Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hodder, signing agonies and a few moments of stillness

Some excitement on the book front: I've been asked by Ann Gawthorpe, a Hodder author, to add a section on self-publishing to her forthcoming book, Teach Yourself How to Write Your Life Story, so I've done that for her and sent it off. Thanks for thinking of me, Ann - and I look forward to reading the book when it comes out in January 2009.

Though I'm afraid it's rather a case of from the sublime to the you-know-what today. This morning, I was asked to go in and sign books at a shop that must (to spare my fellow-writers' delicate blushes) remain nameless in a nearby town. As you know, these days being invited to do something by a shop that must remain ... (well, you know the rest ...) is much like Goliath inviting David for supper and a "chat". For me personally that is - I must stress that point or I fear I will be beaten with twigs (which is strangely attractive, I must say). Again ... That is (I'm back to the David image now, in case you're lost), I know he doesn't want me there (ah, understandably of course - who would?), and there ain't no way on earth I'm going to get out of there alive. Which proved to be much the case. When I got there, the assistants - even those who knew I was coming - stared at me in shock (not that I can blame them - I was dressed rather strangely and my hair was wild, dahlings, wild ...), and I had to beg one of them to get copies of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice out of the stock room where the shop (etc etc) have decided to keep them. Overcome with terror, I didn't dare ask them about my other books. They then swept me into the never-visited Local Interest books corner where they'd hidden the rest of my stuff - naturally I always lower the tone, you see ... Still, my fellow-writers bravely rescued me and, as the three of them have wonderful books which people like and want to have in their shops (hurrah!), I managed to sign four or five copies of mine. The truly and utterly-butterly wonderful assistant even allowed me to move some of my stock up from the bottom shelf, but only to the one above. No doubt they'll be down on the bottom shelf once more by the end of the day and in the stock room again by the weekend. Indeed, I can't blame them, m'dears - I'm obviously such a bad person that I am lucky to be allowed to remain in Surrey at all, tee hee. Next time, I'll think I'll take a t-shirt saying "Yes I know I embarrass you but I'm from Essex and one must make allowances for the underprivileged!" Hey ho.

(And yes, I still do prefer the original of that last paragraph - which I have kept btw as you never know when it might come in handy for purposes of bribery and corruption, cue evil laughter ... - but it's edit or die, I fear ...!! I will be in disguise for the next few weeks just in case of literary repercussions. The owl hoots at midnight and I'm the one under the lamp-post dressed in purdah ... Oh, and the will's under the bed.)

So, reeling from the trauma of all that, I managed to stagger back home, still carrying the books I'd brought of course, and edit another chapter of The Bones of Summer. I'm facing the really long chapter now - Chapter 15 - so I've eaten the last of Jane H's chocolate (thanks, Jane) in order to psyche myself up for it. Ooh, and talking of books, Maloney's Law on now has 5 whole sellers of new copies on it, hurrah, including Mr US Amazon himself. Gosh! But no cover art yet - sigh. We struggle on ...

This afternoon, I attended one of the Diocesan Summer School workshops run by Viv Stacey (whom I rate) called "Guarding the Heart". I started the session feeling completely trammelled by the day, but actually it was quite interesting and parts of it I even got enthused about. I took down the details of the Contemplative Spirituality Network and will be keeping an eye on them. She gave out some good meditation tips too, which I shall try to use at some point.

I've also just finished "Showcase Myspace: The New Poetry". Um, I have to admit, first off, that I didn't actually think it was very good as a collection - many of the pieces had poems inside them (probably) but they were very cunningly hidden by a clutter of words, so rather a disappointment really, as well as being too overwrought and melodramatic. That said, one or two pieces did take my fancy, including Robert D Edelman's "In the cards", and the humour of Nicky Jones' "Bunion" is fun but I could have done without the exclamation marks. Please can someone edit this properly?? However, I do think that Janice Windle's work which ends the book has a hell of a lot of power and really deserves to be elsewhere. She's a fabulous artist too.

Today's nice things:

1. Having something in a Hodder book
2. Escaping the agony of the shop that must not ... oh, you know!
3. Editing Bones
4. The Diocesan workshop.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website


Unknown said...

Yikes, lass, that's really sucky of Waterstones! I must say my local branch is a lot better - I think policy on local authors is very much a local thing, rather than coming from HQ. Chin up and hope you sell lots...

Anne Brooke said...

You must just be a lot luckier, WFH! Since they've changed their buying policies a couple of years ago, it's been a horrendous experience all round!



Tania Hershman said...

Wow, Waterstones are so mean! I don't quite understand why they invited you if they don't really want you there?
Congrats on the Teach Yourself.. book, that sounds wonderful, so your mean experience was bookended by rather more positive news!

Anne Brooke said...

I know - they can be so brutal, but actually we're fairly used to it by now. We tend to bypass the bookshops and go straight to the customer!

Hugs to you, babe