#ABitLessShit

I’m still really struggling with how everyone I’ve met today (both online and in real life) is horrified with the result of the election.

So is the system broken (in terms of ‘first past the post’ not representing actual voters)? Or is it fair to suggest the majority of people really think the Tories are doing a good job/serve their interests? I really want to hear from Tory voters – what were you actually voting for? Honestly? I’m not being glib, I really want to know what message I’ve missed. Perhaps I can salvage something from this.

I see people queuing at food banks; I see no affordable housing in London; I see a horrific divide between rich and poor; I see the Arts on the critical list; I see no mandatory PSHE in schools; I see cuts to hospitals, school building works, prisons, the army and educational services.; I see bedroom tax; student debt; cancer patients being forced back into work; pointless nuclear deterrents.

Given that we’re stuck with 5 years of cuts and maltreatment of the poor/sick perhaps we need to stop looking to politicians and do more ourselves, on an individual level, to make things nicer. CLEARLY we should be able to trust the government to look after those in need, but we can’t. In the immortal words of Elsa, we have to Let It Go. Don’t get mad, get up. What can I do? What can you do? We might need to make things A Bit Less Shit, because we have to. Whether that’s through protest or volunteering or donating, take your pick. I’ve already seen a number of author friends taking food to food banks today. What else can we do? Suggestions in the comments box!

While we get off our arses, we really BADLY need a convincing opposition. And, as lovely as he seems to be, that wasn’t Ed Miliband, I’m afraid. I know a lot of my teen readers are disheartened by this, but don’t be. Soon, you’ll be voting, and you GET IT more than I ever did.

James x

You Can’t Sit With Us

Katie Hopkins arriving at the British LGBT Awards at the Landmark Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. The awards showcase individuals and organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Picture date: Friday April 24, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Katie Hopkins arriving at the British LGBT Awards at the Landmark Hotel, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. The awards showcase individuals and organisations who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Picture date: Friday April 24, 2015. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

No stranger to controversy, sometime newspaper columnist and reality TV regular Katie Hopkins this weekend found herself in stormy waters close to LGBT shores.

If you were on a romantic mini-break this weekend, let me recap for you. Last Friday saw the inaugural ‘British LGBT Awards’. Organised by media firm Square Peg, the awards were set up to, in the words of organiser (and owner of Square Peg) Sarah Garrett, ‘to shine a light on those who help promote equality. Our focus is on celebrating those shortlisted, the deserving winners and supporting our charity partners.’

All was going swimmingly well until, like Maleficent at Aurora’s christening, Hopkins swept in on a black cloud to the horror of the other VIP guests. This was, lest we forget, a few days after Hopkins, in her Sun column, described recently drowned human beings as ‘cockroaches’, peppering her feast with ‘Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.’ I repeat, the awards were about: ‘those who help promote equality’.

Social media, as you’d expect, didn’t take too kindly to Hopkins’ presence and nor did the guests at the award ceremony. Unable to ignore the growing unrest both in the room and on Twitter, Square Peg initially claimed Hopkins had scaled a perimeter fence and slithered in through the plumbing, not unlike Tooms from The X Files. OK, they didn’t say that, but they did suggest she’d tagged along as someone’s Plus One.

Not so. Hopkins duly coughed up her invite from PRD Associates who handled PR for the event. Square Peg maintain on the official website:

 

‘As organisers of the British LGBT awards we would like to apologise to all for allowing Katie Hopkins to enter our awards. Once inside there were complaints so we asked her to leave but she refused stating she was there as she supported the LGBT community – we made a decision that it would cause too much fuss to have her forcibly evicted as she was already seated.

We did state that we had not invited Katie Hopkins as our PR company assured us that she had not personally been invited and came along as a plus one – it was not our intention to mislead anyone and we abhor Katie Hopkins views.’

 

Oh someone’s so getting fired for this. Or maybe they aren’t. Hopkins may well have overshadowed literally every recipient of an award, but at least we’re talking about the awards at all. Next year, I look forward to Vladimir Putin’s after-dinner speech.

