Exactly twelve weeks after he first went on sale, we are kicking the Prof into the long grass. The hardback sold out a few weeks ago, and some time tomorrow (21st May) we’ll be unpublishing the eBook. For the next 24ish hours you’ll still be able to get it here, but after that he’ll be toast. [UPDATE: he's toast]
There are no dramatic or sinister reasons for this. We are working on a masterplan which will – one way or another – see him returning to print at some point. If you missed him first time around, please don’t pay collectors’ prices [we've seen the hardback on sale for silly money]. He will be back.
Many thanks are due to the pro-Prof camp: the excellent booksellers who have stocked him; everyone who shelled out to buy him; to all those who spread the word and passed on friendly comments; and of course to everyone who drew their own snowman. It’s been a blast.
Finally, a few weeks ago I received an email from Raven Books in Dublin. When I read this anecdote I knew that all the aggro of writing and publishing the book had been worthwhile:
Lines are now closed in our Draw-an-Angry-Snowman competition. Entries came in from all over the world (seriously – China, Italy, Portugal, Finland – you name it) and almost every one came with a heart-rending sob story about how the artist had tried but failed to buy a copy of the ‘When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow’. It was all too much, so I shortlisted my favourites then roped in an independent celebrity panel who judged the snowmen sans tales of woe.
Thanks a lot to everyone who took the time to enter. The quality was really high, which made the judging a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Rest assured I’m never doing anything like this again. Please blame the jury, not me, if you didn’t get picked.
Without further ado, the two winners of my no-longer-available new novel ‘When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow’ are:
Naveena of Bristol:
And Mik from the National Academy of Insignificant Arts in, possibly, the Netherlands:
And the runners up, who will receive – if they would like one – a copy of my golden oldie ‘Anthropology’, are:
Lynn of Milton Keynes:
Emelie of Sweden:
Fiona of Aberdeen:
And Wilf of New Zealand:I would like to reiterate that anyone who didn’t win is to blame the all-star panel, not me. If it comes to legal action I will have no hesitation in naming the culprits. I’ll be contacting the winners in the coming days…
And if you didn’t manage to get hold of a copy of the Prof, he will be back in due course [and for now you can find him on the Kindle, if you're that way inclined].
Happy reading, snowman fans.
To celebrate “When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow” selling out, we at Miyuki Books (i.e. me and Wife-features) are going to be giving away a couple of signed and numbered copies of the now-officially-rare hardback. Here’s how to be in with a chance of winning:
1. Draw a picture of an angry snowman.
2. Take a photo of it, or scan it. Not too massive a file, please.
3. Email it to us here, along with your name and roughly where you come from (we’ll only be in touch for full details when it comes to posting books to prizewinners).
Terms and conditions: You won’t mind us posting your fabulous artwork here and on Twitter, and you won’t get all bolshy if you don’t win. We’ll ship the prizes worldwide if need be.
We do realise that the almost photorealistic quality of the book’s cover art has set the bar exceptionally high, but please don’t let that put you off. Your own snowman needn’t resemble the original at all – all we ask is that it looks really pissed off. The competition will end next Wednesday (7th May) with the results being announced shortly afterwards. [Lines are closed now. Thanks to everyone who entered. We'll announce the winner early next week].
And though it may seem a little perverse to be running a promotional competition when the thing you’re promoting is unavailable, you can buy the eBook here. And I have eight other books out, and I refuse to believe you’ve read them all.
Just a quick one. If you don’t yet have a hardback of ‘When the Professor Got Stuck in the Snow’, 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.”