Friday, January 17, 2020

A Day In The Life

The life of a writer can be a topsy turvey one. Slightly more turvey than topsy at times. Or even tipsy.

                             making sense of publishing is as difficult
                                         as finding a sloth in a tree

My next PB is being published soon in a different size to the previous PB version of the same book. This is part of the publishing of my back list and most recent list - I think they are going to meet in the middle somewhere.

I was asked to check 6 queries the copy editor had. While checking those I found another 172 mistakes in the text. It was as if the PDF had carried the formatting from the wider paged book to the narrow page book, so I found music-ians and re-trials…. Direct speech on the same line as other direct speech which is a lot more confusing than might appear at first.

                             This  looks like my worried face

 ‘Really?’ ‘Yes really,’ she said. ‘And that is so difficult to follow.’ ‘Yes I know,’ She dropped her sandwich on the dog’s head. ‘Woof.’

I had to look back at the previous paperback to find what it should read and then put it on a spreadsheet. And read the whole book to make sure that I had found them all.

                                         A wee hummer of a bird!

I got that back to them by Monday 9am.

That Monday night I was meeting the lovely Sophie. I am hiring her as my own PR person for the big year that will be 2020 or that was to be…) and she happened to be in Glasgow on Monday night, at a very posh hotel with things I couldn’t pronounce on the menu.  The waiter went to great lengths to explain to me that the butter was aged.
                                    looking for my career exactly where this dog is
                                              scratching his itch

Anyway as is usual with these things, there was a lot of texting as we had to wait until the big author had finished their signing.  That night the UK was being battered by a gale and all kinds of stormy weather. It was all a bit touch and go if we would be able to meet up at all. She’s lovely, her dad (the brother of a war hero who was played by James Mason in the film) had just died from a brain tumour days before Christmas, and she was getting herself back into work – and my God she works hard!

So at 4pm that afternoon, I was at work, having had very little sleep due to the formatting issue. Then the laptop binged and I got the dreaded email – my editor was leaving. Yes the one who has been championing me for the last couple of years with the new imprint, the one who is republishing the back list. The backlist I am employing the PR person for. My editor was going, leaving on Friday and not really being replaced… she’s going on to much higher things. Her last day will be the day this blog will be published.

So Monday 4pm, editor leaving, not bring replaced, being directed on to her boss who I suspect already has a full time job…and who is going to have another 12 or 24 authors dropped onto his plate.  
                                          oh the windmills  of my mind !!

 So I went off to my smart dinner in a very big jacket and a rather heavy heart.

Sophie immediately picked up on the vibe ‘Yes, you are in great danger of falling through a hole! And I won’t let that happen!’  She’s quite scary. And she then went on to say that two other authors – very big names - are taking her on privately as their own publishing companies just will not commit a PR person to them. And after talking to her, I can see what a full time job it can be.

                                            best cure for most confusions

She advised me to speak to my agent of course but Sophie was very reassuring. As long as the PR machine is running smoothly, you will be ok. (Bearing in mind that I am actually contracted with the other publisher, and that lovely editor is still there and not thinking about going anywhere I hope!) 

So next day I am planning my strategy while sitting on the dog to stop her barking at the high wind as Heid The Baw treated a patient in the other room.

                                      with plenty of this....

Firstly, send some flowers to outgoing editor, as she has been great and hugely enjoyable to work with. I emailed my agent. No response. Until 4 pm. Of course, that was the day of the press release of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival and as she’s on the board she was busy announcing that Ian Rankin was the new programming chair. She emailed me back. ‘Do you want me to do anything about that? No?  But never mind, here’s a new deal for, do say yes….’

Then she emailed me back about 5.40 with another deal so I made a fair bit of money while I was panicking.

That night I was going out to talk to the local rotary club. They had a bit of a mix up. They knew they had a speaker but they had no idea who the speaker was….'So who are you then?

So that was ok. I charmed them so much the guy who sat on my right with the big gold chain of office is going to come along to the writers’ group.

I now have an idea what is going on. But it’s Friday so I must be blogging.

Caro Ramsay  17/01/202

Inner Wheel Renfrew

Renfrew Golf Club

Thursday 13 February 2020

Granite Noir Crime Writing Festival

Aberdeen Central Library

Sunday 23 February 2020

Paisley Book Festival

Paisley Central Library

Monday 24 February 2020

Murder Will Out

Heffers Book Shop, Cambridge

Saturday 14 March 2020

Aye Write! Book Festival

Mitchell Library Glasgow

Sunday 22 March 2020

Carry on Sleuthing

Dick Institute, Kilmarnock

Thursday 21 May 2020

Crimefest Crime Fiction Convention

Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, Bristol

Thursday 4 June 2020 /Sunday   7 June 2020

Bloody Scotland


Friday    18 September 2020 /Sunday  20 September 2020

Tidelines Book Festival


Friday    25 September 2020 / Sunday  27 September 2020

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention

Sacramento, California

Thursday  15 October 2020 / Sunday    18 October 2020

Wee Crime Festival

Grantown-on-Spey, Highlands Scotland

Friday     30 October 2020 / Sunday  1 November 2020


  1. You made me stressed out just reading about a day in your life! Maybe I will just keep blogging and forget about writing that travel memoir and trying to get it published! My heart is still pounding. . .

    1. My friend is a travel writer and he seems to drink red wine all day and he never gets stressed about anything!

  2. Ah. I've just figured out your problem, Caro. Look at your "sign-off" at the end of the column. You're still living in the year 202. No wonder things are a mess! But best wishes, I'm sure 203 will be much better.

  3. EvKa, I am going to write you into a book.....

    1. As a brutally maimed and murdered victim, no doubt... :-)

    2. If Caro won't, I'll gladly fulfill your wish, EvKa.

    3. Hmm... one does perceive a seeming over-abundance of bloody eagerness...

  4. I like the "fair bit of money bit," Caro. As for the rest of it, I'll try repressing thoughts of where my career may be headed vis a vis that doggie, while I await the results of a new paperback release and backlist promotion in advance of my new book. May the PR gods be kind to us.