To London's Barbican library yesterday to check out books on creative writing (which I sometimes have to talk about). I often browse through these when I'm going through an arid patch (when I'm working, I don't bother). The same applies, I've found, to books on drawing and painting (I was trained as an artist). Working, actually WORKING, throws up most of the problems they write about, except that, when you're actually doing the stuff, they become just things you deal with. I think these books, when they're good, are useful for exploring the psychological issues involved in writing/drawing/painting, and for suggesting possible new ways of looking - at things, at life, and everything. For this reason, I did, finally, borrow three - one about writing a blockbuster (which I know I shall never do unless it happens naturally), one very New Age American, but which did seem to contain some interesting ideas, and one Buddhism-based curiosity which I rather liked.
The book that really grabbed me, though, was Jennie Erdal's GHOSTING (Canongate) - a memoir of her years as a ghost writer in the 70-80s. She writes beautifully and richly, and I REALLY WANT TO KNOW who the mysterious 'publisher' she mentions is - flamboyant in jewels, mismatched socks, multiple expensive watches, and aristocratic babes (never met one remotely like that). Can there ever be equally flamboyant ebook publishers? Don't think so. Another age, another age...
Two of my picture books with Franklin Watts have been translated into Arabic, and at present we're contemplating a short, escorted tour to Oman. We've never visited an Arabic/Muslim country before, and for this reason, I began checking out (among other things) children's publishers there, and yes, there are quite a few. Do they ever come to the major European book fairs? And how many authors go to Frankfurt and Bologna? It's always psychologically difficult trying to sell your own work - well, that's what agents are for. I used to design and make medieval play tents and Victorian paper theatres, and it wasn't easy.
Conventional publishing-wise, the absolutely worst part, these days, is waiting for responses, and for people like me, still accustomed to the author nurturing which used to happen at Walker Books with Sebastian and Wendy, it's a killer. I'm also the world's worst wait-er, which is where ebooks come into the picture. It will be so interesting to see how it all develops, which is why I've switched myself on as an ElectricAuthor....crackle and zing!