Part of my publicity strategy for The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. The Green Bogey has collapsed already. My offer to hire my local bookshop for an evening to entertain 50 or 60 friends (and flog them a book each) has been turned down on the grounds that my novel will be available only from amazon – wherefrom I might be buying books in the future.
So it goes. At least saving a few quid on venue hire means I can divert the money into another area of my promotional masterplan.
I have a photo a quite like on the grounds it makes me look reasonably fun-loving and avuncular.
On the other hand, if I am to be a children’s author, maybe I should go for something more madcap.
Maybe not. Conclusion: engage the services of a proper photographer to take some decent pictures.
I have written a press release to go with them which is basically a re-cut of my product description. However, I have added a ‘note to editors’ about myself:
Mark Gorton is a writer, journalist and television programme maker. Born and raised in Blackburn, Lancashire, he has lived in Heswall, Wirral, Merseyside for the past 30 years.
He started his TV career as a researcher at Granada Television and became a reporter and presenter of regional and network shows – including On the Market, for which he masqueraded as a TV Chef (much to the irritation of his wife, Annie, who knew the truth.)
Returning behind the cameras Mark produced news and current affairs before moving to Daytime and This Morning as producer and then deputy editor.
In the Entertainment Department in Manchester he became producer and executive producer of well-known series like You’ve Been Framed! and Cluedo.
He was also editor of Tonight with Richard and Judy, coming in for criticism when O. J. Simpson refused to confess to Britain’s Golden TV Couple.
Nevertheless, he was appointed Granada’s Head of Entertainment Development, devising several shows including Name That Toon for CITV. During this period he also produced The Mrs Merton Show and Mrs Merton in Las Vegas, together with what is now known as the pilot of The Royle Family. Mark won a BAFTA award for the The Mrs Merton Show.
Mark went on to co-found an independent production company called MMA which made more than 400 hours of content for broadcasters at home and overseas. He has also worked as producer and writer for the BBC.
He is a member of the board of FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) in Liverpool.
There seems to be something here that might connect with anyone desperate to fill space, although it is a reminder that my television triumphs are firmly in the past.
Some good news and bad news.
A friend called Deb who has a PR company says she will spit out my release to all relevant contacts. I send her my draft – and she replies saying she finds it a bit dull. Can I find a more grabby way into the story rather than just stating the facts? Something personal perhaps? Well, it’s true that aged 10 I was a chubby child like my hero Kenny and that Blackwater is a reimagining of my hometown decades ago, so there is an autobiographical streak. I promise to give it some thought. She is absolutely right. The release is dull.
Meanwhile, artist Dave Kennedy, now working on my book cover, anticipated a request I was about to make. He will isolate the elements and layers of the completed image so I have as many assets as possible to exploit. There is a lesson here about almost all content: get as many bangs for your buck as you can across as many media as you can.
He follows up with a quick idea for the cover and requests my notes. I like the start he has made very much. It focuses on the night the Green Bogey brings terror to the travelling fair that has arrived in Blackwater. The zoom-ins on other key characters watching the drama unfold is a great idea.
I realise I left something very important off my list of promotional things to do. If I am so good at video and know lots of talented people, including animators, why am I not planning some sort of short promo?
I am now. It needs some thought. What can be done on a zero budget? How many favours can I pull in? Perhaps the imagery generated by the cover will be sufficient to make 30 seconds of fun.
Dave has just sent an idea for the book’s villain, Mr Green, who can transform himself into the ghastly Green Bogey.
Mr Green is on the money and the Bogey’s expression makes me laugh. However, I will reply that in my mind’s eye I see Mr Green covered in a layer of gelatinous, genetically engineered gunge that behaves like a protective suit. Therefore his head is likely to be more a green Red Skull than the abominable snowman.
Even though the world seems to have stumbled into an alternative universe and I should probably be thinking about how to protect democratic freedoms I am encouraged.
However, I do make a political protest of sorts by bashing out an outline of a future Bumbling-Boy book:
The Utterly Amazing Bumbling-Boy VS. Cybernan
When a TOP SECRET American fighter jet crashes into a Blackwater bungalow there is an unfortunate mix-up.
The paramedics arrive in an ambulance along with a mysterious black van.
Thanks to Inspector Harry Potter, comatose test pilot Major Buzz Yeager is taken in the ambulance to the A&E department of Blackwater Royal Hospital, while stroppy grandma and bungalow owner, 83 year old Doris Plain, is driven in the black van to an underground US Air Force installation just outside Burnley that not even the British government knows about.
Here a team of scientists and engineers is under orders to turn whoever is in the van into a cybernetic organism – it’s part of a military project to create super soldiers.
Some doubts are raised about why millions of dollars should be spent on an old biddy with false teeth, but in the end everyone concludes that this is a masterstroke idea by their belligerent leader, President Thump.
Who would suspect an ancient woman of being a deadly assassin?
When Doris wakes up, complete with superalloy skeleton, positronic brain and steel nashers, she vows to return to Blackwater and take revenge on the town she thinks abandoned her to this bizarre and terrible fate.
Can Bumbling-Boy and Dinkesh thwart Cybernan’s schemes, and can Dinkesh reprogram her mind – and maybe tweak it a little so the old bat is nicer than she was?
Progress. I add this story line to two others in the comforting knowledge I have the foundation of a series of books.
To infinibee and beeyond…
To be continued…