Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pop Culture Fashion Week

No, it's not official; it's my choice of clothing for the weekdays last week. I decided, not very quickly, to do this, if I had enough t-shirts. Evidently, I did.

On Monday, for DCG and Maths classes, I wore a stunning "Evil Monkey in My Closest" t-shirt from the Family Guy range of merchandise. This fabulous t-shirt was cheap, at a cost of 2 for €15 I think! I bought it alongside Tuesday's item of clothing, which I will get on to now. But first, the amateur photograph!

Tuesday, the day after graduation. This t-shirt was greatly enjoyed by Mr Tim O'Connor, as it proved he knew about teenage cartoons like Family Guy. The red top features a print of Stewie Griffin as the Devil with the words (translated to English, and by assumption) "The Devil Child" on top.

Wednesday, perhaps the best response to any of the items featured this week! Below is the picture of The Mighty Boosh Live Tour 2009 t-shirt, purchased last September for a handsome €25 at the Olympia Theatre. A second year in my school, a friend of my cousin Sarah I might add, saw the print and quite literally leaped at it, cheering "Mighty Boosh, I love them!" I've dealt with this guy before; his response to me was a thumbs up, so that's all he got in return. Still, fabulous t-shirt! (and the most comfortable of all the items on display)

Thursday followed The Mighty Boosh theme, except this one was a little less noticed, and merely just there. I was slightly disappointed, but alas, I can't expect everything I wear to attract attention. I'm not that much of an attention seeker!

This last item (below) came free in the Blue Harvest DVD set. Featuring Stewie Griffin as Darth Vadar, Chris Griffin as Luke Skywalker, Lois as Princess Leia and Quagmire as C3PO, this t-shirt brilliantly captures the satirical nature of the Star Wars parody. Second most comfortable to wear, mainly because it was a size too big.

So there you have it! That was last week's Pop Culture Fashion Week!! I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did; it was perhaps a little more creative than usual. If I've set myself a minimum standard of entertainment, let me know.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Surive The Internet Cover!

Well, I've just been "hard at work" putting the cover together. I thought I'd keep it simple. What do you think?

Feedback or suggestions to

How to Survive the Internet

Hey guys and gals,

I'm looking to start a project over the summer, "How to Survive the Internet (and Possibly Have a Bit of Fun at the Same Time)" but I need help researching. Well, by that I mean I need websites that can be discussed. Obviously I'm going down the social networking route (Bebo, Facebook and Myspace) and the communications route (blogging and Twitter) and the video route (youtube.... anymore of these?). But what else can I do? I mean, I have a few ideas, but that's it. I suppose I'd better tell you what I have in mind first....

- Okay, the pros and cons of social networking, and tips on how to survive them and such stuff.
- How to blog/what to blog about and how to make Twitter more interesting.
- What can be done with Youtube and other video sites
- A guide to google and other search engines (including safe search)
- Success stories from over the internet (Did someone make a living from; did anyone get recognised over the net as having great musical talent and other similar things)
- Guide to online forums (in general)
- Good places to get some reads
- What is PayPal and how do I use online banking
- Shopping online: eBay, Amazon and other shop fronts
- gaming websites: some of the best recommendations for free!

Also, throughout the book I want to be able to pinpoint that it is possible to get addicted to the internet, and that social activies in the "real world" need to be particiapted in too. Friends and family should not be avoided for the sake of a video series or an online book or free games - getting out there and having fun with other people is a good idea too! With that in mind I'll be telling people all about websites like Ticket Master (and I'll need some other ones, I think, if I'm to make my point quite clear - something cheaper than concerts, you know?)

Any tips and links? Please email them to


Friday, May 22, 2009

Love me some new fiction

Well, I've recently discovered a new author. Well, he's not new, but I only recently discovered him; it was last night, via Twitter. I used the Quick Search on my iPod, Twitterific. Jeremy C. Shipp, a fantastic American author.

