http://www.cnn.com/2001/COMMUNITY/07/30/gaiman/index.html is yesterday's online conference. It links to the CNN interview of last week. (I said Venn Diagrams, but love the idea of Zen Diagrams. One circle labelled One hand Clapping, the other labelled Sound: now, grasshopper, where do they intersect?)
Today I'm doing an interview with Audiofile about audio books -- then a little rest from interviews before the Australian Interviews begin. (Oops. Nope. Lorraine-my-assistant just said that the interview's not till next week. It just migrated onto the wrong to-do list.)
Trying hard to get caught up with everything waiting for me, which was too much to do anyway; and then I had a rather unexpected meeting with A Director in a secret room round the back of Minneapolis Airport on Sunday morning which means that my plate suddenly got a whole lot fuller. Heigh ho.
Yesterday I caught up on the final script for Harlequin Valentine which means Diana Schutz at Dark Horse can sleep a little more easily. Today it's Ramayana and looking over the stuff that came in from NY on Avalon. And the SANDMAN Calendar -- a piece of interesting merchandise I'd long since given up on asking DC to do (I first proposed one in about 1993 -- it would have had the dates of famous dreams on it, and all sorts of great things. They said no, as people didn't buy calendars... but that was then....) which has suddenly turned up.
Wizard sent me an e-mail apologising for printing stuff they knew wasn't true when they printed it. It was, it seems, a mistake. They've promised to check such material with me in the future.
I am on record (in an long-gone interview in I think Cemetary Dance, called The Luggage In The Crypt) as not liking The Sound of Music. I was taken to the film many times as a small boy, not yet in a position to fight back, and disliked it more every time (why, I asked myself, why would that cool Mary Poppins have traded in her umbrella and carpet-bag for this?) (Many years later I wound up standing next to Julie Andrews on a stage, listening to her swear like a trouper -- not that surprising, with a moment's reflection, as a trouper is exactly what she was -- and I decided that she was definitely a lot more Mary Poppins than Maria.) Anyway, I now have a daughter who is barely older than I was when the Sound of Music was first inflicted upon me, who has decided that the Sound of Music is the single best thing in the world, and must be sung at all times and played at all others. I think that's what they call karma. Or poetic justice. Or something.
They have announced that the heat index is in the Please Do Not Go Outside zone. i think I'll be working in the basement library today, rather than out by the lake. (It's a wonderful cabin-office, and has No Telephone, but it also has No Air Conditioning.)
And I got sent the cover of the new edition of The Books of Magic, with the very cool new John Bolton cover this morning. A lovely piece of work...
And on with the motley.
posted by Neil Gaiman 10:21 AM
Saturday, July 28, 2001
There's a review of American Gods in the New York Times Book Review, at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/29/books/review/RV112648.html. It seems a fairly positive review -- and is the first time I've been reviewed in the Times since 1990 (for Good Omens). (They never mentioned Sandman in the years it was being published, although we learn here it is respected.) It's obvious that the reviewer didn't have a great deal of room, so she basically just does a plot summary. But I am now officially "A fine, droll storyteller" (The New York Times). (Which makes me sound a little like an after-dinner speaker -- "So an English God, a Norse God, and Buddha walk into a bar...")
Tidying up some videos I ran into an old clip of Tori performing Silent All These Years on the Jonathan Ross show, circa 1991; Clive Barker and Anne Bobby were on the same tape. Everybody -- Tori, Jonathan, Clive and Anne, looked so young.
(There was a nice man at the Victoria signing, who said "I saw you on PRISONERS OF GRAVITY on TV ten years ago. And you don't look any older now. I guess you have a portrait in your attic, huh?"
"I do," I told him. "And the weird thing is, it looks this age too."
But the truth is, I pretty much look my age, I think.)
Anyway, I promised I'd donate something to one of the RAINN auctions -- I might donate that tape,although probably it's something that the Tori fans all have copies of and would yawn at. (How does one find out these things?)
Changing the subject, this in from Publishers Weekly.
by Daisy Maryles -- 7/9/2001
News > Behind the Bestsellers
…are looking especially rosy at this point, as Neil Gaiman's American Gods has been garnering excellent reviews and is being supported by publisher Morrow's aggressive and innovative marketing campaign. Thanks to the carefully conceived February launch of a dedicated Web site (www.americangods.com), suspense built rapidly for the book and, according to assistant publicity director Dee Dee De Bartlo, it "was one of Amazon's Top 100 weeks before it was available." (On-sale date was June 19; copies in print total 83,000 after three trips back to press.) "It's flying out of the stores at record speed," De Bartlo adds—a pace that will certainly pick up, given Gaiman's just-concluded a 10-city coast-to-coast tour. (No rest after that, however, as his 10-city U.K. tour started last Saturday, and will be followed by a three-city Canadian tour.) The author is perhaps best known as the creator/ writer of the monthly cult DC Comics horror-weird series Sandman, which won him the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for best writer every year from 1991 through 1994. Harlan Ellison, who knows a thing or two about dark fantasy novels, calls Gaiman's latest "alarming, charming, even winsome," and its author "serially inventive, surprising, purely remarkable."
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:45 PM
Hurrah for Wizard magazine. A few months ago they published that some film that I had had in my basement for some years was irretrievably lost. (The people who sent the film to me told them this, for their own reasons.) This month I was told that Wizard had published an update -- that there was film in my basement, but it was in unusable condition -- which was an amazing thing for them to know, since, as far as I can tell, the boxes haven't been opened since they were owned by Eclipse, pre-bankruptcy.
So I thought I'd go down to the basement and look.
Not only was it not at all damaged, old or unusable (because my basement is the other half of my library, and shares drainage tiles and moisture control and sensible things like that) but there was an awful lot more of it than I had thought there would be from the labels on the boxes, including some things I'd thought gone for good -- which will, I think, soon be seeing print from a delightully unexpected source.
Which is enormously fun, and I owe it all to the responsible journalism of Wizard magazine.
Also, while I was looking for the film, I found, inside an enormous envelope, an AMAZING piece of artwork by Michael Zulli that I don't ever remember seeing before: it's called The October Man, and it's a Sandman portrait that he did in 1994, in what looks like chalks and coloured pencils -- good enough to be a poster or a book cover: a brooding, moody Morpheus on a jut of ruined masonry against a thundery sunset. Autumn-yellow birch-leaves tremble from a branch, while golden oak-leaves are blown past in the chill wind that whips strips of crimson cloth at the top and bottom of the picture, like rags of a theatrical curtain.
And, as far as I know, I've never seen it before in my life.
I don't know when Michael gave it to me, and dammit, I remember that stuff. And furthermore, if it had been a gift and I'd known about it, it wouldn't have been in an envelope in the basement, it would be in a frame on the wall. How did it get here? How did it get down there? A mystery that needs to be investigated. I shall report back.
posted by Neil Gaiman 4:28 PM
Friday, July 27, 2001
A down day. Not sure that I could have done anything had I tried, but I didn't try. Just watched the showreel from the first director to want to make American Gods; she might be an interesting choice.
