Here is the news from Simon and Schuster as to the famous October 4th meeting with supermarket giant Tesco's, and the fate of Take Off Your Party Dress:
> I have presented
> TOYPD to both Asda and Tesco for both range and
> chart. If it gets
> selected for chart I will know at the beginning of
> next year. If it
> doesn't make chart as it's published in March it
> won't make the Jan
> range change as the supermarkets need all stock for
> this range in
> December 2006. However it may be selected for March
> range change, which
> will be ordered in Feb 07 but I won't know that
> until next year. As soon
> as I know anything I will of course let you know but
> it won't be in
I'd say that, basically, as my daughter Nina would put it, the news is that there is no news. Although, let's be fair, good news for those of us who are looking for a reason to stay alive until 2007, but bad news for anybody who thinks supermarkets should get a life, really.
Geraldine McCaughrean , despite being exhausted ("Everybody," she tells me, bemused at having been transformed from a writer into a product, "says, well they'll certainly get their money's worth from you") from this and numerous other launch events, including one she dreamed up herself - and for which she sewed the costumes this past year - at the Watermill Theatre, offers, without being asked or prompted in any way: "I will do an event for your fund-raising".
The children's authors are a seam through Take Off Your Party Dress. Philip Pullman was the first person to email me when I wrote about being diagnosed with cancer, and Adele Geras - who posts comments on this blog, hurrah!! - started emailing me when I was having treatment though we had never - at that point - met.
They are a community, the children's authors - and boy, do they bitch about each other, remind me to tell you the story some day about Michael Morpurgo on Anthony Horowitz being billetted to a less than five-star hotel - but, and I speak as someone who knows tight-knit communities, the children's authors are a community of good things.
Aaaaaaaargh! Amazon.co.uk sales rank, 60,573...for those not equally obsessed that's downwards mobility, it's distressing....
That, and the latest missive from Simon and Schuster - to the effect that, with all due respect there's a big difference between me and Madonna, so putting effort into marketing byproducts of the book is out of the question - has at least pushed me to be more active myself on the sidelines front. I will report back...
To all at Frankfurt Book Fair: when I describe the estimable Tracy Bohan as "crack agent Tracy" it doesn't mean she's a class one drugs dealer. You can stop hassling her...it means she's great at what she does, although it does, of course, have ironic overtones because of the abysmal advance I got (and thereby Mount Vernon Cancer Centre) for Take Off Your Party Dress. So that's completely clear now.
Below, note from Kathy Lette, chum of Kylie...so, one step closer...hurrah!
> Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2006 09:03:42 +0100
> Subject: Hi
> Hi. Have passed this onto Kylie's P.|A. It's such a
> wonderful project.
> Cheers, K
A Kylie endorsement, says crack agent Tracy, will make even Simon and Schuster "run with the book" - despite very long fax from them on Friday explaining yet again just how low in the pecking order I am...
My crocs are cancer-related. The reason I wear them is because one of the - so far, undocumented - side effects of herceptin is that it shreds your nails, and I am repeatedly having to have (look away now, non cancer-sufferers) whole toe-nails removed, wear huge bandages, and consequently...crocs.
When I mentioned this side-effect to my doctors they said they didn't think it was herceptin, that it was probably caused by taxotere. However, the nail-shredding started nearly a year after my last dose of taxotere, but pretty quickly after I started herceptin. When I told a nurse who'd given a lot of herceptin to patients about the nail shredding she said she'd had other women showing the same symptoms. So I told Dr Ostler again, who said: "well, it's all down to the way these things are reported back from the patients". Anybody else experiencing the same on herceptin, do say...or, indeed, vice versa.
P.S. For all - most of whom I have given birth to - who say there is not much fund-raising going on so far on this blog, and I'd better start upping the intensity of my weekly runs, herewith possibly the most dull picture ever to appear on a blog. One cheque, made out to the Mount Vernon CTRT appeal, amounting to the sum of the money I've received so far for Take Off Your Party Dress:
"I don't like to say it's good news yet, Dina," Simon and Schuster's Kerri says to me this morning. The thing that might be good news if we were into calling stuff good news, which we're not, is that the woman from EUK, whose name is Sharon, is reading a bit of my manuscript. Nothing fancy, no money spent on trying to attract her eye with anything gimmicky, or indeed, expensive, just the pages printed out on A4 paper, the way they come out of the computer.
But EUK are very fancy indeed. They are the people before the people, so to speak. Take Off Your Party Dress, my book, is now in the hands of the woman who buys the books for the company that wholesales for Tesco's. The meeting with Tesco's itself takes place on October 4th, but frankly, we'll know long before that whether there's any chance of the world's largest online supermarket stocking my book, if we get the nod from Sharon.
Which we mustn't expect to get, actually. "It's all about celebrity," Kerri adds. "If we've got an author who's likely to get on Jonathan Ross well, then, no problem." Jonathan Ross! I'm about to say. Why, my daughter's in the living room right now playing Stratego with a girl who went to primary school with Jonathan Ross's daughter.
Only I don't because Kerri's already moved on to the marketing budget for my book, which doesn't exist (the budget, that is) apparently. There are three tiers: super-lead, lead and standard. I'm in standard. So boy, oh boy, does a lot ever ride on this October 4th meeting, not to mention Sharon from EUK.
....no news at all. Not a word from Kylie - fair enough - but nothing from Simon and Schuster either. No news of what the marketing budget is for this book, meaning what money they, the publishers', are prepared to put behind it. So, can I just say that you can pre-order Take Off Your Party Dress from Amazon, which will help. A lot. Also, I am not 36.
Strikingly, nobody on the ward yesterday was reading any books at all. Every bed was full, there is no television, no telephone, no cinema (ha,ha) and what's amazing is how many people just spend the day staring into space after a listless thumbing through of the Daily Mail. This does not augur well for sales of Take Off Your Party Dress. There is a sitting area next to the ward, so next trip I'm going to take some of the dozens of books I get sent as a reviewer each week, leave them around, and see what happens.
The woman next to me was suffering the usual repeated attempts to stick a needle into her veins; how do drug addicts do it??? And even my whizzy port was refusing access. Ordinarily you have to stick a needle into it, so you do endure that initial piercing, but then the drugs flow in safe and easy. Yesterday nothing was going in or out. Turns out, ports get blocked sometimes and need to be pierced twice, and then they work nice and smoothly. Again, how do drug addicts do it???
It is the eve of Rosh Hashana here in Hendon, there is a burst water main right in the centre of what we laughingly call our main road - junction of two schools, three synagogues - the bakeries have no water, and are having water delivered, on one of the biggest challa consuming weekends of the year, the traffic is not moving, but tonight there will be apples and honey for all.