My Twitter followers still only amount to a pathetic 9, but I’ve recently been honoured with being the humble subject of a #FF. Now, this may look like some kind of abbreviated swear word to the uninitiated but all Twits out there will recognise this as ‘Follow Friday’. Basically it’s a shout out that you can make any Friday to promote someone you follow in the hope that others will follow them too. They haven’t. Thanks for trying though Maureen.
I also owe Maureen thanks for connecting me with Gae-Lynn Woods in Texas, who is a proper author. She has written two crime thrillers and I’m currently reading the first, The Devil of Light. This book has scored an average 4.7 from reviewers while her new book boasts an amazing 4.9. I’m too modest to draw attention to my own average score of 5, mostly because it emanates from two people, both of whom are mates. I’m very grateful nonetheless and it would of course have been crushing if they’d awarded any less!
Gae-Lynn gave me some sound advice and also introduced me to lots more social networking sites. I’d barely begun to adapt to Twitter after eventually mastering Facebook, and I now I discover that there are dozens more of these virtual worlds out there, made just for authors. Triberr, Goodreads, Wattpad, LibraryThing, Shelfari and even Booksie! I do realise that you have to scatter a lot of seeds to earn a few green shoots, never mind a harvest, but enough already! Gae-Lynn, on the other hand, Tweets constantly, using tools to manage her Tweet flow (smart huh?), but still found time to re-Tweet my blog. A sweet Tweet indeed, but still no luck. Where are you Follower #10?
When you search for my book on Amazon it appears alongside two others. You might imagine these to have similar titles or themes but no, they are called ‘Physics of Sailing’ and ‘The Beauty of Murder’. On further inspection I find that the reason for these apparently incongruous connections is that each book mentions the Tea Leaves (sic) Paradox within its pages. Not my book of course, but the phenomenon itself. I panicked initially at their pluralisation, but it seems that Einstein himself referred to this Paradox using a singular Tea Leaf. Actually, I think the plural makes more sense, but my version sounds better and you can’t argue with Albert.
With the paperback launch somewhat delayed at the design studio (aka Fabianne) I decided to return my focus to creating a brewery, as that is actually my chosen future path. I’d booked up a tour at the Camden Town Brewery and took the chance to meet up with the guide beforehand to pick his brains. Mark Dredge is a beer/food writer who has won awards for his Pencil & Spoon blog and beer writing and has now published a book about craft beer. I did my best to appear credible, at least as a potential brewery owner, even if not as a writer. He did seem to confirm that I had my high level plans about right, but I certainly didn’t detect any signs of fear about this potential new competitor. He did say though that there are very few truly great brewers out there, so finding one will be really hard. Right now I can’t even find a crap one!
The tour itself was ace. There were about ten of us and after spending 15 minutes saying hi and having a beer, we walked around the brewery and drank serious quantities of beer before finishing the tour and being left to, er, drink even more beer. I mean, there was jugfuls of the stuff that just kept coming, and it would have been rude not to try each style at least twice. I would recommend this tour as a very cost effective way to get drunk and meet people, but that would mask the quality of the tour itself, which was excellent. But, yep, not a bad way to get drunk and meet people, all for £12.
Boosted by this success (and having passed on three business cards to my fellow boozers) I then contacted a few more breweries and have managed to nail down visits to three of those over the coming weeks. I’ve also had my invitation to the London Brewers’ Alliance confirmed and signed up for a three day ‘start-up brewing’ course at BrewLab in Sunderland in January, so progress on the brewery field research is being made. I was kinda done with the pub research by now, having crawled my way around 24 of these last week, so I reckoned it was time for some desk research. I’d already figured out that I would need brewing equipment to make beer (smart huh?) but I don’t have the expertise or language to properly describe what it is I’m looking for, even if I knew what that was. So, pity poor Andreas from Braukon (suppliers to Camden Town) in Germany when he reads my pathetic attempt at a serious enquiry. I need this information though as buying brew kit will probably be my largest outgoing – up to £100k and maybe more.
Next up was premises. I found a few companies who are letting agents for suitable, light industrial (category B1, techy dudes) properties not too far from central London. I’m getting a feel for what’s out there and what it costs but know no more about my exact requirements for property than I do for the brew kit. It seems that I should budget for about £15-20 per square foot and should be looking for about 2,000 of these little fellows ideally. Some of the places looked absolutely fine from a practical, manufacturing perspective but did not in any way make my heart sing. Then I discovered the Network Rail website where they rent out units under railway arches and the old ticker burst into song. #Smitten.
I handed over one other business card this week, to a bloke called Kal who had just engraved a photo book for me. Turned out he’d been in film, which we got on to when he described the many famous folk he does work for, like engraving Robbie Williams’ shades with ‘RW’. Anyway, I cleverly/clumsily turned the conversation around to ask him how one connects with a production company or film crew, should one wish to make a documentary about Scottish breweries. He warmed to this, gave me a few tips (then probably filed my card in the bin), and I thought about who my presenter would be, all the way back on the tube. Any ideas dear reader?
So, with my book not going anywhere fast and the brewery only creeping forward, I was pleased to receive notification of some work for extras in a photo shoot the next day. Applying seemed daft with holidays approaching, but in a moment of madness I hit the button, not expecting to ever hear back. A day later I received an email telling me that I had indeed been chosen for a promo shoot for BT Visions Karaoke – a television program that brings karaoke to your living room! The shoot was taking place at BT HQ and I had to be there from 7pm til 11:30pm. Not ideal when I had to rise at 4:30am to catch a plane but, hey, this was my big break! I wasn’t at all put off when I learned that the program was moving from telly to internet, but my nerves multiplied when I saw that there would be some acting required. Extras having to act? That wasn’t in the script. Worse, all my fellow extras had acting experience already. I just had stage fright and no tools to manage it with.
So, how did my debut go? Has Follower #10 appeared yet? And has the long-awaited paperback finally found its way to Amazon’s virtual shelves? Most importantly, am I losing my bottle with the brewery as well as my battle with the booze? Tune in to Orbit FM next week for all the answers and more.