I read two of his short stories and fell in love with them. Scratch and Camp, excellent reads, and very disturbing. I must recommend them to Andy Walker, a huge fan of horror!

In the mean time, I need to find more new fiction, and possibly invite Mr Shipp to the Den! I think he'd make an excellent addition to the crew!

Thursday, May 21, 2009's confusing calculators

Well, I've been examining the calculators at recently, only to find a large number of problems with them. The pricing from Euro to Pounds is weird, represented by this little ratio (approximately):

€3 = £1

Strange? I thought so! The pricing errors on are vast and wide. At one stage, books were cheaper when bought in Dollars than they were with Euros! I complained, and instead they just increased prices...

Then there's the revenue calculator. Apparently the manufacturing costs for a 200 page book are less than £5, yet over €12. It's an outrage! And unrealistic to what the costs work out to be in the end. I can guarantee that!

I have a project on; 98 pages, trade paperback, black and white, regular paper. the price? €9.18 or £8.22!

So the manufacturing costs are quite low, but the price, without me having marked it up (it's a private project, so I don't want to pay them extra for it!), is quite high. With this in mind, I'm launching a complaint.

The book should cost me £2.95 to print; somewhere along the line, I'm being ripped off!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Link(age) and more!

Hey all,

So, following my Bloody Heel blog and with this current one, I've officially blogged more this month than I did all last year! Hurray!

I'd also like to make everyone aware of a new link in the side bar there =>

You'll be brought to the Literary Den Campaign page at the Battlefront website. Worth a look (and a vote). Cheers!

Bloody heel!

Typo in my title? Not at all!

The shoes I wore for my grad night have led to, as before, the unfortunately cut heel. It was fine last night; a slight stain on my white sock.

It was fine earlier, when I got home from one half of school for lunch. A little yellow stain. Disgusting, but fine.

Then I put my foot into my runner too quickly. Pain. Lots of it. I didn't dare look, until I got home that is. Blood. Red blood. Disgustingly dark. In fact, here's a picture!!

Disgusting? I thought so!

I have to carefully remove the sock just now... slight tearing sound as the fabric tore off some skin. Very little skin, I might add. Mainly just dried blood and a few flakes. It didn't hurt that badly. And there's still only a scratch on it.

I suppose that's what I get for looking fabulous.... and walking to and from school twice today!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Graduation - the mass!

Hey all!

So, I've offically graduated from St Aidan's CBS. Last night was the mass and afterparty. Today, I'll just be talking about the former, as I'm waiting on pictures from a teacher for the afterparty blog!

So, I arrived, dressed rather dashingly, a good forty minutes early because I had a reading. Most people were formally dressed (still wearing clothing, just not casual...) with the exception of one who wore Converse and a couple were refused to wear ties.

My reading was quite near the start, so after the Ceremony of Light and a song or two, myself, Andrew and Thomas went up to read. It was all going fine, until the last line of the second part of my reading (the responsorial psalm; psalm 27). I messed it up, as I did every time I practiced it. People in the front were laughing...then I laughed...then everyone else joined in. It lasted approxiamtely five seconds, before the priest encouraged the response.

The rest of the night went swimmingly from there. The music was fantastic; a huge applause for Karl and Carl for their piano duet! Then there came the certs...

My father forgot to take a picture; he forgot to let it last longer! So I have no photographic evidence of my graduation.... I'm not amused. Irregardless, the night went on until the Best in Class and Best in Year Awards were announced. Congratulations to Eoin Shiel, Daniel Redmond, Seán Moore, Keith Byrne-Garland and Jake Rossiter for their Best in Class Awards, and to Karl Elliott for the Student of the Year Award!

There was a brief reception afterwards; Ms Dunne finally got to meet my parents, after I navigated through a crowd of 200 to get her and get back....while guiding Kevin Murtagh through the masses with boxes. Which reminds me: the magazine is on sale! Hurrah! It only took them 10 get it wrong (long story, maybe some other time). Still, it was on sale and selling!!

