Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Bologna book fair

I've just about had enough sleep since getting back from the Bologna children's book fair...

In one morning I happened to meet eight of my publishers from overseas, which is great in itself, but also slightly blows your mind.

Why? Well, there you are, in your shed, writing a book, and struggling with that, and for not one tiny moment does it cross your tiny brain that you might make sure your book will have 'international sales appeal'.
Maybe it does try to cross your mind, and maybe you just blot it out, because if you started to think like that, you'd go doo-lally pretty sharpish.

Anyway, the pasta's great in Bologna, that's the main thing :-)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Is this the 1960s...?

So I'm on campus at Bath Spa University, the sun is shining, there's some guy with an acoustic guitar singing songs about how Jesus is going to invade or something, and I feel like I'm living the 1960s education dream...

So far today, that education has taken the form of tutorials with MA students, and it's been interesting how the same issues can crop up. This evening, I'm taking part in a debate on how far, as a creative type, you should think about the realities of the commercial world. How much should it guide what you do and so on. Is it selling your soul to write something because you think it might have a greater chance of selling more copies...?

Personally I think you have to practice the art of holding a paradox in your head - on the one hand to ignore the real world totally, write just what you love, and do it just how you want it, and on the other hand, and at the same time, to have a part of your mind focusing on what is realistic, commercial and viable. And if Alice can believe in six impossible things before breakfast, then a paradox a day should be well within our reach.