Thursday, September 20, 2007

Friday stuff early

I came across an advert which said, quite simply, 'I did do it.' Which I thought was very clever. And look where it leads. Which is also pretty clever.

You might, perhaps, wish to take a look at the publicity for the London Book Festival, which seems to be being organised from California. This particular Festival, which says that it has no connection with the London Festival of Books, is running a competition to find books which have been overlooked and which deserve greater attention from the international book-trade community.

I find the whole thing slightly puzzling, frankly, and I think you would have to read the small print very closely before deciding whether to enter a book. The cost is $50, but you can enter a self-published book, and it doesn't matter when it was published.

Ah, you just can't keep a good woman down. Or something like that. I say this because Mitzi Szereto is running two more courses on erotic writing.

'Have you ever considered writing erotic fiction?' (It says here.) 'If not, why not? It is not porn but a stylised and sophisticated form of literature that is fun to write and easy to sell.' (I've heard that one before.) 'The workshop’s aim is to break down barriers in people’s writing. There's no need to be fearful or suppress your writing because of some inner censor. Workshop will consist of a lecture, group discussions, writing exercises and an overview of the marketplace for those considering publication.'

And all like that. Details of one course at Bournemouth here, 27 September, and another one on the Isle of Wight, 16-18 November. (Both in the south of England, if you're wondering.)

Next week's Radio Times (which is the almost-a-century-old name for the BBC's list of TV and radio programmes, plus all the other channels as well) features, on the cover, a photo of Billie Piper in the role of Belle de Jour. That's Belle de Jour as in alleged contemporary call girl and blogger. The original blog became a book which is now a TV drama.

I forget now whether anyone ever proved that blogger Belle was a real call girl, or whether the whole thing was made up by a clever writer from day one. And I'm not even sure that anyone cares any longer. But I am inclined to doubt whether the latest Belle on film will match the original of Bunuel's famous film. A wonderful cool, puzzling, ambiguous thing. I remember it quite well even though it's about forty years since I saw it.

Anyway, that got me thinking about another blog whose bona fides were questioned by some. I found myself wondering what had happened to Wandering Scribe (aka Anya Peters) recently. More particularly, I wondered how her book was selling.

Well, the original blog has gone fairly quiet. And the blog which was set up by her principal doubter (Wanderingscribe) therefore doesn't have a lot to say either. But he does (3 June) make some interesting comparisons between the cover of Anya's book and the covers of some other misery memories. Seems these things are getting as stereotyped as the covers of certain romantic novel series.

Anya's doubter has also investigated (1 June) the question of sales of her book. It seems they aren't all that impressive. During the course of this discussion, however, we also learn that another successful misery memoir, Please, Daddy, No (a pornographic title if ever I read one)was ghost written by Andrew Crofts, who was once in line to assist Anya Peters. He certainly keeps busy.

Further to yesterday's mention of Durham Literary Festival (they've got two Booker Prize winners -- good, eh? Oh, all right then), I saw that the programme is being kicked off by some (mercifully) non-Arts-Council-funded writers from Tonto Press. So all is not entirely lost.

Getting on a bit? Maybe you ought to read Lillian B. Rubin's 60 On Up. What do you do with thirty-odd years of retirement? Is it OK to go on having sex? Will the kids look after you? And all like that.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing the links to your ealier posts on the Anya Peters silliness--they provide a nice reminder of how preposterous this stuff can be. She has a following, however, which would show you can still fool a lot of the people all of the time.

Anonymous said...

As usual, one can only be grateful for the variety of links you provide. Incidentally, that the London Book Festival requests a $50 fee to enter their competition doesn't seem as puzzling to me as the fact that they expect the winner to gleefully fly to chaotic London or L.A. as part of the "prize"! Is it really worth the trouble?

Gladys Hobson said...

Thanks for all that information.

They say 'a fool and his money are soon parted' and I have proved this to be true on a number of occasions where my writing is concerned!
I have to admit the London Book Festival is very tempting. (Now just how daft am I? - Very!)
I have not been involved in any literature festivals but the Durham one looks interesting. But are these events organised for successful authors to show off their skills and sell their books? At first glance of their website, I get that impression. But I have sent an email, just in case…
But then I sent several to the Sedbergh festival (committee and bookshops taking part) using the given email addresses and did not receive a single reply! It is not far away but, having been snubbed, I felt no inclination to visit. Maybe their email system was down? Too swamped to reply? Too busy reading? I prefer to think kindly…

Anonymous said...

Re: Durham Literary Festival
I thought some folk might be interested:
I received an instant reply from Durham. Too late to consider authors 'such as yourselves' (self-published).
BUT they added:
'However, if you are interested in being involved in next year's festival, we will be looking at the programme at the beginning of 2008 so please feel free to contact us then.'

So thank you GOB for mentioning the event.

Anonymous said...

"SAY writers" (such as yourselves). Nothing haughty about that--in fact, I rather like it.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I read the arsonists guide which, though it is a clever and has a humor potential, it nevertheless failed to provide the emotional hook that would cause me to want to read more. Full of the requisite metaphors and similes that too often pass as good writing, I find it not much more than a writer's tantrum at failing to achieve the heights of the writers whose homes he wishes to burn down. If we should burn any house, it should be his. It is pure pander to other writers, and total nonsense.

David Isaak said...

I gleefully explored the London Book Festival site, but I'm sorry to report that they have no apparent sense of humor. For example, the first question in their FAQ is:

Q: I have a book that doesn't fit any of the recommended categories. Where should I put it?

They go on to answer this question with a straight face.

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