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'Seventeen overseas trips in a year does not help continuity of concentration'

21 May 2018

‘Amid the avalanche of titles published each year, promoting a book now seems to demand almost as much work as writing it.

The competition is such that publishers offer chains of bookstores ‘special editions' with extra material. All have to be personally signed, with anything up to 5,000 specially printed title pages, ready to be tipped in. It is of course rather repetitive, a bit like doing lines at school.

This may sound a bit spoilt, especially when I know how incredibly lucky I have been, but life is not simple when it comes to promoting foreign translations as well as the British and American editions. For a start you need to banish any hope of working on a future book for at least half a year to nine months. It may be good for your stash of air miles, but some seventeen overseas trips in a year does not help continuity of concentration.

Based on the experience of previous books, I expect that once again I will be giving just about fifty lectures at literary festivals and conferences in different countries. Some other events will be ‘in-conversations', and a few more will be panels, but we all know that you sell fewer and fewer books, the more people there are on stage. Past form also indicates a fairly regular pattern of between 145 and 160 media interviews - press, radio and television. Email Q&As, most often from Spain and South America, take up a lot of time, but at least you are less likely to be misquoted.

Antony Beevor, author of just-published Arnhem - The Battle for the Bridges 1944, Stalingrad, The Second World War and many other distinguished military histories in Bookbrunch