Richard and Judy's Blog

All Your Questions Answered

Monday 13 September 2010

Hi everyone, R&J here. We are getting lots of questions about the book club, so here are the answers wrapped up in one blog.

*There’s no formal ‘joining’ process – just visit this website or the WHSmith website, or drop into one of their stores. All the eight books we are recommending between now and Christmas are on display in a clearly marked section. There are mini-reviews of each title on the blue bookmarks next to the display, and the current book under review (Sister, at the moment, by Rosamund Lupton)is also on display at the checkout (more bookmark reviews there too). There’s currently a buy-one-get-one-free offer on.

*We will post our personal reviews of each book between now and Christmas both on the websites and in Woman’s Own. They will appear at fortnightly intervals, and the book of the moment will be at the WHSmith checkout; a new one every two weeks.

*Coinciding with our reviews, we will also put our exclusive TV interviews with each author on the websites. Typically they run for about nine or ten minutes, and all the authors were fascinating when talking about their work. Some were very funny, too. You’ll really like them.

*Yes, we have read every book from cover to cover! Plus the many that were on the long-list but didn’t make it to the final cut. (We were originally going to have six books, but the selection was so strong we convinced WHSmith to extend it to eight). Our endorsements are heartfelt and yes, we most certainly wrote them ourselves, both the mini-versions on the bookmarks, and the long versions on the websites and in Woman’s Own. These are very much our personal choices; we feel as if we are recommending them to our friends, which, in a sense, we are.

*Yes, we both agreed with each other over the final shortlist – and luckily our independent reading panel came pretty much to the same conclusions as us, which was handy, otherwise there might have been a literary punch-up...

*Feedback so far has been excellent. Sister went straight to the number one slot in WHSmith paperback sales; The Snowman by Jo Nesbo went to no. 7 in the Sunday Times best seller list yesterday and Operation Mincemeat, the only factual book on our list, went straight to no. 2 in the Sunday Times non-fiction best seller list. Lots of you have been in touch to say how much you are enjoying the books, which is a big relief.

*On that point, we are very keen to read your reviews of the books. The more interactive this book club is, the happier we are. Just post your personal review to the websites; we love reading what you have to say.

*This is just the first list of recommended good reads from the two of us. There will be another selection, probably of about six titles, soon after Christmas, and more as the months go by. We think a recommending/reviewing a book a fortnight, as opposed to one a week when we were with Channel 4, is about the right pace. But they are all on sale together so read them in any order you like!

*Yes, we are in talks with WHSmith to do something with children’s books, probably at some point in 2011. We’ll keep you posted on that. One thing we have pretty much decided on this is to make very clear recommendations on the reading age potential of each children’s book on our list. That’s so important to parents when choosing something for their kids to read.

*Yes, if we bump into any of you and you want to talk about any of the books, don’t hesitate to come up and have a chat. Unless we’re running for a train or plane we’re very happy to hear what you think.

Er... I think that’s everything. Not all the blogs on here will necessarily be about books. Variety is the spice of life, etc. Oh yes, one more question lots are asking: Judy has now completed a good third of her first novel and all being well it should be out at some point next year. It’s a ghost story set in Cornwall but that’s all Jude will let me say. I’m on chapter three of my own novel but a long way behind the missus. Must try harder. Hers is brilliant. I know ‘he would say that wouldn’t he’ but it is, honest.

Writing this in the garden in Cornwall. Cloudy old day but still warm. Bye for now.

Richard and Judy

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  • GoodLuck to you both with the writing. My first book for children hits the shops in Nov and I've never been so excited. It's been a long and interesting process from laptop to shelf, and I really hope that it will be well receieved, but I think I'm more excited about the fact that a little piece of me will reside forever in the British National Library. I'd love a review by you for my book when you start the children's books next year ( or even just a private one to see what you think ). I think this site is a fantastic idea, and I'm currently working my way through the list ! Best regards. Sandra Williams (The Pipsqueak Tails - Book Guild Publishing Nov 25th 2010)

    Sandra

  • Thanks for answering all those questions, and looking forward to both your books. Just one more question. How do I get you to read my book? I live in Crete, half way up a mountain, and communication is none too clever. I know my fellow writers will be interested in the answer to this question. Thanks for the brilliant work you both do, and the pleasure you bring to people.

