I think I've probably taken a similar picture to this for every book I've written. You have to really. Because a stack of a thousand copies just looks too weird not to.
The first time you see a bound copy of a book you've written it's exciting. It's hard to believe it's real until then. But then it's exciting all over again when you see a thousand of them all in one place. It's definitely real then.
This is how they look, stacked up, ready to be signed. They bring at least four people in to help with the process forming a small production line.
As you work through the pile someone will be pushing fresh copies up to your end of the table. Someone else moves a fresh book under your nose, someone else moves the signed copies out of the way and someone else boxes them up. It would take three or four times as long if they just left you in a room with a thousand books. Open a book on the wrong page. Flick to the right page. Sign it. Move it. Pick up another. Do that ten times. Then stop to move the ten you've signed out of the way to make room for the next lot and to move the next lot within reach and so on and so on. Not only do they make it into a quicker process, it also makes the room a kind of chatty place and that makes it feel quicker too.
My signature has morphed over the years. It isn't especially legible at the best of times - in my head it's my initials, but on the page it's not always that clear - but if you end up buying any of number 850, 851 or 852 from this day; my apologies. I was cramping up around then. We had a quick break before doing the others.
I mentioned on twitter that I was doing a stock-signing and several people asked me whether the signed copies were to go with the free-bowling offer I mentioned in my last post. They're not.
Answering that question then led to several people asking me where they were destined for and as I've had a lot of questions lately about the autumn tour and the imminent book release I figured it might be worth posting a sort of FAQ that deals with the recurring questions I've been asked of late. More a Recently Asked Questions than a Frequently Asked Questions... but you get the idea.
I know these sort of things can appear indulgent or self-important to people who weren't asking these questions... so apologies for that. But enough people are asking to make it seem useful for some. Here goes.
What's going to happen to the 1000 books you signed?
I don't know. I expect they'll be heading to various shops. But if I find out about any offers I'll blog them and tweet them.
Can I order a signed copy?
Yes you can. I'm doing a load of readings to promote the book during the first couple of weeks. The details of where and when are on the live dates page of my site. If you come along to any of those readings you'll be able to buy a copy and obviously I'll be happy to sign it. But even if you can't attend, if you contact any of those shops in advance they're normally more than happy to arrange one for you. They are shops after all!
Are the book and the autumn tour about the same thing? Will one be a spoiler for the other?
No they're not. One isn't a version of the other. They're completely separate entities. The stand-up show I'll tour in October/November is just that: a stand-up show. There isn't an overriding theme to it and it isn't one of the more theatrical story telling shows I've done in the past.
What is going to be in the stand-up show?
I can't tell you for sure. I haven't finished writing it yet. Nobody I know writes a show at their desk then takes it all out live for the first time for night one of a tour. They evolve. With the last tour I was for the most part able to try material out in small clubs round and about. But in the second half of the show there was a chunk of material that was too techy for that and I've found myself wanting to experiment more with that sort of thing. Which is why I set up my monthly night at Hoxton Hall. I've really enjoyed those gigs new material has been shaping up nicely. But there are a few to go between now and the start of the tour and each one is a chance for me to play with new things that might or might not make the cut.
What's the book about then?
It's about 340 pages. Badum tish. More accurately, it's about this.
Why do some shops charge for the book reading and others don't?
The book readings are organised by my publisher. I don't get paid for doing them. I do them because they're fun and I want the book to do well. Some shops can't accommodate a reading so they have to hire a venue. Some shops give a glass of wine. Some charge a small amount but make it redeemable against the price of the book. It's about covering their costs.
Why aren't you doing a gig near me?
I don't book venues, they book me. It might be that they didn't want the show. It might be that they did but didn't have any dates available which worked for me. I don't know more than that. But I don't sit with a map crossing out towns that I don't like any more than I'm playing towns because I do like them. It's a bit more pragmatic than that I'm afraid.