Cats on the Move

Crimson Cats are on the move again. Earlier today we did a live lunchtime show at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds, where we presented extracts from our audio book    My Life And Times, the autobiography of Jerome K. Jerome. I introduced the session and set each link in context and the actor Brian Wright, fetchingly attired in red waistcoat, check jacket and tie, read the extracts. Brian read My Life And Times for our audio book and today he even looked a little like Jerome K. Jerome.

The Theatre Royal at Bury is a delightful building, restored to its full Georgian glory about 3 years ago. Standing in the auditorium, looking at the rows of boxes around the walls, you could imagine Jerome attending a theatre much like it in London in the late 19th century.

From Bury to Somerset. Over the next couple of days we are doing two more live shows. These will be at Compton House, a country house hotel in Axbridge Somerset. On Friday night we will be presenting extracts from 6 of our books during a formal dinner and then on Saturday we will give our presentation and other early writings by the young Jane Austenof The Beautifull Cassandra, some of the Juvenilia of Jane Austen, following a buffet supper.

These occasions are great fun, great fun to perform and – we hope – great fun to listen to. Audio books are, of course, designed to be listened to and so performing extracts live makes a lot of sense.

And then… Australia. Yes, the Cats are going overseas in October. A promotional tour has been arranged for Crimson Cats ‘down under’, where we will be performing to a number of different groups and societies.  More of that anon. At least, unlike real cats, we are not expected to travel in a cage. Or perhaps you think economy class isn’t much better!

If you know of a group or orginsiation which would like a live presentation of one or more of our audio books then please get in touch. Theatres, arts centres, libaries, book shops, book groups, rotary clubs, we’ve done them all. There is no charge – just a contribution to travel expenses.

We look forward to meeting you.

Michael

Download Day

Well, we finally cracked it. I say that with some trepidation as I suspect anyone under the age of 40 will be saying “what took you so long”, but I can at last report that all Crimson Cats titles are now available as MP3 downloads.

Interesting how things change. When we launched Crimson Cats in 2005 all our research showed that no-one (well, not our target audience anyway) was interested in downloads. They all wanted to buy a physical CD. Many still do, of course, especially as many of our titles are bought as presents. However, it is very easy to do research like that and not think about the fact that things might change and as far as downloads go, they have.

We have had several requests recently, especially from overseas, for our titles as downloads so we have responded to those requests. No doubt we will go on selling “hard copy” as it were, but to survive as a small publisher in the 21st century you do need to be flexible so we are bending over backwards (pun intended) to provide what our customers want.

If you experience any problems with the download system please let me know and I’ll go and find a 5-year old to help me sort it out.

Michael

Private Rawson re-emerges

Private Rawson's War

Interesting phone call right out of the blue this morning. The Watford Observer rang up to enquire about Private Rawson’s War, the audio book we published last autumn. It’s a collection of letters written home by a private soldier who served in Iraq and other places in the Middle East during the Second World War.

The relevance here is that Private Tony Rawson lived in Watford before he was called up and it was to the family home in King Street, Watford that he sent these letters to his mother, usually once a week. The other interesting thing is that I wrote to the Watford Observer about Tony Rawson last September when we first published the audio book and now, 11 months later, it has reached the top of the pile. There’s hope for my inbox yet.

The journalist who contacted me runs the nostalgia page in the Watford Observer and I guess that’s as good a place as any for Tony to come to rest. The journalist tells me that King Street is still there (“Though Rawson probably wouldn’t recognise it today,” he added). Tony Rawson was a gas fitter in Watford and when he was called up he went into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as his eyesight was too bad for active service. Tony hated the army but was honest enough to admit that it gave him opportunities he would not have got back home in Watford.

His experiences in the Middle East gave rise to all sorts of thoughts of what he might do after the war, but in 1946 he was invalided home with TB and went back to work for the gas company. However, after the death of his parents he trained as a teacher and went to work in Zambia.

Outside of these letters we don’t know much about Tony Rawson so maybe the article in the Watford Observer might spark a few memories from people who knew the family.

How We Choose Our Books

Katherine Mansfield

We are often asked how we choose the audio books we want to publish but there is no easy answer to this. Some we choose, some find us, sometimes we think of a topic and assemble material of our own. Our main criteria are:

1. Does it already exist in audio?

2. Will anyone want to buy it?

If the answer to 1 is ‘yes’, then we probably won’t do it. As a very small publisher we have to gain an edge on the big boys somehow and having unique titles is one way of doing this.

The answer to 2 is not always predictable. When it comes to selling you don’t know till you try. I’ll give you an example. When the CD about Katherine Mansfield was first suggested to us I was doubtful. I know and love her short stories, but I was not convinced there was a market for them today. However, I was persuaded to give it a go and fortunately I was totally wrong. Finding Katherine Mansfield has proved to be one of our best sellers, both in the UK and in Australia and New Zealand.

So there you go.

In later posts I will describe how some of our other titles came about.

Michael

Crimson Cats Shop Goes Live

Crimson Cats New Website

Crimson Cats New Website

So this is the moment – this weekend, the last day of July, the new Crimson Cats on-line shop goes live. We hope you will find this easier to use than our old site and it also gives us the flexibility to offer special deals to groups of people, organisations, societies, whoever. We start with a fantastic deal for everyone on the Crimson Cats mailing list – a 15% discount of the price of all our CDs for the month of August 2010 only. You will need a promotional code to claim this discount.

If you are on the mailing list already you will receive the code with the mailing that launches the new site. This should go out on Saturday 31st July. If you’re not on the mailing list but would like to be having had a look at our list of audio books, then please email your details through our Contact form (choose Customer Service) and we will not only add you to the list but I’ll also send you the promotional discount code.

There is plenty of information about all of our titles on the site, together with at least one audio clip from each one. If there is anything about an individual title that you want to know, then please ask and we will do out best to answer.

Right, let’s get going.

Michael

Hello to all Crimson Cats listeners

So here we are. The new Crimson Cats web site and the first ever Crimson Cats blog – otherwise known as the “Ramblings of an Editor”.

One of the most exciting things about the new site is the fact that at last we will be able to offer downloads of all our titles for those of you who want to listen on your MP3 player or I-Pod.

For those who still prefer the conventional CD – either for your own use or to give as presents – never fear. All our titles will continue to be available on the little round jobs with a hole in the middle. No, no, not vinyl records  – how old did you say you were?

The downloads aren’t quite ready yet. I am still battling the technology but although the technology doesn’t know it yet, I will win, helped (or perhaps guided is a better work) by my very good friend, Joss without whom none of this would be happening.

That’s it for the moment. I’m going back to the technology battle and I’ll be in touch again soon.

Michael