    Best wishes, Jane x

    Jane Sharp

  • I have just ordered both Sister and The Snowman and can't wait to start reading them. The first book that I read, recommended by R & J was "A Thousand Splendid Suns" and I totally trust their judgment in what constitutes a good read.

    Sandie Reader

  • hi Richard and Judy Like Jane I'd love to know who choses the books and how can I get mine read! Diana

    Diana

  • Hi great to see your book club will we see you back on tv soon hope so we need the two of you to give tv some class which is lacking regards tricia

    TRICIA

  • Hi Richard & Judy Can't wait to get reading the new selection of books. I was a big fan of your Ch4 book club and was always happy with your selections.I follow you both on twitter and especially looking forward to Judy's book (set in Cornwall) and to eventually seeing Richard in Who Do You Think You Are?.

    Sue

  • I followed you onto the Brentwood Argus so have always been interested in your career. I have myself written a number of books including the biography of John Bairstow (who you will know of)but now have switched to novels and my first one (He had it coming)is brentwood based on a mystery death in Warley Hospital in the 30s but my most recent one is a fantasy called Sherlock and Holmes and concerns a 'talking' dog clled Sherlock and a largely unsuccessful local journalst called Danny Holmes. They set up an investigation agency. How do we get our books looked at by people like you? in the meantime good luck to you both. I am 75 incidentally and was taken on the Argus by Brian Davis Brian Lynch

    Brian Lynch

  • Thank you Richard and Judy. I am already enjoying the picks... Waiting for Columbus was a diabolical read, curious characters, curious plot, and beautiful language. I had not read a book quite like it. And The Crying Tree was haunting. I can not stop thinking about the story or the characters, they felt so real to me. It was one of those books that I never wanted to end.con

    Ann

  • Good Luck with your novel's!

    I have just self-published my book "The Poetry of Passion (for People with a Pulse)" and it's on amazon now as well as in my local waterstones in Truro, Cornwall. Do you have a book club address so I can send you a copy for consideration when you choose the next batch of books for your bookclub?

    Yours hopefully Juliette

    Juliette Westbrook-Finch

  • Hi, great news you're back with the books. When you get round to looking at Children's books I'd love you to take a look at mine. 'Shine', which is about a girl whose con artist mum gets sent to prison, came out in March this year and Glitter, a credit crunch story, came out 2nd September. I write stand alone books for girls age 9+ - Jaqueline Wilson/ Cathy Cassidy style stories about ordinary girls facing extraordinary situations and HarperCollins publish me. It would be such an honour to have your stamp of approval! Lots of Love, Kate xx

    Kate Maryon

  • Well I think its marvellous that you will be looking at kids books too! Mine has just been published and I would really like to know how I could go about submitting it for consideration next year? Although by then hopefully the sequel will be out. Good luck to you both...oh and at the risk of a shamless plug.. "Boriscat and the Quest for the Golden Carp"...well - I'm not the only one am I!

    Steven Spedding

  • hello i am william a tesco stock controler i am the author of the twins of orin i wonder how i get my book onto your site.i need all the help i can get. yours hopefully william

    william murphy

  • Hi - I have just published my first novel, Jake west - The Keeper of the Stones. It is doing well but as it's self published, it is very hard to market with a full time job and two small children. I'm just wondering how I submit it for review please? It's an epic fantasy adventure particularly aimed at teenagers and young adults which is intended as an introductory novel. It's about honour, courage, loyalty and friendship. The reviews so far have been excellent. Thank you for helping promote the best of British talent. Loving your work.

