Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Crown Chronicles 3: Stumped

Word count: don't even go there

Back from the dentist. Predictably not as bad as I'd feared although it still went on for ages and I ended up with water all over my face cos the nurse with the little vaccuum cleaner didn't seem to have a good aim.

Now I have a stump where my carefully filled tooth was. But the good thing is I don't have a temporary crown, which was horrid last time. Face is gradually emerging from numbness and I have treated myself to some yummy mushroom risotto for lunch as I don't have to chew it.

Feeling a bit cheesed off generally as I heard some less positive book-related news today, completely out of the blue. It's something I don't totally understand and also I got it in an email which is never ideal, as I thought everything was fine: over the last few years it's all been good news so I guess something disappointing had to happen sooner or later. With my instinctive Kate's-glass-is-half-empty reaction, I suddenly wondered whether I should abandon my plans and try to stay in TV, but every writer I know has had set-backs: signing that first contract isn't a route to eternal sunshine. It's just unfortunate to hear today while I was feeling sorry for myself.

Sorry to be so mysterious. On the upside, went to a very interesting session last night about the Future of Publishing at the Guardian Newsroom, where they keep the archives. The Observer's Robert McCrum chaired, and on the panel were Amanda Ross from Cactus TV which makes Richard and Judy (she was just voted Number One in the Observer's list of movers and shakers in the book world), Joel Rickett from the Bookseller magazine, plus the Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion.

It was great to hear people talking passionately about books - Amanda Ross was especially interesting, not just about the increase in figures her choices have achieved, but also her pure excitement about the variety they're able to promote, and her personal enthusiasm for reading. Joel was incisive and the PL was frustrated with the lack of promotion for poetry. In general I felt the panel members were more positive than the audience, there was a slight feeling in the questions of 'fings ain't wot they used to be' which is a) true and b) inevitable. In particular I was intrigued by the whole question of whether celebrity signings (e.g. Wayne Rooney's girlfriend Colleen getting a very tidy sum for her fashion non-fiction books) damage the rank-and-file novelist like me by cutting out advances. I don't actually know: part of me thinks they bring in lots of cash and potentially also attract new readers into bookshops, but part of me can also see how deals and books like these might crowd out work with less immediate mass appeal. But that's showbiz, folks. Any thoughts?

Anyway, it makes a change to think about the bigger picture, rather than the motivations of my imaginary friends...

Lovely Link of the Day
A great piece in the Independent with a reality check for would-be authors imagining they're about to hit the jackpot. I know one of the authors, the highly talented Victoria Routledge, while the other writer, Jane Sigaloff, has had a career path very similar to mine. Worth checking out.


Blogger katybean said...

Ooo'er hope it was just the way the email was written that was a bit negative - sometimes people don't communicate well by email!!

With regards to the current book situation, I personally only read 'stories' rather than biographies, I do find it rather irritating that celebrities that are so young have them out - some are even on their second aren't they (thinking Jordan??). I was saying to hubby last night, that I wonder how long it will be before Chantelle has a biography out LOL!! Anyway, you've got me hooked on blogging (well slightly LOL), and have now got one of my own - but my life seems no way as interesting as yours LOL!!

9:38 am  
Blogger MarkFarley said...

great piece in The Independent that!

1:11 pm  

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