the state of things

 

Four weeks later...

by Douglas Lindsay - 21:52 on 01 September 2008
Monday evening, 1st September. The children should have been going back to school today, but the school decided to take an extra week off so they could rebuild the kitchen. Not that they took 5/185ths off the fee. So we have a ninth week of summer holiday. So far everyone remains sane. This is not a situation that will necessarily last all week.

Lost in Juarez came out four weeks ago today, in much the same way that Rangers went into Europe this season. Given the meagre marketing budget - £00.00 - this was inevitable. All right, I lie, I spent a hundred and something pounds on a poster I designed myself. This doesn’t quite put me on the same scale as Nike when they bring out a new shoe. Not helped by the Amazon computer failing to get orders in on time, and then failing to get their orders up to speed. Four weeks later, this still hasn’t changed. Amazon still don’t have the book on their shelves, and continue to order just enough to fulfill orders already made. I’m not in a position to complain to Amazon. And would they notice the fly buzzing at the behemoth’s shoulder in any case?

I exhaust my creative energies writing and publishing, and leave nothing for the business of marketing. I’m scared of the telephone and rubbish at meeting people. I have introverted author written on my forehead. The guy who hands Barney the card in Last Fish Supper telling him that he’s a writer and so will he please not speak to him, was of course me. In real life I don’t have a card, but usually the look on my face does the job. I don’t even particularly try, it just happens. This doesn’t help when trying to sell yourself. If I could talk while looking miserable, that might work on the radio, but I can’t talk either. What’s the opposite of the gift of the gab? The gift of silence, I suppose. I have that. Doesn’t work with the media.

And so I bring out another book and hope that someone somewhere reads it, and thinks it might not be completely rubbish, and buys a copy for someone he knows, and then this little scenario is played out around the country until before you know it, Lost in Juarez is sitting atop the book charts and JK herself is calling me for tips on how to write a mega-seller. This hasn’t happened with any of my previous novels.

Still listening to Bob, despite the fact that I no longer need to for work purposes. How the family weeps with pleasure... My favourite two songs at the moment are Mississippi and You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (not the Basement Tapes version, the jauntier banjo one). Stumbled onto a Bob message board the other day and quickly retreated after daring to expose myself.

But not in that way...

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