31st July 2016, Lily Poole finally stumbled word wearily over the finishing line and hit the paying book market. Eleven months later, I finally got a copy of the print used on the cover of Lily Poole framed and hung on the wall facing me in the cupboard in which I write (yes, I’m writing this in a cupboard, I’ve always been weird that way). The cover is perfect. A beautiful piece of smudged artwork. Look closely at the outline of the man and wee girl holding hands and above the second O, in the title, a crow is perched. I like that. It’s a difficult book to place in any one genre and that about sums is up.
I had a ready response for those that asked what the book is about and usually it was ‘it’s a ghost story without a ghost’. That sounds kinda smart and witty. Most folk that didn’t know me probably thought I was just some tosser talking shite, and most folk that did know me knew I was a tosser talking shite. The last guy to ask me what the book was about was the poet William Letford whose latest work Dirt I’d bought because I like the title. He’d never heard of me, of course, and I’d never heard of him, but one of the library staff whispered I too was a writer. Write what you know as Mark Twain supposedly said. I liked William and told him that my book was about us, the people of Clydebank, and that’s about as near as an honest answer as I can give.
Ratings: Amazon keeps the score and the format of “Lily Poole” is currently ranked #320,211 in the Kindle Store (updated hourly) the highest it achieved was #11 in a subcategory.
I’m not really sure how sales work, but I do know it bores me senseless constantly trying to sell, sell, sell is like a bulimia of the soul.
None of the mainstream media showed interested, which is understandable, there’s no hook. I’m not as photogenic as a seal pub, more like a selfie of last night’s dinner (Scampi and chips, in case you’re interested in my fixation with food). I’ve not been in any soaps or been on the telly, unless you count a triumphant re-run of me playing the back of Dr Finlay’s head (see the start of a bald spot of my career on YouTube) or a non-speaking nobody that saunters past Taggart in Taggart, but everybody in Scotland has been in Taggart. I’ve not played football for Scotland and wouldn’t even get in the woman’s team that got gubbed 7-0 by England. I got 23 reviews on Amazon. That’s pretty good. I guess around a third were from people I know, which hints at nepotism. I got a mention in The Clydebank Post and West Dunbartonshire Council made my book novel of the week in their libraries which delighted me, and must be a high point.
I didn’t want a launch party but the gathering in The Cabin was a hoot.
A low point is Scottish Book Trust refusing to acknowledge me as a published author.
I’m nothing noteworthy and my book is one among millions of others. I’m invisible and my book fades away. That’s OK, a year in book life is 100 years in ordinary life. I’m like that wee smudged crow that doesn’t crow.