Current plans for the blogger-journal-thing that you are reading... I've a few wrapping up entries to write over the next few days, and then, yes, it will be done. But NESFA Press, who do cool books for Boskones, will be doing it as a book -- expanded in places, probably edited occasionally, and undoubtedly annotated. So it will be available in a solid form that can be used to prop up a wobbly table, early next year.
However, we currently have 445 FAQ messages in the in-box, and as soon as I can get to talk to someone who can actually make things happen at this web site, we'll do some redesigning, and move a few things around, and I'll start something that's half FAQ (or just interesting Q) and half journal. Or at least, that's the plan.
Meanwhile, I can assure the person whose copy of American Gods is missing chapter 9 and 10 that it is indeed defective, and if you take it to your bookstore they will indeed replace it. American Gods is a book that has both chapters 9 and 10 in. Demand the full complement of chapters. Accept no substitutes.
And talking about Boskone reminds me, I really need to make a conventions section of Neilgaiman.com -- this year I'll be going to New Orleans (to see Steve Brust), Madison (to finish a story with Harlan Ellison -- who has his name in big letters on the web site), and to the Chicago Humanities Festival. Next year is Boston, and Chicago (again) for the World Horror Convention (because Gene Wolfe's the other guest of honour, and Gahan Wilson's the toastmaster, and I've known Jo Fletcher for 18 years by gum(. and also Aggiecon in Austin (because they've been sending my assistant mangos for years in a vain attempt to get me down there).
There's also a con and some signings in Italy in September 2001 I think (because my wife loves Italy more than anywhere else in the world).
And unless they're in Australia or Japan or somewhere cool I don't get to go too often, I think that'll be it for cons and appearances and suchlike for quite a while.
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:10 PM
And I'm home.
It doesn't look like yesterday's entry posted, so I'm not going to go on about how big the sunflowers are or how good it is to see the kids again or anything until I find out whether things are working or not.
posted by Neil Gaiman 6:36 AM
Thursday, July 26, 2001
In the harbour outside my window tugboats are chugging. The water is blue, the sky is bluer, and I ought to be thinking about breakfast and not typing this.
Apparently Doug-the-harper-collins-rep's "rural canadians" line seems to have touched a nerve, or several.
He's kind of from Victoria (although he's now in Vancouver), and drove me around yesterday showing it off more proud of a place than anyone I remember in ages, while pointing out that, really, I should come back here and sign some more. Or just come back here. And bring my family.
I think he was just trying to prepare me for the worst should the room be half-empty and not (as it was) filled to capacity. I suspect he was also rather nervous, having heard from a number of sources about the problems with Virgin Vancouver signing.
But he need not have worried. It was enormously pleasant. The only moment that hurt was the guy who wanted to give me a disk with his stories on, and I had to tell him I wouldn't read them and send back a critique. ("But they're very short." "That's not really the point. There's about a thousand pages of stuff that people have givien me to read waiting at home. Even that won't all get read now, let alone replied to, because I physically don't have time.")
Things I am not going to miss about touring:
1) Having rushed lunches at 2.00pm (having done something through lunchtime) followed by dinners at 5:30pm because once I've finished eating I have a reading and signing to do.
2) Getting neither the lunch or the dinner described in (1) and trying to survive on what you can actually get from room service at midnight.
3) Flying. Airports. Planes. (Except I liked the seaplane trip from Vancouver to Victoria and back.) Cars. Trains.
4) Trying to hear people's names correctly and spell them right in noisy rooms. Trying to sign through the blue after-image of a flash photo.
5) the slow deterioration of my handwriting. At the start of the tour people didn't have to look at whatever message I had inscribed in their books and ask "what does this say?" or occasionally "what language is that in?"
6) Being tired.
7) My signing hand hurting. My signing wrist hurting. My signing arm hurting.
And to keep it even, things I'll miss:
1) The people.
2) Good sushi. (Last night's pre-signing sushi was lovely. Another reason to come back to Victoria.)
3) Seeing friends.
4) having a real excuse for not having written you an e-mail, script, movie, novel etc.
5) Knowing exactly what I was doing for six weeks, pretty much minute by minute. Now it's back into the unknown...
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:16 AM
Victoria, British Columbia. Beautiful city, lovely place, wonderful people. Really well organised event in its own space with a reading and Q and A for about 250 people. It made me happy. I even had a working microphone. Everyone was incredibly nice, and it left me with a really nice taste in my mouth, to end the tour on.
I'd love to come back some time and actually get a chance to look around. (Flew in on the seaplane from Vancouver, with a view of island after island.)
Now back in the hotel room, and unbelievably tired. G'night.
posted by Neil Gaiman 12:37 AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
Ever since the cover for American Gods came out people have been showing me pictures and sending me images, saying "Hey, doesn't this look like the American Gods cover?" and it never does.
But I saw this one in a bookstore the other day... I'd be willing to swear that it's the same image, only with a ghost car instead of a lightning bolt.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:14 PM
And I am in Victoria, BC, and will soon be doing the very last signing of the tour. Doug, the harper Collins rep started explaining to me that this was rural Canada and that a hundred people showing up at a signing would be a lot. I told him i wouldn't mind if it was only a couple of dozen, and I wouldn't, although I'm not sure I convinced him.
Did several interviews and TV this morning, and finally managed to see Joe Fulgham (who does the Dreaming website, over at www.holycow.com/dreaming) having managed to miss meeting him for dinner last night, and miss seeing him for donuts in the green room at the TV station. We ate lunch together for ten minutes and then I ran to get the seaplane to Victoria.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:05 PM
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
The sushi in Vancouver is as good as I've been told.
The signing at Virgin in Vancouver was very interesting. Possibly not the most tightly organised of the tour, and the reading was, of necessity, done unmiked, but the people attending were very kind.
Message in from Ms Tree of Melbourne, Australia, asking why it hasn't been mentioned on this blogger that she came all the way from Melbourne, Australia to get to the LA signing. And here am I mentioning the people who came up to Vancouver from Portland or down to Bristol from Preston and I never mentioned her. And I didn't mention the people who flew in from Singapore either. Bad Neil. Wicked Neil.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:34 PM
An FAQ question in from Brazil points out the inconsistencies of yours truly. After all, I have cheerfully maintained recently that Felicia Quon has the world’s coolest name. But in the back of American Gods I say Owl Goingback has the world’s coolest name. So which is it?
I asked Felicia about this as she bundled me away from the Merril Centre last night, and she said, rather pointedly, “Yeah, I was wondering about that myself.” And when I last raised the subject of World’s Coolest Names with Owl Goingback, he wistfully told me about a man on the tribal rolls of the last century called Big Meat, and said he’s always wanted to be called Big Meat. So they weren’t much help, really, all things considered.
