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.”
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
The US edition of Marry Me is out now, in an excellent and very pink paperback from our friends at Europa Editions.
In other news, at the tail end of next month I’ll be releasing a whole new novel – “When the Professor got Stuck in the Snow”. To mark my twentieth year in the book trade [starting as an unpacker at Waterstone's in 1994] I’m going to be treating myself to a publication without a publisher. Apparently you can do that sort of thing these days. It’s looking set to be a low-key and ramshackle event, perhaps even shambolic, but we’ll get it out there somehow. It’ll be an e-book, and there will also be a run of old-fashioned paper copies for sentimentalists and Luddites like me.
I see many jiffy bags in my crystal ball. More details closer to the time…
In the meantime, it turns out the Christmas story I co-wrote for the Independent on Sunday can be found here. I know the decorations have come down, but never mind.
Dan Rhodes is a seasoned veteran when it comes to error-strewn media coverage. This latest nugget is from Publishers Weekly:
Kent Carroll, publisher at Europa Editions, bought U.S. rights to Dan Rhodes’s story collection, Marry Me, which Canongate acquired in the U.K. The book marks Rhodes’s third work, after his 2000 collection, Anthology, and 2003 novel, Timoleon Vieta Come Home. Europa said the book, set for a January 2014 release, is a “raucously unsentimental look at love and marriage.” Given the timing of the book, Europa is planning a Valentine’s Day–themed marketing approach.
Never mind the five missing books or the erroneously titled debut collection – the good news lurking in there is that our friends at Europa will indeed be publishing Marry Me in the U.S. early next year. So three cheers for them. And we are delighted to have fulfilled our long-cherished ambition of seeing Dan Rhodes in Briefs.
Rhodes is off the road now. He has exclusively contacted us to pass on his thanks to everyone who came along to the gigs, to the people who set them up – Bookslam and the Edinburgh Book Festival – and to the other acts who joined in: Aiden Moffatt! Tim Key! Sam Smith! Stewart Lee! Neil Forsyth! Richard James! It was, he assures us, a pleasure and a privilege.
Rhodes has every intention of keeping a low profile for the rest of the year before exploding back on to the world stage in early 2014, with a bunch of foreign editions and some news that will shake the book world to the core…