Monday, 20 July 2009

Alec Sillifant's blog

I have discovered the perfect diet and it doesn't require a drastic eating regime. All you need to do is get a book published, be lucky enough to be have it short-listed by the brilliant people at 'Exclusively Independent', go to Fulham Library on a rather hot July evening and give your first ever address in public about your work. I can personally vouch that I sweated off at least six pounds in five minutes even though I was rather informally dressed in shorts and baggy T-shirt. Had I had the nerve, or skill, to speak for longer I reckon I would have got that six pack I've been after since I was 15.

Joking aside, behind my shaking hands and fevered brow, I really enjoyed the experience. I even managed to learn some things from my fellow authors too who all seemed calm, cool and collected during their talks. In fact I spent most of my time (I went first - must be down to some kind of social self destruction element in my character) as they spoke thinking: 'Of course, why didn't I mention something like that?' Still, if there is ever a next time...

After the scary spotlight bit was over and I was a little more relaxed the question and answer session was really interesting with some really good enquiries about the industry and working practices. I must admit I gathered some new intel myself from the other authors that I hope will help me in the future as well as the audience members. Finally milling round and shooting the breeze with individual audience members saw my heart rate drop considerably and I relaxed into a situation I am far more comfortable in. Maybe I should have asked the good people of Fulham to come in one at a time from the start?

While I'm here I would like to thank all the people that came to Fulham library to listen, to organise and to help. (Thank you also for the drink, water for me, as I tried to replace all the fluid leaking through my skin) On a hot night like that the temptation to be sitting outside sipping on a cold drink instead must have been hard to resist but I am grateful you came. And I can't leave out Lucy and Clare, from Meadowside Children's Books, for coming along to offer their support not to mention biking a load of my book across London on my behalf. Would you get that kind of dedication from a mega-publisher? Also to the lady that bought a copy of 'Jake Highfield Chaos Unleashed' - I know, shameless plugging - and asked me to sign it (the first outside of family and friends); you'll have to let me know if Freddie enjoyed it.

'Exclusively Independent' is a brilliant idea for authors from smaller independent publishers. It gives the kind of exposure that usually requires a fairly fat cheque book to buy and is a great 'leg up' in a very competitive marketplace. I believe there are plans to expand the scheme further in the future and I for one shall be watching its progress with interest. I am really chuffed to have been included and for that I must thank everyone involved, especially Lauren with whom I had a bet to see which of us would be the worse speaker on the night and I am sorry to report I won.

As for my book, it is about to go digital with 'Scrollmotion' which is very cool. That would appeal big time to 'Angel' one of the main characters in my tale but as for me I will have to wait until I can get my seven year old son to show me how download it.

Alec

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