Four Feet Under

By Tamsen Courtenay

Thirty homeless people share the secrets of their lives, through first-hand accounts, conversations and intimate photographs

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Update 4

(I posted this last Sunday evening but it seems - weirdly - that t only just went out .... drat)

I know, I know ... I've not written an Update to you all (well, officially, that is) in forever. 

I sometimes feel that my life is a huge bowl of treacle and no matter how furiously I try and push forward in all the directions I should be going in, I never manage to feel I'm on top of all the things I should be doing. I am - congenitally - always behind. My epitaph should be " Oh my God! Is that the time?!".

This update is principally for those (few) of you who I never managed to 'trace' contact details for. Mostly, I did figure out who you fabulous Pledgers were using social media and whatnot as Unbound are not allowed to give me details about you (privacy laws etc). 

Anyway, I have been making a nuisance of myself on social media - plugging the book and posting articles I have written plus this amazing one that was written about the book in The Guardian (Aug 17) ... 

- it was a terrific review and came as a bit of a surprise to be honest. I only found out when someone Tweeted about it.

I have been busy these last couple of months. Seriously busy. I understand that busy isn't necessarily the same as 'productive' but I am inexperienced in the world of marketing and publishing. Mostly I feel rather like an inexperienced mid-wife rushing around in cirlces as the birth (of the book) approaches at great speed. Four days, actually. 

I have done most of the things I had hoped to do, to publicise the book. It is knackering and sometimes I get a bit embarrassed at being so 'shouty' on the pages of social media ... but then I think, actually, that's my job. No-one but us (I who wrote it, the guys who gave their stories and YOU who made it a book in the first place) can fight for it truly, from the heart.

If any of you know a (cheap) publicist please,please tell me - I need someone to tell me how to do this properly! Someone with a bit of clout ...

Oh, and I made a website (total nightmare, I mean total) really so I could put more information about the book up plus some of the photographs I took during my sorties into London ...

Personally, it's been a wee bit tricky over the last few months (isn't my life always thus?!). A lot of you know what some of the major dramas were but they are in the past now and I move forward with a sense of glee and anxiety about the book.

God, I want people to read FOUR FEET UNDER in their bloody droves. I have had a deluge of emails, messages and so on from those of you who have read it already (the First, Subscriber Edition) and they have been incredible. Everyone understood the power of the voices in the book. That was huge, for me. Huge.

The entirely fabulous and divine Jon Snow wrote an endorsement for the cover of the book - sadly it wasn't ready in time for the Edition you got but will be on all Trade Editions (which start coming out on August 23) ... he wrote 

"Touching, insightful and human this book demands a social and, above all, political response. All too often we pass by daring not to place ourselves, even temporarily, within the agony of street homelessness. Tamsen Courtenay reveals the diverse lives lived by the homeless thousands on our streets"  ...

Please be another mouthpeice for the homeless - tell your mates, colleagues, total strangers in the street (OK, maybe not) and if you have the energy, write to your MP (let me know if you do that and I'll get Unbound/Penguin to courier a copy of the book over to the HoC).

Those of you in other countries can still try and make a bit of political noise - the people in the book maybe British but they speak the universal language of dispossession and despair. What they say is relevant everywhere.

Anyway, I'm flying out of Italy this evening to go to England to do what I can to make a lot of noise about the book - noise that I hope gets people to read it and start to think differently about homelessness. I am sick to death of it being portrayed as somehow an annoying social problem created by a load of useless derelicts: it is a HUMANITARIAN CRISIS. Nothing more, nothing less.

You guys remain special to me - always will - without you this simply would never have happened. We may have dome something important.




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