It is no secret that I write books about crime and whaling, both fiction and non fiction. Nor is it a secret that I am shockingly poor at the publicity side of things.
In this day, writing is only a part of a writer’s business. He or she must also have some sort of skills with socia media, newpaper interviews and the occasional television appearance. On Monday – two days ago – I was televised and it was a truly scary experience. I live in the north of Scotland for a start, while the television interview was in Dundee, about 160 miles to the south. I did not know until 9 in the morning that the interview was definite, and it was at 12 noon, which meant a mad dash south through frost and fog and road works to get to the venue on time.
My wife drove, God bless her, and we made it, just.
The interview was about a whaling book Ancestors in the Arctic, which was illustrated with some highly evocatives images taken from the collection of Dundee Museum. The illustrations were central to the book; the text secondary.
I don’t know who, if anybody, is reading this, so I do not know if you have ever been on TV, but it is an entirely new set of skills. Stand a certain way, walk a certain way, don’t look at the camera. . . it was not fun. I could never be a film star, for sure. As Cathy – the wife woman- says, I have a face that is perfect for the radio. Thank you, Catherine.
After all that, it was another mad drive back north as I was giving a talk at Lossiemouth Library, about a non related subject. That was a PowerPoint presentation on Whisky Wars, Riots and Murder, a book I wrote on true crime in the Highlands. The mental shift was as interesting as the physical.
The point of this blog, if there is one, is the effort writers need to go to to publicise what they – or may I say ‘we’? – do. It is an angle of this strange occupation I am still coming to terms with. As yet I do not like it much, but I do appreciate it is vital. In time, I will get better. I also appreciate all the people involved in the process.
One last point: the piece ran today, in the Dundee and Tayside area of Scotland. I did not see it. Perhaps that is for the best for after all, I have a face that is perfect for the radio.