Inside publishing

When publishers decide to woo an author, they usually choose drinks in the boardroom with the top brass followed by an expensive lunch at, say, Aubergine or the Atlantic Bar and Grill. Not so with Daniel Hooper, the 24-year-old environmental protester better known as Swampy.

Swampy's introduction and synopsis for Going Underground is currently on the desks of a dozen publishers. An auction for the rights is due to begin this week and the agent who's calling the shots, Luigi Bonomi of Sheil Land Associates, had to prove himself before Swampy agreed to sign up.

For Bonomi and Swampy conducted their negotiations amid the chaos of the Manchester Airport protest. Having driven up from London, the agent was required to swing Tarzan-like across a river, scramble up the muddy bank, lower himself into a tunnel and finally clamber up the tree where Swampy had decided to hold court. Having boned up on the minutiae of eco- politics, Bonomi felt himself well-prepared. But he was surprised by Swampy's opening question: "What's your percentage then?" Apparently happy with 10 per cent - agents can charge as much as 20 - Swampy extended a muddy paw and Bonomi gingerly lowered himself back to ground level. Wet and muddy and without a change of clothes, he stripped off in the car, making the return journey clad only in Y-fronts and T-shirt.

A copy of The Kamasutra sits, well thumbed, on many a baby-boomer's bookshelf, doubtless providing hours of furtive fun for the children. Over the years, the ancient Hindu text, translated into English in 1883 by the flamboyant anthropologist and (cunni)linguist Sir Richard Francis, has appeared in numerous guises, including pop-up and CD-Rom. Now - at last - comes, as it were, The Kamasutra for Women, "the modern woman's way to sensual fulfilment and health", by Dr Vinod Verma, founding director of Delhi's New Way Health Organisation. Billed as "a new classic for women", the book presents a series of exercises, massage instructions, breathing and rejuvenation methods, and homeopathic and herbal remedies all designed to "heighten the senses and expand sensuous experience". But don't rush to your local bookshop today, however: Gala doesn't publish until October.

Rosie Thomas, a writer of "women's fiction", will this autumn take time off to take part in the Paris to Peking international motor rally, accompanied by a thirtysomething adventurer and photographer with whom she will share the driving of a venerable Volvo Amazon. The 16,000km journey will take Thomas halfway around the world, across China, Tibet, Nepal, Turkey, Greece, Italy and finally into France for the home run, arriving in Paris in October. Along the way, Thomas will be keeping a diary, which will be published by Little Brown as Forty-Five Days from Peking to Paris. The rally has been run just once before, in l967, when the winner was Prince Scipio Borghese.

Golf's latest superstar, Tiger Woods, arrives in Britain next month for the Open. Scarcely heard of a few weeks ago, he is now to be the subject of half-a-dozen books. First off and just out is Training a Tiger: A Father's Guide to Raising a Winner in both Golf and Life written by Earl Woods and published by Hodder & Stoughton.

Further off - "he is very young" as publisher Alan Samson points out - is Woods' autobiography, bought, along with an "inspirational instruction manual", for close on pounds 400,000 at auction by Little Brown. Other projects known to be in the works include The Tiger Woods Way by John Andrisani and Tiger: A Biography by John Strege.

Tiger's very first round of nine holes is already the stuff of legend; the three-year-old got round in 48.

Desirable as it is that the minimum wage be set at pounds 4.50 an hour and above, there is concern about the likely effects on the small bookseller. A sales assistant in a bookshop earns an average of pounds 9,000 a year, which translates as around pounds 4 an hour - and that's on average, which means that many earn less, perhaps around pounds 3 in small shops. Meanwhile, according to early figures from the Publishers Association, consumer spending on books fell in real terms by 2.1 per cent in 1996. A survey by Book Marketing Ltd, however, reveals that the number of people who bought a discounted book in the same period increased by 12 per cent to 62 per cent. Thirty one per cent bought in a bargain bookshop, 30 per cent in a booksellers/ stationers such as Smith's - and only 21 per cent at a bookshop, down 3 per cent on 1994. The slick London chain, Books Etc, meanwhile, this week announced its intention to float on the Stock Exchange to fund further expansion.

One author at least, is happy. According to Booktrack figures, Terry Pratchett saw 20 of his books in the top 50 of bestselling science fiction titles for the first quarter of the year. Of those, three were in the top 10, with Maskerade at number one. In total, 56,798 sales. Who said truth is stranger than fiction?

The Literator

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager (EMEA) - City, London

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Manager...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine