If you read my column last week you’ll already know this, but for a variety of reasons I haven’t got around to blogging it until now.
I have just confirmed the deal for my next book.
I know, right?
This next book is, in the broadest sense, a follow-up to the first once, in so far as I’m the main character (natch) and it begins a few days after I sent off the manuscript of Bringing Nothing To The Party.
But this time it’s not about dot com entrepreneurs, how shit I am at business, me being arrested or my disastrous relationships with women. Actually, I lied about the last two, but it’s not about business. Instead, it’s the story of what happened when I decided – this time last year – to sell almost all of my possessions, give up my flat in London and begin living the life of a modern-day nomad.
I know everyone says this, but I really didn’t intend the experiment to become a book. I just had to get the fuck out of London (you’ll understand if you read the last book) and I wanted to find out how ridiculously high a standard of living I could blag achieve around the world, for exactly the same cost as surviving on cold pizza in East Dulwich.
I won’t say too much about the actual contents yet – not least because I haven’t even begun to process all the incredible characters I’ve met, the adventures I’ve stumbled into and the near-death experiences I’ve had – but sufficed to say, if I’d have known this time last year how ridiculous things would get, and how quickly, I’d have packed some sturdier shoes. And a Bible.
It goes without saying that I’m really glad to have another deal; anything to make the idea that being a writer is my actual job seem slightly less ridiculous. But what really makes me happy is that the deal is with Weidenfeld & Nicolson again.
When they signed me the first time, W&N were taking a pretty big risk that the book might be total shit; a risk that might have been borne out when the manuscript I delivered was light years away from the one I’d originally proposed.
And then there was the hate mail. An organised – but hilariously inept – campaign by some weird Paul Carr Hate Club (they actually had meetings) to convince my new publisher to dump me before the book had even gone to press. My favourite attempt came from the guy who sent two rambling letters, each explaining that I was a delusional, litigious (?!) narcissist and threatening to release the legal attack dogs over all the litany of outrageous lies the book would surely contain about him.
He was mentioned in the book once, in passing. No doubt to his huge disappointment.
(I actually considered including his letters as an appendix to the mass market paperback edition but, frankly, the writing wasn’t good enough)
And assuming all of that crap still hadn’t put W&N off working with me again, there’s the fact that more than a couple of my (far more talented) friends have written very successful first books but have had to fight tooth-and-nail to get a second deal. Maybe it’s difficult second album syndrome, maybe it’s the credit crunch, maybe publishing is just fucking mental – I don’t know. All I know is that getting a first deal, is absolutely no guarantee that you’ll get a second.
The truth is, I’m flattered, but also relieved. Everyone at W&N – from Alan my publisher, to Rebecca my publicist, to Bea who did basically everything else – was brilliant, and ridiculously supportive of Bringing Nothing…, so knowing that they’re going to be in the new book means I can focus all of my blind panic on actually writing the damn thing. Which is what I have to spend the coming months doing. Apologies in advance for the 3am blog posts, full of sound and fury, signifying writer’s block paralysis.
And just in case the above doesn’t sound enough like an Oscar acceptance speech (appropriately enough), I should add how grateful I am to everyone who bought and/or reviewed the first book – even though I’ve said before how weird I find it that anyone did.
I really do appreciate you taking the time to plough through 274 pages of my life. Now I just have to avoid letting you down too badly with the next 274.
Let the hate mail commence!