Thursday, 12 February 2009

Black Books in Brighton

I was going to write a blog post about going to the Romantic Novelists Association awards lunch the other day. And I will. But it's late and I wanted to post this instead!

In case you didn't know the lovely Caroline Smailes has decided to celebrate the launch of the paperback of her fantastic second novel - Black Books - by holding a fanastic competition with loads of great prizes! All you need to do to take part is to take a photo of Caroline's book on sale in a bookshop and the most imaginative photo (as judged by Scott Pack) wins all the prizes!

Now I wasn't sure about entering this competition (mostly because I won the flying saucers in Caroline's last competition and the bundle of books when the hardback of Black Books came out) but I couldn't not take part - it was too exciting! One of my writer friends has a book out and said book is in bookshops up and down the country. I wanted to see how many I could find!

I was going into Brighton anyway so plonked my mobile phone (which has a rubbish camera inbuilt) into my bag and set off for town. As I was walking I started to think of all the wonderfully inventive ways I could take a photo of Caroline's book. Maybe I could ask a whole bunch of customers to cheer and jump up and down whilst holding copies of the book. Or maybe I could convince a whole load of staff to stand by the table and point at Caroline's book. Or maybe...

You get the idea. My imagination was running wild.

So I walked into the first bookshop on my travels - Waterstones. I slipped through the entrance and wandered over to the nearest 3 for 2 table. Nope, no book. Next one? Nope, no book. Third one?


Tons of Caroline's books.

Now what?

I rooted around in my bag for my mobile. And I rooted a bit more. And a bit more (my bag is full of crap). And various people passed me and frowned and I started to feel a bit self-conscious standing by a 3 for 2 table rooting around in my bag so I sloped off to a lesss conspicuous part of the store and rummaged some more. Result! By this point I'd been in the shop for a good few minutes and hadn't even looked at a book. I felt like I had a big red arrow over my head going "Suspicious" so I hurried back to the table, opened the shutter on my camera phone and click!

This is the photo I took:

Hmmm, I thought. Not a bad photo, but not very inventive and it doesn't give Caroline a sense of where the book actually is (she could end up with lots of close-ups of her book!).
So then I took this:

Look! Real people, standing near Caroline's book. And up on the wall it says "Stones, Brighton" which is kind of clever because there are lots of stones pebbles on the beach. No? Okay, I didn't think it was a particularly inventive photo either but by this point I'd started to worry that I might feel a heavy hand on my shoulder and a "Excuse me madam, what are you doing?" so I hurried out of the shop!

Next I went into Borders. I meandered around the shop trying to look casual but actually feeling guilty, like some kind of book pervert on a mission to take illicit photographs of unknowing paperbacks. I weaved in and out of various tables and then - spotted! - more copies of Caroline's book. On a 3 for 2 table. I drew closer but there was a woman standing right in front of Caroline's books. With a copy in her hand! And she was reading the back!
I was so excited, and so keen not to disturb her, I skipped away then thought, hang on, how many authors get to see photos of people they don't know reading their book?

So out came the camera again and I took this:

And the shutter noise was so freaking LOUD I was convinced the woman would realise I was taking a photo of her and ask me what the hell I was doing - so I ran away!
So there you go. Jack Bauer on a mission I'm not. I'm a big scaredy cat and I didn't ask ANYONE to help me take an inventive photo but there's no reason why you can't do better.
So what are you waiting for...get over to Caroline's blog, read the rules and go off on your own little mission.
And if all that sounds too much like hard work (or you're snowed in) you can always order a copy of Black Boxes from instead!


Debs said...

LOL, Cally, secret agent extraordinaire.

Well done for the photos. I was so excited to see copies in WHS at Victoria Station that I forgot to take a photo at all!.

liz fenwick said...

I didn't know about the comp but was so excited to see Black Boxes in Smiths at Terminal 3 I took a photo with my phone!!!

Leigh said...

Oh, to be able to stand still in a bookshop long enough to read the whole back of a book...

One day.

Good luck in the comp.!

Vodka Mom said...

That is SO fantastic! I adored this post.

wordtryst said...

" some kind of book pervert on a mission to take illicit photographs of unknowing paperbacks..." LOL!

I must definitely go on the hunt myself, armed with my trusty also-crap camera phone.