Friday, April 16, 2010

Book signing, signing books

It’s a pretty strange deal being a sort of author. I used to think I wouldn’t consider myself a proper one until I was actually published but now that I have been I’m waiting until it’s translated into Portuguese and made into a movie starring Danny DeVito. At the moment it feels like a two-sizes too big jumper that I’ll need to grow into.

People ask questions to which I have no idea what the answers are. Things like “how are sales going?” or “when will the second book be finished?”. How am I supposed to know?

That’s not say that I know nothing. I know that trying to do a day job and complete a book to deadline is hard work. I know that what seems like a good plotline at midnight is likely to appear duff at breakfast. I know that I have no time for breakfast. I know that David Cameron is mutton dressed as ham but that’s not entirely relevant.

I’ve also learned the difference between a book signing and signing books. The former is something that is done by proper authors, the latter is what the likes of me do. It involves a book and a pen but does not involve interaction with human beings. The publicity team arranged signings at various Waterstones and I had vague ideas of an orderly queue of people forming and me asking if it is Cathy with a C or a K (whether their name was Cathy or not). It’s not like that. You sign a pile of books and the shop stacks them and sells them. Glitzy it ain’t but it’s a suitable antidote for an inflating ego.

On Monday I went to HarperCollins warehouse in Bishopbriggs to be a faced with a table groaning under the weight of 350 books needing a signature. The very sight of so many copies of Random threw me a bit, having never previously seen more than a dozen together in one place. An hour and a half later, the table was no longer groaning but I was. In the process, I learned something else new – that a hardback book is a bad back book. Two hundred of them were hardbacks for a specialist collector shop and so had to be dated as well as signed. Trying to remember the date and write it at speed isn’t as easy as you’d think. Well, not once your brain turns to mush.

Anyway, I’m writing this blog entry while waiting for a cop to phone me about a serial killer, a real one. This is the bit where I have to be careful to distinguish between fact and fiction…

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