    M J Webb

  • I am an independent publisher who has just published the biography of Sir William Curtis Bt MP to mark the 215th Anniversary of becoming Lord Mayor of London. His story is a fascinating one, rising from humble beginnings as a sea biscuit baker in Wapping he rose to become one of the most influential businessmen and politicians in Georgian England and was a lifelong friend and confidant of The Prince Regent. "Billy Bisuit - The Colourful Life and Times of Sir William Curtis" is 184 page hardback with over 50 illustrations including many cartoons by Cruikshank and Gilray lampooning Curtis - the man who coined the phrase "The Three Rs. Would you be interested in reviewing it?

    Nick Brazil

  • Hi Richard and Judy, I am trying to reach as many reader's as I can. You see I did have a book deal contract. But very upsettingly the publisher turned out to be a plagerist. So I broke my contract with him. But now am self publishing it, as he may try and steal my story too. Anyone interested in this story I would really appreciate there support. Am gutted with what happened. http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/heavens-secret/13654557?pSee more

    Sara Drake

  • Hi Richard and Judy,love your book club,A couple of years ago you nominated A Quiet Belief In Angels by R.J.Ellory,since then he has written several other novels;two of which are The Anniversary Man and his latest offering Saints Of New York,both cracking novels.Have you read either?

    kevin taggart

  • Hi, Pleeeease could you tell us how to submit a book to you?! Thanks, Sandy

    Sandy

  • Good afternoon Richard and Judy

    My name is Ann Heward and I have just self published my first children's book calld the Adventures of Sam and Sophie. The book contains eight short stories about the exploits of two dogs and their many animal friends, all of whom live in the Yorkshire countryside.

    There is a web site for the book called www.samandsophie.co.uk which provides more details on the content of the book and I have produced a video of myself reading one of the stories.

    I would welcome the opportunity to forward a copy of the book for your forthcoming children's book club.

    Because of a lack of interest shown by mainstream publishers, I took the route of self publishing because I strongly believe that the contents of the book are of interest to children in providing an insight into country life and the many animals that live there.

    I have just written a second book containing ten stories and am hoping to convince mainstream publishers to take it on and feel that if I were to receive publicity for the first book, that it would help my cause enormously. In view of the above and provided you would like to see the first book, how do I go about sending you a copy for you to review it? Many regards Ann Heward

    ann heward

  • I'm sure hundreds of people ask this one: Is it possible for you to review my book 'Baby Giant'? Every one who has bought it has loved it, yet without reviews I can't get it on the shelves.

    Cherry Tompsett

  • Hi Richard & Judy, I have recently had my first book published about growing up in the north-west of England. How can I get you to have a look at it? Great work you are both doing by the way! Andrew.

    andrew karalius

  • Hi Richard and Judy, I have just heard about your Book Club for Children - which is fabulous news. A few years ago I sent you a copy of the book that I wrote with my friend and illustrator Alison Johnston.It is called "Dudley and the Chocolate Birthday Cake" and we self published it through a small publishing house called Running Fox. Alison and I have really enjoyed going into schools and the feedback has been fantastic. We now just need to reach a wider audience. I would love to be part of your book club. With Best Wishes. Annette Stacey.

    Annette Stacey

  • Hi Im a new author and wanted to see if you guys wanted to look over the books as they are based on a true life story that has effected 2million of us the books and my life story have gone on to help in the local community im a dislexyic author . The book are called there's no room for jugglers in my circus and the gangster runner im also looking for an agent.

    look ofrward to hearing form you guys and from you also Richard & Judy

    Jason Cook

  • I wonder if anyone can help me to track down a book I am pretty sure was recommended on Richard & Judy's Book Club. I dont have the title or the author but it was about a young man who had a brother who died but when he went to the cemetary he could visit his brother who was a ghost. He then met a woman who he thought was a ghost but actually she was still alive but dying somewhere and he had to find her before she died. Can anyone help? Thanks?

    Ellie

  • I have recently published a book Letters to Bangkok, a love story of our time, a story of hope, of dreams and destiny fulfilled. It is an autobiographical novel of my journey of finding love with a practising Thai surgeon. My web site is http://letterstobangkok.com/ I want to know how I can submit my book to the Richard and Judy Club ?

