Comings and Goings

Apologies, once more, for the blatant advert­ising of the pre­vi­ous post. I’m work­ing with Chris Mitchell over at SpikeMagazine to test-drive his advert­ising sys­tem (the advert for Déjà Vu is to the right of the main column). Currently, Chris has the advert hooked up to my Amazon.co.uk page, but sug­ges­ted that a more inform­at­ive ‘land­ing’ page might be a bet­ter idea.

Amazon, by the way, is a right crowd. The American ver­sion of the web­site has forever lis­ted the lan­guage of Déjà Vu as Spanish, and per­sists in doing so des­pite — or per­haps because of — increas­ingly rude emails from myself and my pub­lish­er. No replies, obvi­ously. That’s one example of the draw­backs that a multi-tentacled behemoth can have for pub­lish­ing. Though, of course, Amazon has revo­lu­tion­ized the buy­ing exper­i­ence for con­sumers: when you enter the Amazon site, you can be cer­tain of actu­ally find­ing the book you want. Try doing that in Waterstone’s, where you trip over a 3-for-2 table (don’t get me star­ted) as you walk through the door, finally get to the sec­tion you want, only to find that Kurt Vonnegut is nowhere to found because his books don’t shift units above the monthly cri­terion.

Those with their ear to the blo­go­sphere will know that Scott Pack, chief buy­er for UK high street book­shop Waterstone’s, will depart their climes for pas­tures new (prob­ably already occu­pied by free-range chick­ens). One blog (I’ll see if I can find the link) attrib­utes his depar­ture to a ‘push’ due to (i) not increas­ing profits suf­fi­ciently and (ii) gen­er­at­ing too high a pro­file on blogs. Anyone who has come into con­tact with Scott will wish him well, I think. He recently read my own book and prom­ised to send it on to a num­ber of pub­lish­ers. Immediately, he sent the copy he read to a good agency, who con­tac­ted me. When that didn’t work out, Scott took it upon him­self to email me ask­ing where the fur­ther cop­ies were. It turned out that my publisher’s print­er — who shall remain name­less in this art­icle — had ‘lost’ the order, and not for the first time. Pausing only to slap my fore­head, I con­tac­ted my pub­lish­er to re-send the order, which was duly done: the batch for Scott arrived forth­with, and they are now winging their way to agents in what Scott calls his ‘Plan B’. So you won’t find me mak­ing any crit­ic­al remarks of Scott, who has con­sist­ently gone bey­ond the call of duty on my behalf, even when an order­ing mis­take at my end stretched his gen­er­os­ity bey­ond the point where I might have expec­ted it to break. Best of luck to Mr Pack in his next endeav­our, which should fol­low a lengthy and well-deserved sab­bat­ic­al.

Precious little pro­gress on Flashback this week. I’ve had to mark kilos of post­gradu­ate assign­ments; about fif­teen of them at almost two hours a pop. Next week it’s back to the lit­er­ary grind­stone.

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Author: Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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