So, for purposes of simplicity, I think currently that Owl Goingback has the world’s coolest boys’ name and Felicia Quon has the world’s coolest girls’ name.
And FAQ thingie in from Germany wants to know if I will ever answer any of the FAQ questions. I expect so – probably when the current incarnation of the journal is done, a new one will arise, based on answering the FAQs (very few of which are actually frequently asked, and several of the ones that are seemed to be asked by the same person several time in the hopes of making them Frequently Asked.)
And Rabbi Michael Unterberg asks if there’s any reason the Golem in American Gods has the word Life on his forehead, instead of the word Truth (Hebrew Truth – Emet; If you erase the first letter it becomes Met, death, which is how you kill a golem.) And the answer is, yes, relying on rotten authorial memory. I’ll fix it in the paperback.
Someone at the Indigo signing asked, for a friend, about three continuity queries. One she’d misread (the whisky bottle Shadow takes from Mad Sweeney’s hands is not the same bottle as the ones the police took from his hands the previous day), one was intentional (a barefoot Shadow acquiring shoes in chapter 16), and one was a fossil.
Fossils plague authors. Ammonites and trilobites left in the text from previous drafts that you’ve somehow missed – that everyone’s missed. You think you’ve caught them all, but there’s always one that slips through...
I’ll scribble on the copy of American Gods back at home that I’ve been scribbling on since I got it, revisions and fixes for the paperback.
Meanwhile, we’re now in seventh printing for the US hardback of American Gods. (And, hearteningly, the trade paperbacks of Smoke and Mirrors and Stardust have now gone back to press several times in paperback.)
Let’s see. Toronto, yesterday. Woken up by room-service breakfast (which is the only reliable, alarm call for me at this point in the tour. Someone knocks on the door. I have to get up and open it and then, somehow, sign my name to a slip and do some simple addition. All of these things are more likely to wake me up than picking up a phone and hearing a pre-recorded voice say “This is your wake up call...”) and I had just finished cleaning my teeth when the phone rang for the first interview. This was Chris from Parsec, who had interviewed me a few years ago. Then downstairs for the second interview (canoe.ca) then off to the Beguiling for a drop-in-signing and then to SPACE for an interview with Mark Askwith.
Mark has been interviewing me for about 13 years now, initially for the much lamented PRISONERS OF GRAVITY TV show, and more recently for SPACE and its related stations. He always plans a number of shows, so in interviews he darts, conversationally, from topic to topic like a madman on a bus, leaving me trying vaguely to keep up and just trusting that he won’t cut stuff to make me look like an idiot.
Yesterday we lurched from the book to the nature of Fantasy to The Web, and at one point he handed me an Elvis Presley hawaiian doll and asked me to talk about it (Why, Mark, why?)
Then over to U8TV – a real life “Reality TV” show set in a loft. The behind-the-scenes people, Michael and Jodie, were fans, and I was interviewed on a couch by a strikingly pretty inmate of the loft named Jennifer who had read the book and, because she was a real person and not a TV interviewer, had made notes of sensible questions she wanted to ask. And it was a really good interview, although the most interesting bit for me was chatting to her before the interview started about what it’s like to live your life – or a small fraction of it – in the public eye. “I’ll be walking down the street and people I don’t know will tell me I should dump my boyfriend, or that I looked better as a redhead...”
Back to the hotel lobby where Christopher from Reel to Reel was waiting to interview me, and from there to TALK! TV (or possibly TALK TV!) and not only was I interviewed by a nice guy with amazing spectacles named Roberto but at the end, when he asked me to sign his book, he handed me a gorgeous fountain pen filled with sepia ink, and we neeped about ink and pens for a few moments.
Half an hour for a sushi dinner at 6.00pm, and Felicia “The Organised” Quon had already handed me a menu at some point that afternoon in the car, to make things faster. Joined by Nalo Hopkinson and her partner, David. She’s reading American Gods right now, and thanked me for not attempting to give Mr Nancy an inauthentic West Indian patois. (Her lovely novel, The Midnight Robber, is written almost entirely in a strange and beautiful hybrid Trinidadian/Jamaican patois. She knows from patois.) (Later, when Mark Askwith wasn’t around, we made Nalo go up and introduce me at the reading, in a transparent and blatant attempt to get the people to go out and buy her books.)
Sold out hall, and I read them the whole of Chapter One and Sam’s speech. Then a Q and A (during which I wound up at one point talking about Harry Stephen Keeler, but cannot for the life of me remember why), then a signing. Had a strange epiphany three quarters of the way through the signing, as my hand hurt and my elbow hurt, and I was tired and my handwriting had become something barely legible, and for a moment I felt weirdly grumpy and sorry for myself, and then I thought Yeah, but I’m still enjoying it. It’s fun. These are nice people. I have the coolest job in the world.
So I grinned and asked for a pot of tea, and I kept on signing.
I think the greatest distance travelled was the young lady who came up from New York by train for it, although probably someone came in from Newfoundland and didn’t mention it.
Signing over with at around 11.00ish and back to hotel.
Author up at 6.30amish (room service wake up, see above), shower, pack and downstairs where Victor was waiting to take me to the airport.
The whole Toronto experience was hugely improved by having a Driver named Victor who moved us from place to place effortlessly, and I was pleased that Felicia had given him a copy of American Gods. I scribbled an appreciative message on it for him, and he was happy.
And then onto the plane. I suspect there’s some kind of irony in the longest single internal flight of the tour (well over 5 hours) being the one that was, I discovered as I got to the airport, in coach, and to be on a completely crammed plane, armed with a full complement of squalling babies. And the less said about the flight the better. I have a magic “This man flies too damned much” card that makes upgrades happen on some airlines, but Canada 3000 is not one of them. Canada 3000 is the kind of airline that makes you check small roll-aboard luggage because they have limited space.
I’m typing this on the plane right now. The babies are all crying, and it’s been a long 5 hours. Luckily, I only have two interviews, two drive-by signings, and a Virgin Megastore signing and reading to do in what remains of today.
And I hear very good things about Vancouver sushi.
The plane landed 45 mins late, and I was met by Gwendolynn the Vancouver publicist (www.prdiva.com) who is a Powerhouse. Which is a good thing. And off to Sushi with an interviewer named Matthew. Good Sushi. Good questions. Exhausted author. And then back to hotel to post this and then, for 45 minutes I hope, nap.
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:11 PM
Sunday, July 22, 2001
In Toronto -- did a signing at INDIGO for around 350 incredibly nice people, then signed the last 100 copies of MURDER MYSTERIES: A PLAY FOR VOICES for George and Dave, the Biting Dog Press gang. Dinner was sushi with Felicia Quon, who eagle-eyed readers of this blog will remember has the coolest name in the world, and who I met for the first time today, and Steve-from-Harper-Collins, and Mark Askwith. Mark Askwith is the Man Behind the Curtain. He is the Eminence Gris. He Knows All, Sees all, and Says Nothing.