With conversations ending and the numbers falling (along with the rain) it was time to head off to the afterparty at the local pub, The Comet......

Next time on the Graduation Blog, I should have a bunch of pictures from Mr Tim O'Connor of St Aidan's CBS who went camera happy! You'll get to see my fancy hair and clothing for the night! Lucky you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dedicated to the memory of...

I've just written my third entry for the Londis Write up my Street competition. It's a simple piece, but devastingly painful to write. I got the idea yesterday, and I couldn't ignore it, not after it made such an impression of Community in my mind.

It's dedicated to the memory of Lauren Keech; it's her story, after her death. The sad union of the community to serve as shoulders to cry on for the family. It's all true, every bit of it, but they never said it had to be fiction, and they never said it couldn't be upsetting.

I don't know if I can find a stronger definition of Community than the one I felt after Lauren's death, and so I think I'm done.

RIP Lauren Keech


Battlefront; you've heard it so many times on this blog already. What's it about? I hear you say. Young people making a change to the world, that's what.

In the next line up of potential campaigns, if they ever go that far, there are 58 potential campaigns to choose from, that the public can vote on. In the tv series, there were 20 campaigns. The names of them, the campaigners and a link to each of the Battlefront campaigns is below. In Italics beside each one is a jist of it in very few words.

STOP: Gun and Knife Crime (Peace)
Alexander Rose
Find out more about STOP: Gun and Knife Crime.

Bring Your Own Coffee Cup (Healthy Environment)
Aimee Nathan
Find out more about Bring Your Own Coffee Cup.

Random Acts of Kindness (Happiness)
Tom Robbins
Find out more about Random Acts of Kindness.

Who Wants To Be A Size Zero Anyway (Healthy Body)
Rachel Phipps
Find out more about Who Wants To Be A Size Zero Anyway.

Tune into Traffic (Road Safety)
Manpreet Darroch
Find out more about Tune into Traffic.

You smoke - I choke (Smoking)
Zander Percival
Find out more about You smoke - I choke.

More money for my time please (Raising the minimum wage)
Rachey Betty
Find out more about More money for my time please.

Free Newspapers Cost The Earth (Environment)
James Mummery
Find out more about Free Newspapers Cost The Earth.

Homophobia = Zero Tolerance (Human Rights & Tolerance)
Rachael & David
Find out more about Homophobia = Zero Tolerance.

Make a Big Change - With your Small Change (Relief Aid)
Siobhan and Becky
Find out more about Make a Big Change - With your Small Change.

Teenage Suicide (Young Deaths)
Josh McAuley
Find out more about Teenage Suicide.

Anti-Cyberbullying (Bullying)
Al Henderson
Find out more about Anti-Cyberbullying.

Muslims - Normal Too (Human Rights & Tolerance; Religion)
Zainab Daniju
Find out more about Muslims - Normal Too.

Condoms For Africa (Safe Sex)
Troy Kennedy
Find out more about Condoms For Africa.

Down with Tuition Fees (Education)
James Greenhalgh
Find out more about Down with Tuition Fees.

Anti Binge Drinking (Young Drinking)
India Harvey
Find out more about Anti Binge Drinking.

Stress and Strain of School (Education)
Laura-Liz Partoon
Find out more about Stress and Strain of School.

Music for a change (Music)
Zuhal Sultan
Find out more about Music for a change.

Making space for young people (Young People)
Angelina Munabi
Find out more about Making space for young people .

The Gift of Life (Organ Donation)
Holly Shaw
Find out more

There were a few unique ones, a few generic ones, and a few successful ones from each bracket. Out of the 58, there are several copies of the already-on-air campaigns, especially around Education, Bullying, Peace, Human Rights and Tolerance and Young People.

