Image is everything.

So how come the picture of me on the Harrogate website has sartorial critics like Sarah opinioning that Monsieur Rickards and I are sharing a laundry basket? (Apart from anything else: my shirt fits.)

Trouble is: how does one cut a dash in the modern publishing world? Mr I Rankin Esq. Has the whole ‘black leather’ thing tied down, so the rest of us have to forge our public personas elsewhere.

Like John, I chose to go for the ‘smart, but casual’ approach (and before Sarah and Bryon start doing the finger pointing thing – this is a bearded-man thing, so get over it ;}# ) black jacket and white shirt. Now this is not just any shirt, this is ‘The Party Shirt!’ so called because I bought it for the Voyager Summer party – an annual event held by that editor of editors Jane Johnson – where the people that actually make books work (editors, publicists, designers, marketing, international sales, foreign rights – you know them what do the real work) can come and let their hair down (accompanied by close-up magicians and HEAPS of vodka, not to mention unintentionally insulting Michael Marshall by thinking he’s actually a huge, rotund bloke called Brian.) and have worn it to every HarperCollins function since. Party shirt = being write-ist. What else am I going to do in order to forge an identifiable image with the important people (the ones who buy books)?