“So who do you want that signed for, then?” I enquire.

“Could you make this one to ‘Short Tony’s wife’s elder sister?” asks Short Tony.

I stare at him, and the pile of books that he has already swept into his bag. I have learnt quite a lot already in my capacity as author, and by far the most important lesson has been ‘if you write a book featuring real people, you should try to make them real people with very big families and circles of friends.’

“Here you go,” I offer, handing him the book. “Oh – by the way. There was an enthusiastic reader here who wanted to meet you. They were waiting for about half an hour but had to nip off to extend their parking ticket. They should be back any minute.”

Short Tony stares at me momentarily before sprinting in alarm towards the exit. I take a sip of coffee before moving on to the next signee.


Thank you everybody who came along – it was a lot of fun and a hugely humbling experience for me; I really did appreciate the effort you made and all your nice words. It was great to meet you all or – in one instance – your mother, whom you’d telephoned from Yorkshire to demand that she met me.

Having the bit between my teeth now, would anybody be interested if I did something like this elsewhere in the country? No promises, and it would depend on finding a suitable and willing bookshop – but it could be fun to arrange something. (If you happen to own a bookshop then drop me an email.)


If you’re Norfolk-based: I left a few signed copies with the shop in King’s Lynn; a couple of these are left. There are also copies at Norwich’s Royal Arcade Waterstone’s (the larger Norwich Waterstone’s has sold out; more copies are on order), and at the excellent Book Hive in the city.

Further afield, the brilliant and most lovely Bookseller Crow in South London has some signed copies (with exclusive limited edition chicken photographs); there is a list of UK Waterstone’s stores that have stock remaining here. If your local store’s not on that list then it’s sold out, which is a bit frustrating as my dad’s been trying to get one for my auntie Miriam and there’s hardly a copy left in the whole of Essex at present – obviously we are hoping that those shops will be re-ordering soon.

If you’re an independent bookseller that’s stocking ‘Sex and Bowls and Rock and Roll’ then email me and I’ll add your shop to the list.

Of course, you can still get it from Amazon. Oh yes – the Kindle version is out, as is the general e-book, and it’s in the iTunes store if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. All the e-versions retail at two pounds something or other which seems sensible and reasonable for that format.

Commercial break almost over. The publishers seem very happy with the sales – so thank you for that if you’ve bought a copy. We have found it difficult to get a lot of formal publicity (I think the book falls between a couple of stools), so a plea – if you enjoyed the book and want to review it on your blog or on Amazon, then please do and I will be very chuffed. And if you’re a journalist, writer or blogger and you want to do an interview, piece, feature, Q&A, small couple of lines etc. then do get in touch.


Normal blog service will be resumed shortly, where I will be explaining the details of my disturbing telephone call with regards to my medical results.

37 thoughts on “I reflect upon my experience at Waterstone’s King’s Lynn, 7 Aug (etc)

  1. I am terribly disappointed at having missed the London pub meet due to an erratic airplane schedule and the unpredictability of the baggage people at Heathrow. I wonder when you will be in Brussels for a book signing at the local Waterstones outlet. Perhaps you can fit this into your international tour?

  2. Paul says:

    Please can you come to Nottingham. Preferably on a Saturday and if possible could you also look after my kids for a bit. It would be nice, as they could say they’d been looked after by a genuine author/celebrity when they get older and I could go for a quiet coffee somewhere else (to read the book I’d just had signed, obviously).

  3. AndrewM says:

    Stay away from Hertfordshire.

    Especially if you’ve fallen between two stools, dirty boy.

  4. ajb1605 says:

    We haven’t got a book shop in Stokesley, (apart from a mobile second hand one that only comes once a fortnight,) so could you set up in the local “Help the Aged” shop? You can leave it about six months, and then come and sign all the used copies that will have been given to the shop by then.

  5. Megan says:

    Hmmm… I assume this leaves out areas that might be a little further afield – say, across an ocean? And a bit of land? And a few mountains? Granted, no one here actually reads books and our ‘bookstores’ are entirely stocked with designer desk accessories, terribly artistic greeting cards, those journals that everyone buys but never writes on more than three pages of, and magazines about naked people.

    But, you know, if your book covers any of those things I’m pretty sure the locals would at least be willing to walk past a table and gawp at you for a bit.

  6. JonnyB says:

    No Megan, I am not going to Suffolk.

    Nottingham sounds interesting, Paul. They have shedloads of books left there – one of only three or four places in the country. What is WRONG with the people of Nottingham that there are so many left? I am suspicious.

  7. Nadia says:

    Switzerland? Geneva, exactly? That’s across water, a bit of land and definitely mountains, and we have English bookshops here (well, at least one). I haven’t been in to see if they have any copies of S&B&R&R but I’ll be downtown this weekend so I can go check. And I won’t make you babysit, either.
    What do you think? Feel like eating a cheese fondue? Instead of that sandwich?

  8. Paul says:

    There’s nothing wrong with the people of Nottingham per se. We’re all just holding out for a chance to meet the author before we buy the book.

