Quintember in ‘Living Church’ – one that really picks up on the theological strands woven into the violence, mayhem and black humour.

“To say that Quintember is a mock-thriller and a comedy of manners is like saying that the Symposium is a dialogue. […] Quintember is a thesaurus of astute critiques of theological, philosophical, literary-critical, and cultural stances. These are presented through the medium of a whimsical adventure-narrative populated by caricatures and types fallen prey to the besetting lure of heresies and perversities both sacred and profane. This is a hilarious and sharp-as-steel lawnmower of a book, cutting a bold swath through the field of human delusion and vanity.”

We also learn a little more about Richard himself.

“From the pen of a graduate of St. Stephen’s House (an Anglican seminary in the Catholic tradition), an Oxford DPhil, and former Anglican Chaplain of Florence, the colorful, discerning, and exotic is to be expected. Quintember combines the charm of A.N. Wilson, the satire of Thomas Love Peacock, the observation of Thackeray, and the imagination of Robertson Davies with something of Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue, Epiphanius’s Panarion(Against the Heresies), Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson, and a little of what is truly sinister in C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength.'”

Most necessary sin of Adam: Richard Major’s Quintember by Rev Graeme Napier 

 

adam-and-eve-1649339_1920

 

What Brexit Means For Us

Flag_of_Europe

One of our authors was asking the other day about the impact of Brexit on IndieBooks. So we thought we’d share our answer.

The most immediate impact is that our books will be more expensive to print. Almost all the paper we use comes from sustainable forests in Scandinavia, and paper is the biggest single cost in book production, and with the Pound down 20% since Brexit, that paper will rise in cost accordingly.

The second is that Brexit will have a profound effect on the economy, reflected in the eye-watering projections for the UK national debt: and if people have less money in their pockets, then book sales will suffer just like everything else.

The third is that our export sales will be worth more to us, again because of the fall in the value of the pound. That’s welcome – but though we’re always trying to export more, it’s still not going to do much to offset the negative impact.

The biggest impact, though, is cultural: the sense of the UK cutting itself adrift from the rest of Europe. Even if there were no financial cost, we’d still think it wrong to leave the EU because of the barriers it creates. It’s one reason we’re delighted to have three new European authors joining us in 2017, and why we’ll be promoting our books much more in the rest of Europe too.

And if you want to know why it happened, then watch out for ‘Explaining Cameron’s Catastrophe’,  in which Sir Robert Worcester and his colleagues explore the wealth of polling data to reveal why people voted as they did and what it means for the future. This follow-up to ‘Explaining Cameron’s Comeback’ is due out in January 2017.

 

 

Guest Blog: ‘to trumplicate’

screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-10-47-05

“I am inventing a verb, to trumplicate, from which the noun is trumplication and the adjective trumplicated.

The definition of trumplicate is to disguise untruth by complicating what is essentially straightforward, so that most people are misled; a practice frequently used to defend the indefensible without actually lying outright.

An example of trumplication is the excuse given by President Trump (the eponymous founder of the technique) for restricting access to the United States from seven countries who happen to have Muslim majority populations, in order to convince people that this is not a Muslim ban.

Here is what the Trumplicator said: ‘The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.’

So the intended trumplicity is to give an impression that the policy is soundly based on president set by the previous precedent. (Trumplifiers often confuse their words, as the Great Trumplicator has been known to do on twitter, for example inventing the apt mis-spelling ‘unpresidented’. Mr Trump’s actions are already way into ‘unpresidented’ territory.)

If it was OK for Obama, why are so many soggy liberals marching up and down? This is the underlying question, intended to confuse and create doubt.

The point of trumplication is not to persuade elites, like the bosses of Apple, Google and Coca-Cola, who are so distant from real people’s lives as to be critical of restrictions on the seven coincidentally Moslem-majority countries: the target is those real people.

It works. My wife came home from her pilates class saying that people there were saying – but didn’t Obama select these seven countries? I don’t suppose they went home and found a reliably old-fashioned media outlet for an accurate account.

Here is what AP Fact Check (Associated Press) says about the above quote from the Great Trumplicator:

‘That is misleading. The Republican-led Congress in 2015 voted to require visas and additional security checks for foreign citizens who normally wouldn’t need visas — such as those from Britain — if they had visited the seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This was included in a large spending bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed by Obama.

As the law was enacted, the Obama administration announced that journalists, aid workers and others who travelled to the listed countries for official work could apply for exemptions. There were no special U.S. travel restrictions on citizens of those seven countries.’

So there was no Obama ban on those seven countries, but only an extra layer of checks. This demonstrates how trumplication is not the same as lying – it is true that President Obama was party to a decision involving these countries, in a very specific and limited way, unlike the unspecific, unlimited way in which entire populations are now subject to blanket restrictions. A carefully calibrated measure of caution is not the same thing as wholesale and arbitrary actions. Trump campaigned on banning Muslims and is delivering: it’s as straightforward as that. A lie is easy to spot, but unravelling a trumplication needs a little effort (as in Jan Masaryk’s saying about the truth being a chore – see last blog)

This piece of trumplication has also had some effect on elites. The Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, has instructed his reporters not to use the term Muslim-majority because it is ‘very loaded’. It is also very factual.”

From ‘Word for Word‘, by John Williams. Read more here.

John was director of communications and press secretary at the Foreign Office for six years. Working for Robin Cook, Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett, he was the chief media advisor to the Foreign Office on every major international event since the Kosovo conflict, and was heavily involved in the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme. He was also political correspondent of the London Evening Standard, and political editor and columnist for the Daily Mirror, in a journalistic career that spanned 25 years.

John is also author of IndieBooks’ ‘Robin Cook: Power and Principles’ and ‘Williams on Public Diplomacy’.