Paperback writer

Well, that’s it. I’m no longer just a journalist, I’m an internationally published author. My book George Orwell on Screen is out and people are reading it. I can only speculate on what, if anything, this means for the rest my life.

I’m writing this on Sunday, 23 September, nine days after an editor at my American publisher McFarland sent me a photo of the 255-page illustrated paperback. On Tuesday the 18th, a parcel arrived of 11 free copies: one for me, plus 10 that I’ve earmarked for other people. Lifelong ambition fulfilled, I was jubilant.


The book contains interviews with about 30 people (and a picture from a freelance photographer who understandably wants a copy). Some, knowing the score as far as writers’ finances are concerned, have offered to pay for theirs. I don’t mind sending out free ones, though. It’s the least I can do to repay them.

Fortunately, McFarland runs a very good author discount offer. I won’t go into details, except to say that I made a large bulk order the other night that shot my book to the top of its website’s popularity charts. Whatever remains after I’ve fulfilled my obligations to my interviewees, I’ll sell as signed copies, I guess.

DJ Taylor, whose biography of Orwell came out in 2003, has read my book and likes it.

So does the guy who runs the Orwell Society Twitter account.

I, meanwhile, have a lot of self-publicity to do. The same day I received my books, I arranged some posters on my living room wall (the big one bought on eBay, the smaller one printed by me) and took selfies.

One of these I included in a press release, emailed to newspapers in my local area. So far The Northern Echo has run the story.

Anyway, it’s early days. I look forward to reading the reviews.

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