    Thanks

    Tom Kissack

  • Dear Richard and Judy. I'm not sure if I am using the correct link. If not, I appologise. I have just had my chidrens book published through Pegasus. Covering the paranormal,this fanasy fiction is for age 12 plus and my publishers and I have been unsuccessful in finding out how to submit my book to you both for a review. Kind regards Sonia Grey

    Sonia Grey

  • my husband had his book accepted by Athena press for publishing but they have gone into liquidation before it could go to print,we would love for you to read it and give us your comments and advise. it is about his rough and ready childhood just after the war and the things he had to do to survive. we have had a good feed back from a number of people but i would like your expert opinion. thank you Sandra Perkins

    Sandra

  • Northern Spirit ... written by a northen gal. How would you feel if your family name was splashed over the front of the tabloids because of the sins of your father? David Keldas is trying to live down the shame. It’s 1973 and in the heart of the hills and mountains of the English Lakes, David is trying to run the family farm and care for his mother and younger brother and sisters. He’s striving to right the wrong his father caused, when he makes a dangerous liaison with a young woman and finds he’s walking exactly in his father’s footsteps Can friendship, love and life survive in even the most extraordinary circumstances? We'd love you to read Lindsey's new novel.

    Lindsey J Carden

  • Hi guys... Northern Spirit.. by Lindsey J Carden is set in the Lake District. Not Herriot but Bronte in 1973 . Family saga . Good read for a Northern lass. Please read it Judy... ISBN registered .

    Lindsey J Carden

  • I would like to submit my novel for possible review. It was published last year by a small independent company in Bristol and has received a few glowing reviews and has nearly sold out the 1st print run of 1,000 copies. Please could you advise me as to how to go about this. Many thanks, Steve.

    Steve

  • I think the book club is a great idea. I too am having my first book due to be published on 10 December 201, which i munderstand will be avaialable at WH Smith. I wondered how I would go about getting the book considered for a review by the club. The book is an autobiography of my working career of 25 years serving as a prison officer for Her Majesty's Prison Service. It is unlike any other book about prisons as this is purely about what I got upto during my career and not any sensationalism of the violence and what goes on. It is more about the politics of working day to day within this environment rather than the more sensational aspects of the job. I would love this book to be reviewed.

    Anthony Levy

  • Hi Richard and Judy, I read your blog with interest. I have written a factual 62 page book with pictures on Green Men. It is called "The Hidden Green Man in Essex" It is a first book and is going to be in the shops from 1st December. I would be absolutely delighted if you could review it. I am a mother of three and didn't set out to write a book. Visiting local medieval churches with my family and looking for this mysterious icon became an unstoppable hobby. www.susanhegedus.com Thanks

    susan hegedus

  • I am helping a new author who has had her second book published, how can she get it to you to review it, please. I have read it, also my husband, and we think it is an excellent family saga. The author needs publicity for her book. Could you please let me know where she could send this to you please.

    Many thanks

    Margaret

  • Hi,

    Can you provide some information about how to submit a book for review, and is there a certain time(s) of the year when you accept childrens books.

    Thanks

    Tony

  • Hi, my friends have just had their 1st childrens book published, all with their own illustrations & my own children have read it and think its fantastic, I would love for you to read & review it but can't find out how to do this. Could you please let me know, thankyou kerry x

    kerry

  • Hello, I love the work you do and think it's fantastic but how do you go about getting you to read one and submit it to you? I can't find it anywhere! Can anyone else help? I can't even find it on the website. kInd regards Rebecca

    Rebecca

  • Dear Richard and Judy Please forgive me for trespassing on your valuable time. I have recently had my first book published on Amazon Kindle eBooks, titled “A fight is not about who is right. It’s about who is left!” Which I am sure you and your readers shall find intriguing. I am endeavouring to have the book reviewed by your good selves, but I’m unsure how to go about it. I am in my late sixties, and not fully conversant with the correct protocol regarding forwarding books for reviews, please forgive any indiscretion. Yours sincerely. Alan Hunt

    Alan Hunt

  • Good Morning Richard and Judy “A fight is not about who is right. It’s about who is left!” A truly gripping life story and a must read book. Written by a Pensioner in his late sixties.

