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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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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