Saturday, 19 April 2014

Surprise, surprise!

Book publications don't always go as planned!
I am sure you have all heard horror stories of entire print runs having to be pulped because of a nasty typo in a prominent spot...

Well, a while ago I had a slight hiccup with the publication of one of The Housemaid's Daughter translations, the language of which I will keep secret.

In the run up to the big day, I received a elegant, glossy brochure intended for the booksellers, to help them promote the book. I paged through it - not understanding a word, of course - but admiring how beautifully it had been put together until... on the back page, next to my name as author, was a thumbnail picture of a smiling blonde lady several years my junior.
Now, as you may know, I am not and never have been blonde. (I may go there one day but not yet).
I sat with the brochure in my hand and wondered what the etiquette on this sort of thing was:
Do I keep quiet or ask outright if there's been a mistake?
Do I assume it is a picture of... the translator?! But why put my name alongside?
Or was this some kind of marketing trick by a savvy publisher: replace conventional-looking author with someone hotter?

In the end, I decided to approach the publisher via my agent with a carefully-worded enquiry.
I am intrigued by the author photograph in the brochure...
Well, cue huge embarrassment, much hand-wringing, and profuse apologies. And the need to bin all of the brochures and start again.
Maybe I should have kept quiet?
If the mystery blonde could have sold more books than me, then maybe I'd made the mistake!
Ah well, live and learn.

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