No more middle-eastern focus groups

…Having successfully resisted the temptation of putting up a blog over Christmas entitled ‘Boxing Day Sale,’ I’ve been rewarded for my honesty by the good people of Hampstead Book Club agreeing to read The Melting Pot as their February choice – a fantastic offer and one that is much appreciated.

Anyway…2008! How did that sneak up on me?

During a recent drunken post-mortem of the year’s advertising ploys it was decided by a jury of my peers that:

…contrary to popular belief, I don’t in fact get my best marketing ideas in the pub.

…I should spend more time at home writing, surrounded by mahogany furniture and wearing a smoking jacket in order to effect the trappings of an intellectual.

… I should stop touting The Melting Pot and instead compile a volume of my worst pitching attempts to date entitled ‘…And then they beat me up.’

One idea (that wasn’t mine) was to dangle from Blackfriars bridge by a bungee cord in nothing but Y-fronts with the book cellotaped over the crotch. When I suggested that it would be too small to see from a distance the comment was taken the wrong way and a fight ensued.

The post-mortem also brought up a bizarre e-mail that I received a few months back from an old uni mate. In it he informed me that, on a business trip to Dubai to demonstrate how opinion polls work, he had taken the chapters from my website and used them as the sample data. The delegates read the chapters and were then asked to give their opinions. The responses ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous with one person stating, ‘I don’t like books about pirates’ – which came as a shock to me considering there aren’t any in it.

But onto matters more substantial – I spent last week in Staffordshire running around Cannock Chase with my nephews, all of which has given me sufficient distance from the day-to-day grind to become re-enthused about writing again. Endlessly touting work around can really suck the fun out of just sitting at a laptop and conjuring stuff out of thin-air. A change of scene has provided some much needed inspiration and I’m now working on two new book ideas. I’ll also be being more succinct in my marketing from now on!


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