There are also a number of copies of the winner of the competition, Wrong to be Different. So many people have hopped on the bandwagon and set up individual campaigns rather than trying to support hers. It's a damned shame.

Then there's my campaign, and I'm not just tooting my own trumpet here. It's unique. You can tell just by looking at the list that no one has anything similar to it. In the competition, it came second in both the public and judges' votes; we've got proof that we're good, not just a name that reminds the public of other people's campaigns!

Yes, slightly ranting here. But with so many people copying Wrong to be Different, you'd think they'd get the message - be different! It's ridiculous how many people are submitting campaigns that are already on the show too. Ridiculous and annoying!

Okay, I better go before I get overly angry....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I have a spending problem job is evil. Well, there's nothing really wrong with it; great staff, great boss, good hours, good pay, good location; I've no real complaints except that I've developed a spending problem as a result of it!

Today, after weeks of good saving practice, I only went and bought four books! They better be good, or I'll be so freaking pissed! Well, I've started into one already, Skellig by David Almond. It's as good as Andy Walker said it would be. 27 and 53, remember those if you find a weird guy in the garage of your new house.

Alongside Skellig are John the Revelator, First Verse and How Not to Write. I can't remember what made me want to read John the Revelator, but I have it now so I may as well give it a shot. First Verse looked really interesting, and I saw it weeks ago when it first came in; it wasn't just a spontaneous purchase. The last book was a bit random. I saw it and I was buying books, so I decided not to wait. Besides, Rachel and I were only discussing recently how the forum is a great way not to write, so I'm taking that as a sign!

We'll find out soon if my problem really is bad; I have books lined up to buy, and I wasn't going to buy anything but them...we'll see, anyway.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back in the Game

Well, a lovely chicken burger proved to be the cure for writer's block! Who'd have thunk it?

I managed to get the words together to write another entry for the Londid "Write up my street" competion. I'm so glad they allow multiple entries. The second one is so much better, but I'll submit the first anyway, just in case. I have no idea what to expect from these things, and it might be that they're looking for something completely different to the expected.

I'm getting new ideas even as I type of how the community can come together, and how it helps.... if you'll excuse me, I have hearts to break and tears to summon.

Lost for words...

So, it appears that I'm lost for words. I honestly can't explain it, but it better go away! I'm trying to make a living out of writing, this can't happen to me! I'm not even trying to write, I just have nothing at all to say. I've run out of words!!

This is quite a new experience for me. I normally don't shut up, much to the annoyance of the people around me. Yesterday poor Peter had to deal with a twenty minute walk & talk with me as his only company and my mouth never closing only for the letters that prohibit the use of an open mouth. I never shut up, until I was eating in KFC, and even then I was thinking of saying something.

Earlier today, I found an advert after I signed out of Bebo. It's amazing - normally Bebo's the most useless thing for helpful adverts, yet there I was, signing out, and I see an ad for a writing competition! It knows me so well!

The story behind it, if you'll excuse the pun (it was pun-intentional!!) - write a 1,000 word short story with the topic "there's no community like my community." You can enter as many times as you like, which is good considering my first entry is the biggest pile of crap I've ever written, and I wrote a huge 130,000 word novel of crap writing! I may have to write another one.

Anyway, I'm wasting your precious time here... There are 30 winners to the competition. One from each county in ROI, except Dublin and Cork (4 and 2 winners respectively). There are four age categories, and the winners are spread out relatively equal across the four categories. The 30 best stories are published in a book for charity (Barnardos Children's Charity). Book is published in September 2009 and sold in all Londis stores.

And before you say anything, yes, I am using this blog entry to try encourage some words to come out of my mouth, and it appears to have worked. Now if I can write something useful that stands a chance at winning (a sony laptop in my category). One winner is also in with the chnace of becoming a published author (with his/her own novel), so.... yeah, definetely doing that rewrite!

Now, off to eat some food from the local chipper. Maybe my muse will have had a rest and be ready to high speed action when I come back....