Now. There will be people out there – Hopkins included – who think she had every right to be at that award ceremony as a self-confessed ‘ally’ of the LGBT community (that actual award was shared by Lorraine Kelly and Daniel Radcliffe). In the past, and on Celebrity Big Brother, Hopkins has spoken out on our behalf and was livid when (equally loathsome) blogger Perez Hilton accused her of homophobia. Earlier this year, G-A-Y hosted Hopkins as a judge for their annual Porn Idol competition. She isn’t without her gay fans.

But we must choose out allies carefully. Let’s make this very clear, she may well be blonde and well-heeled, but Katie Hopkins is not Regina George. She isn’t outspoken and fabulous, she’s racist and dangerous.

Supporters of Hopkins’ brand of journalism often trot out the following mantras:

‘She just says what everyone else is too scared to say.’

‘It’s political correctness gone mad.’

‘It’s freedom of speech.’

Allow me to translate what I hear:

‘She just says what she knows will sell papers and what racist bigots everyone else is too scared to often and loudly say.’

‘It’s political politeness correctness gone mad stopping me from being a racist bigot.’

‘It’s freedom of speech and I’m not familiar with laws regarding incitement of racial or ethnic hatred.’

 

I’m in the camp of journalists who firmly believe Hopkins is very aware of her ‘brand’ and is pounding the gas pedal as hard as she can until her fifteen minutes evaporate. Do I think she insouciantly laughs, sipping martinis while watching dying refugees on Sky News? Not for a second. If I was going to dust off my old psychology degree for a moment, I’d guess that Hopkins has confused being in-demand for being liked. Having been to a couple of media events with beautiful people and beautiful food, I imagine it’s quite addictive. So while her motives might even border on pitiful, her methods are vile.

This is where the problem lies. It’s not her persona, it’s those who agree with her persona. Hopkins, I’m sure, would love to think she has an army of sassy gay followers ready to form a Little Monsters collective called the ‘Hop-Kin’ or something. But she doesn’t; her readership is as right wing as right wing gets and the only journalistic tool she uses is divide and conquer. She gives a voice and a platform to a hate-filled minority of Britons.

Hopkins’ shtick is stereotyping, grouping and demonising. Whether it’s obese people, refugees or benefits claimants, Hopkins clumps individuals lazily and crudely together into subcultures she can mock and point at. See how she dehumanised those who died fleeing regimes in North Africa. She referred to people as cockroaches – the very same word used by the Nazis and those behind the atrocities in Rwanda.

Understand this, people within the LGBT community are stereotyped and dehumanised all the time. Maybe not by Hopkins, but certainly by the kind of people who buy into her column. Turning individuals into a faceless mass makes hatred and homophobia so much easier. THAT is what Hopkins does. Did Hopkins stop to think for a single second that some of those people fleeing Sudan could well have been doing so on the grounds that being gay there is illegal and comes with the death penalty?

If we (literally in this case) let people like Katie Hopkins eat at our table we are playing with fire. We are endorsing a dark and dangerous style of journalism – where the lines between provocateur and hate preacher blur to nothing. This isn’t a tatty leaflet being handed out by a loon outside Primark, this is The Sun, the nation’s biggest paper.

Moreover we are implicitly underwriting dehumanisation and this has serious consequences for us, for our community, for you. Open a history textbook – wherever there is scapegoating, LGBT people are never far from the eye of the storm. Right now, the likes of Hopkins in the right wing press are coming after so-called ‘migrants’, but, and I’m thinking about Russia now, one day soon, it could be us.

If Hopkins so badly wants to be our ally, can I politely suggest the best way she could do this would be to stop talking. Like now.

 

 

And You Thought Molly Sue Was Bad

23058143While I’ve been swooshing around the UK on the UNDER MY SKIN TOUR, the book itself is now available everywhere good books are sold.

What’s it all about? Sally Feather is a shy seventeen year old who secretly longs to be wild, so when she’s offered a free tattoo she agrees. But before the night is over, the tattoo, Molly Sue has started talking to her. Sally is about to learn that beauty and popularity come at a very high price…

OK, so Molly Sue might be murderous, but at least Sally didn’t get one of these…
 

 

 

1. Because everyone likes to feel they’re being watched while they sleep.

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2. So…erm…do?

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3. ‘He Touched So Many?’ Too easy, just too easy.

LIKE-us-on-Facebook-4251

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. But bad spelling is forever…

32-worst-tattoos-ever-made-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. This Harry Potter fan took it way too far.

