or How to Get Noticed.
“…a prepossessing personality in an author is a great asset… “How to Get An Agent” by Philippa Milnes-Smith in 2010 A& C Black.
OK seems a good idea. I’d better get one. Let’s start off with interesting interests.
- Take up Belly Dancing like the lovely Kathryn Evans. I suspect in my case the video would make people think of school blancmange and the little ditty beginning ‘Jelly on the plate…”
- Develop a musical talent – pace Jon Mayhew and his mandolin. I’m not sure three notes on the descant recorder’s really going to hack it on YouTube.
- Get clever with a puppet. Oh to work with the wonderful Woofy like Sue Eves. My poor old teddy has a squished nose where I used to stand on him to get at the book shelves. I don’t think he’s up to it.
Righto – how about developing a distinctive appearance?
- Grow a splendiferous beard like the lovely Mr Philip Ardagh. I do have the precedent of a fine hirsute lady relative but I lack the gravitas to pull it off, I fear.
- Sport magnificent and intriguing tattoos such as embellish Saviour Pirotta. Perhaps not. I never even liked peeling off the backing on the transfers as a child – and it took me till I was 21 to get my ears pierced. Once.
- Become an all-round style icon like Sarah McIntyre of the Funky Glasses. Touch tricky for an unconstructed hippy, although I am quite good at dressing up. That’s if you count making a small tot cry when dressed up as a witch or having my picture labelled as a hobbit in the local paper when I thought I was Arwen Evenstar.
What about me? Perhaps I need to have a remarkable background.
- Start at an interesting point in your life. Catherine Webb was only14 when first published ( I’m not sure that the ‘A Wet Windy Day in Wakefield’ featured in the Wakefield Express at 11 counts) and Mary Wesley started at 71. I am 49 – ‘neither nowt nor summat ‘- as they say where I come from.
- Come from an intriguing culture. Candy Gourlay, that fascinating Filipina, uses hers wonderfully in’ Tall Story’. Miriam Halahmy (what a cool name) has an Iraqi husband and all manner of family to call upon. Me – Wakefield in the Rhubarb Triangle of Yorkshire. Not the same, is it?
Oh dear. Perhaps I could hide behind other enticements?
- Bring out marketing goodies – let me see – a plush cuddly Giant Moray Eel? A wind-up Dave the Disastrous Diver: guaranteed to ruin any bathtime? Model of the Sinai Emperor – watch as it breaks up and sinks! Just not going to go with a Happy Meal.
- Feature really cool concepts. Oh dear, I can’t nick off with Sarwat Chadda’s kick-ass heroines and Templars or Nick Cross’s zombies. They wouldn’t all fit on my dive boat. Certainly not together.
- Promote Important Messages. Somehow “Don’t steal Ancient Egyptian artefacts, it will all end in tears” hasn’t got the moral integrityand pithyness of say The Lorax. Maybe ‘Be nice to fishes’. I could wear a badge. A very big badge.
I give up. I’ll just have to take a leaf out of all these brilliant people’s books – and just write really, really well. And be myself.