Twenty Fifteen

Good afternoon all!

I recently discovered that a book, Twenty Fifteen has been released. I submitted to this a few months ago, at the encouragement of my cousin Seán who's involved in it actively. I have to say, I'm impressed!

I still don't know if I'm in it or not; I have to wait to get my copy of the book from Seán, via his mum, and mine. I can't wait to get it though, regardless of that fact. It's such a great project for him to be part of; it even got the attention of Seamus Heaney, Anne Enright and Sebastian Barry!!

That knowledge only makes me want to be in it even more! Imagine having that on my writer's CV: "Published in Twenty Fifteen alongside a Nobel Prize winner, winners of Irish Book Awards and a winner of a Costa Book Award." Wow!! It looks even better down in text than it sounds in my mind!

I'll keep you updated on whether or not I'm published in the book. I recommend buying it nonetheless. It's for a good cause, Self Help Africa. Only €9.99 and available, as far as I know, through the website (a guarantee) and two bookshops, Borders and Books Unlimited (still unsure about those).

Thanks for reading, and once more, well done to Seán and Co for a great job!

Response to Meet Sam

Hey all!

Ms Ann Marie Dunne, a teacher in my school, St Aidan's CBS, recently finished reading Meet Sam and showing it to all of her grind students. She had a few things to say, not many of them bad.

Firstly, she loved it. Her words, not mine. So far no one has said they didn't like it, which is a good sign! Following up on that, she said, "There are things I would do differently, but I suppose that's the difference being seventeen and thirty five, and being male and female." That was all yesterday as we had a not-so-emotional farewell; we know already that we'll be keeping in touch, and that she's yet to see the end of me in that school.

Earlier today, we had a short chat further about the book. The only real problem she had was the ending. Not the plot, but the way it was told. Up to the last two minutes (the last chapter), the story had been told, but not by me, if you understand. It read like a novel, not like an author telling a story. The last part then, blew it. It's the difference between a publisher/agent saying yes or no as far as I'm concerned. The book changed how it read for a sort of "I'm the author, let me wrap everything up now," kind of way. I agree with her fully!

So, that's one major focus point for me when I'm editting. I have to change that last chapter to make the story rounded, one voice - the earlier one, not the last one.

In relation to the movie, one Samantha Priestley regarded it as being hilarious. Extremely positive feedback considering the age, sex and cultural differences between myself and the movie makers, and Samantha. She's got quite a few years on us, is quite the opposite sex to us, and lives in Sheffield, not Dublin. So it turns out the movie is more diverse than we first thought!

In relation to Samantha, you can find her novel, Despite Losing it on Finkle Street here. It's an amazing book, well worth the read. You won't soon forget it! (word of warning: there are very few copies left, so you need to be quick!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meet Sam, The Movie, Part 3 of 3

The grand finale is up! You need to have the volume up a bit. Enjoy!

Meet Sam, The Movie, Part 2 of 3

Well, that was faster than I thought, or slower than Karl thought, but Part 2 has just appeared on Youtube. I encourage the watching of it. =]

Meet Sam, The Movie, Part 1 of 3

Way back in February, my friends Karl, Andrew, Ciarán and Conor decided to make me a birthday present out of my own book, without telling me. The result is a 17 and half minute movie with poor acting and a couple of racist jokes - it's more than I could have asked for! (note: I don't condone the use of racism, the use of it was just hilariously typical of the actor in question)

So, Karl was left with the uploading of the video to the internet for en masse sharing of the masterpiece, and after three months he finally got a five minute, ten second segment up onto the internet.

To follow Karl's uploading progress and watch the first Part of a Three Part series, click this link and enjoy the masterpiece that awaits. Thank you, and good night.

Just what Happened with Dark Calling?!

Okay, lots of people have been asking about this on Darren Shan fan sites. Here's what happened.