The latest copy of 'Scream' wasn't what we were expecting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. But it isn’t.

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7. I just don’t even…

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8. And finally, what a beautiful tribute.

HA-The-WORST-Tattoo-EVER

MEGA MEGA TOUR POST

23058143Hello all! To celebrate the launch of UNDER MY SKIN, I’ll be popping up all over the UK over the next few weeks with some lovely author friends.

This year, I’m using my tour to discuss the limited nature of female role-models and poor representation of young women in books, music, TV & film. It’s gonna be a LAUGH RIOT.

Here’s where and when I’ll be, public events in sexy bold.

MARCH 2 – BRIGHTON – Brighton schools

MARCH 3 – LIVERPOOL – Liverpool schools and Waterstones Liverpool 1 with Lisa Williamson and Abbie Rushton (7pm)

MARCH 5 – GLASGOW – WeeWrite Festival and Glasgow Argyll St Waterstones (7pm)

MARCH 4 – EDINBURGH – Edinburgh schools

MARCH 9 – LONDON – National Story competition at London School of Economics with Anthony McGowan and Kate Kingsley

MARCH 10 – OXFORD – Oxford Waterstones (5pm)

 

It’d be lovely to see you there, of course there’s NOTHING scarier than the bit before you go on tour and worry no-one’s going to show up.

 

2015 LGBT YA

22352840Hello all!

SO! Yesterday I attended A PLACE AT THE TABLE, Inclusive Minds conference for diversity in books. Every delegate was to pledge to do ONE THING right away. This is my ONE THING. It’s only a small thing, but I hope it does its bit.

As you may have noticed, 2015 is a BUMPER year for YA titles featuring LGBT characters. This is unequivocally a GOOD THING. Some of these books are better than others, but that is, of course, subjective. Some of these books are ABOUT being LGBT, some of them are not and just happen to have LGBT characters. Both are good.

I’m a-gonna miss some titles here. I’m not an expert, I’m just very lucky to get sent some proof copies and stuff. Please add more in the comments box or tweet them at me and I’ll amend. Note – this is books released in the UK in 2015 to keep it nice and clear. Also let’s get me out the way first.

  • ALL OF THE ABOVE – James Dawson
  • THE ART OF BEING NORMAL – Lisa Williamson
  • I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN – Jandy Nelson
  • READ ME LIKE A BOOK – Liz Kessler
  • THE ACCIDENT SEASON – Möira Fowley-Doyle
  • SIMON VS THE HOMOSAPIENS AGENDA – Becky Albertalli
  • LOVE HURTS – Various
  • THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY – Keren David
  • UNSPEAKABLE – Abbie Rushton
  • THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST – Holly Black
  • HONEY GIRL – Lisa Freeman
  • HOLD ME CLOSER (THE TINY COOPER STORY) – David Levithan
  • ANOTHER DAY – David Levithan
  • THE DARK LIGHT – Julia Bell
  • THE BIG LIE – Julie Mayhew
  • WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND – Robin Talley

Now what’s the ONE THING that you can do? Well! If you’re a bookseller, STOCKING these titles is vital. I would be so saddened if I heard talk like ‘well we’ve already got enough LGBT titles’ or ‘LGBT titles don’t sell’. Stories sell, not sexualities. Each of those books tells a DIFFERENT and UNIQUE story. Can you imagine if we limited numbers of straight relationships in books? The shelves would be empty. That’s eleven titles. How many straight love stories are on the shelves? This said, do NOT segregate these books into a LGBT section. A nice display maybe, but they belong in the YA section.

If you’re a reader, you can BUY these titles with actual currency. I know! What’s the good in whingeing about the lack of diversity in YA books if we then only buy Divergent with four different cover variations? If people DON’T buy LGBT YA, bookshops will think there is no market for it. If bookshops won’t stock them, publishers will stop acquiring them. 

Authors! Be bold! Tell stories about all different types of humans. I got a bit feisty yesterday. While there is ALWAYS a place for authentic voices from minority backgrounds, we must be mindful that people from minority backgrounds are not aliens. As humans from humanity we have more similarities than differences. I do not want to write white gay men forever and no one questioned how I fathomed straight characters. I’ve never been straight but it was EXPECTED that I would ‘get it’ because of ‘privilege’. Frankly, I expect a straight writer to ‘get’ being gay, and if you don’t, ask. This said, I think the publishing industry SHOULD and MUST seek out writers, editors and other staff from minority backgrounds. It’s very important, but ALL OF US should be doing our bit to portray the world as it actually is.

