Thursday 29 July 2010

The Words of Life 1

There’s great joy in being a writer. Even more so when you hold your first novel in your hand. For most writers this is the Grail, what we all dream about, what turns us into writers on the first place.
Even after around 30 non-fiction books, holding The Broken Token was a profoundly moving experience. Now, after almost 3 months, the trick is still to sell the damn thing, to see those copies flying out of bookstores.
But now it becomes just one part of the problem. I’m almost one-third of the way through the second novel to feature Richard Nottingham, and the challenge is not just to come up with a good mystery element (always the lesser part to me) than to make the characters grow, to make them, and the Leeds of March 1732 even more real.


  1. I know a novelist called Bobbie Darbyshire who, when she does book signings, doesn't just sit behind a table waiting for people to come to her - she scouts the fiction section, looking to see what books people are looking at, then quietly goes up to them and suggests that her book (magically appears from under her arm) might be just what they are looking for. They fall for the personal touch - this pleasant, smiley, 60-ish ex-civil servant taking an interest in their reading habits! The managers of the bookshops who've booked her says she sells far more books this way than the average table-sitter!

    I'm 5/8 the way through my second book set in Leeds (50,000), but I prefer writing them to trying to get them published!

  2. I do the same thing in bookshops. Look for people hunting in the crime section then wander up and start talking to them. It's been an effective strategy for me, but tends to work only in places like Waterstone;s where you can see what people are looking at.

    Writing can be catharsis in itself....

  3. Hmmm, have a suspicion who claphamcommer might be....