One of the nice things about Five Leaves is that it provides endless opportunities to offer voluntary labour to partnership projects promoting books. I have this notion is that if we promote others, somehow it will lead to others buying our books and we all go home happy. This blog often mentions those projects - Lowdham Book Festival, East Midlands Book Awards, States of Independence, Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing - are the four that come to mind immediately. Unfortunately the last few months have been a bit difficult. Since November, save for two weeks, I've spent part of every week in Scotland on family business. I've managed - this is when email comes into its own - but recently I had to unexpectedly spend about ten days in Scotland. I've not minded the expensive public transport, or the long journeys, though a late-running bus caused the journey from Borders General Hospital to Nottingham to take nine hours a couple of days ago, and once I was stuck in sleet next to a dual carriageway in the middle of nowhere, unable to cross the road to catch a connecting bus. Good for proof-reading - the train parts of the journey, not the buses. But the long block of time up there forced me to make decisions... with great regret I've had to withdraw from East Midlands Book Award and Lowdham Book Festival, end my writing commitment to Southwell Folio, leave Bread and Roses to others and abandon another big project that had not even been announced. I've also refused to give advice to some local people on publishing issues, pulled out of lectures, and am turning into a social hermit. But I might catch up on outstanding Five Leaves work.
Save for the mysterious unannounced project, everything will survive without me, and I hope to be back at full strength later this year in time to plan Lowdham's winter weekend and the next States of Independence. I feel bad about Lowdham Book Festival, leaving my colleague Jane Streeter from The Bookcase to organise the Festival single-handed this year. It will be a great festival, as anyone who knows Jane would expect, though there will have to be some temporary changes. I hope she'll give me a comp or two.
Meantime, if your group would like me to talk about independent publishing, or you are offering me a free lunch, or if you have this marvellous idea... the answer is no!