Social Notworking

Recently I was invited to a presentation for authors (Authors he says! Get him!) by a lovely woman from Facebook who explained how we could use their site to promote ourselves and our work. Relentlessly cheerful and upbeat – even when challenged by a surly and cynical Ulsterman (cough) – she concluded by announcing that Facebook had recently expanded the maximum size of an update to something like fifteen thousand words. Making it possible, she explained brightly, to publish an entire novel on their website with only a few postings!

Total silence. I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone in that audience when I say that my first thought was ‘I’ve put my blood, sweat, time and tears into this novel– and you think I’m going to publish it for nothing so you can flog more ads for singles-dating websites?’ To give her credit, the speaker knew as soon as she’d spoken that this was not exactly the target audience for that particular feature. But for me it sums up why writers should beware the […] Continue Reading…

Feck-All Comes To Those Who Wait

So there I was, back in my home town, vacuuming my dad’s living room carpet and thinking how I really should ask my agent to send my  manuscript for Crusher to a publisher, when the phone rang.  It was my agent, and she already had, and the publisher she’d shown it to – Random House Children’s Books – wanted the book, plus sequels.  I had to sit down for a bit.

It’s official now – in The Bookseller, even – but I still can’t quite believe it.  When I went to meet Random House for the first time I was kind of hoping they wouldn’t find out I had written Crusher in thirty days as part of the NaNoWriMo event (see my blogs from last November.)  However they very sweetly pointed out that if I hadn’t wanted people to know how quickly I’d written the book, I shouldn’t have blogged about it (see my blogs from last November  – they certainly had.)

Of course, they knew it was not quite as simple as that.  The nuts-and-bolts writing […] Continue Reading…

A Spud By Any Other Name

For those of you having trouble, I officially pronounce my name Nile Lennard.

Back in the twentieth century when I used to wander around Dublin on behalf of the BBC I had a meeting with a  lovely woman who at that time ran the Irish Film Centre*.  ‘O yes,’ she said when we met, ‘You’re the guy who doesn’t know how to pronounce his own name.’  I suppose I’d set myself up for that because I used to, and still do, pronounce my name differently depending on the circumstances.

When I grew up Niall was quite an exotic name – hard to believe, because there’s millions of the buggers now – and the most popular way of spelling it was Neil or even Neal.

For the record, the most famous Niall in Irish history was Niall of the Nine Hostages, supposedly the last Irish king to die a pagan.  (I’ve always regarded that factoid with a certain amount of smugness to which I am no way entitled.)  In the Irish language the son of Niall, if he were called […] Continue Reading…