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Ian Phillips blog posts

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer #16

A beginning and the end

So, as promised, a brief report on the local launch of Grosse Fugue at Waterstones Hampstead last Thursday.

Of course, I have nothing to judge it against and am wary of the plaudits of a sympathetic audience. But, suffice to say, the general verdict was very positive. My publishers were happy with the smoothness of the operation and both they and Waterstones were pleased with the number of copies sold and the genial atmosphere.  My speech seemed to go down well and, believe it or not, there’s now a video of it up on YouTube. Those of a nervous disposition are advised to give it a miss.

The bookshop is a tremendous space, on two levels (it used to be a Woolworths aeons ago). We had the upper floor, surrounded by books and much goodwill.  The posters in the window and around the shop and the invitations all added to the branding and sense of occasion. APP decided astutely against any reading (just as well considering that, …

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer #15

A week of lessons

It’s been an interesting and insightful week.

One thing above all else is clear.  If the course of true love never runs smooth, then the course of publishing is also a white-water, white-knuckle ride.

Watching the process from the inside, I realise just how hard it is on so many different levels.  It requires tenacity, faith and vision.  They need to find a book they can believe in, deal with the obstreperous, egotistical writer (that’s me, folks) and keep their eyes on the prize.

It now seems impossible to believe that a book can succeed without being available on Amazon.  And with only one national bookshop chain here in the UK, it’s Waterstones and the enervating challenge of targeting the 1,000 or so independents.

So, for example, the critical element of the POD publisher is the nexus between printer/distributor and retailers, be they online or high-street.  This is essentially an automated process …

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer #14

A dot.com boon?

Today’s post is a bit of a deviation from the trend that has been established up till now but I wanted to share something with you that might prove of some benefit.

Think about building a website dedicated to your book.

Now I know I’m in a different place from many readers in that I am now published (still something of an alien concept). However, I always thought that the novel would benefit from a supporting online presence and had done quite a bit of work on one. Then my publisher and their publicist encouraged me to upload it.  As I’ve developed it over the last month or so, it’s become clear that there are some real, tangible advantages.

First, you can do it for free.  I believe there are a number of sites out there that facilitate building a simple site. I used Weebly which, for a non-technical person like me, was something of a doddle.  I’m not endorsing it as such, only saying that it worked for me.

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer #13

Is the end also a beginning?

This week, ‘Grosse Fugue’ finally appeared, ready for its soft launch.  If you’ll permit, I’m going to be even more self-indulgent than usual.

I can now hold in my hand a printed book of something that was once merely a figment of my imagination and a plan sketched out in a notebook.

For large tranches of the intervening period, I barely dared to hope that, one day, it might be able to take its place on bookshelves in homes, shops and libraries.  That it might jostle for space with heroes like Primo Levi and George Orwell, well who could even dream of such a thing!

And yet, here it is, and here I am.

What’s strange is that I feel somewhat empty.  I’m not looking for sympathy, I hasten to add.  I know how fortunate I am to have got here.  But in the confessional nature of some of these blogs, it seems to me that I ought to be honest.

First things first, I am a perfectionist.  …

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The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Writer #12

The upside of the publishing process

Two weeks ago I promised to visit some of the pleasurable aspects of the process, having moaned on ad nauseam about the pain of editing.

Allow me to say something first about APP. Anyone visiting their website will immediately see some key characteristics. First and foremost, although the business is quite young, its key personnel are not. There’s a lot of accumulated publishing and business experience and I’m confident that this collective power will deliver a great product and significant coverage – and hopeful this will translate into sales. It was really the clincher for me and if I was asked for any advice to those looking to find a publisher, it would be to meet those into whose hands one commits one’s cherished work.

While the contract made clear that the publisher had final say on all matters relating to design, marketing and promotion, there has been a sense of involvement and sharing. In those long-past …

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