    In the wake of WW2 and born into the back to back slums of Birmingham, UK, a young boy begins an incredible life journey which unfolds to be one full of adventure, danger and brushes with fame.

    Interspersed with observational street wit and timeless one-liners which epitomize and encapsulates the flavour of the period, this book draws you into a world of day to day survival, from growing up on the inner city streets of Birmingham, to living on the precarious streets of Colombia.

    Encompassing his astonishing adventures and observations. Alan Hunt describes with working class black humour, the trials and tribulations of dealing with vicious street gangs and his period as a Night Club Doorman in one of the roughest clubs in Birmingham. He recalls his hazardous events as a member of the Special Forces, both with the British and Colombian military.

    As life takes its course, it lands him in a range of exciting escapades, from featuring in a clandestine acting role, in a film alongside several international film stars in Colombia, to fighting in Madison Square Garden as Captain of the British Jujitsu Team.

    As well as the serious subject matter running throughout this book, there is an injection of humour taken from the fifties period, and a window is opened for the reader to gain a firsthand account of social history. Just when the narrative becomes serious and thought provoking, the reader stumbles onto the humorous observations and one-liners delivered by the various characters, providing a well balanced account.

    To surmise, this book is an amalgamation of social history, adventure, a humorous fusion of repartee, irony and epigrams, perhaps the perfect ingredients for quintessential escapism!

    This book has attracted five star rave reviews on Amazon. I would be most grateful if you would consider reviewing it for your book club. Yours sincerely Alan Hunt.

    Alan Hunt

  • Hi, my name is Adrian Hawkins, and I have recently self-published my first novel. It's titled "Falling: A Spirits & Shards Novel" and is available now on Amazon as paperback and Kindle editions (the free 48-hour promo should be live soon), and it's soon coming to Kobo, Waterstones, Gardners, iTunes et al.

    What I need is some publicity/feedback if you'd please be so kind? I'm perfectly happy to post you a complimentary copy for review, as I should be receiving my paperback copies soon.

    I'm also hoping to do a signing soon, but with your help I could go so much further.

    I've contacted a local writing club to meet other writers, get feedback, etc, but am still struggling to find ways of getting "out there", etc.

    I intend to be a prolific author, and am currently writing a spy short for a Swinging Sixties collection and am hard at work on the concept for a space-faring adventure as well as the next volume of the Spirits & Shards series.

    I thank you for your time and hope you will find it in your heart to help an author with a deep, insatiable passion for books.

    A J Hawkins

  • I have self-published my first novel "Philippine Princess" on Amazon and would like to know if there is a formal process to have the book considered for your book club.

    There are so many writers who are self publishing and the main problem for all these newly published books is getting them in front of readers. Are there any specific ideas or suggestions you would make to help authors with their first steps in publishing ?

    Julian

  • Hey Richard and Judy. Love you both and you always pick great books.I,m excited that you've added children's books now and with that in mind how would you like to read my first children's book for 12/16 year olds? How can I get it to you both?I,m self published and this is just a review I totally trust your views.

    Helen...

    Helen

  • Hey,

    I am a first time author having publihed my book Ursula's Secrets with an independent Ebook publisher. My question is how can I possibly get my book in your hands? I believe you'll love it, there is plenty of London in the book and it's an old fashioned romance/mystery.

    I am in my silver years and would like to get my writing career going, as I'm not discouraged by age! If there is anyway to send material to your agent or otherwise, please let me know!

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind regards,

    Roger Jefferies

    Roger Jefferies

  • Hi Both

    Thanks for your work in expanding interest in reading as a pleasure! I recently completed a biography about a dyslexic boy who was emotionally neglected by his mother. It was in the 1950's. He attempted suicide before his 10th birthday and was committed, spending time in an adult mental ward.

    He overcame all the challenges and became a successful engineer and designed Electronic Mastermind (remember that)?

    How can I submit 'Susan's Brother' to you? ( http://www.susansbrother.com )

    Keep up the good work James Marinero

    James Marinero