Actually, that last bit isn't true. Mark says a lot, amusingly and to the point, and is a dab hand with an anecdote. We met on the streets of Gotham City -- quite literally. It was in Pinewood Studios, in England, in 1988. Tomorrow I will be interviewed by lots of people, and several of those will be Mark Askwith.
And I'm very tired, so will leave it there for tonight.
Oh, one thing. Several people at the signing asked about the stories I wrote for Tori's STRANGE LITTLE GIRLS album. To clarify, they won't be on the CD -- I think the plan is to take a sentence from each one and put it by the relevant photo for the CD, then to run the whole story in the Tour Booklet. (one person asked me if the new album was really any good, as if I'd probably just been trying to get people's hopes up to help sell a dog of an album, which rather puzzled me. So, for the record, yes I really like the album. I think it's the best thing Tori's done in a while, and it's, in my opinion, her most personal album for years. I would be astonished if there wasn't at least one track on there that every dyed in the wool Tori fan loved immediately, and equally as surprised if there wasn't at least one track that they disliked equally as strongly -- it's that sort of record).
And one more thing...Happy Birthday Mike for yesterday. Mike -- my son -- was 18 yesterday, and can now go off and die for his country. But I rather hope he doesn't.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:40 PM
Saturday, July 21, 2001
There's a terrifically fun article at the Daily Telegraph website at
http://www.telegraph.co.uk:80/et?ac=005591874619727&rtmo=QepxkHzR&atmo=rrrrrrrq&pg=/et/01/7/21/bfsf21.html and the photograph of me signing at Forbidden Planet actually looks like me. And I like that it's about more than just me plugging my book, and is actually about something. The quotes are in context and accurate, too (although Zadie Smith didn't write me a fan letter; we had an e-mail exchange in which she mentioned she was a big Sandman fan. Different thing.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:12 AM
Friday, July 20, 2001
Reading Locus online, I saw a link to January magazine's review. http://www.januarymagazine.com/SFF/americangods.html is the kind of book review I like as an author -- not because it liked the book (although it did) but because the book I read about in the review was the same one I thought I was writing. And so many of the reviews and comments that come over the transom, some of them enthusiastic and some of them damning, are reviews of books that I don't remember writing at all.
... which reminds me. Who was it defined a novel as "a long piece of prose with something wrong with it"?
A friend said to me recently, shocked, "You don't read your reviews do you?" and I had to admit that, sure I do. I don't pay much attention to them -- I always liked Kingsley Amis's comment on bad reviews that "they might spoil my breakfast, but they don"t spoil my lunch" -- other than to do a sort of tally of how many good to bad we're getting, and to see which ones actually seem to sell books.
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:57 PM
Not dead, only resting. Wrote an introduction for a reprint of Pat Cadigan's novel Synners, and poem for an Arne Svenson (he's a photographer) book of photos of sock monkeys, but that's been it for work. Now a huge backlog of stuff, filmic and comics, awaits me... and then off to Canada on Sunday. The schedule I've been sent runs pretty much by the minute, but there seems to be a fair amount of sushi on it, which is nice.
Last night I took part telephonically in a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. This is a not for profit organisation that looks out for comics writers, artists, publishers and retailers who need defending on a first amendment basis (that's Freedom of Speech, for those of you not immediately au fait with the US Constitution)-- every little legal case, and big ones, and ones that never turn into legal cases at all. They all cost money. And the cases the CBLDF has defended range from the Californian Tax authorities trying to reclassify comics from "literature" to "sign painting", to Mike Diana's imprisonment for drawing his mini comic "Boiled Angel" (we lost that case. His sentence included three year's suspended imprisonment, a $1000 fine, 1000 hours of community service, and he was forbidden to draw anything that anyone might consider obscene -- and the local police were empowered to do 24 hour raids on his rooms to make sure he wasn't committing art. On appeal we got him able to leave Florida...) to the normal run of the mill cases where retailers are accused of selling comics from the over 18 section of the store, marked for over 18s, to undercover cops over the age of 18.
It was a long meeting -- most of the people were in San Diego, where the meeting started at 8.00pm. Here in the midwest it started at 10.00pm, and round about 1:30 am this jetlagged author started noticing that the world on the other end of the phone was a very very long way away.
The CBLDF is always after people for money. This is because the price of liberty in the US is not just eternal vigilance, but it's also cash on the nail to lawyers, to fly in expert witnesses, to all that stuff.
Go buy their merchandise. Check out their website (www.cbldf.org). Become a member -- they send you a membership card and several goodies, but mostly you just get the satisfaction of knowing you're doing something good to preserve the First Amendment and freedom of speech (which people know applies to prose, but are a lot more uncertain about when it comes to comics).
They've got the LIVE AT THE ALADDIN video for sale -- it's come out, and it's the film of (and a mini-documentary about) the Portland leg of the LAST ANGEL Reading tour I did last October. If you've never been to any of the Guardian Angel tour readings, you should get the video to see what you missed. And if you went to any of them you should get the video to remind yourself of the fun you had.
The questions in Portland weren't quite as strange as the ones from New York ("Can I be your sex slave?" was one from New York I remember taking me slightly by surprise, and my answer "Um, no" was possibly not the epitome of a graceful comeback) and the lighting makes me look like an early Bernie Wrightson drawing, but you need this video. (And I don't get a penny of it. It all goes to the CBLDF.)
The Last Angel Tour in 2000 was the last tour I was ever going to do for the CBLDF -- I'd been doing them since 1993, and thought it was time that other people got out there and did stuff. It hasn't really happened, although Harlan Ellison and I are going to do readings for the CBLDF on alternate evenings at Madcon this October in Madison. It's http://www.madcon.org/ .
As I was saying, no one's really leapt into the breach yet, so if any of you have any favourite comics people you want to see live on stage, tell them you'd pay to come and see them. I keep telling Jill Thompson that she could fill a theatre with Scary Godmother readings -- maybe with slides -- but I don't think she believes me.
Anyway, I've mentioned the CBLDF store on this journal in the past, but it's worth pointing you all there again. It's the only online place I know of that you can just go and buy one of the 5000 signed limited copies of AMERICAN GODS (except e-bay, I suppose. hang on, I'll look.)
Yup. They've got 'em at e-bay, where they've been selling for as much at $60, but if you order them from the CBLDF they are a lowly $35 and all your money goes to a good cause AND they have other cool stuff too, so go and click on http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/13/cat13.htm?626 to go straight to their Neil Gaiman store section, or on http://cbldf.safeshopper.com/ to see what else is on offer, or just head straight over to http://cbldf.org/ .
And tell people to go and do likewise. Spread the word. Tell them Neil sent you. Look, if enough of you start doing it, I'll get the FAQ blogger up and running. I'll do a review of Strange Little Girls. I'll go and find some goofy stuff sitting on the dustier bits of the hard disk and set up a "Goofy Stuff From the Dustier Bits of the Hard Disk" section of the website. Honest.
