The past week has had a split personality: of the time I was able to allocate to writing (rather than working, or unloading the dishwasher, or talking to men about guttering – not a euphemism but a boring reality) I spent half on researching the British army in the early nineteenth century and half on thinking of ways to promote “The Solo Squid”.
With regard to the military research, I think it’s probably no spoiler to say that life in Wellington’s army was pretty grim: one chap wrote to his mum about staggering off the battlefield and carrying his own severed arm to the nearest farm, where the farmer gave him cognac for the pain before cauterising the stump and slinging the arm onto a bonfire. I assume the arm he had left was his writing arm… I can safely say that my brain is now chock-full of handy nuggets of infantry info that I will probably never mention but which give me a lovely feeling of security as I inch towards meeting Gregory for the first time.
And as for the squid, it’s a tricky one: finding potential readers for a book about working alone is not easy, as such people by their very nature tend not to congregate. But I am taking comfort from the five five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon and am now concentrating on thinking of clever ways to get the book in front of the right people. I went into Heffers (our local university bookshop) today and asked the chap in charge of the business section to promote the squid from the bottom shelf to the waist-level “ledge” which is considered the ideal place to catch the passing eye, and I think we can agree that it is a great improvement:
And in the middle of the night I had a wheeze of an idea. I am a dedicated reader of “Good Housekeeping” – it’s my version of fantasy, as I gaze upon the pages of elegant homes and nutritious meals. And they often feature women at work – women who have started their own companies or had a world-changing business idea or (as this month) who run charities. And the squid, I thought, could offer two perspectives: running a one-person business, and being happy at work. I researched the features editor and – as luck would have it – she has written her own book about happiness. So I emailed her this morning with my terrific idea, and we shall see. Perhaps you should all write in to “GH” and say that you were considering taking out a subscription but had been put off by their lack of articles on how to run a happy one-person business….
Apologies for the awful title of this post, but it seems that the word “squid” lends itself to fanciful thinking: one reviewer has written about the book promoting “squidology”, while someone else mentioned its “squisdom”. How I wish I had thought of them.