The New Age of Ageing: how society needs to change by Caroline Lodge, Eileen Carnell and Marianne Coleman was published by Policy Press in early September. I have lost count of the number of books which I have co-authored or co-edited. That may read as rather big-headed, but I have been at it since 1991 – a quarter of a century!
But I have never stopped being excited about publication, the moment when one’s ideas are launched into the world, when you hope other people will benefit from one’s experience and reflection. It’s like a baby grown up and off into the world.
The delight of the printed book
There is pleasure in contemplating the newly printed book. All new books have a charm, the unbroken spine, the clean pages, the unblemished cover. When it’s a cover which announces one’s name and that title over which we laboured for months, then it has extra delight.
Then there is the pleasure of the pile of new books, see below. This is surely one of the pleasures of entering a bookshop – multiple copies, many volumes.
And, I admit, the smell of a new book is also to be savoured.
The promotional articles are done
Following publication we put ourselves about, writing promotional articles:
Eileen wrote for Mature Times, an article on the fear of ageing and how older people are ignored in commercial promotions. The stimulus for this was Jeremy Paxman’s demonstration of ageism in the FT diaries of 19th August 2016.
At the reception desk of a hotel to which I checked in this week was a pile of free copies of the Mature Times, which calls itself “the voice of our generation”. Oh God, I thought, the cheeky bastards are including me. Back off. For this must be the most unfashionable publication in Britain. Who wants to be called “mature”, like an old cheese? We all know that “mature” means on the verge of incontinence, idiocy and peevish valetudinarianism. They might as well have named it the “Surgical Stocking Sentinel” or “Winceyette Weekly”.
There was a lot more of this kind of thing in his piece. It seemed to us that a man of 66 was not doing his generation any favours, rather it was lazy journalism to accuse us of being on the verge of incontinence, idiocy and peevish valetudinarianism. (I had to look up that last word. It means in poor health or obsessed by poor health, which you probably knew.)
Marianne provided a post for the blog of ILC-UK (International Longevity Centre) on the future challenges of health and care in an ageing society.
She also posted on the Henpicked website, an article called How do you feel about Ageing?
For the Policy Press blog, I did a piece on age-blaming using the example of what people had said about older voters following the EU Referendum.
For the on-line magazine Discover Society we produced a piece about older people and housing, and the need for more affordable housing and for planning to take account of local views and construction that adopts a more age-inclusive attitude.
I found that writing these articles was much like writing the book itself, although more condensed.
Our publishers, Policy Press, have done sterling work to promote our book. In addition we announced the publication
- on Facebook,
- on twitter,
- to every friend,
- and to every professional connection we could think of.
- I blogged about it.
- Some magazine offered copies as a prize.
- We gave flyers to our local bookshops.
And then …?
We waited for reviews.
And for our readers to tell us how good it is, or how they agreed with this or wanted to argue about that …
I have been asked, ‘how’s the book going?’ And I have to say, ‘I have no idea’. I have no idea about sales: what would be good sales, what would be disappointing? Above all, I don’t think the world or even society has changed yet as a result of our book. I don’t know if it has even been nudged. That’s how it goes with most books. You don’t know.
That’s what I have learned, over the years, that after publication one waits. It’s an anti-climax after all that work. And you may never know whether you have piqued the interest of any reader, given them new ideas, encouraged debate. Sometimes people will tell you how important you book was to them, or how they saw it in a bookshop, or they don’t like the cover. But that’s it.
Why do we do it? Why write books? Well why do we?
Copies of The New Age of Ageing are available through the Policy Press website, where you can obtain a discount.
From February until publication day we posted at least once a month about the stages of book production from bright ideas to publication. You can find the posts here:
Publication Day September 2016
Trouble with Titles and Covers (August)
Marketing our Book (August)
Learning to be old by Eileen Carnell (July)
Ageing: it is not ‘them and us’, it is all ‘us’ by Marianne Coleman (June)
First Catch Your Publisher (April)
One Book, Three Authors (March)
Writers’ Residential (February)
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