Monday, 7 February 2011

Publicity Hussy

Where to begin? Well, in the shower, of course, which is where I have many of my ideas, some of them crazy.

So there I was, getting ready to go out yesterday evening. Andy and I had tickets to see Gyles Brandreth at our local theatre. I'm in the shower (best not to imagine this bit), and suddenly...

'Take a copy of Nearly King Jimbo with you,' I said to myself.
'Why?' I replied.
'To give to Gyles Brandreth, of course,' I said. 'Stupid.'
'No need for that.' I said. 'You know I can't abide rudeness.'
'I apologise,' I said. 'But I really think you should take a copy with you this evening and find a way of getting it to Mr Brandreth. He is, after all, a writer, raconteur, bon viveur, all-round arty celeb-type personality, and I bet he knows a lot of people.' And I tapped myself on the side of my nose. 'If you know what I mean. You need to make the most of these opportunities when they come along.'
'I do,' I said. 'But how am I supposed to get a copy of Nearly King Jimbo into the hands of such a celebrity? Throw it onto the stage wrapped in a thong?'
'Well,' I said. 'You are sitting right at the front. You wouldn't have to throw it far.'

Off we went to the theatre. In my bag was secreted a copy of NKJ. At this point, I think it is fair to say, I was verging on the chickening out side of my plan.

The show was very entertaining. Mr Brandreth has a bottomless pit of humorous stories to tell; well, he leads a very full and star-spangled life, so I suppose he would.

All the while I am thinking, how can I do this? He'll think I'm some kind of mad-bonkers stalker woman if I go thrusting self-published books at him.
'He might not,' I said back to myself.
Oh, here she goes again, I thought.
'He might think,' I continued with dogged determination, 'that it's a jolly good book, and that you are a writer worth championing, or at least to pass on to someone else to champion.'
'In my dreams,' I said.
'It's where all life's magic starts,' said I.

Then at the interval, I was thrown a life line. Copies of Gyles Brandreth's book would be on sale in the foyer from his wife, Michele. And after the show, Gyles Brandreth would be signing the copies that were bought.

'Aha!' I said. 'There's your opportunity. Invest in his book - it'll be a good read anyway- and then whilst he is signing it, thrust NKJ at him, but think carefully about what you are going to say; you don't want to come across like a desperate mad-bonkers writer/ stalker.'

'Okay,' I said. 'And he did say he loved puns, and NKJ is full of puns, so shall I take that as a sign to take the risk?'
'Only if you are very superstitious,' I said.

I bought a copy of his book. I had a little chat to his wife, who was very nice. She admired my necklace and we both agreed that £5 notes are very rare these days.

All through the second half I was thinking about what I was going to say. I talked myself out of my plan at least three more times.

But when the time came, I just went for it. I waited until most of the audience had gone because I didn't want to make a fool of myself in front of too many people. My nerves were eased a little when I reached his table and he looked up at me and said, 'Hello! You look rather lovely!'

Blimey, I thought; I've just been chatted up by Gyles Brandreth!

Anyway, we got chatting to him; he is a very personable person. And then I whipped out NKJ and said:
'I have a small gift for you. It's a book I wrote. Andy did the illustrations. I'm hoping to create a 'lucky co-incidence'. If you don't read it, you might leave it somewhere where someone else will pick it up and read it. Like an agent or a publisher. It's been rejected several times. We self-published it.'

(Shut up now, I thought. You're starting to ramble).

'It's the best way to go these days,' said Gyles. 'And of course I'll read it. Look, Michele. These lovely people have given me a gift.' And he showed the book to his wife.
'Will you sign it for us?' she said. 'You must sign it for us.'

So whilst Gyles was signing his book, I was signing ours! I signed my autograph in a book I wrote!!

It was all very surreal and I got a bit shaky and wobbly at this point because I was feeling ridiculously excited at my book being in the hands of a celebrity.

And if he does read it, I hope he enjoys it and maybe as a laugh or two in return for all the laughs he gave us last night.

I'll just have one last excited shriek if you don't mind...


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