Just a quick one. If you don’t yet have a hardback of the Prof, they are back on sale at Foyles. Click on the shop link to get there. But this is the last batch, so be quick – don’t let rotten book dealers get them and start selling them on ebay for £100. Which, depressingly, is already starting to happen. The ticket touts of the book world… [Update one hour later: You pounced. It's gone.]
And while I’m here, we had a smashing review in Scotland on Sunday at the weekend. “A hilarious little story”. You can read it here.
Three months ago today I finished writing ‘When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow’. Since then I’ve printed it, published it and sold the lot. That’s a photo of the final consignment to leave the kitchen table – twenty copies on their way to Foyles on Charing Cross Road in London. They should be back on sale there early next week. There’s a list of other possible stockists here.
I’m hoping a paperback will be out in the not-too-distant future, but that very much depends on the Prof partnering up with a non-chicken publisher. Is there such a thing? In the meantime there’s the eBook, so all is not lost.
Nice press is continuing to come in – there’s been a lovely review in The Guardian (Saturday 12th April edition). And at the time of typing, all comments below the article are positive – possibly a first in Guardian history? If you’re a book pages editor and you haven’t covered it yet you must be feeling a little embarrassed. But don’t worry - there’s still time to turn things around.
More reviews here.
I’ve kept ten copies of the hardback aside to donate to public libraries – free to the first ten librarians to email HQ here. UK only I’m afraid (postage elsewhere would be too much to cope with). Putting ‘I’m a librarian’ in the subject line isn’t compulsory but it will help. I’m old fashioned enough to feel that a book hasn’t been properly published until it’s in the library system… [UPDATE - the ten copies have now been bagged by nimble-fingered librarians.]
In other news, my 2007 novel Gold is still alive. A film adaptation is in the pipeline, but that’s top secret so we can’t mention it yet, and the Czech translation is out on 14th April. Here it is:
***Our pop-up Prof shop has closed, but the hardback is still available from some of our bookshop pals. Details here. Pounce soon if you want a copy because they are almost all gone.***
When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow has made it to spring in decent shape. That’s a picture of a nice chunky review from last week’s Big Issue. Here’s the gist of it:
“Mixing knockabout humour and double entendres with some slyly profound commentary on the atheism versus religion debate, Rhodes doesn’t seem to have an agenda, popping the pomposity bubbles of both sides with aplomb. Despite being an atheist myself, I’ve always thought the real Richard Dawkins to be unbearably annoying so I found myself guffawing at this fictional Dawkins and his self-important preening.”
This beauty has also arrived: “When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow is very funny – a satire as devastating as Voltaire’s Candide.” Michael Holroyd
So we’re picking up some decent quotes should there ever be a paperback. Speaking of which… I’ve decided not to print a second edition of the hardback. It’s already nearly sold out, and I reckon I could shift another run, but with a day job and small children I just don’t have the time or the energy to do it. I’ll get it back in print at some point though, somehow, and for now there’s the eBook (which at the time of writing has two customer reviews – one of which, tragi-comically, seems to have been written by one of the characters from the novel).
I’ll still be chasing reviews, so if you’re in that line of work don’t go thinking you can rest easy.
A thousand thanks to everyone who has supported this reckless venture and made it such an enjoyable, if relentless, few weeks. It’s been a real pleasure selling directly to bookshops and readers.
We don’t know when, we don’t know how, but he’ll be back…
Here’s an exclusive look at a typical evening at the Miyuki Books HQ, as I put copies of ‘When the Professor got Stuck in the Snow’ into boxes and bags. Note the amazing diagonal porridge and ubiquitous Iceland carrier bag:
That’s been the story of my life for the past couple of weeks – bubble wrap, jiffy bags, parcel tape and random boxes generously provided by the Buxton Discount Centre. We’re doing one final release of books from our pop up shop - all signed and numbered first editions. I’m getting sentimental as the stock goes down – there can never be a second first edition. I really wish I’d taken a group photo of all 400 books. Many thanks to those of you who have bought it so far, from us or one of our bookshop pals. This is a shoestring operation with a marketing budget of £0, so if you have read and enjoyed the book please spread the word.
Press is ticking along nicely. There’s another double page spread to report, this one in the Sunday Herald. It looked like this:
The photo is from 2007, when I was touring Gold. What you can’t see is my lucky Flavor Flav T-shirt, which I wore for all publicity engagements that year. With the benefit of hindsight I can see that it probably wasn’t as lucky as I thought it was. It’s a smashing review and you can read it here.
Marry Me has had a nice mention in the New Yorker too – “Rhodes’s playful approach to storytelling and language beguiles.”
