Out in the wild

[Photos by Emily, Gerri, Esme, Nancy, Suzie, Amy, Kathleen and Hannah]

It’s thrilling to see the book start reaching its new homes — and seeing my face pop up all over the place via the cover makes it feel like there’s a bit of me landing there too. Love it!

Kim wrote a really perceptive review of the book over here — thank you, Kim!

Instant Love: the trailer!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think my first book would actually be books, plural. I look at my two piles of author’s copies currently living on my sideboard and wonder did i really make that happen? And did I get any sleep while doing it?! (Answer: not very much.)

I’ve got a few things planned for This I Know (which has its first reviews on Amazon!) but today I want to get a bit misty eyed about Instant Love, the love letter to Polaroid/instant photography I co-wrote with my friends Jen Altman and Amanda Gilligan. I don’t even remember when the three of us first connected, but connect we did, through admiring each other’s photos on Flickr and leaving the occasional blog comment. When Jen emailed asking if we’d consider collaborating on a book about Polaroids there was only one possible answer. We bashed out a proposal and a sample chapter and sent it over to Chronicle Books, where we had the very good fortune to work with Bridget Watson Payne, Art books editor and all-round delightful chica.

When we wrote the book the three of us had never actually met in person (Jen and Amanda had spent an afternoon in Vancouver, but that was it). In fact we had just one Skype call and about 50,000 emails; it wasn’t until we led our Polaroid retreat in Marrakesh back in February that we finally got to hug each other in person. So the book is truly a testament to collaboration, communication, hard work and three photographers whose styles work so beautifully together.

The book is now out in the world and last I heard it’s already gone to a second printing, which is amazing! I love the thought that so many of you out there are dusting off your old Polaroid cameras and giving this medium a whirl. It can be frustrating at times, and requires a lot of patience and practice, but it is SO WORTH IT.

Because the logistics of doing a book tour together made our brains ache, we made a trailer for our book baby instead. Filmed by the ridiculously talented Ryan Marshall, we hope it gives you a taster of what the book is all about (click here to view it BIG — and please do share it if you like it :) x

Trailer credits:
Video by Ryan Marshall @ The Panic Room
Music: ‘Camera’ by Rabbit, www.saverabbit.com | Buy the song on iTunes

Thoughts on the book

I haven’t read it through from first page to last — in all honesty that would be very dull indeed. It gets to the point where your own voice is so familiar it makes you faintly queasy — you become sick of yourself. But what I have been doing is reading it in chunks — a chapter here, a section there — and what I’ve discovered is I like my book. And that’s not blustering pride or self-aggrandising… it’s more relief. There are parts that are worth reading. There are passages that will help and inspire. There have been many lumps in my throat but also many smiles. Some of it I don’t remember writing, and a few times I’ve read something I needed to hear in that moment — very interesting (and a bit weird, too.)

I love the physicality of the book. I love the weight, the size, the matte texture of the paper, the soft lustre of the jacket and the way the Polaroids have been printed, retaining the dreaminess I shoot for. It’s a surprisingly tactile book, one I hope you’ll enjoy touching and holding. These things are important to me.

Some of the passages feel incomplete to me but I’m sensing they will be my jumping off points for the next book. Because there isn’t a neat “ta-da! everything’s okay now” ending. Life’s not like that so neither is this book.

The other day I quipped to a friend that I wanted the book to sell well but I didn’t want anyone to read it. That’s how vunerable I’m feeling about it. But here I am with a finished book that’s filled with more questions than answers… a supportive companion filled with secrets and private thoughts in its pages. And yes, I feel vulnerable about that, but I also know it was exactly the right thing to do. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the right people I hope it will be.

So what now?

I have no ambition to reach any flashy bestseller lists — that’s not why I wrote the book — but I do hope that it sells well as I would like to write many many more, and to be able to do that I have to make my publisher happy :) It’s strange being on this side of the book-consuming equation. I am so used to being a buyer and lover of books I’ve never needed to think about the business of book-making. I’m on quite a learning curve over here.

Once the first session of Blogging from the Heart has finished I’ll begin doing what needs to be done to set this bookbaby loose on the world, including finalising the North America tour, organising a BLOG book tour, and putting the finishing touches to a pre-order giveaway I’m planning. This last item is making me very excited — I’m doing it to sell books, obviously, and that’s what an author has to do these days, but it’s actually going to be really good :D I canvassed opinions on Facebook and my very wise and fabulous crew over there helped me figure out what would be a truly excellent and worthwhile offer. So stay tuned for something that will sound a lot like “awesome” “e-course” “to accompany the book.”