Neem Tree Blog

Marketing Mode and Nike’s High-Tech Modest Swim Wear

We’ve been trying to figure out what are the best marketing and publicity tactics – what will actually make people press the buy button and, importantly, which ones are the most cost-effective. Without the huge marketing machine of the behemoths, we are testing and venturing into all sorts of waters: school reading groups, blog tours, library email lists, online publications, endorsements (preferably from famous personalities), traditional publicists to secure reviews and radio interviews with major national (if we are lucky) and local news outlets, Christmas lists, giveaways and whatever else we can think of.

We have an update for Distant Signs with a wonderful interview by Anne Richter on The Author’s Show Anne Richter on The Authors Show . Our publicist for The Umbrella Men and Distant Signs, Literally PR, have added the books to this Christmas List They have also entered  The Umbrella Men for this competition at 50 Connect to win signed copies of the book.

50 Connect Competition

Hafsa Lodi, the author of Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, moderated a panel of Arab women athletes at the launch of Nike’s new high-tech modest swim wear. Watch the official Nike Make Waves with New Inclusivity Swimwear Range Watch the official Nike Make Waves with New Inclusivity Swimwear Range

 

Till next week!

Fugit Inreparabile Tempus

We were dismayed by the tragedy that unfolded on London Bridge and the senseless death of two beautiful souled young people who lost their lives while trying to help rehabilitate prisoners back into society. What a terribly sad loss for their families and such a loss for society. There was a break of just one day for this tragedy and then the UK continued with the election campaign. We are sobered by this event and in great appreciation of all those ‘ordinary’ people who charged the attacker and averted an even greater disaster.

The advanced review copies for Children of War and Modesty: A Fashion Paradox arrived during this sobering period. We’ve thankfully booked #RandomThingsTour by Anne Cater for UK focused blog tours for both books. The US-focused Historic Fiction Blog Tour for Distant Signs received some wonderful reviews which we still need to add to our website. There was also an amazing response to the giveaway with 944 entries. We have no idea whether this is more or less than average on Amy’s tours, but we are suitably impressed and can’t wait for her to start on Children of War for next year.

Modesty: A Fashion Paradox by Hafsa Lodi has had an auspicious start with an inclusion in an article by Layla Haidrani in CosmoUK’s ‘ Best books by BAME and POC authors to read in 2020’. Best books by BAME and POC authors to read in 2020 And Hafsa, a journalist by training, also wrote this article for Female First. Ten Things You Need To Know About Modest Fashion

Till next week.

Blog Tours And Giveaways – And A Plea To Everyone To Wear Bright Colours In Dreary Autumn Weather!

In grey London autumn weather, we are always surprised that everyone contributes to the dreariness by wearing dark blue, black and brown coats. Today on the tube we saw only two people who had brightly coloured coats, one an electric blue and one a bright red out of a carriage of around thirty people. We so wish everyone would dress in bright colours in autumn and winter. Imagine how the streets would look dotted with ochres, magnolias, flame reds, turquoise and bright greens!

We’ve had to deal with the limitations of the very physical side of publishing books this week. It’s taken longer than we expected to transfer books where they need to be. We’ve also packed boxes, addressed and filled envelopes, requested printer quotes for our next few books, trekked off to the post office or dropped off packages to the little newsagent two doors down that is, rather conveniently, a UPS drop off.

We’re also delighted to be getting great reviews on the blog tour for The Three Hares: The Jade Dragonball via @annecater’s wonderful #randomthingstour. Here are some of them:

I flew through the pages and did not want to put it down, it was a fantastic read and I can see this being such a hit – it was great and I loved the mix of fantasy and history! by @dmmaguire391;

‘everyone will enjoy The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball just as much as I have, it’s packed full of adventure and magic a bit like Harry Potter.’ by young Eva through her mother’s blog @Lentlesslypurpl; Her mother tells us Eva has already read the book twice – so high praise indeed!

‘a marvellous adventure tale… so well written and will appeal to any age… There’s Chinese history, art, culture… Charming, twisty and very engaging…’ by the lovely @lelbudge;

An exciting, new, middle grade, historical, fantasy fiction series…The Three Hares series will educate as well as entertain. With both female and male protagonists, historical and cultural and a plot that promotes values such as grit, inner strength, resilience, empathy and confidence, this is sure to be a huge hit in and out of the classroom.’ by The Magic of Worlds ; and, from the USA,

An Excellent Middle Grade Fantasy Novel to Add to Your TBR from AwkwordlyEmma’s post.