Dark Calling, Book 9 in the Demonata series by Darren Shan, was released early. It was shipped early, you see, so the shops got it, displayed it, and evidently sold a few copies. Almost immediately after the very early release, it was pulled back. The recall left the bookshops empty of stock, had some fans wondering where it went after their mates got it, and after a bit of thinking from Mr Shan, left the remaining copies as collector's editions.

At the end of the book, there are a stream of words in Italics. I won't say why, only that they're important to the story. It's a thought, a memory, rather than speech. The initial ending was an "in-character" trait, and then there arose a problem. The publishers, by mistake, pasted the line: onclusion, coming October 2010

On the next page is the advert for Hell's Heroes, the final book in the series with the line Don't miss the Earth-shattering conclusion, coming October 2010

There are, as you can see, two mistakes there. Firstly, the word is "conclusion," which is an obvious indication that half-way through a sentance, the word was cut in two, and placed in the main text of the book. This raised the suspicions of readers who had the book - a mysteriously poor ending by Darren Shan? Nonsense!

They also got worried by the 2010 remark. That was also wrong... Here's what happened!

The books were recalled. All of them, mainly. Only 30,000 Hardback copies in the UK survived the recall, with a slip from Harper Collins being slotted into the books with the real text and an apology (from what I've heard.) These books are rare, and as such, valuable. Then there comes the Irish ones! None were left on the shelves, but some were bought. I have one beside me, limited edition, typographical error, one of only a few copies bought, due to the fact that fans weren't aware of the release.

Hell's Heroes is in fact coming out in 2009, on October 1st. It's something fans are dying for; the cover is too tempting to resist buying that book! Hopefully, it won't come out early with a typo....

Sources of reference: Shansters United on Bebo and the May 09 issue of Shanville Monthly

Free Time, as Far as I Know

Well, I've been officially without a school for five hours. We were let go today at noon. So, that leaves me all alone in the world. Yes, we can go back for extra classes, and I will, but it won't be my school anymore. It'll be my learning facility. I'll sit my exams there. It'll be my examination centre. I'll have my graduation there, as a venue, and I'll get my results there, as is customary. But I have no school! It's odd... I'm yet to fully realise what this means.

Until August, I won't even know where I'm going in September! I can only prepare as much as possible up to the exams, then pray that it was enough and that there are spaces available in the courses I want to do. But between June 16th and some time in late September (usually) I'll have nothing to do. I'll have free time. I don't even know what that is anymore!

Okay, so I also have more free time now. That's a problem too. What the hell am I supposed to do instead of, say, Religion class, or LCVP? What will I do with those classes where we have no teacher, or with the lunches? TV will get boring very quickly. Books will distract me too long. I have nothing. The magazine used to entertain me, but now it's over. I have nothing...

Speaking of that magazine, I haven't even gotten it back from the printers yet! I don't know what's taking them so long, but they're three days later than I'd have liked them to be. I want to be able to sell it, to enjoy telling people they'd be good writers for it, to encourage a greater culture in my school, and to actually give the poets who submitted to it the reward they deserve - how often in a boys school do you get poetry being written, honestly?

I've had to start thinking about what to do with the summer... here's what I've got:
  • Learn to play the piano
  • Go to Barcelona
  • Learn to bake
  • Edit Meet Sam
  • Write What Lurks Through the Mirror
  • Write the second Geneticide book
  • Plan the top secret Literary Den activity
  • Hold a book launch for The Literary Den Book of New Fiction 2009
  • Get the Literary Den Campaign going on full steam

That may look like a lot, but it's not. Three of those will be night time sort of things, or free time ones. Two take up one day after planning is done. One is based around Karl's schedule. One is entirely planned by my parents. The only two that will actually last long are rather difficult. The Campaign will require loads of work, but only if I can get the full support from my group as well. The baking... well, trial and error I suppose.

If you have any suggestions for me, something I can do without making a total hash of it, please, suggest! I'm desperate!