Lots of little things add up to change.

PHBC – The Watcher by Lael Littke

2564599What’s it all about?

Soap addled fangirl Catherine Belmont is a huge fan of glossy, two minute drama ‘Lost River’ until the events of the show start to come true! As her lookilikey ‘Cassandra Bly’ is stalked by a mysterious figure, so is Catherine.

Stalked by a mysterious figure?

Indeed. Catherine is secretly filmed, left numerous roses, presented with balcony DIY, spooky phone calls and haunted by whispering. It’s all to do with her mum’s old shag.

The Girl

Sadly, Catherine takes us firmly back into the April Fools territory of TSTL – Too Stupid To Live. OK, girl, we all loved a bit of Sunset Beach back in the day, but we didn’t all write to Annie Douglas for a signed photograph. Oh, wait, I actually DID do that. Even so, I didn’t get her haircut, practice a British accent and start running to an electrical goods shop to watch over lunchtime. Also, her level of non-commitment to cheerleading makes me question her commitment commitment.

The Love Interest

A feeble love triangle sort of thing is brewing with Catherine/Cath/Cathy/Cassandra and boy-next-door Wade and handsome newcomer Travis.

Wade says stuff like: ‘I like watching you, Cath.’ Creepy.

Travis says stuff like: ‘Oh boy…I’ve stained your carpet.’

Slim pickins. Worst OF ALL THE BOOKS EVER, Travis has some sort of shady backstory WHICH WE’RE NEVER TOLD. Never. No clue. Answers on a postcard, pls. Fuck it. In the end, Catherine decides to send 14 of her eyelashes to Dr Carlton Wyatt at Lost River ER anyway.

The Gang

As well as the boys we have reliable best friend sort, Liz and Regina Georgesque Britny, whose name I couldn’t see without thinking of Brinty from the Nekci Minij Show.

lwren-scott-dark-gold-long-sleeve-tie-neck-blouse-product-3-15111383-364875085_large_flexFashion Faux Pas

Some key 90s fashions for Catherine include: ‘A full, flowered skirt and rust coloured blouse’ and full marks for ‘a pair of black pants and a gold shirt.’

Dialogue Disasters

OK are we ready for this: He fingered through the ring…

‘But how could it slip off my ring?’

He held out the ring to her

‘Britny took the key from your ring.’

‘You must have been watching the day Britny gave that key to Travis and he put it on his ring.’

‘The key to the cabin was on my ring.’

Some Mild Peril

All very standard PH. A breathy phone voice just isn’t what it once was. And it’s all ‘a little far fetched’ as Wade points out at one point.

Body Count: 1 (historically)

Did The Best Friend Do It? ‘Surprised, Cath?’ No. Not in the slightest, Liz.

Is It Any Good?

Well no, not if we’re honest. The soap opera concept is a fresh one but the issue with seeing what’s going to happen before it happens is that you know what’s going to happen. The most intriguing part for me was the back story with Catherine’s mother and TJ, although the reveal is so crushingly predictable I had scarce fucks to give. I can’t even with how Travis and Wade watched Lost River, went searching for a cemetery and got to the cabin in the woods in under two minutes. Unforgivable though is never finding out what happened in Travis’s past.

Over To You

Just one question this month – what the fuck is up with Travis?

 

Epilogue

It’s with a sad little heart I have to announce this is the final PHBC from me. It’s a lovely problem to have, but I’m just too busy with paid writing to do free writing any more! I know! Boo! But the most important thing with a book club is that as soon as it starts to feel like an obligation, you must stop at once. I gift it to you though. We’ve trolled nineteen titles now and some of us (Paul) have been here from day one. If someone else wishes to take over the mantle, I’m more than happy for the group to continue and I’ll drop in and out if I have time.