And in the meantime, if you run into Jill Thompson, mention to her casually you'd pay good money to see her up on stage doing Scary Godmother for the CBLDF...
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:29 PM
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
Just as a reminder -- the Canadian leg of the tour is next. There's one stop that isn't listed yet on the "On the Road" section of the website -- I posted it before, but, just in case anyone's missed it... It"s Toronto this coming Sunday. (Just a signing -- the reading's the following day at the Merril Collection) (and not, as it's listed on the tour dates, the Merill collection. Named after Judith Merril, whose collection SF12 did more to the inside of my head at the age of 11 than any single book I've read before or since):
Sunday July 22 4 pm.
Indigo Books & Music
2300 Yonge Stree
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:33 PM
http://enjoyment.independent.co.uk/books/reviews/story.jsp?story=83991 is the Independent newspaper review of American God, and the word from the UK Booktrack charts is that we continue to creep up steadily: from 19 (pre-publication) to 16 (last week) to 12. Now that the reviews have started to appear, I hope we continue to rise.
The UK Booktrack system is interesting as, like Soundscan for CDs in the US, it tallies sales through every outlet. There's no US equivalent. Publishers pay it more mind than the public do, though.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:33 AM
And yesterday went in a kind of a blur. I got on a plane and, eventually, I got home. There were plane delays, and on the way home we had to stop for a bit as there was a fawn with a broken leg to be helped, and a hysterical lady who had hit the fawn with her car to be calmed down, both of which we did, and then home and seeing kids and, finally, sleep.
And then wide awake at 4.30 a.m. -- it's now 6.30 ish and I'm still awake, with no prospect of going back to sleep. There are teetering stacks of things that have arrived in my absence to be dealt with, to be read, listened to, filed. There are things that were meant to have been written before the tour started a month ago that need to be written.
But today, I think I may just potter around. I think I'll have a bath, go for a bike ride, and pick things from the garden and cook them, and just take it easy. Or as easy as I can.
posted by Neil Gaiman 4:47 AM
Monday, July 16, 2001
This is what I did today. I got up. I checked out of the hotel and went to the offices of Headline, where I met my editor and discussed which of about 7 books was probably going to be the next one I’d write. Then I signed a little over 300 books, some for retailers, some for the reps to be able to use to make people happy.
Left London on the Gatwick Express. Saw my family, or bits of it. Went back to London on the Gatwick Express. Did a strange but kind of fun thing with Tori, where we sat and were filmed talking in a hotel with galaxies in the lifts (er, elevators) and see-through glass bathrooms. Read the short stories for Strange Little Girls and then we talked about each story and each song and what it meant. I think they’ll edit it into something and put it out on the web in some form.
Then went to see They Might Be Giants with my friends Jonathan & Jane. Wonderful, marvelous, funny gig. Amazing musicianship, too. Hung out in the backstage bar with friends, and was introduced to the Johns of TMBG and told them how good they were. Then hopped the Gatwick Express for the last time today and off into the wilderness. Fly home early tomorrow.
I have to write on the plane, unless I fall asleep. Which I may do. You never know.
posted by Neil Gaiman 7:14 PM
Saturday, July 14, 2001
Got up this morning at 6.50 to head off to Norwich (an acronym, Alan Bennett once wrote in a comedic sketch, for "Knickers off ready when I come home") for an 11.00am signing. If this seems a bit of an early start to you, remember that Norwich is the only city that Lucy Ramsey ever got Terry Pratchett to a signing to late, and that she wasn’t ever going to let it happen again.
It’s 10.00 am now, and so we’re cruising through Norwich looking for breakfast...
...there, and by the magic of the new paragraph break, we had breakfast and then I did a signing in Ottakar’s of Norwich – nice people (I always say that, don’t I? Well, it’s always been true of the people at the signings, and on this tour it’s been true of all the people who run the shops. It’s not always like that – every author will tell you horror stories of irritable store staff who view the author’s presence in the store as an unaccountable intrusion. Normally in these cases they also didn’t ever bother to do anything to tell anyone you were coming to their store so you’re not just a bother, but a demoralised bother because nobody came. My last one of those -- I’d managed to forget it until I was reminded by Lucy -- was at W.H. Smith’s in Brighton in 1999.).
Was hoping for review coverage of American Gods today, and didn’t see any (most of the review coverage I saw was for children’s books, inspired by yesterday’s Carnegie Award). On the other hand, we’re in at #9 in the Independent book list; while the Times has a list of the fastest selling books, and we came in at #4 as the second fastest-selling hardback fiction book in the UK (after Tony Parsons’ new novel) which has to be a good thing, as it means we’re selling through the people in bookshops and through word of mouth.
So, now in car en route to Canterbury....
...Canterbury signing was lovely. A great one to end the UK signing tour with. Saw Dave McKean and family, and just got back to the hotel (at 2.00 a.m.).
And that was today, except that I also answered a nice e-mail from an Entertainment Weekly journalist about this journal, and failed to answer an e-mail from a New York Times journalist about this journal (tomorrow, I suppose).
Oh, and during the Q&A someone asked if I really was existing on nothing but sushi, and I had to admit that my peregrinations around the UK had been practically Sushi free. F’r example, tonight I ate – before the signing – at the Café Des Amis in Canterbury, which is Dave Mckean’s favourite Mexican restaurant. Sometimes he just goes there with his notebook and sketches or thinks, and he wound up designing and doing all the art on their menu and notecards and stuff, because he wanted it to look nice.
posted by Neil Gaiman 6:30 PM
Friday, July 13, 2001
More from the Strange STuff People E-Mail Me Department: http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-gaiman-neil.asp is an interview with me (you have to page down past the biography stuff). http://www.kiplinger.com/spending/ is -- right now anyway -- something that lists the best prices of "this week's bestselling book, CD, DVD and software." American Gods is the book (and Fatbrain is currently the best price, it says).
Did a signing in Bristol at lunchtime which was lovely. It should have been an evening signing with a reading and stuff, really. Saw Diana Wynne Jones and several other friends, albeit too briefly in every case. Biut I got to tell Diana of Maddy's addiction to WARLOCK AT THE WHEEL, finally... Then got the train back and did an AOL chat, then London Live radio, now back in the hotel.
Up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go to Norwich for a lunchtime signing, then on to Canterbury where I shall see Dave McKean and his family, which I am looking forward to.
Sunday is the Giles Brandreth radio show on LBC, and a desperate attempt to see as many people as possible. Monday is editorial meetings, sign 300+ books in the Headline offices, and, in the evening, do some filming and reading and such with Tori for some album stuff. Tuesday morning I fly home.
Wish I had some trenchant and brilliant comments to make on the media or something, but mostly I'm just pooped. People have stopped assuming I'm American though, and my daughter Holly, when I phoned home last night, said "Dad! You sound so English!" which I shall take as a compliment, although I'm not entirely sure that was how she meant it. Really, my accent is just a universal sort of case of "you aren't from round here, are you?"