 

We’ve embarked on a month-long blog tour with @HFVBT for Distant Signs. The tour has kicked off with some superb reviews: by  @booksinTNH, ‘I was not prepared for how much this book would stir my soul… By the end of the book, you find yourself thinking back about how profound it was…’

‘Distant Signs is a beautifully written novel that will stick with the reader long after closing it.’ by @ABookGeek

‘With Distant Signs, Anne Richter created a deep story with well-written characters and beautiful prose.’ by @CometReadings

And we are so happy that to date 441 people have signed up for the giveaway. We think we really need to send the book out to at least three people and not just one!

And on a very exciting note, Neem Tree Press will be represented by Hafsa Lodi at the February 2020 Emirates Literature Festival, the author of Modesty: A Fashion Paradox, our first non-fiction book. Almost weekly we see articles on the growing modest fashion industry, and this week was no exception: Modest fashion: ‘I feel confident and comfortable’ – BBC News and in late October, ‘The Co-opting of Modest Fashion – The New York Times’ .

Till next week!

I don’t know that I’ve read a more moving piece of postwar German fiction…

We are almost done slotting into Casemate’s distribution infrastructure bar a few last-minute tasks, books are moving to new warehouses and we are relishing engaging with the UK and US teams.

We noted that the right wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party more than doubled its share in the state of Thuringia with 23.5% share of the vote, coming in second to the Left Party and ahead of Angela Merkel’s CDU. Distant Signs is set in Thuringia and the paperback will be published this week on November 7th. Here are some recent fantastic reviews on the book that we hope will compel you to order your copy!

A very recent Netgalley reviewer writes, ‘I don’t know that I’ve read a more moving piece of postwar German fiction – and this includes Gunter Grass’s best efforts…I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone wishing to see how an author has captures the spirit of the divided, then reunited, Berlin through common, yet uncommon, people.’

And from Liz Robinson at LoveReading, ‘A fascinating and truly memorable read…I always know that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a novel when I want to research the history and time it is set in. ‘Distant Signs’ set my thoughts thrumming, it is so intriguing, compelling and beautifully readable too.’

And from the latest MidWest Book review by senior reviewer, D. Donovan, ‘astute and lyrical’ ‘Richter’s ability to capture the sights and sounds, and effects of social and political changes as they reverberate throughout Germany and the world…is thought provoking and revealing’ ‘Anyone who would understand the East German experience and psyche will relish Distant Signs for its ability to pick up the pieces of a shattered nation and era and recreate them in all their complexity, as a legacy for future generations’ .

And some recent ones from Goodreads, one from Amy, ‘A compelling read that I could not put down. I give Distant Signs five plus stars…a must read for readers who love history.’ And here is one from Lori, ‘A very beautiful story… a very deep read and thought-provoking detail about GDR, the post war and the fall of the wall in Berlin.’

We are looking forward to the #historicalfiction blog tour @HFVBT for Distant Signs later this week.

And we will reveal next week which of our authors has been invited to speak at the Emirates Literature Festival in February 2020 in Dubai!

Fires In California, UK Radio Interviews And The Rise Of The AfD In Thuringia

As wind speeds from 30 to 40 miles per hour and gusts of 60 to 80 miles per hour are forecasted, up to 2.3m people will have their power cut off in California as a precautionary measure and at the last count, up to 180,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes. We have family in the region and are concerned for their safety. Should real estate developers have been allowed to set up developments near forested areas? These developments, cost cutting by running power lines through trees rather than burying them underground and the lack of rain leaving dry, crisp branches has exacerbated the wildfires. So, what’s next? This article notes that, ‘the area burned in California wildfires has increased fivefold from 1972 to 2018’ and suggests that blackouts will become a regular occurrence in an attempt to prevent the spread of these fires: More Blackouts

Keith Carter author of The Umbrella Men has had two radio interviews this week, one with Northern Manchester Radio and with Men’s Radio and one scheduled with Glastonbury FM for Monday evening, all thanks to the team at Literally PR! We’ll load up these interviews as soon as we can. Royal Bank of Scotland remains in the news as Derek Sach, prior head of the Global Restructuring Group (GRG) at RBS, is called as a witness in a case between a property developer and RBS. The case attests that the government asserted pressure on the GRG to ruin small businesses so it could claim their assets and sell them to boost the bank’s profits. That is quite an incendiary allegation. There is a wonderful scene in The Umbrella Men that must resonate with many small business owners who had taken out loans with RBS.

