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Apologies for the radio silence: it has been a mad fortnight.  Entirely my own fault, as I work alone and am in charge of my own diary, but everything except the absolute essentials of work and survival shopping/cooking have been on hold – apart, that is, from attendance at the London Book Fair.  For the first time ever.  And as an award shortlistee (is that a word? perhaps nominee is better)!

Of course I had heard of the LBF (as I thought it was trendy to call it, until I heard the old pros talking simply of “London”) but had never really felt entitled to attend before.  And to be honest, much of the show – fascinating though it is to wander around – is intended for publishers and booksellers and agents, looking to schmooze each other and make deals.  If you were an author looking for an agent or a publisher, it would be a handy place to do some research; you can see at a glance which “lists” would welcome your work, and with the lure of a (vastly overpriced, as always at these events) coffee and pastry you might even be able to set up a meeting or two.  I simply enjoyed seeing all the stalls and fantasising about being “author of the day” at an LBF of the future…

But back to the award.  As regular readers will know, I was – amazingly and thrillingly – chosen as one of eight shortlisted entrants for the inaugural Selfies Award, created to recognise writing and publishing professionalism in the self-published world.  I am told that more than fifty entries were received, so getting down to the final eight – and as a part-time author – pleased me enormously.  We were an entirely female shortlist, and it was a delight to meet the other seven authors on the day.  We were all a bit giddy by 4.30pm when we were shepherded onto the low stage of the little theatre set up in the “Writer’s Block” area of the fair, and we each had to announce our name and our book title.  I didn’t win but was consoled by the fact that both the winner (Jane Davis, with her book “Smash all the Windows”) and the runner-up (Jane Steen, with her book “Lady Helena Investigates”) were just the loveliest women.  I entirely forgot to take any photos myself but I hope that the award sponsors IngramSpark (through whom I publish the Sam books) won’t mind me borrowing this one from their Twitter feed:


That’s the overall winner Jane Davis being announced and the runner-up Jane Steen on the right, with the biggest smile in the universe!  (You’ll also spot the purple book cover of “Faith, Hope and Trickery” on the banner behind us – so many people complimented me on that cover.)  Look how happy we all are – that’s self-publishing for you!