On Wednesday a photographer came up from Slough to take my picture. In the time that I've been working on this project, any DIY on my house has taken a back seat (!) so in order to have a chance of a nice background we met up at my old workplace, Fakenham Library. There was a slight look of bemusement on his face as he had been briefed to tread carefully and do the best he could because I was "old & frail & shy" - hilarious! - I think some wires got seriously crossed on the picture desk and they thought I was one of the men from the group photograph! Luckily for him, I am reasonably able-bodied and we also managed to get outside on a beautiful day and take some other shots in other locations around Fakenham.
There are final checks currently being made for the article, and I am making sure everything is in place to deal with any surge in demand for my book. It is taking a while to get things sorted out with the book trade (in terms of getting it into bookshops), so I am still mainly selling through my website at www.groupphoto.co.uk/the-book. I am much better prepared than before I went on the Jeremy Vine Show - I have a decent stock of books and a company that is ready and waiting to fulfill all my orders. They have already filled a load of book wraps in preparation for posting, and there is a system in place to enable them to print the labels to send them out to everybody. They are also ready to take on the next reprint, should it be required, which will save time compared to when the printing was being done in Belgium.
It's so difficult to know what's going to happen. Over 1.5 million copies of the Daily Mail are sold every day, and over 15 million read it online. That said, people are not going to be buying Christmas presents (unless they're exceptionally well-organised) and I've discovered that a lot of people think of books as luxuries these days. Whatever happens, I don't think I'm in for a quiet time. I feel as if I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, but I draw strength from some wonderful things that have been said or written about my project recently:
- I gave a presentation about my project in Fakenham Library last Thursday. Not having stood up in front of people to talk about my project since the beginning of October, I was a bit rusty starting off but I soon got into my stride when I saw the interest on the faces of my audience, and it was lovely to hear their responses when so many came up to talk to me afterwards.
(And whilst I'm on the subject of presentations, I'm still having difficulty working out how to organise a programme of future events. I've been asked to take part in Who Do You Think You Are? Live in April and the Chalke Valley History Festival in June, and there are still details to be worked out of what I might be exhibiting (and therefore of how much work I'm going to need to do to prepare for them). As soon as I have a clearer idea of that I will be getting in touch to make plans with everyone who's asked. I've got 3 presentations in the next week that were set up before the Jeremy Vine Show, in Mickleham (Surrey), Norwich (Norfolk) & Firle (Sussex) - see www.groupphoto.co.uk/presentations for more details.)
- Patrick Miles has given me a great deal of encouragement ever since he saw my animated film in my shed cinema during Norfolk Open Studios 2006. An article in the Times prompted him to write this post on his blog:
https://georgecalderon.wordpress.com/archived-watch-this-space/ - scroll down to the heading: "Watch this Space 10 February 2016" - not only showing his typically enthusiastic response to my project but also some thoughts about the First World War Centenary commemorations.
- Helen Tovey, the editor of Family Tree Magazine http://family-tree.co.uk/, has written the most fantastic review of my book - see http://extra.groupphoto.co.uk/ft_feb2016_page40.pdf. It was an absolute joy to see how she so completely got what I've been doing with this project.
- A friend who read the book last weekend, as well as awarding me the honour of an invitation over for cauliflower cheese, wrote to me saying, "I notice it has the effect of making me want to be a better person. Not in a good/bad kind of way but in a more honest and relational way to self and others." It’s extraordinary to me to think my book has had that effect, but beautiful.