Monday, March 14, 2005

W(h)ither the shy author?

Word count: 116,933 (and this is progress?)

Today I went to the London Book Fair - mainly for the magazine I'm working on, but also as I am very nosey about the place. I was there for the announcement of the Orange Prize for Fiction longlist, and Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and other novels, read it out. I met her briefly and she seemed extremely nice and sweet, but I hate those kinds of gatherings and it made me feel very odd about publishing...

Writing is solitary, in the head, with particular appeal to natural introverts like me. Yet the LBF and launches and all the networky stuff is also part of being an author. When I am with people I know, I can enjoy these events - just - but on an occasion like this morning, I clam up. I did try with one woman, chatted about her work and also about people we knew in common, but she spent all her time looking past me for someone more important.

Then I walked out of the hall past the millions of publishers, frantic dealings already taking place over coffee and PDAs, even though it was only 9am. The truth is that an author doesn't really have any purpose here, but does after hours in the cafes and restaurants surrounding Olympia.

In the end, I headed back into work... and in Carrie Bradshaw mode, would pose the question: Is there a future for shy authors?

Lovely Link of the Day:

What else but a resource for shy people? You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions, your shaky handshake, your refusal to make eye contact, your - (OK, you get the picture!). But the site reckons we're in good company!


Blogger Kate Allan said...

Completely agree with what you say.

10:50 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Kate, would you describe yourself as a shy author then?

8:28 am  
Anonymous Kate Hardy said...

I went to the LBF some years ago - had lunch with my agent, which was great. The rest of the time, I felt like a spare part - why was I there, when I didn't really belong? I hate that whole "looking for someone more important" attitude: but that person was the one who missed out, not you! Give me small gatherings any time - or at least, if it has to be big (and I count the RNA conference as big!), let there be a few people there I know and can chat to...

(PS Can you only post here if your name is Kate, vbg???)

7:26 am  
Blogger Sarah Ann Finley said...

Even though I am yet to be an author I think that when I am (Hopefully soon) it would be really scary for me, espically if I was left on my own to mingle!Nice to know that it wouldnt just be me.

How weird that so many kates are in thie discussion, I'm breaking the mould!

Kate Harrison...I wrote u an email from your website, do u recieve them through it?

2:39 pm  
Blogger Kate Allan said...

Yes, I'm shy. :) Less so now than when I was younger though.

3:21 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

I've always hated any occasion along those lines - as a rule, any event that involves canapes makes my knuckles go white!

Sarah Ann, thanks for breaking the Kate mould and apologies, I really don't check my emails on the site inbox nearly as often as I should. Will go to have a look now.

Incidentally am having a big relaunch of the site soon so hope you like it!

I think shyness and writing often go together: we live in our own worlds and so coming into the real one can be alarming...

4:08 pm  
Anonymous Deskie said...

Interesting point you raise here. I've been writing all my life; from a very early age, however I have never been the shy type. I believe we need to 'put ourselves about' in order to learn how people live and react...learning these things, helps us to create believable characters.

10:43 pm  

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