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:45 PM
http://authorpages.hoddersystems.com/NeilGaiman/ is the Hodder Headline website for me and the book and is an awful lot of fun at first glance.
I'm typing this in the offices of AOL.com UK where I'm just about to do an online chat -- the first online chat of this tour that I've actually got to type my own answers for, rather than talk to someone down the phone.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:18 AM
Thursday, July 12, 2001
http://www.usatoday.com/life/enter/books/2001-07-12-american-gods.htm is a fun review of American Gods....
Today was nice -- small lunchtime signing (50 people or thereabouts altogether) and so was the evening one. In between I grabbed some food and did several interviews, and after the ottakers in walsall signing we made a mad dash to get to Pebble Mill in time for a live interview, not enormously helped by having the only Taxi Driver in the midlands to whom one can say "BBC Pebble Mill, please" and whose reply is "Where's that, mate?" . Lucy Ramsey talked a lot on her mobile, and I sat in the taxi and didn't worry.We were talked in (via Lucy and her mobile) by a security guard at Pebble Mill
I am, on some things, a world class worrier, but when it comes to getting places on time, if I'm actually travelling towards them in a car or a train or a plane, I just shrug and go, I'll get there on time or I won't. Nothing I can do about it either way. And I don't worry.
So I didn't, and we made it by the skin of our teeth, and the interview was fun. And now I'm back in the hotel before midnight, which is more or less a first.
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:43 PM
Let’s see, where were we? More to the point, where am I? (Stops. Thinks. Birmingham. Right. Knew it was Birmingham.) Just on my way to do a lunchtime signing at Andromeda Books – mainly because Andromeda was the place I signed first. It was with Kim Newman, in 1985, for a book called GHASTLY BEYOND BELIEF.
Tonight is Ottakers bookshop in Walsall – not a place I’d’ve picked to do a signing, on a tour that doesn’t take in Oxford, Cambridge or Reading, – but we’ll see how it goes.
The last couple of evening signings have been fun – Leeds two nights ago, and last night in Manchester, at Waterstones. They sold tickets (₤3.00 each) and people kept coming, several hundred of them, so the event moved from Waterstones to the church next door, which meant, I was told, No Swearing. It also meant that people didn’t get any free wine, cos it was a church.
So I read the Essie Tregowan story. Toward the end people got quieter and quieter and you could hear every squeak and echo. People laughed less, though.
The people and the organisation were both terrific. I saw Ramsey and Jenny Campbell and several other friends and old acquaintances, all-too briefly in every case. Thrown out of the church at ten p.m. as that was when the burglar alarm went on by, but a final dash of speed signing did it, then to the radio.
I had a few seconds before the interview to talk to the interviewer, so I checked to see if he’d read the book, and he hadn’t, which was good to know, as I explained more than I might have otherwise. But what was meant to be a 5 minute interview turned into a half hour chat on the air, and was very enjoyable.
Then back to the hotel, where there was no food to be had, for it was gone midnight, and all I’d had to eat since breakfast was some Tesco’s sushi that someone had brought to the signing (“my girlfriend says I’m mad but...”) so Lucy and I went to an Indian restaurant next door, and when the food wasn’t what I’d ordered I shut up and ate it, because I just wanted food and sleep. And then we walked back to the hotel, went off to our rooms, and slept the sleep of the dead. Well, I did. At 7.30 Lucy rang to say that she was still stuffed from eating a huge Indian meal at 1.00am and thought she’d skip breakfast, and I decided to do the same, so lay in the bath and read several pages of Harry Stephen Keeler’s THE CHAMELEON (the second half of the sequence that begins with THE MYSTERIOUS MR. I). An astonishingly brilliant and postmodern sort of device and structure underlies both books, marred only by the fact that the mystery of the narrator’s identity is starting to become wearisome. But as unreliable narrators go, this one is certainly up there.
On the train to Birmingham I planned to work, and instead I slept.
We’re edging up the UK charts – number 19 last week, number 16 this week.
posted by Neil Gaiman 4:28 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
Oh, and a little websearching produced:
Sandboy: As happy as a sandboy is an expression which implies blissful contentment. I believe that the saying is truly Bristolian in origin. On Bathurst basin, in the City centre is the long established Ostrich Inn. The Inn is immediately adjacent to the Redcliff caves which, in their day, were a prime source of sand. Past landlords of the Inn used to send little boys i.e. Sandboys into the caves to collect sand to spread on the floor of the Inn to soak up the beer and ale droppings (much like butchers used to put sawdust on the floor of their shops). The Sandboys were paid for their efforts in beer. They were indeed happy.
Lovely signing in Leeds last night, marred only by the sad death of the sound system, so I did it unmiked (thanks to James and Juliet for all their help). Then to dinner with lots of really nice Leeds booksellers.
I lost weight on the US tour. This one, however, has such luxuries as breakfast, lunch and dinner built in, so I'm sure I'll gain it all back, and more. (sigh.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:44 AM
Sorry about the FAQ thing not happening yet... it should be up soon, and once it is I'll start answering questions. Honest.
In the meantime, I'm also answering questions (or, sometimes, failing to, which I was always assured was an author's perogative) about American Gods over at readerville and at the well.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:23 AM
There seemed to be a certain amount of confusion about what was actually happening at the Vancouver signing/reading so I investigated. Felicia Quon (this column's Canadian correspondent) reports:
This is from the organizer at the Virgin event in Vancouver...
The wristband guarantees that you get into the reading/q&a and that you get
to have your book signed. Wristbanded folk get in first as well. There will
be a separate lineup for those without wristbands.
So it looks like a book guarantees you a place at the reading, but that you can still get into the signing with or without one.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:13 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
So the UK tour is now well underway and right now I’m happy as a sandboy (what is a sandboy? Why are they happy?) as it’s proving to be almost a holiday after the US tour.
The US tour was 90% signing, with a very few interviews.
These UK signings are – so far – proving easy: enough people at each signing to justify the signing – 60 or so at lunchtime, 150 in the evening (Manchester will be bigger). And the rest of the time is being spent doing interviews: over breakfast, over tea, in railway stations and hotel lobbies.
The difference between the US and the UK? Hmm... well, more of the copies of GOOD OMENS have been pre-signed by Terry Pratchett, so I get to do more punch lines than set up lines. More men than women – in the US it was a solid 50/50. And the lines are – I am happy to say – shorter.
This morning’s breakfast interview was with a journalist from the Scotsman – who first interviewed me when he was a young fan and I was a young comics writer over a decade ago. I got to grumble to him about the Scotsman’s attempts over the years to put together an article showing I thought that J.K.Rowling nicked Harry Potter from Tim Hunter. According to Joe from Waterstones they’ve run such an article on more than one occasion –“I think you were on the front page on a slow news day” he said. (The local METRO newspaper had an article about it when I arrived – although this was more presented as a tragedy I had survived – plucky young writer’s prize creation could have been huge but then J.K. Rowling stole his thunder sort of thing. It sort of ignored that Tim is owned lock stock and barrel by Warner bros, and that if anything I think Harry Potter has actually encouraged them to make the Books of Magic movie. But then, nobody asked me.)
