Friday, February 1, 2008

Being an Author

Some people become writers because it's a nice private job where no one can look at you. I'm that sort of writer. I hide from cameras of any kind. Radio is a medium I approve of heartily. Deep inside, I superstitiously believe that each photograph steals a little bit of your soul.

Video, of course, is even worse.

So I spent this afternoon with some lovely people from Penguin Books Australia, trying to pretend that none of the above is true and that I wasn't agonisingly self conscious. Oh, I might be a writer, but being an Author is all a bit, well, traumatic. I am very happy for people to read what I write, but I'd rather they didn't look at me. On the other hand, in order to read what I write, they usually have to buy the book first; and in this modern world, away from the goose quills and smudgy type of Grubb St, that means Sales and Marketing.

Some videoed bits are for an upcoming Australian-based website that Penguin is making for the Pellinor books. Another bit was for the sales team at Penguin. I did my best: I tried to pretend that I'm the sort of person for whom the camera is a friend. But I'm just not.

The lovely people who coached me through it all with great charm and patience said I did fine. I hope they're right. I am now conceiving a plan: I have to become so famous that I need never stand in front of a camera again. Then I can just be a "famously reclusive" author, rather than just unknown. Or promising. Or whatever I am at present.

In the meantime, I'll let you all know about the website once it appears, no doubt when the new editions of the Pellinor books come out in Australia. One of the things I videoed was a reading of an extract from the new opening of The Singing, which might interest some of you...

26 comments:

Mallie said...

*laughs* if I ever achieve my dream of writing a novel, I really want to be one of those authors too. Really, shouldn't the book say everything? Why do you have to be involved?

But that being said... you say there is an extract.. and you say there is a new website. How incredibly exciting for you and for us! I think that shows how popular you're becoming (well on your way to becoming that mysterious recluse you dream of) :)

Well I can't wait for it, and hope that the camera hasn't stolen so much of your soul that there won't be enough left for future books :) (I'm personally of the firm belief that I should be behind the camera, writing the lines for someone else to say, not in front of it)

Seneca said...

Hey-another post-NICE!

Alison Croggon said...

I'm sure my soul will survive :) Even to the point of future books. And yes, it is really all very exciting!

~rach~ said...

hey alison
i can see what you mean by finding it invasive when you dont desire publicity. but its also important to see it from the readers point of view too.

what i mean is that so much of a writers context and self is portrayed inadvertantly (or purposely, depending on the writer) into their writings. And for many readers that is as important as the story itself. I mean, so much of literature study in contemporary times is done to further understand the writer and their times. For me as a reader a story seems incomplete and 2 dimensional without this aspect.

unfortunately you have already bared your soul by writing in the first place, but then you have also preserved a part of yourself, but in a different way that a photo would have, as this is combining you with you writing, not leaving you by yourself. unfortunately you have to bear your inquisitive readers haha who want to understand your writings more by understanding you more. so sorry for that.:P

im eagerly awaiting the realease of the singing and now the new website!

Alison Croggon said...

Heh. Thanks Rach. Put it thsi way: I'm wquite happy to bare my soul (as it were, and to an extent, ie, not much) on a blog or on the radio, but the whole aspect of the visual medium gives me the heebie jeebies. But there we are: I'm not really complaining. The only worse thing than being talked about, as Mr Wilde said, is not being talked about. He also said - via a character of course - that he didn't care what anyone said about him, as long as it wasn't true; which has always made me wish I had the chutzpah to tell all sorts of lies about myself, like Tom Waits has. Ah well.

Amy said...

Now I feel like a stalking fan, but I love your books. I cannot wait for The Singing (I may have to order it from Australia and have it sent to the US). I am sure the pictures and the video are great, and I hope you like them in finished form.

Lewy said...

hide or not you are a brilliant author. I throughly enjoyed your books in fact I practically spent my whole holiday reading them. I finished the first three within a month and before them i had hardly read at all. I simply just cannot wait for the next one.
You have inspired me to write and it is now a big part of my life as I find it is the best outlet for any of my feelings. I mainly write songs for my guitar, though I am working on a novel, though that will take along time to complete. I'm actually thinking of handing it in as coursework for my English GCSE (compulsory qualification for high school children in England).
I am a 14 year old boy and you are an inspiration to me, so as far as I'm concerned you should be able to handle the attention of the fine art you produce in the way you like. You are the best writer I've ever came across and I've had to suffer through old poetry-many times have i asked my teacher if we can do a poem from one of your books- I strongly support your way of handling it and would like to let you know you how much inspire and entertain me. lol i sound quite posh yey me!

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks Amy and Lewy - it's not just an ego boost to hear you say such things. It's what a writer always secretly hopes will happen when someone reads what they make. So, many thanks indeed. Btw, Lewy, those poems in my books are inspired by many of those "old poems" :) But I'm not sure that poetry ought to be taught in schools, unless you happen to have a brilliant teacher. Even when I was a young poetry-mad student, I used to get bored to death by how it was taught, which so often just kills it. It's a shame really, it's a beautiful art form.

Mallie said...

Hey Alison!

Okay, I'm posting again, not to ramble about how awesome you are (have I done that enough yet? I'm not sure) but to ask if the publication date I got from work is correct (I work at Angus and Robertson) - they're saying 30th June - true or false?

Thanks :)

Rivika said...

Your books are wonderful. I can't wait for the last one to come out!

Elysia said...