As the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches, we note very interesting articles in the press.  A new start-up offers a virtual reality tour that recreates the wall: Berlin Wall In Virtual Reality . One article particularly caught our eye and your views on its conclusion rather depends on which side of the Brexit Wall you sit: Thatcher’s fear of an overmighty Germany lives on in Brexit via @financialtimes. We keep an eye on the rise of the far right in the same region that Anne Richter’s novel is set in, Thuringia. Resentment from downward mobility due to poor economic policies post reunification and influx of refugees is fueling this support. The AfD is expected to make substantial gains in impending elections: Rise of the AfD

We’ve finalized the covers for Book 2 and Book 3 for The Three Hares series, thanks to Mark Ecob and Lee Gibbons for fantastic colours and object designs. Please take note of two impending blog tours for our books, one for Distant Signs by Anne Richter kicking off on November 7th in the US and one for The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder and David Ross on November 11th in the UK. Our format issues with Lightning Source are almost resolved. And, of course, we continue to follow up on leads from Frankfurt.

Till next week!

Frankfurt Book Fair

Our first Frankfurt Book Fair was exhilarating, we’ve made lots of new friends and contacts and have exciting new opportunities for foreign rights! It was great sitting and catching up with fellow exhibitors. Thank you so much to the IPG for making it incredibly easy to exhibit and to the Publishers Association for enabling us to attend a drinks evening with the British Ambassador, British Honorary Consul and the Director of British Council Germany where the treat was a reading by Robert Harris from his latest book, The Second Sleep. We haven’t read it yet, but it reminded us of A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr, which is an all-time favourite read of ours. We also attended the International Publishers Dinner organized by the Sheikh Zayed Book Award and the Frankfurt Book Fair New York. The company was really interesting and very international with publishers from Ukraine and China, amongst others. We were seated on the same table as the team from Publishing Perspectives and two young Emirati women authors who were there to celebrate their award-winning books securing translation rights, the perfect dinner companions for a wonderful conversation. If you haven’t signed up for Publishing Perspectives, we’d really recommend it. The news provides an excellent global perspective on the industry (the publication is aptly named)!

We were very impressed by the senior sales team at Casemate and really excited and feel very appreciative to be working with them. Thankfully all the brochures we printed for Frankfurt, agonizing we’d produced too many, will be utilized by the US and UK sales teams. We will need to knuckle down this week and deal with logistical issues as books will need to be moved from their current locations with Gardners and Clays and onto the Casemate distribution system. We are also finding some technical issues loading up our first demy sized book on Lightning Source. Why can there not be just one demy size? We hope to get this dilemma done and dusted this week, well before the November 7th paperback publication date of Distant Signs. We are gearing up for the US blog tour for Distant Signs organized by the amazing Amy Bruno at Historic Fiction Virtual Book Tours @HFVBT. The tour kicks off on November 7th. Do join us!

A recent article in DW.com, the online arm of Deutsche Welle, says that in a September 2019 report commissioned by Christian Hirte, the government’s commissioner for eastern German affairs, ‘57% of citizens in eastern Germany felt like second-class citizens and that just 38% of those asked in the east see reunification as a success, including only 20% of people under 40.’  Former East Germany Still Lags Behind West . Is this the reason for the surge in support for the AfD in the September elections? Support for the AfD.

On a happier note, we are also sending the advanced review copies of Children of War and Modesty: A Fashion Paradox to print this week! We believe both books are highly topical. If you write book reviews and are intrigued by either of these titles, send us a private message on twitter or through our website for a review copy.

Until next week!

No Free Lunches: Our clean energy needs to be sourced responsibly…

The week has flown by and we are ready for Frankfurt. There were a few hiccups, but the brochure is done, books will be in our hands by Monday at the latest, and we’ve downloaded the highly functional app for the fair. It’s our first time going to Frankfurt and we are excited but, more importantly, hoping we make contacts, sell rights and generally soak in market information.

We are absolutely thrilled to have signed on with Casemate Group for global distribution! Here’s to a long and fruitful relationship with a very supportive partner. We will now be able to concentrate on building our list knowing we can get the books out to the world.

We have just finished a #randomthings blog tour organized by the amazing @annecater for The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter. To close the tour, @theliteraryshed writes ‘…Carter’s… characters are…sharply drawn, the humour black, their actions and attitudes intentionally amusing and shocking.’ And we should be shocked: the financial crisis ripped apart lives as the profit motive blinded the financial world to the consequences of increasingly risky leverage. And we should also be wary of the march to renewables without understanding their negative consequences on the environment. We all know we need to get to ‘cleaner’ energy, but history should teach us that there are no free lunches. Just think back to the recent fiasco with diesel cars.

If you love our planet and firmly believe we need to protect the environment read The Umbrella Men. @theliteraryshed writes that learning about rare earth metals was a ‘revelation’. As this article in The Big Think notes, ‘A rapid increase in demand for metals for renewable energy…could lead to mining of marginal or unconventional resources, which are often in more remote or biodiverse places…Many of these areas rich in minerals are remote wilderness, which have yet to be touched by any commercial endeavor.’ Our Green Energy Needs To Be Sourced Responsibly .