‘When the Professor got Stuck in the Snow’ has been out for a week and a half. Here it is making its debut in the Independent on Sunday:
I know that’s not the clearest picture, but you can read it online here.
Sales have been brisk – well over half the print run has gone. So if you’ve not bought your copy yet, you’d better step on it. Our pop up shop has been doing a steady trade – the first batch sold out straight away, and the second is running low. After that it’ll probably only be available in isolated shops, and then who knows? Not me. I gambled our grocery money on the hardback. We’re going to get it back, but whether I should gamble it again on a second edition is another matter. I’ve spent too many hours playing the slots in Matlock Bath, and I know what happens when you reinvest your winnings…
I’ve not been able to trust myself with international orders, but we’ve partnered up with a highly reputable bookseller so anyone from anywhere can get hold of it - worldwide shipping is available here from Foyles. As ever, these are signed and numbered first editions.
I’ve been so busy with the hardback that I’ve almost forgotten there’s an ebook to plug too - you can buy it here, if that’s your thing. For some reason it’s £4.11.
In other news, there was a nice piece about ‘Little Hands Clapping’ in the paper at the weekend. You can read it here.
And that, for now, is all.
Here he is. It’s starting to look as if the experiment has not been a complete disaster after all. I finished writing ‘When the Professor got Stuck in the Snow’ on 11th January, and on 21st February UPS knocked on the door with 400 hardbacks. So it can be done. If I’d waited for conventional publishing cogs to creak into gear it wouldn’t have been out until 2015. Thanks are due to my design genius nephew Luke for laying out the jacket with lightning speed, and to the printer, CPI, for working so fast and producing a really high quality edition.
We’re trying to get as many of them as possible to bookshops, and have had a great response so far – a quarter of the run is currently in transit. If you happen to be a bookseller, big or small, please do get in touch here. Likewise, if you’re a journo who feels like giving this reckless endeavour a bit of coverage, please say hello.
We’ve now opened our own shop too, and if eBooks are your thing you can buy it here.
Not convinced? You can try before you buy. The Independent on Sunday has run an extract - it lives here.
In other news, the US edition of ‘Marry Me’ had the review of a lifetime in The Washington Post, and Spanish and Italian translations are out now too.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a launch without a launch party. Here are some photos from the event:
That’s me, Wife-features and the interns. The event was hosted by an unauthorised cutout of Jonny Woo taped to a wooden spatula. Here he is, mingling with the guests:
We love Jonny Woo - here’s why.
My Valentine’s gift to the world…
I decided that our first Valentine’s day together would be the perfect time to let Amara know just how much she meant to me. I held her hand across the candlelit dinner table, gazed into her beautiful eyes and told her that I loved her. “I would climb the highest mountain for you,” I said. “I would walk across burning coals for you. I would swim the seven seas for you. I would…”
“Stop there,” she said. “What was that last one?”
“Er… swim the seven seas, I think.”
“I’ll choose that.” She left the room, and returned moments later holding my swimming trunks. “You get into these, and I’ll drive us to the beach.”
An hour later, cold English water lapped around my ankles.
“Well?” she said. “Don’t just stand there shivering – off you go, and I’ll see you in Antigua.”
I had meant every word, and without another thought I started swimming.
When, at last, I reached my destination, there she was, her golden body faultless in a tiny bikini. Beside her stood a tall, tanned and muscular man.
“Who’s he?” I asked, as I struggled to catch my breath.
“‘He’ is Jorge,” she explained. “He’s been a very good friend to me during this anxious time, and the least you could do is be civil to him.”
I realised how rude I must have sounded, and did my best to make up for it. “Hello Jorge,” I said, raising my hand in a friendly wave. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“No comprende,” he said.
Amara yawned. “We’re very tired, aren’t we Jorge? It’s time for our nap.”
“No comprende,” he said, his smile revealing perfectly white teeth as he ran his fingers through his thick dark hair.
She turned to me. “That’s the Atlantic done. Do the Pacific next – Jorge and I will see you in Thailand.”
As she and Jorge went off for their nap, I waded back into the water. I was so glad that I had finally found that special someone. All I could think of was Amara, and as I began the long swim south towards Cape Horn I could feel my heart overflowing with love.
- – - -
If that was up your street, please seek psychiatric help – but not before rushing out and buying my new book ‘Marry Me’, where you’ll find plenty more of this sort of thing.
Thanks to competition winner @Lisa_Reiter for the name.
And congratulations to me for working out how to format paragraphs in WordPress. They don’t make it easy.
© Dan Rhodes 2014