    Don’t forget, in exchange for an hour of babysitting I’ll buy a copy, for starters.

  9. JonnyB says:

    Brussels… Swizerland… hm. Nottingham WOULD be easier. And it is just down the road really. But I can’t even look after my OWN daughter. Couldn’t we just give the kids some crayons and a pile of Jeremy Clarksons?

  10. Ross says:

    Come to Reigate, it’s smaller and a bit stuffier than Nottingham and no-one will know who you are but the chances are that everyone will be jolly polite about it. Our local bookshop, the legendary “Ancient House” is now closed due to retirement but there’s a branch of Richer Sounds now whose staff seem pretty broad minded. So there’s another option. Plus, no kids.

  11. martin says:

    The book is also available from the Book Depository.

    They give free shipping and are fast with delivery. For North American book readers they’re often a quicker way to get a new book that waiting for publication over here.

  12. Paul says:

    I’ve got boys. Everyone knows they are easier to look after than girls. Plus it’ll give you practice looking after 2 kids at the same time.

    I’d only give them crayons in a book store if you want to buy a lot of slightly damaged (i.e. decorated) books.

  13. JonnyB says:

    Thanks Martin – yep – they are brilliant (and cheap). Link was a bit borked so I have fixed…

    Paul: *thinks* – could they do signatures?

  14. spazmo says:

    Publishers have been known to stab authors who don’t perform, so well done on the turnout and general state of sales, Jonny.

  15. Paul says:

    Maybe for a small commission.

  16. Sheppitsgal says:

    I have bought an e-version of the book. You could come to Hull, but then you would have to sign my laptop, which would not be at all convenient x

  17. Megan says:

    Oooh – e-version. Could we have an e-signing? I can provide virtual sandwiches and we could get a digital Jeremy Clarkson to hold your hand.

  18. JonnyB says:

    I did think of signing some tracing paper and then you could place it over your screens and it would be just like the real thing. Sheppitsgal? Megan?

  19. Ali says:

    Well I’ve bought the book, and may even review it when I’ve read it, cos you feel a bit like a mate. Even though I commented once before, about three years ago, and didn’t even get a ‘hello Ali and welcome!’so I actually may not.

  20. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Ali and welcome!!! That is a smashing blouse.

    There might have been another Ali at the time. I eventually lost track of all the new people, but I was quite good at all that three years ago…

  21. JonnyB says:

    Oh – and thank you!!!

  22. Ali says:

    Well gosh, that feels much better, I’m glad I finally vocalised that. Now if I could just sort out my student loan that easily…

  23. Aescing says:

    Thanks Martin for the link.

    JonnyB, I’ve placed my order and hope to be reading the book on the weekend.


  24. guyana gyal says:

    I just wish I’d know a few days in advance when you’re appearing somewhere close to where my family [and other animals] live. I’d email them and ask them nicely to meet you, buy a book [maybe a copy for me too].

  25. gently steaming yak says:

    already available unsigned for a knock down price at British Bookshops.
    my review so far-at least its not catcher in the rye

  26. Sounds like a flop to me. No signing tour is a success unless you get to do some body parts. Racks for preference, tho’ in your case arses might be more appropriate…

  27. Jennifer says:

    Next time you do a signing, could you also bring even just *1* chicken? I’ll bring an ink pad the size of a chickens foot!

  28. JonnyB says:

    GSY: I can’t actually recall ever reading ‘catcher in the rye’ – I sort of am aware of its existence but that is about it. Does it have chickens and secret bookcases in it?

    Ivan: There is a standard heckler putdown that goes something like: ‘I’d sign your cock, but my name has nine letters in it…’ But boooooo – no breasts at all were proffered. Maybe in Nottingham.

  29. gently steaming yak says:

    secret bookcases-0
    pointless, tedious, self indulgent drivel-199298377654

  30. Sheppitsgal says:

    Tracing paper, not so much.

    Could provide me with a signed £50 note if you like 🙂 x

  31. So, Jonny? You have a middle name too, don’t you?

  32. Ennovate says:

    I’ve nearly finished reading S&B&R&R and will be in Norfolk in about 3 weeks. If you tell me where you live I can pop round so you can sign my copy. Then I can try one of your famous potatoes and visit the chickens at the same time.
    How’s that for a plan.

  33. Z says:

    Oh dear, we don’t have a bookshop in Bungay. We do have a greengrocer though, and I have Influence there. You could sign books and eggs at the same time. Or cabbages of course, though they tend to get wrinkly and brown after a few days.

  34. Hannah Jade says:

    Are you planning on doing any signings in Norwich?

  35. JonnyB says:

    Ennovate – that is an excellent plan..

    Hullo Hannah Jade – – ‘possibly’ is the not-quite-satisfactory answer I can give at the moment. Watch this space and hopefully I will be sorting something out…

  36. Hannah Jade says:

    i’ll have to be thinking of ways to give a friendly nudge then =P

Comments are closed.