Monday, March 16, 2009

Being in the same room as writers....

After ten years of running a publishing house, I have found myself in the same room as many authors I admire. And of course, I have shyly looked across the room and done nothing.

So who are these people? Emma Barnes at Snowbooks has a great blog on Audrey Niffenegger's advance for her second book. The Time Traveller's Wife came into my horizon at the Frankfurt Book Fair. I met her US publisher, David Poindexter, of MacAdam Cage and it was his last appointment of the fair. He had just sold it to Chatto - damn, I said. I love a good time travel story.

Well, I did not have US $ 100,000 for the advance, and I do not have a few million for her second book, but I did spend time in the same room as Audrey Niffenegger. It was at the award ceremony for The Victoria & Albert Illustration Prize - we had won a prize the previous year, but for this one we were invited as one of our children's book was in the running. She won a prize for her illustrations on witches (yes, she is an artist first and foremost, not an author). I can confirm she is a deeply serious, artistic woman, who I would never have dared to go up to. Heigh ho.

Then J. K Rowling was at a Bloomsbury 5th anniversary disco for their paperback list. She was sitting quietly near the bar. Much as I would have loved to get my children's editions, signed, I did not have them on me. And this was before Harry Potter was famous, so she would have signed. That would have paid for their university educations. Heigh ho the second time.

Well, that leaves Hubert Selby Jr, our own author. I can confirm that he was in fine form when he visited London in 2002 for Waiting Period. He signed all my books, which I have kept in a safe place at home. As I was his taxi driver, party provider and publicity person, I think I deserved them!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We had a pretty good postbag today, with all kinds of publicity. The Evening Standard had CHARITY SHOPPING and the thrift lifestyle as BOOK OF THE WEEK in their Homes & Property section on March 4th. Thanks you, Katie Law! The Scotsman Magazine had an article by Gaby Soutar featuring Lettice Wilkinson's Thrifter address book - our lovely authors favourite shops in Edinburgh. And the Sunday Times are asking for a quote following an announcement in 'the house' by a Scottish minister on thrift. Is it possible that the Scots people are being told NOT to be thrifty - well Lettice will soon tell them that thrift is not only good for your pocket, but it uses up all those excess items, and contributes much needed money to good charities - a thrifty economy.

Then Sadomasochism for Accountants continues to make us smile - Birmingham Life has a great summary - 'This has to be the most unlikely romantic comedy (because that's what it is) but why does that have to be a bad thing.'
Bring it on - Jennifer Anniston as Belinda and Hugh Grant as Luda....

We also have a new book and a new author, Tamsin Omond. Tamsin is writing about her decision to become a full-time climate activist, and her discovery that prison, fear of arrest and the whole notion of sticking your neck out and becoming famous is something that takes a lot of courage.

Bit like running an independent press in a recession.

Bravery takes all forms.