What have we learned? Teenage readers are perhaps drawn to different elements than adult ones – repetition and pattern being big draws. The ones I loved as a teen (Dream Date, Camp Fear) haven’t aged as well as some of the ones I wasn’t so sure about (The Yearbook, The Cheerleader). We learned Caroline B Cooney is a legend. We established RL Stine is as good now as he was then and that Collect Call is as good as we remembered The Cemetery being awful.

We can all agree that The Forbidden Game is still the undiscovered Twilight of its generation and that, I think, was my highlight.

Love you all – check out Under My Skin in March. Like Point Horror, but weirder and pinker.

Satanville – The Beginning

SATANVILLEWHAT IS SATANVILLE?

Satanville is a fictional CW show. It’s a favourite of Sally Feather, Stan Randall and Jennie Gong, the main characters in my new novel UNDER MY SKIN.

You can now read the novelisation of Satanville – The Beginning on Wattpad.

It’s a companion piece that allows you, the reader, to join in with a fandom that appears throughout Under My Skin.

 

DO I NEED TO READ IT?

No. You don’t need to read Satanville to appreciate Under My Skin and vice versa. It’s just for fun. I love American YA so much, and this is my homage to it. I am also fascinated by new social medias and wanted to use Wattpad in a different and creative way that wasn’t just giving away odd parts of a novel.

 

WHAT’S SATANVILLE ABOUT?

Well, no spoilers, but it’s about a New England town called Statenville. Recently orphaned Taryn Van Pelt is about to discover the town has a dark secret and is torn between gallant Zeke Bianco and darkly mysterious Dante Carruthers.

 

HOW WILL IT WORK?

A new chapter will appear on my WattPad each week in the run up to the release of Under My Skin on March 5th. But you can dip in and out at your leisure or read en masse when it’s all online. It doesn’t directly correspond with the book. Sally and her friends are on season 4 – this is the pilot episode as it were.

You can get started right now – the first chapter is LIVE!

 

To ensure you get one of the gorgeous PINK editions of UNDER MY SKIN, you can pre-order now

PHBC: Nightmare Hall – The Silent Scream by Diane Hoh

310894What’s it all about?

Jess Vogt is a freshman at Salem University but quickly discovers her off-campus house, Nightingale Hall, was the scene of a tragic suicide the previous summer. What’s worse, Jess starts to believe her purple room which is purple may be haunted by dear, departed Giselle – not the supermodel.

And…

Jess starts to question if Giselle’s suicide was even a suicide at all. That’s right…Jess thinks Giselle was murdered! I KNOW!

The Girl

I think it’s important we try to understand Jess. By that I mean HOW THE HELL DO YOU PRONOUNCE HER NAME? Does it rhyme with yacht? Does it rhyme with yoghurt? Is it like Voight?

Jess is one of the better PH girls. She has a wry sense of humour and loves pizza. While not especially complex, we get the sense Jess is independent and laid-back. Certainly not the most irritating character we’ve met. Although she does have ‘navy blue eyes’…REALLY?

The Love Interest

This month the honours go to photographer/fishing enthusiast Ian Banion and his early top-knot. As Ian’s also a suspect he’s frustratingly vague, but you can’t knock a guy who takes you out for a Chinese every once in a while.

The Gang

As The Silent Scream is basically a whodunnit, we have a classic rag-tag bunch of housemate subjects.

As a side note – with the exception of Dee in The Forbidden Game have we read ANY other characters of colour? The large cast of TSS really highlights how hideously white the Point Horror world really is.

Back to this lot. We have rich boy Jon; uptight, bitchy Cath (‘Those suits are the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Even on people with good figures’); possibly trans Linda; poetic Milo and charismatic handyman Trucker.

Even without reading the book, you can guess who the killer is from the list, right?

0bc5c24149470157339889aebfd915beFashion Faux Pas

In a new category for November, let’s check out those fashions!

Jess sports khaki shorts and sandals not to mention a curious I IS A COLLEGE FRESHMAN sweater that almost made me hate her. Ian, although apparently heterosexual does sport ‘faded denim cut-offs’. Cath and Jon win for their preppy ensembles: ‘perfectly creased, navy blue slacks’. Nice.

However, lets take a moment to envisage Cath’s ball dress: ‘Cath’s dress was like a pale blue cloud’.

Dialogue Disasters

Ian: ‘Nice smile.’ I SO wish Jess and replied ‘I’ll give you the number of my dentist.’