Writing away the time...

Hi all,

So, time is a very funny thing. What exactly is it? We can't touch it, experience it or change it in any way, but it affects us very deeply and tears us apart.

Connected to the idea of time, is the idea of fate and destiny. I myself have become transfixed by this idea to the extent that in 2005, I began writing a novel series based around the idea of destiny. I finished the first book on the first Saturday of my Junior Cert exams, in June 2006. Now, I've begun rewriting it.

It's title, or what I'm still calling it, is What Lurks Through the Mirror. People who follow me on Twitter may have noticed a few references to Hounds, nasties in the night and other such oddities. I can now confirm I have not stepped further into madness, I'm just working on a novel.

The idea behind the novel was that there was a War, the Great War, that split the World into several smaller Worlds - ours, a similar world, two worlds of magical entities, a world of the Fate (the beings that control Destiny), a world known as Death but what is really Purgatory for the dead, and the Chaos world, where all the evil went. The Fate made it so that the worlds were safe from each other, so long as the magical boundaries were sustained. Then they went missing.

They left only a lineage, an order; the Chosen would save the Worlds from a terrible doom, and potentially destroy the Chaos magic for good. But there are prices to pay, and skills to learn.

It begins six years before the main text, with the death of Gary Tane. His daughter and he had a similar gift of seeing hidden messages in the stars. Neither were aware the other could do it, and Sarah certainly didn't know she was capable of it until shortly before the story begins. That's when the Hound attacks.

Moving to Ireland, Eric Murphy finds himself caught in the middle of a fight - a pair of dancers are the target to a Disciple of Chaos. The Casters Guild attempt to save them, and Eric, when the world of Madness reveals itself, and the Chaos Crack opens.

Shamam twins struggle to find meaning in their seperate lives; an Ancient searches for freedom; the Hounds are loose, the boundaries broken - Darkness has fallen.

The Fate Saga is here Ladies and Gentlemen. It will change everything. A simple visit to the circus is now the biggest mistake anyone can make, when the Jester comes to play...

So yes, that was essentially a pitch for the books. But I think it summarises fairly well just how dark this story is. Three years ago it was nothing but a childhood fairy tale. Everything had to be safe then. Everything was convenient. Now it's not. Now the characters are struggling. Even with their abilities, they aren't guaranteed to win. The change has happened, and it's staying that way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My grand scheming...

Hello world! I've been scheming behind the scenes for the latest development in the Literary Den. I've sent four emails to four seperate parties independant of the Den, and received only one reply so far, which led to a phone call. However, it's the first and most vital step and I'm glad to report that it was a resounding success, even if no one knows about it.

The emails all concern the Den and it's members, although I won't specify which ones. That would be giving away the secret, and I'd prefer to torture the various members that keep an eye on me so that when the news gets out they'll be happy I didn't spoil the surprise. If the three remaining recipients of my emails all reply positively, then I'm one more phone call away from getting another thing organised. I won't say who I have to call until it all begins. It's big though, trust me on that one.

In the time I've been gone from this blog, I've been overly active on Twitter. Follow me, you know you want to.

I've also stumbled across a number of very interesting details, all of which affect the Den's campaign. Now, forgive the copy and paste job here, but this is what I've said on the forum:

The Espresso Book Machine

Hey Gang!

There's been a revolution in book printing I wanted to share with you. Thanks to a certain Mr Niall Kelly at work, I found out about a machine that can print and bind books in five minutes. It's amazing!

Now, I don't know what titles are available, as I've been too busy to check... but the Guardian and a blog (I think it is) each had something to report on this fabulous creation. I suggest reading them!

Loyalty Schemes


Hughes & Hughes, my humble place of work have launched two loyalty schemes since around April 24th. One is a Kids' Club. Every five euro spent on kids books gets one sticker. Six stickers gets five euro off the next transaction of kids books. Easy as pie.

