Ghost Variations

By Jessica Duchen

The strangest detective story in the history of music

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Authors should be read, but neither seen nor heard. Oops...

First things first. Welcome to the GHOST VARIATIONS shed at Unbound! If you're reading this post, it means that you have either become a founder supporter of this rather "different" (="weird"?) book, or you might be considering it. For which, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I've woken up on Day 2 of the campaign to find that we are 11 per cent funded, which means that it's off to a flying start.

Unbound, as you know, is a very 21st-century form of publishing. The idea is to build a fan base for the book in advance of publication - rather than putting it out there and hoping somebody bites. That means authors, muggins included, have to engage with the promotion and publicity process from the very beginning. And that means two things.

First, we have to jettison the good old British tendency to gasp "Self-publicity? Heaven forfend!" and dive straight back into our burrows. One famous author, I forget exactly who, said: "Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard". Unfortunately - because most of us would prefer it that way - this is no longer the case. The younger generation is now becoming good at putting their own stuff out there. Mine is arguably less so. But we recognise the need to have a try. 

Next, we have to set up a campaign. And for that, we have to make a video. Yes, a video. You've probably seen my official one already. I'm not entirely content with it - it's a bit goody-two-shoes. But you know something? It took 27 goes to get that far. I found a program called PhotoBooth, which enables the computer's camera to film you as you sit in front of it, so I simply used that and attempted to record a mission statement. I fell over my words. The cat came in, then left. My husband barged in, not knowing what I was up to. Something fell off the desk. One take was going wonderfully and then I coughed. And so forth. I'm gaining sympathy for film directors who film the same scene a gazillion times...

Eventually I decided on drastic measures. I persuaded Ricki, the more lap-friendly of my two cats, to join me. Everyone loves cat videos, don't they? What could possibly go wrong?


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