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Sunday, July 07, 2002

Not really much time for the journal today. A couple of deadlines need to be made...

Lay in bed this morning reading The Author, the Society of Authors publication. Interestingly, sales of childrens books were down again in the UK, in 2001, by 5%. (The adult market grew by 6% in that time.) Which is interesting because I was told at ALA that that wasn't happening, look at J.K. Rowling and everyone, children's books have never experienced such a boom etc. I'd love to see the US numbers...

Anyway, The Author is filled with lots of immensely practical articles by working authors, agents, commissioning editors and so on. One line which resonated deeply, as I try to decide which invitations to go where I accept this year and next year, and how much time I can actually give to going places and meeting people and signing things, was from a Philip Pullman speech given at the Creators' Rights Alliance -- "There comes a time in the careers of many of us when, in the words of Allan Ahlberg, people like our work so much they want us to stop doing it".

My current favourite print publication is probably The Week. Somewhere not far behind comes New Scientist, which is so much more interesting than the increasingly insipid Scientific American, which I buy in airports and read on planes without pleasure. I suppose that what interests me as a writer is the odder, more Fortean, or at least goofier end of science, which New Scientist is much more willing to provide. Did you know that Semen is an anti-depressant (I'd make a joke about that, but it's just too easy...) or that Persuasion is now replacing coercion in Animal experimentation ("Come on now, Rover. All the other dogs are smoking twenty a day. They're starting to talk about you. 'Oh, he's too lah-dee-dah to light one up with the lads.' And you know the lady dogs'll like it. That's the spirit, here I'll light it for you...") or that a six-week stay at a Hindu temple in Tamil Nadu can produce the same improvement in people with severe psychiatric disorders as a month-long course of standard drugs? All the sorts of things a writer needs to have composting down in the back of his head.

There are several hundred FAQs in over the last few days, many of which aren't FAQs but people writing to say how much they liked Coraline. Here's one...

In some of the earlier journal entries, you've said you'd be signing or
reading Coraline in Dublin. However, there's no information on it under
the 'Where's Neil' listings. Is that still in the works? Thank you!

I need to talk to Bloomsbury. I know I'm going to Dublin, and doing lots of media (TV, radio, newspapers). It would be rather odd to be sent to Dublin and not to sign. But there's no listing in so far. So I'm not really sure. As soon as I know anything one way or another I'll stick it up here and on the Where's Me bit.

Right. Off to write...

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