Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Booksellers, burgers and buses

Quick update about my recent trip to London, where it finally dawned on me that despite visiting The Big Smoke more often than I've been to almost any other city, I've barely scratched the surface of the tourist trail. I've never been to the Houses of Parliament, or Big Ben. I've never been on the London Eye. I certainly haven't done any of the shiny new stuff, like the Shard. I didn't tick off many of those touristy things this time either, but I did do some other cool stuff. Like get on a London bus for the first time.

Even more exciting than that, though, I visited my publishers at Orion House and chatted to the sales team about The Samaritan. It was lovely to meet some members of the team I hadn't spoken to before, and to see how enthusiastic everyone is about the book. I also got a very early preview of the paperback cover of The Killing Season, which already looks great even in a rough draft. I caught up with my editor Jemima and got to meet my paperback editor Jo for the first time. I even got to meet David Young, the CEO of Orion, who said really nice things about the first two Carter Blake books.
Orion has its own building
Fancy foyer too...
and some good-looking books in reception
I also got to meet some of the local booksellers, guided by expert sales rep Linda. We zipped around central London on foot, by bus, by tube and by cab  (I've definitely ticked off the full public transport package) to some independent bookshops like Goldsboro Books (who have signed hardback first editions if you're in the market) and various branches of Waterstones, including Picadilly which is the biggest bookshop in Europe, and Trafalgar Square. Little did we know we were there mere hours before the #waterstonestexan would walk in and begin his spell in captivity.
The idea was to meet some of the people who'll be selling the book, and to hand out advance copies of The Samaritan. These were hot (well, warm by the time I touched them) off the presses, and were what is called 'rough proofs'. Every day is a school day - I didn't know about this before. The rough proofs are printed up locally on much heavier paper than standard books (they weighed a ton), so we could have super-early advance copies. Even in this format, though, they looked great. The cover really pops, and I'm really glad we decided to stick with the title.
We met lots of nice booksellers, including Chris at Piccadilly and Rowan at Trafalgar Square, and gave them advance copies.

I can't wait to see what the team comes up with for the proper advance proof, after the excellent ARCs for The Killing Season. After all that, I had a short window before my train home, so I managed to squeeze in some very basic sight-seeing:  

 ...as well as a lightning-quick stop at Five Guys, naturally...
Five Guys narrowly beats Shake Shack for me
...before it was time to head homewards. After trying out the plane and the hell that is the overnight bus in my younger days, I always take the train now. Door to door, it takes the same time as flying and there's a lot less waiting around / being frisked. It also gives you time to work on new projects.

Of which I hope to tell you more very soon...

Back at Glasgow Central

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