Wednesday 29 October 2008

“Sold” at Auction.

A signed copy of “Sold”, which I wrote for Zana Muhsen nearly twenty years ago has come up for auction at, the charity auction site that raises funds for children's charities by auctioning celebrity items and experiences.
“Sold” is something of an on-going publishing phenomenon. Despite the fact that I am only the ghost on the project, and despite the fact that the story happened in the late eighties, I still receive several emails a day from readers in different countries asking what has happened to Zana’s sister, Nadia, and their children since the ending of the book. Worldwide we must have sold close to five million copies now and it is still going strong in about twenty different markets, including the UK, and a dozen different languages.
There is something about this real life fairy tale, in which two young sisters from Birmingham think they are going on holiday to the Yemen, only to find when they get there that their father has sold them as child brides, that seems to catch readers’ imaginations and touch them deeply. It took their mother six years to find them in the bandit-ridden mountains and another two years to get Zana out. Nadia did not escape till many years later, when all their children were grown up.
So, I hope thousands of Zana and Nadia’s followers will be flocking to the brilliant site and bidding their hearts out for this signed copy of a book that many have told me is their favourite read of all time.

Monday 27 October 2008

The Fabulous Trashionista

Why are there not more websites like It is such a simple and obvious idea; identify a sector of the book trade – women’s fiction in this case, or ‘chick-lit” if we are going to be patronising – and then create a really first rate website specifically aimed at that sector of the market.
Everyone is agreed that marketing books is a nightmare because of the amount of competitive noise in the marketplace and because of all the barriers to both purchase and consumption, (so much choice, so much time needed to read a book, so little money for the marketing budget, so many rival claims on customers’ attention etc etc), but here is an idea that is simple, obvious and enjoyable.
When ideas like this come along they seem so blindingly obvious you can’t imagine why no one thought of them before, (just like Amazon and the Richard and Judy Bookclub). Full credit to whoever thought up the concept and to all those involved in executing it so sharply. Let’s hope we will soon see similar sites springing up to serve all the other genres – anyone?

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Don't Diss my Icon, Miss Jones

In today's Guardian Books Blog, ( ) Linda Jones suggests that Steffi McBride is a 'd-lister' celebrity - although she does admit Steffi is 'more interesting than your average airhead celebrity', which goes part of the way to ameliorate the dreadful slur.

Ms McBride is without question an icon and a national treasure, as anyone who has seen her YouTube performance on the website has been able to see with their own eyes. D-lister-indeed!

The level of entries pouring in for the 'celebrity short story' competition on Steffi’s website is further proof, if proof were needed, that the woman is a phenomenon of the celebrity world, an inspiration to talented young people the whole world over.

Don’t diss the girl, Miss Jones, she’s a true star, a soap-goddess and a heroine to boot.

To purchase a copy of The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride for a discounted price of £6.00 (inc p&p) please call John Blake Publishing on 0207 381 0666.