The things they send

I’ve been seeing spots. I’m a very intolerant person, and I adore complaining about, well, what shall I call it? Printing and design, maybe? So, the spots. They are all over the front of the Bok & Bibliotek (Gothenburg book fair) 2010 programme. Makes me vaguely sick and giddy, so I have to hastily avert my lovely brown eyes when I get close, and whip open the brochure to avoid seeing the spots.

And then it’s David Fickling, again. Now he’s taken to sending me rubbish, and I don’t mean that the books are getting worse. Better, if anything. Monday morning’s post brought this however:

David Fickling packaging

David Fickling packaging

Andy Mulligan, Trash

Andy Mulligan, Trash

I am a fan of recycling, so that’s what I’ll do with David’s Trash. Or more accurately I suppose it’s Andy Mulligan’s Trash, since it’s his new book. It’s not out yet, but it seems DFB want to set the scene with trashy post. And since I had until now only had the manuscript in the last photo, the red proof is an improvement that will make for a better reading experience. (Won’t need such long arms.) Though if I take David’s word for it I’ll be dead. I quote ‘you will hold your breath until the end’, and that sounds like it ought to come with a health warning.

I wonder if they spend ages thinking up new ways of catching people’s attention with design and packaging of review copies? At least this way they also got rid of some of their shredded paper, seeing as they enclosed a colourful selection of paper strips. The brown bag is bound to be an ex-lunch bag of David’s. He strikes me as a sandwich-in-a-brown-bag kind of publisher.

And since it does say on the bag that I should pass the book on once I’ve read it, I won’t be consumed with guilt if I do. It’s a perennial problem with proofs and even ‘real’ copies of books. If I’ve got two copies, which happens, or if I really don’t want the book, I pass them on. Two of them were birthday presents just the other day.

Along with spots, I really have a problem with black-and-white when it’s the wrong way around. Recently many of the book press releases I get sent are in white print on a black background. Let me tell you that the book may be excellent, and I may even read it, but I certainly won’t read the press release.

So it rather defeats the purpose.

The ‘trashy’ route to attention is fun and may cost slightly more than white words on black, but the design aspect of it doesn’t prevent me from getting the message. White on black is akin to having forgotten the wheelchair ramp. And you may not need a wheelchair (or black print on pale paper) just yet, which is why you haven’t thought about it. Just you wait.

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9 responses to “The things they send

  1. Always interesting to see what Mr Fickling’s gang is doing. I began my career in magazine sales promotion, doing things like sending a stethoscope out in a heart shaped candy box to promote a big medical issue (there were big budgets in those days) and I’ve been kind of wondering when book publishing would catch on. If publishing PR departments weren’t so hideously overstretched and under staffed, all sorts of interesting things could be done to promote books….in the meantime, it’s nice to see DF thinking outside the box. Or the bin.

  2. It’s funny to see a book being promoted by being rubbished (ho ho).

  3. Isn’t it funny that publishers who grumble about aspiring writers sending them all kinds of trash along with their submissions are now doing exactly the same themselves?

    It’s all a load of ‘look at me! Aren’t I clever?’ Well, no, you’re not – neither as wannabepublished author sticking sweets in the package, nor as wannabereviewed publisher.

  4. Stroppy – hooray for stroppiness and crabbitness! I couldn’t agree more. If they sent me champagne, on the other hand, I could make an exception.

  5. I take it the stroppy and crabbit ones aren’t too impressed then?

  6. Wow, you guys are hard to impress. Put sweets in with a book and I’m halfway to writing a fabulous review.

  7. No, Meg – sweets are just demeaning, and tacky. Champagne is different – because it clouds one’s integrity, and the judicious clouding of one’s integrity is a truly marvellous thing to experience.

    For example, an agent I know received MS+toffees on the day she happened to have had a particularly painful dentistry experience. Result: rejection of MS+toffees. Whereas I struggle to think of any occasion on which an agent would be inconvenienced by receiving champagne. (Yes, there are some occasions, medically, but they are painful to imagine.)

  8. But what if it had been JK sending those toffees? Despite the dental situation, I’d have kicked myself, had it been me.

    I’m no agent, but I get given chocolates, wine and flowers every now and then. Don’t ‘use’ any them, but will put flowers in a vase and enjoy, since they look great, despite effect on my breathing. The wine gets recycled, and I notice that the chocolate finds its way into someone else’s mouth/stomach pretty quickly.

  9. We got our copy of Trash yesterday: the postman left it on the floor outside the door. Luckily I spotted it before the bin men arrived.

    I read a bit last night and whilst contray to David’s health warning I did manage to put it down ( had to get a good sleep in so I can watch the horror unfold this afternoon on the pitch) it was rather good.

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