Viva BookBlast!

A brand is your personality, so the saying goes. Since I am a blasty, chutzpah kind of person when it comes to writing and ideas, BookBlast is a reflection of this. I dreamed up the name for the London-based agency founded in 1997, and the first company website went live in 2000. Since which time, much of the writing and  self-publishing community has been inspired by the concept of BookBlast online.

For twenty-five years − as an editor, agent, book publicist, translator and literary executor − I have cross-pollinated ideas, connected the dots and contributed to making major book projects happen, often against the odds. Since 2005, news and insights  have been passed on as an occasional writer for words without borders , 3:AM magazine and various publications. The BookBlast Diary now brings focused, extra spice to the creative collective table.

On 5 March 2015, the company website was selected by the curators of Bodleian Electronic Archives and Manuscripts, Bodleian Libraries, Oxford as being of lasting research value and worthy of permanent preservation in the Web Archive of the Bodleian Libraries.

We all influence each other, yet stamp our own imprint of individuality on whatever it is that we do. I continue to be inspired by the visionary ideas and humanism of my grandfather, Elton Mayo, the Australian-born psychologist, industrial researcher and organizational theorist who influenced Dale Carnegie, amongst many others.

I continue to be energized by the creative fire of Wyndham Lewis (author of BLAST magazine, with Ezra Pound) and the Vorticists at the turn of last century. Lewis stated: “The moment a man feels or realizes himself as an artist, he ceases to belong to any milieu or time . . . Blast is created for this timeless fundamental Artist that exists in everybody . . . Blast will appeal to the fundamental and popular instincts in every class and every description of people, TO THE INDIVIDUAL.”

Mavericks from a ‘traditional’ book publishing background, alongside newcomers, have embraced the new digital opportunities on offer. Indie publishers like Restless Books and Frisch & Co are showcasing writers from around the world. And Other Stories, Unbound and The Pigeonhole are successfully applying new business models to their ventures. Many of the new breed of indie booksellers are releasing their own books thanks to the digital revolution. Book buyers who choose to support indie bookshops know they will get great service and stumble upon titles they have never heard of − with the added bonus that to support your local economy feels good. The Hive Network and Wordery offer readers a combination of high street and 24-hour online retailing. I relish both my books and e-reader − we are lucky to have a choice.

In December 2014 BookBlast ePublishing released its first ebook  − an acknowledged ‘classic’ by Lesley Blanch: The Wilder Shores of Love pioneered a new kind of group biography. Four nineteenth-century European women Isabel Burton, Jane Digby, Aimée Dubucq de Rivery and Isabelle Eberhardt chose to escape from ‘the boredom of convention’, leaving behind them the industrialized West to find ‘the heart of adventure’ through love and fulfillment in north Africa and the Near East.

The Sabres of Paradise: Vengeance and Conquest in the Caucasus about the supreme Muslim chieftain and military leader Imam Shamyl and his fight against 19th century Imperialist Russia, and The Nine Tiger Man, a witty satirical romance dedicated to Lesley Blanch’s friend, Nancy Mitford, followed in January 2015. Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist and Regency England Undressed: Harriette Wilson, the Greatest Courtesan of her Age, were released a year later, in February 2016.

The BookBlast Diary covers a range of world writing, gives insights into book publishing, and features guest contributors. We showcase the best of what is on offer from independent book publishers and their authors by way of exclusive publisher Q&As, author Q&As, reviews and clips on YouTube. Letters, photos and articles from the BookBlast archive, by the late Lesley Blanch and Gael Elton Mayo in particular, give a glamorous and unashamedly European atmosphere to the whole.

Copyright © Georgia de Chamberet, London, February 2015. Updated April 2016.

The lead image of the cafe at MERCI 111 boulevard Beaumarchais 75003 Paris and of Balzac’s desk at his home in Passy are copyright material and may only be used for associated reports about this post. It is not permitted to change them, to add to them, reproduce or modify them in any other way. In case of violation, we reserve the right to withdraw the right of use.

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