Having just written my June column for the Tetbury Advertiser, I’ve just realised that I hadn’t yet posted up on my blog my column for last month. So here it is, for the record – and apologies to regular readers for any repetition, as I’ve covered some of the same ground in previous posts. More new stuff coming soon!
I welcome the arrival of May with a sigh of relief, as it heralds the completion of project that has preoccupied me since November: the launch of a new book, which I’ve co-authored with the writer and poet Dan Holloway. It’s called Opening Up To Indie Authors, and its purpose is to build better relationships between self-published authors and the traditional book trade.
Tetbury’s own book trade, in the shape of Yellow-Lighted Bookshop proprietor Hereward Corbett, gets an honorary mention in the book, whose launch has taken me far beyond Tetbury. At the start of the school holidays, we pointed our camper van east, as I’d been invited to speak at the Cambridge Literary Festival. The venue for my talk was the exotically-named Divinity Lightfoot room in St John’s College. I thought Divinity Lightfoot would make a great name for a Bond girl, so I was slightly disappointed to discover it’s actually just the name of a lecture room in the College’s School of Divinity.
Two days later, I was taking the stage at the London Book Fair, officially launching the book, along with Dan and our editor Orna Ross, founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors. (I’m Commissioning Editor of that organisation’s blog.) I admit it was a very small stage – more of a window-box, as one reporter put it – but it was exciting all the same. The huge scale of the Fair made me wonder afresh how any bookstore proprietor chooses which books to stock. I also admire Hereward Corbett’s knack for so often bringing to give talks in Tetbury authors who are on the cusp of becoming bestsellers or have just had their book chosen as BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week.
Back to More Books
Then it was back home to collect a big box of books from the library. Just what our house needs, more books… Fortunately for the state of my overcrowded bookshelves, these books will soon be on their way out again, destined to be thrust into the hands of random strangers.
Well, not quite random strangers – but, as part of the World Book Night initiative, I’ll be giving them to adults who don’t normally read books, to encourage them to enjoy reading. It’s a bit like the World Book Day event for children, but for grown-ups. World Book Night kicked off in 2011, and, to my delight, I’ve been a designated book giver every year. Being able to give away free books, paid for by The Reading Agency, makes you feel like Father Christmas, and recipients are always grateful , especially when they realise there’s no catch. To volunteer for next year’s event, visit http://www.worldbooknight.org.
On the Run from Books
After that, I’ll be moving on to a much less bookish project: rounding up runners for the next HU5K Run. This takes place on Saturday 14th June on a mostly flat stretch of the Cotswold Way, starting and finishing at Hawkesbury Upton. If you’re interested in taking part, you’ll find full details on the website: www.hu5k.org. Funnily enough, I’ve got quite a few books about running …