The article goes on, ‘With a world running completely on renewables, the metal requirements would be astronomical. The only way you’re going to feed this need is by opening up more mines worldwide. Combined with our unsustainable mining practices, we’ll be doing more harm than good…Large scale commercial strip mining of forests, slave labor, and ecological destruction would all be necessary to feed our current “green dream.”‘ This is a sobering thought indeed.

Next week we’ll write with news about how our very first visit to the Frankfurt Book Fair went. Wishing you all a wonderful week from a very rainy London.

Too Big To Fail and A Momentous 1989

We are part way through another amazing @annecater #randomthingstour, this time for The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter. Here are some of the reviews we’ve received so far:

Paul Burke @Paulodaburka @NBmagazineUK writes, ‘Carter has written an involving and provocative novel that it’s easy to take to. Humorous, acerbic and keenly observed, the financial crisis is properly skewered.’ From @fidacatriona we have, ‘refreshing’ and ‘incredibly ironic’. And @aileenmck writes, ‘darkly humorous and with a pinch of irony’ and ‘thought provoking and highly contemporary’. High praise indeed. We published the paperback on October 3rd.

We would really recommend everyone read the book, not just because it’s fun, engaging, witty and informative and not just because we published it. We really do think we all need to be better informed about the 2008 financial crisis and The Umbrella Men allows us to do this while being entertained. As taxpayers, the ramifications of this global, seismic event are still with us, and will be with us for many more years to come.

48 hours after the FTSE 100 recorded its largest single-day points fall since 1987, on October 8, 2008, the UK government spent billions of pounds to stabilise the stock market. It spent £45billion buying 68% of Royal Bank of Scotland. The government still owns around 62% of the bank and has made a £2billion pound loss on a partial sale of its stake. The Treasury plans to sell the entire public stake by 2023-2024, and is projected to lose about £28.5bn in the process, according to the Treasury’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility. In a recent press article, Keith writes, ‘It has been estimated that the Financial Crisis – which should be called the Bankers’ Crisis – of 2007-2009, cost taxpayers globally an additional $1 trillion in tax. That’s $1,000,000,000,000 – a THOUSAND BILLION dollars. You can build quite a few hospitals, homeless shelters and schools with that… Add to that the additional debt and indirect costs – and the number can be multiplied.’

No banker has gone to jail for this crisis, yet so many small businesses went bust and so many people lost their homes. I leave you with a link to this Forbes article from the summer titled, ‘ Highly Leveraged Zombie Companies Threaten the Global Economy‘. We are not out of the woods yet and may be entering stormy waters again.

We are gearing up for the November 7th launch of the UK paperback edition of Distant Signs. The book will also be available worldwide on that date. 9 November 1989 will mark 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In these times when walls are being built and talk of erecting borders and polarization of society and discourse normalized, it is extremely important to celebrate this time in history when a wall was brought down by ordinary people intent on doing the right thing, despite the lingering economic divides in the united Germany. Here are some modern border walls that are worth contemplating: between North and South Korea, between Spain and Morocco in the towns of Ceuta and Melilla, between Egypt and the Gaza strip, between Israel and the West Bank, in Cyprus, through the divided capital of Nicosia, between India and Pakistan, the ‘peace walls’ mainly in Belfast, but also in other parts of Northern Ireland, between Malaysia and Thailand and between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Here are two interesting articles on the rise in modern border walls: 7 to 77 Border Walls and 16 Significant Walls .

1989 was a momentous year in many other respects. History Central provides this exhilarating and sobering list:

Till next week.

Risque Submissions

Hello everyone! It’s been a relatively mundane week except for some rather risque submissions. Perhaps we need to be a little more explicit about the kinds of books we will not publish. Explicit sexual content is really not our thing, and neither is brutal violence. We received a very interesting, extremely well written novel about drug cartels a little while back in which the x-rated scenes were not gratuitous in the least and in fact integral to the novel, but we just couldn’t handle them.

We were very excited to receive three agented submissions, in addition to direct ones. We hope to sign a few contracts in the next couple of months for our 2020 and 2021 and looking out for our 2022 list. We are keen to increase our non-fiction list in particular. We are also exploring audiobook options for some of our titles and hope to have our first one out in early 2020.

We came across the following article in The Conversation about the translation process, using Jane Eyre as an example. It is fascinating: Jane Eyre translated: 57 languages show how different cultures interpret Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel

We were also pleased, but a little surprised to have an article related to modest fashion in The Sun, but here it is: Modest Model Mariah Idrissi and Hijabs

The usual ups and downs for an indie publisher continue with printer schedules, print formats, sales and distribution, marketing and publicity. As usual, we take things a day at a time and know that building a business is many marathons strung together with an occasional sprint in between. Till next week!