Odd hotel last night – the Point Hotel in Edinburgh. It looks and feels like an elegant modernist five star sort of hotel – vast white rooms, double Jacuzzi style baths and so on – but then you start noticing that the lifts only work sporadically, the only soap in the bathroom is an empty wall-unit in the shower, that the lobby staff sent away a Taxi sent by the BBC to take Lucy Ramsey and me to Radio Scotland (the Brian Morton show. Good radio by someone literate.) because we weren’t waiting for it in the lobby, rather than calling the rooms or leaning into the bar where I was being interviewed by Scottish Book Collector (“Are you for people who collect Scottish books, or for Scots who collect books of any kind?” “Er, both really.”) and telling me the taxi was there. (The mad dash to make it to the radio station in time for the interview was the kind of thing of which heroic ballads are made.)
Which reminds me – upcoming radio appearances for people who live locally, or who like seeing whether you can find various stations on the internet:
Weds 11th July – 4.30ish GMT –
11.00pm – Andy Peebles, BBC Radio North
Thurs 12 July – 9*30pm - The Late Show BBC Radio midlands
Friday 13 July 10.00pm Gideon Coe, BBC London Live
Sunday 15th 4.00pm – Giles Brandreth, LBC
Saw the Entertainment Weekly photo. Not a bad picture at all, but the hair-and-make-up guy had managed to transform my normal tangle of barely kempt hair into something I don’t think I’ve ever seen on top of my head.
Now in Leeds in a really lovely hotel.
As far as I can establish, the UK hardback selling at 10.00 pounds (6.00 right now through Amazon.co.uk) is only for a limited time. So if you’re planning on waiting to get one, as a gift or whatever, you may want to get it now and put it away, as they’ll be climbing back to ₤17.99 soon enough. (This information, like all other information posted here about the UK edition, is liable to be utterly wrong. On the other hand, it turned out there were only a handful of trade paperbacks on sale in the UK, all through Borders in London -- they think -- and only for a couple of days.)
Right -- the phone rang, interviewer in the lobby. got to go.
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:29 AM
Sunday, July 08, 2001
Wrote a blogger post today in the library of this hotel, but the computer crashed utterly and terminally just as I finished. And all the sensible things I said at the time have been entirely forgotten.
(Jetlagged author tries to remember things he said, but he can only remember mentioning that the lyric version of New Age on Tori’s “Strange Little Girls” CD is not as reported the one from the Velvet Underground's LOADED but actually the version from the Live 1969 LP, and I can only remember that because it’s playing in the background as I type this.)
I think I warned people that on some of these stops the bookshop is selling tickets to the reading – you get the cost of the ticket back from the price of the book if you buy one, although you shouldn’t need a book to get into the line. Some stores do the tickets for the reading but let anyone into the signing line, whether you have a ticket or not. And most of them won’t do any of that stuff either way and you’ll just get to the bookshop, be read to or not depending mostly on whether it’s a lunch or evening signing, and shuffle along a line that will move much too slowly until everyone’s done.
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:23 PM
Saturday, July 07, 2001
So, I was definitely wrong about the whole hardback/trade paperback thing on American Gods, as people turned up at the signing at Forbidden Planet today with copies of American Gods in trade paperback they'd bought at Borders. Lucy Ramsey couldn't explain it and went off to investigate (on a saturday afternoon, bless her).
Not sure why Borders would be selling 10 pound paperbacks when everyone else is selling 10 pound hardbacks -- and slightly concerned that, as the ISBN is different, any copies sold through Borders won't show up on any bestseller lists, which would be a pity.
Several people came -- for the signing at Forbidden Planet -- from France, Spain, Sweden and Finland (there were many Brazilians and New Zealanders there too, and many other French, Dutch, Spanish etc people there, but none of them had come specially). I felt faintly guilty for not doing something more exciting than just signing books, since they'd come such a long way...
(A strange sweet moment that sat in the middle of a 4 hour signing like a haiku, as a young lady tentatively put out one hand to touch my hand while I signed, I think just to reassure herself that I was real.)
The Daily Telegraph had a photographer at the signing. People kept asking him to take photos of them with their cameras, so he'd put down his massive telephoto thing and use people's little disposables to snap us together. It made me smile.
posted by Neil Gaiman 12:59 PM
Entertainment Weekly reviews's out! And I hear the House on the Rock photo is good.
Not impressed by the review though -- shallow reading, and the reviewer seemed to have missed a number of things (eg. Messrs Stone, Wood, Town et al aren't gods of any kind -- that's made about as clear in the text as anything can be) and he manages not only to give away the end but to demonstrate that he hasn't understood it either. Lots of nice quotes of the kind one can stick on a dust-jacket, and the ranking on Amazon's soared since it came out, which means it's done its job of telling people the book's out there.
posted by Neil Gaiman 4:27 AM
Friday, July 06, 2001
And incidentally, there's a fun interview up at http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/jul01/gaiman2.htm
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:29 PM
Finally understood the whole Uk hardback-paperback thing.
1) There's a UK hardback. It costs 17.99, but is currently discounted to ten pounds with a money back guarantee.
2) There's a trade paperback. it costs ten pounds but is only for australia and New Zealand.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:21 PM
Interviews are funny things. Yesterday morning, in the hotel library, waiting for my room to be ready, I listened to the singer from the Cardigans, Nina, being interviewed at the chair next to mine. She was a nice Swedish lady. Some people wanted to talk about the music, and she did okay on those interviews.
Some were less prepared.
Like the Australian celebrity journalist with his appalling list of questions.
"So -- what DON'T your fans know about you?"
“Well, my private life. But it is private.”
“Come on love. Give us something. A secret. Something nobody knows. Come on.”
"...Er... I have a wart between my toes...?"
"Can't you get it frozen off?"
"Well, nobody can see it. It's between my toes."
"Do you have to wear larger shoes then?"
"No." (Embarrassed pause.) “I wear pointy shoes.”
“That wasn’t much of a secret really, was it.” The lady from the Cardigans shrugged apologetically. The reporter looked down at his list of questions... “So what’s the craziest thing a fan’s ever done?”
“They are very nice.”
“Crazy. Come on, one of your fans must be a little bit crazy...”
And so on, and on, and on.
At least most of my interviewers know who I am. (Except for the radio interviewer today. But then, it’s always a pleasant surprise when radio interviewers have read anything. I knew one who admitted to putting slips of paper into a book when the author was coming to the interview – three slips, one near the beginning, one in the middle, one near the end. It made it look as if he’d not only read the book, but he’d found important things he wanted to talk about. I doubt a single author was fooled.)
Today was interviews, launch party, dinner, and back to hotel by 12:30 am.... tomorrow, a signing at Forbidden Planet in Oxford Street. Starts at 1:00pm...