The adult one is very similar. Launched last weekend, either the 9th or the 10th. Every ten euro, you get a stamp. A card of eight stamps gets the purchaser ten euro off anything, including book tokens. Easy peezy, lemon squeezy!

Both of these loyalty schemes (although I just mean systems, not implying there's anything sinister about them) give readers more incentive to buy more. They encourage book sales to go up, and, as such, encourage more people to read. This is good news for us! It basically gives us one place to send people who think books are too expensive, although it's unfortunately limited to Ireland at the moment.

Classic Reprints and the associated offer

Right, so Oxford have taken advantage of the fact that booksellers are looking to sell lots of books, and they've only gone and reprinted everything! All the world classics are now in new bound forms, some with the old text (James Joyce's Ulysses in the 1922 text!) but most with the new.

It's a great refreshment on the old books, and they're cheaper than before too. Then there's an added bonus. For a limited time, Hughes & Hughes (sorry, I can't report for other shops, as I don't work in them and therefore don't see them every week) are offering a 3 for 2 deal on the Classics, with mix and match on everything else too to make sure it's not just the Classics. Great stuff for us if we decide to suggest a load of Classic titles. The reprint and sales offers are also more encouraging to readers.

Irish Book Awards and Others

Every year, the Irish Book Awards are held to celebrate bookselling and other such things. The short listed titles were put on the 3 for 2 offer in (yes, you guessed it, if you've been following my other threads) Hughes and Hughes. They're still there, although the awards have been announced.

The Irish Book Awards are really prestigious. Win one and your set for sales. The winning titles are favourites, and even though it's a public vote, the winning books always sell more after they've won!

Back when Sebastian Barry won the Costa Book Award for The Secret Scripture, everyone was buying it! It's a surprise we still had copies left for the customers we'd never seen before! It was the same when Anne Enright won the Irish Book Award for The Gathering. Her sales went mad!

As a group promoting reading, we need to focus in on these awards, and the others like them. I'll see if I can get more info on the really big ones, and I suggest you do the same in the UK. Pinpointing the titles and encouraging people to take advantage of the offers on them is a great way to get more people actually reading them.

(the winners of the Irish Book Awards can be found here)

"Important News From The Bookseller @ April 17th 2009

Okay, I've had this info for too long without sharing. Some headlines I thought were interesting to us:

Sainsbury's steps up space for books.

Big changes here! I'll bullet-point them for convenience.
  • A top 15 chart in children's books in 214 branches.
  • 2 books for £5 in 183 stores (paperback books)
  • Books sold in 408 of their stores, with an increase of staff on the book team from 2 to 8I was impressed!
Sales of hardbacks down 14.3% in the first quarter of 2009

Printers considering more Print on Demand to remove the Warehouse costs

Anderson Press releasing e-books

The publisher are introducing 23 young adult titles in e-book format. 8 books are already on the list of e-books as of this month.The article also mentions how the main publishers all have around 100 e-books available, with Puffin leading with 150 titles. In 2009, Puffin will release 10-20 e-books a month.

Waterstones offers 10,000 e-books through it's website. It's also helpful to note, though The Bookseller doesn't say this, that Hughes & Hughes are now attempting to match this with the introduction of the Sony Reader to stores, offering 100 free classic titles to begin with, and when the website is done, a free e-book from the wide selection they hope to offer. From my knowledge of the situation, Eason are the only ones not doing this now... (correct me if I'm wrong, but remember that I can't get out much due to exams)

Amnesty Anthology released

The Amnesty Anthology has been released. It focuses on stories of freedom from well known authors. Likely to cause a stir if it's promoted properly. This could mean more people will be reading, specifically if the money goes to charity.

JK Rowling Book Day Books released again

In July, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Wear to Find Them are being released for £5 each, a mark up of 100% on their initial releases for Comic Relief. Not sure where the money goes this time."

With all that to digest, I bid you farewell, until next time! Thanks for reading