“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.