Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Publishers - a view

Has everyone seen this: http://gu.com/p/35n8m/tw ? It's Anthony Horowitz on publishers - do we need them or not. It's really funny, but serious, too. When it starts, you feel he's turned against traditional publishers, but as it goes on you realise he hasn't, and he points out the value of said trad publishers. He also quotes from a "bestselling" self pubbed ebook, changing the names of the characters - and the gender of one. And I recognised it. After having this title thrust under my nose everywhere (not by the author, who follows me on Twitter) but amazon and general buzz, I decided I'd try a sample. I'm glad I didn't buy it.

The piece he quotes isn't actually bad, but he points out what an editor would do with it and it's a lesson to us all.Not that I'm saying anything against those of us who self pub - Susan Alison does an excellent job, and so, I'm sure, do many others, and the backlists everyone puts up have already had a thorough going over - but it does raise a point.

Also, despite authors having to be fairly hands-on with marketing and promotion these days, publishers do take a lot of the responsibility and, in the case of print books, do all that complicated stuff of distribution.

As someone who hates editing (mainly because I hate reading my own stuff) I'm glad someone else does it for me and points out all the crap mistakes (although some still get through). On the other hand, increased percentages are tempting, as is control over pricing. And for someone who has missed out on a traditional deal because they don't fit the preconceived ideas for their genre, it's an excellent way to prove that sometimes, the industry isn't always right.

Meanwhile, back at the coalface, Murder by Magic is treacling on. Poor Libby, Fran and Ben are being forced into even more ridiculous scenarios, which will hopefully be resolved in time for you to buy it June!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Fans from old...

No, that doesn't read quite right...

A young friend, Paul Dunford, who was rushed into hospital for an emergency appendectomy returned home bored to death. A mutual friend, the actor Dominic Goodwin (of whom more anon) recommended he read a Libby Sarjeant book. Wow! says I. I didn't know you read my books, Dom! Appears he has, is champing at the bit for the next and is a huge fan. Well, well, well!

So, as a get well present I sent Paul, on Dom's advice, the first in the series. Turns out, Paul hasn't read a book since school (Mice and Men) and he's now in his thirties. I began to chew the fingernails, but Lo. A new and very vocal fan has been born, and sent me this:

Between them, Dom and Paul have been a two-man publicity team, and I've now discovered a group of people I only know vaguely online have also been reading my books. I wonder, now, were they ashamed to tell me?

Dom is going to be a guest on this blog soon, and readers will be able to see how versatile he is - and to see why he is a particular friend of mine! You will also be given a glimpse of the truly wonderful Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond. (Yorkshire not Surrey.)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Alan Titchmarsh Show and New Covers

Yes, to complete the national coverage begun by the Daily Express and continued by The One Show, I have now been recorded for Mr Titchmarsh's daily show. It will go out on March 13th, an easy date to remember, as it was my mum's birthday and the anniversary of Phillipa's christening.

Not, of course, about the books, but once again about flying. I was with two extremely glamorous ex Pan-Am hostesses, who were both ten years older than I was and terribly well dressed. I was, as usual, in my Primarni. Mr T was charming and pretended he remembered me from The Savoy years ago, we met Jenny Agutter, who was a delight, and gawped at Russell Grant, David Haig and various other celebs that Louise (she came to hold my hand) recognised and I didn't. I nearly didn't do it, but was persuaded by others, including my friend Judy Astley, who tells me it will all Come In. And, of course, it will.

And now: Ta Da! New covers. (Hope this works.)