Hey, I love your books.
I do have a couple questions though: 1) How come the first book was published as "The Gift" in Australia and as "The Naming" in the US? 2) I'm trying to write a trilogy right now, and I'm not sure if it sounds ant good at the moment, if you have any time, I've posted some of it on goodlifeexpressions.blogspot.com, and I'd greatly appreciate it if you could bive me some advice.
I just realized that wasn't a question, but oh well.
I think it's fine to hide from the camera, I hate them too.

Nikki said...

Hello Alison! I absolutely love your books! In fact, as I write this, The Riddle is sitting next to me... You are one of the author's that inspired me to start to write, though I never realize I'm writing something until later... I also don't like cameras, but I cannot come up with a reasonable excuse to hide from them. I can never seem to be able to say 'Pictures mean nothing, it's a memory of people that you need.' Oh well...

~rach~ said...

Hey Alison
i was just wondering what sort of age group you first intended your novels to be directed at? I ask this because I tutor a 13 year old girl with mild a learning disorder and although she is quite young for her years i think she would really enjoy them. Do you think the Pellinor books are suitable or are they more directed at an older age group? I thought them to be adult (or young adult) fiction, but it seems that there are people younger than even than myself reading them now which is fantastic!

Alison Croggon said...

That's wonderful Nikki - thanks for letting me know. Rach, I know of children as young as nine who have read these books, which is way younger than I imagined! It depends on their taste. You can only try it out, and if she likes them, wonderful, and if she doesn't, well, it's no loss. I imagine if she were able to tackle such a thick book it would give her some confidence in approaching others. It reminds me that one of the most touching letters I've had was from a man who had suffered from severe dyslexia all his life and had just read a whole book (The Gift) for the first time, and loved it.

rukia said...

oh my God! I can't believe you have a blog. You are one of my favorite authors and I still can't believe you are going to read what I'm writing.
I love your books, they are the books that made me fall in love with english (my first language is spanish). I have read the first two and I can't wait until I have the third one, then, of course, I will want the forth one.
I Like this blog too, I like the way you write!!
I think is funny being in front of a camera, I'm not sure if I'll ever do it, but you can do it again if you did it wrong the first time.

Tammany said...

Hi, Alison. Thank you so much for these books. They are truly inspired and will have a permanent place on my shelves.
It's interesting reading your comments on the camera and visual media. I am an aspiring opera singer, so I spend quite a bit of time in front of people. However, I hate speaking in front of people. Somehow, it's completely different when I'm singing. I think because I can express myself as someone else. I'm actually quite introverted for someone in my field and am pretty sure that this is what's keeping me from having a great career. I wonder if it's something to do with being an artist, this need for a bit of anonymity. Perhaps it's a way of keeping part of ourselves for ourselves when we've already given so much to others?

Soma said...

Hey Alison

Thank you for writing The Books of Pellinor. I just finished reading The Gift and I can't wait to read the next book in the serie. I love it.

I'm an artist and for some time now waiting for a good fantasy story to cross my mind that is still new and fresh to make illustrations and doing artwork for that is not yet so manifested by motion pictures and other illustrators. I'm so excited about your work and hopefully I will soon have the time to start.

Sincerely

Phil

passionblack3 said...

Ooh, a reading of the Singing! Can't wait to see that. Judging from the frenzy of "M+C=Fate" that erupted on SFFWorld after we all read about (in the sample chpaters) what is now known as "The Hair Tuck" (where Maerad wants to tuck Cadvan's hair back but resists), I'm guessing that this reading might spur something equally as monumental.

Most emphatically, KEEP WRITING! :)


-Passionblack3/Icelands/Rachel

Alison Croggon said...

Thanks so much! I will keep writing, but WHAT I write is totally up in the air. I don't think I've got another epic series in me. And I'm only just getting over the last - I've had no desire to write at all for about nine months now. It's no use writing something unless you have the desire.

Still, it's no excuse for neglecting my blog so badly. That's about other things, like being ridiculously busy...

Seneca said...

Hey everyone!
Alison- I've tried to write something when I've had no true inclination to. The result was absolutely horrible. Now, I know that nothing you write could be horrible, but if there's no will or passion behind what you write, it won't turn out just as good. So, take your time in what you write, just remember that all of your fans here have your back.

Bye!

~rach~ said...

Hey Alison
You've told us that the Singing is released in Australia in June (i can't wait!) but i was wondering if you knew any specific dates? or does it depend on the bookstore because im going overseas in June and really wanted to be able to buy it before I left.

Thanks, Rachael

Meljo said...

Ohh the Singing sounds so good!!
I love your series they are beyond good. My mom who is skeptical of fictional books has fell in love with them and after seeing my mom's reaction to the books my father also read them and they are nagging me for the fourth book!!
I think your books are good enough for a movie. Have you had any offers? will there be a movie made of your series??

Elysia said...

movies usually ruin books, but whatev'

DragonWolf said...

Hi I absolutely love your books but only stumbled across them by chance as Cumbria Libraries has them tagged as teenage fiction. All I can say is that at nearly 59 I must still be a teenager where it really counts!
Thanks for 'dreaming up' these books and i completely agree with your comments on photographs and video too. I'm reaaly looking forward to September in the Uk for the next instalment. Thanks very much......

Alison Croggon said...

Hi DragonWolf - thanks very much! Well, it's publishers and booksellers I suppose who think that books ought to be labelled in one way or another. Writers just write for readers, and it doesn't matter what age they are...

LillyF said...

hi people,
GOOD GOLLY GUMDROPS!!!!
I cant wait for the singing!! I am in the habit of forcing my friends read the same books i do so i can have SOMEONE to talk to about them! They to are waiting impaietiently!!!!
bye,
Crowlady