Jon. Poor Jon. Although Jon is meant to be cheesy so Hoh knows what she’s doing. ‘I was too busy having a great dream about Kim Basinger’

‘After all, my major is parties, sports…and women.’ Jon’s Salem’s Dapper Laughs.

Milo: ‘I’ve written some of my best poetry while I was sitting on the riverbank, fishing.’ Well haven’t we all?

Some Mild Peril

TSS is a game of two halves. The supernatural stuff is genuinely chilling. We all KNOW there is nothing scarier than ghost photography and Giselle appearing in Jess’s passport photos gave me the willies (quiet at the back). The dips in temperature and nightmarish visions are effective. I’m even OK with the slightly hokey ending.

Where it’s less good is the standard PH fair of ripped up swimming costumes, missing essays and (most stupidly) worms in a drawer. How does a worm crawl up your arm? ANSWER ME THAT?

Body Count: 2

Is It Any Good?

I really enjoyed TSS, far more than I thought I would and much more than our last Hoh offering, The Funhouse. Tellingly, I really want to order a load more Nightmare Hall outings as I seem to remember they all vaguely linked back to TSS in some way. I definitely read The Scream Team and The Wish back in the day.

The only critique is that the killer is so obvious. No amount of casting suspicion on Milo made me think for a second it was anyone other than the real killer. For me, I would have made Ian the killer. Or Linda could have revealed she was Giselle’s BF before her transition. That would have been perfect.

Over to you

Q – Did Giselle push Mrs Coates down the stairs? If so, why?

Q – What does Linda see in Milo? What does Jon see in Cath?

Q – What precisely do you think went down between Giselle and Milo in the past?

POINT HORROR BOOK CLUB will return in 2015…

 

Why I Charge For School Visits

Hiya! I am troubled by a thing, so I’m a-gonna write a little blog about it. It’s not a rant. I’m calm, I promise. *Rubs rose petals against cheek demurely*

I *love* doing school visits. They break up the week, the get me out of the flat, I get to work with young adults who are inspirational and often hilarious. I also love doing school visits because they supplement what I earn for my writing, enabling me to buy fripperies such as food and warm clothes. I don’t wanna sound like a buttmunch (no-one likes a buttmunch) but I like to think I am good at school visits too.

Now while 95% of schools and librarians I work with are a *dream* to work with, today a school approached me to do a visit and then pulled out when I told them my (perfectly reasonable I add) fee because “we can get someone for free.”

*Takes soothing breath*

Now, clearly I’m not starving. I’m lucky enough to be able to write full time – for now – but the money I earn from school visits is a very welcome bonus. I know a lot of writers *depend* on this additional income. Let’s face it, there’s only one author on JK Rowling money, and that’s JK Rowling. Advances, in the most part, are not enough to live on.

The way I see it, on a normal working day I’m either writing, researching or editing. If I take a school visit that’s essentially a day off work. Like most working people, I can’t really afford to have a day off work. The sooner I get stuff written, the faster I get paid by my publisher.

Initially I really *wanted* to be able to do school visits for free because I love them and enjoy them, but I simply can’t afford to. I think IF the day comes when I could afford to, I wouldn’t, because I don’t ever want to undercut the authors who rely on this income. Good lord, if I’m ever one of the lucky few who can afford to do events for free, I shall still change and donate my fee to the wonderful First Story.

Some people will no doubt be saying, “what about book sales on a school visit?” Well. In some schools you can shift a lot of books, but that rather depends on how much money the pupils have to spend doesn’t it. Some kids don’t have £6.99 to spend and I wouldn’t want to do a HARD SELL school visit in order to make it worthwhile. Furthermore, even if I moved a hundred books at every visit, royalties would take YEARS to find their way back to me (if they ever did at all).

So it would be disingenuous of me to say I wish I could do school visits for free, because I think writers should be treated like any other freelancer. No-one expects a plumber to come out to a school for free.

I’ll always be a teacher at heart and I KNOW the impossible budget constraints of working in schools and I sympathise, but I do have to charge for visits. I hope teachers and librarians think I’m worth it *Loreal hair flip*.

And as for authors. Be neighbourly. Don’t undercut your fellow authors in the name of self-promotion. That shit be shade.