Mary Ann Bernal, my friend and editor, wrote this blog post yesterday. It contains another extract from The Night Porter.
Chuckles is my teddy bear - I sounded a bit like Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited just then! - and he is known as Mr. Chuckles on his many appearances on Mary Ann's superb highlights and history blog, which is well worth following.
maryannbernal.blog and Mr.Chuckles Click HERE
In this excerpt, self-published writer Julian Green is talking to the Night Porter about the upcoming press conference in the hotel. Julian is generally a skeptic about celebrity, jealous of authors who make money and also something of an iconoclast, but he has never been to a press conference before and sees it as a critical opportunity to gain exposure for his unread classic.
‘I know what you’re thinking,’ he says. ‘After all I’ve said.’
‘What am I thinking?’ I reply, knowing full well he knows what I am thinking. How I gave it away, I do not know! I must be losing my poker face.
‘That I’m the same as the rest of them. A celebrity junkie.’
‘Julian – ’
‘Don’t worry, I wouldn’t blame you. I’m hypocritical at times, especially when it comes to publicity. Every writer wants their book read, at heart. There’s a big distinction. Authors are the professional arm. They’re all about the money and the sales. The reach. They’re all about the rewards and the lifestyle. Writers want their work read. We’re artists. I couldn’t give a Joe Loss about the money, but I want people to read my book. This is an opportunity. This is MY reach. All the press in one hit. My stuff. Me. It’s all hypocritical, I know it is, but tell me where I can get this kind of exposure on the Internet? I’ve told you before. You put your book up on Twitter and before you know it, twenty other authors have put theirs up. It’s a bazaar. They’re – we – are like lice on a tramp’s jockstrap.’
‘So you’ve mentioned.’
‘Here is a chance to bust out of that. The broadsheets got hold of my book, but who reads the broadsheets!? Fifty of the best national literary mouthpieces in one room. Of COURSE I’m going to be excited. On top of the press, you’ve got the book bloggers connected to Tarzan. The best reviewers in the business, and they aren’t averse to self pubs, if they’ve sold or attracted attention. I’ve seen the list and I salivated, chap. You’ve got Fiona Faithful from BuyBooks.com. Lenny Cotton from Overtherainbow. Michaela Groves from The Eye. Keanu Lantern from Bigapplelibrary.com is over and attending the conference and ceremony. Private bloggers. Serious judges of literary form. They can spot a good book from a thousand paces. They can sniff one out from the thousands pubbed every month, and they can ensure that book gets out there. Their word is a literary papal bull, a weekly sermon on the mount, the tablets of stone propped up next to the burning bush. One word from these guys, and readers will read your book. Do you know how many book buyers follow these bloggers? Thousands of them. Thousands. And their readers buy – they don’t just read the reviews and stare blankly into space like lemons. Veni Vidi Visa. I came. I saw. Out came my credit card. These are a dream come true, the cream of the crop. It’s okay me being Morrissey-like on the top table, but I would be stupid like that. Once a week they feature a book. They put up an extract and they review you. They can make you. They can destroy you. These guys are THE oxygen tanks of publicity.’
‘I haven’t seen you as excited as this, Julian.’
‘I’m on FIRE, chap,’ he says, giving me a high five.
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