Friday, March 10, 2006

The good guys.

Yesterday lunchtime I yomped head-down through the drizzle over to Cecil Court and introduced myself to David and Dan of Goldsboro Books.

Goldsboro Books specialise in signed modern first editions. They are going to be stocking Taking Comfort, along with all the other MNW titles, so at some point I will need to pop in and sign some title pages. Not only that, on the 12th April they are hosting a party to launch the imprint. There have been rumours that we will be called upon to do readings.

So I thought I'd get the lie of the land, as well as giving them the chance to size me up.

The first thing that struck me was how tiny the shop was. I was a little worried that we wouldn't be able to fit the six MNW authors in there, let alone anyone who might come along to see us. But then I noticed the stairs down to a basement.

The floor space was almost entirely taken over by a couple of boxes of Jeffrey Archer, waiting to be unpacked. It felt like his ego was in there with us, leaving scant room for anyone else. And of course there was the challenge of those books, and of all the books around, immaculate, precious books, by proper writers. The whole shop seemed to be saying to me, "So, do you really think you deserve a place in here?"

I loitered shyly, and was on the point of bottling out, when I caught the eye of the guy behind the counter.

"Are you David?" I asked. I had exchanged emails with one David Headley, so my guess was this was he. I hadn't said that I was going to call in, however.

He smiled and confirmed he was. At the same time, he seemed to be looking at me in a strange way, as if he was trying to place my face.

"Hi, I'm Roger -"

"Roger Morris. Taking Comfort!" he got in quickly. "I recognised you from the photo." He then told me how much he had enjoyed the book and made the rather cryptic observation: "You can tell you work in marketing, though."

He was very enthusiastic about the books, all of which I think he'd read. (Goldsboro Books have even chosen one of the titles, Brian Martin's North, as their book of the month for April.) The quality of the production had impressed him enormously, particularly when compared to most modern hardbacks.

He introduced me to his partner, Dan, and we chatted and joked about books, book collecting, and Diva authors. David named names, which I can't possibly repeat here. However, I made a mental note never to be over-fussy about the crudites, or where my chair is positioned.

They were both wonderfully friendly and welcoming and what came through loud and clear was that these guys love books. They're collectors themselves, and sometimes can't bear to part with an edition. (David hinted intriguingly that before they had been collectors, they had both been training to be Roman Catholic priests. But that's another story, as David said.) To them, books will always be books, not 'units'.

They are the good guys.


Richard said...

Pretty soon you'll be hounded by the paparazzi and we'll have to use a crowbar to fit your head through doorways. Oh, wait, that really only refers to Mr. Archer, not you!

Paul Campbell said...


I do hope that you've not forgotten the most important thing which first time published authors have to do?

You have to produce that tricky second novel, ready to cash in on the dizzying success of #1.

One book doesn't make you a proper author, you know?!

roger said...

Richard, I hope my head doesn't get too big. As for Mr Archer, I ain't saying a word.

Paul, thanks for the reminder! I think I'll just worry about book no.1 for now.


kathryn said...

Hey, that's like 'Joseph Heller, Catch 22'!!!!! You famous now or what?!!! Very exciting stuff. ;-)

roger said...

I don't think it quite counts as famous. They get authors popping in there all the time, so I guess they are always on the look out. But it was nice that the book had made enough of an impression for him to remember me.

Debra Broughton said...

It sounds like a wonderful place for a launch party.

Move over Archer - Macmillan New Writers are on their way!

PS My ARC turned up today. I see what you mean about spot varnishing. Very nice.

roger said...

Hi Debra, good you got them. Now I'm bracing myself. The book is out there. Yikes.