Well, hello there. Firstly, can I say how excited I am to be starting life as a GHB blogger? Secondly, I should tell you something about myself. I should tell you that my book LAND is getting published soon, and what it’s about etc etc……except that will mean….dun-dun-duuuun….SELLING MYSELF! And SELLING MYSELF is something I’ve never been very good at. In fact, were I to send myself to market, I’d probably slap a yellow reduced label on my forehead and carry a no quibble returns policy.
You see, I come from a long line of Campbells who think the Victorians got it right: children shouldn’t be heard, get cocky, believe in themselves, dream the impossible, or take a job in anything but law or banking. Which probably accounts for why, when people ask me to ‘sell’ my book to them, I redden (ah yes, the faithful flush that’s been my nemesis since Yr 3 Primary), become a little breathless, ‘ahhh, it’s just about, you know…..,’ while my inner voice screams, deflect, deflect….‘Oh look, a bird that flies’.
Not to mention my nervous-tic of apologising for myself (so-very-British)…..I’m awfully sorry I’ve published a book…..I do apologise for inviting you to its launch party…..my sincerest regrets that you want to read it. I mean, surely you have hair to wash, toilets to clean?
As a child, publishing a book always seemed to me a quiet little affair that didn’t involve Other People and never required you to speak to Other People…..which for a shy, quiet kid sounded rather perfect. But not anymore – now authors seem to need the swaggering confidence of a pop star. Besides writing the book, they have to big-time promote the book; speaking tours, bookshop talks, festival events, visits to schools…..I can feel the chill rising through my blood just writing it down.
Generally speaking, I do my very best to avoid full-scale, head-turning attention. At school I employed cunning expressions to appear as if I were pondering a question far too hard to be publically forced to answer it. And in life since, I’ve always stood by a loyal set of NEVERs:
- Never sit front row at a pantomime
- Never raise your hand above your head unless you’re bidding at auction or can’t hold in a wee
- Never, not ever, step foot on a stage or platform, unless you’re catching a train. (Make speeches in the solitude of the bathtub only – cue you receiving Oscar: articulate, glamorous; not saying ‘errr’ or accidentally spitting when talk.)
- Never apply to take part in C4 programmes or anything involving Simon Cowell
But really, I ask you: THIS CAN’T GO ON! I must enlist myself into Authors’ Anonymous (for authors who can’t stop putting themselves down) and practise not saying, Hello, my name is Alex Campbell and my book is bril-, fant-, exci-….pants.
How about you? Are you able to big yourself up and praise your achievements till the cows come home? Or do you run for cover at the mere mention of the words: So tell me about yourself, your book, your fabulous gymnastic/dancing/musical ability? Were you born to take never-ending selfies? Or to find giant rocks to skulk behind?
I suppose, at the end of the day, it’s simply worth trying a different approach, however alien it feels – and what better opportunity than when you’re giving birth (it sometimes feels that painful) to your first book. So, no time like the present. Ahem, if I may begin again….My name is Alex Campbell – I won’t apologise for that – and I have a debut YA thriller coming out this September – which I won’t say sorry for either. It’s called LAND and it’s…………