The interviews (and the interviewers) were good. Not a warty-toe question in the lot of them. Very different. My favourite was Nick Hasted who interviewed me for UNCUT, in something that felt a lot less like an interview and more like part of a conversation Nick and I have been having, an hour or so at a time every 2 years, for 6 or 7 years.
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:08 PM
For some reason the last one didn't publish, so let's try again...
Just did the oddest radio show; suddenly found myself having to have opinions about Pyramid Selling, Legalizing Heroin, Foxhunting, Bullfighting and Right vs left wing libertarianism. Occasional nods to me being an author were made, by the host, after checking his press release -- "Neil, it says here you wrote Good Omens, with Terry Pratchett, a novel about the end of the world. Now if the world really were ending do we think that we'd start looting, or just be peaceful" etc. V. odd...
Ate more conveyor belt sushi for lunch, but I think that's it for me and conveyor belt sushi. (But surely, you must be sick of sushi by now? chorus the multitudes who have been reading this blogger. Er, no, not yet, says author.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 5:57 AM
Thursday, July 05, 2001
So I am here in my hotel.
Very very tired -- got off plane at gatwick 8:30 am, met by Lucy Ramsey (Headline publicist), train to London, taxi to hotel, lunch with publisher, interview with Daily Telegraph, Interview and photosession with SFX magazine (both interviewers forgiving of long pauses. Hope photographer equally as forgiving of dissolute and unkempt and unshaven and (because room not ready) unshowered sort of look.
Then in taxi to British Fantasy Society open night. I signed some books and gave a short talk on the book and talked so more people and then Lucy rounded me up, took me back to the hotel (around 9:40pm), I went to conveyor belt sushi bar in hotel and ate sushi, then came down to hotel library and sent this, and now I'm on my way to bed...
Tomorrow I'll tell you about the interview I sat and listened to here in the hotel library waiting for the room to be ready. Tomorrow starts very soon...
Also getting a number of complaints from people about neilgaiman.com crashing their browsers. Suggest you e-mail the details to the authors on the webpeople (their details are on the bottom right of the front page). Of course, if it's crashing your browsers you won't be able to read that or, I imagine, read this.
And on that note I shall go to bed. Goodnight.
posted by Neil Gaiman 3:11 PM
Wednesday, July 04, 2001
A Very happy 4th of July to all our readers.
And while my family bustles about setting up the barbecue etc, I'm just about to fly to the UK for round two.
Warren James from the Hour 25 radio show e-mailed to tell me the interview he did with me is online at
www.hour25online.com . (link now fixed.)
See you in England...
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:19 AM
So, later today -- it's now the 4th of July, which seems very appropriate, given the book -- I fly to the UK.
In the meantime, advance word is we'll be on the NY Times list for a second week, and the book is now in its fourth printing. (Yay!) With luck, the 5th printing will have my wayward apostrophe back.
I see the Vancouver signing in the Virgin Megastore is apparently limited to 200 people. Not sure how I feel about that, but it's not my call, so if you want to be there get your ticket or whatever it is early.
If you're reading this and I owe you an e-mail, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. There's a host of you. Cohorts. Legions, even.
posted by Neil Gaiman 12:34 AM
Monday, July 02, 2001
last US signing done. Braindead. Handhurts.
Nice review at SFsite -- http://www.sfsite.com/07a/ag107.htm and go and browse the rest of SFsite while you're at it.
And a reminder that The Dreaming, at http://www.holycow.com/dreaming is still the best and fastest place to find news and reviews, mainly due to the diligence of the astonishing Lucy Anne (dunno how she finds that stuff so fast) and of webmasterJoe Fulgham. There's a link there to a fascinating article by Michael Dirda on fantasy which says everything I've been saying for a long time now and says it quicker and better. Go and read it. Print it out and make people read it.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:48 PM
http://www.nationalpost.com/artslife/arts/books/story.html?f=/stories/20010630/607032.html is our first review from Canada...
And tonight is my last signing for American Gods, on this tour, on US soil.
So I thought I ought to say thank you. After all, I didn't go out and buy the books. I didn't stump up $26 for a hardcover, or drive hundreds (or in a couple of Texan cases, thousands) of miles to go to a signing. I wan't the one telling my friends and family and just people I met on the bus to go and buy American Gods. I didn't host the signings, or pluck up my courage and order a book for the very first time on the internet, or talk my editor into letting him or her review the book or any of those things. I wasn't the guy in the bookstore handselling American Gods to everyone who came past me. That was you lot did that.
And yes, I worked hard on this book for several years. And I wasn't the only one -- the people at Harper Collins -- the ones you know about because I've mentioned them here, and the ones you don't, because I haven't, like the local reps who are actually out there selling the books in to the bookstores, the marketing staff and so on -- they've worked hard, too.
But without you lot supporting the book it wouldn't have meant anything. We're currently at #5 on the Independents list, and at #8 on the chains list from the NY Times.
So, my thanks.
(No, this isn't goodbye. This blogger has at least another month to live, I'd say. But I wanted to say thanks anyway. I'm tremendously grateful to all of you.)
posted by Neil Gaiman 1:59 PM
Sunday, July 01, 2001
The problem with trying to keep some kind of record of a tour like this, is you need to have the time to write entries about the tour...
Today was DreamHaven Books in Minneapolis. I've known Greg Ketter, the owner of DreamHaven, since 1984 (we met on a train to Brighton), I've been signing in his store as long as I've been doing American signings, from a tiny store to a medium sized store to the giant purple building he currently occupies.
The staff of DreamHaven are good people. The customers are triffic. The DreamHaven web site at dreamhavenbooks.com is without doubt the best place on the web for going and finding stuff by me you might not find elswhere. Some of it, like the book Angels And Visitations, or the CD Warning Contains language, Greg has even published.
I try and do too many signings there -- one a year or thereabouts -- just to make sure that the numbers don't get too huge. Even so, today's signing started at 2:00pm and I left the store, hand hurting, everything signed, a couple of minutes before 9.00 pm.
Barnes and Noble tomorrow marks the last of the US signings. I wish I'd got to write more about the various US stops as they went by -- I never talked about Keplers (700 people, but only about 300 of them braved the signing line) and Vromans (they gave me two bottles of ink. Burgundy -- although it's pretty much purple -- and brown) and Book Soup (my favourite bookstore for browsing and buying whenever I'm in LA, although much too small a space for the signing -- I wish the Library they were meant to be holding it in hadn't fallen through) and many of the rest of them I only touched on, or may not even have mentioned at all.
The UK tour will kick off with a Forbidden Planet signing next Saturday at 1.00pm, although there will be a lot of other stuff to do with launching the book that I'll try and report back on here, much of which is very different to the way it was done in the US.
For a start, there will be a launch party.
Launch parties are fun, on the whole, for everyone except the author (who has been out of the country for several years) and the publicist organising the party. This is because the invitations are split squarely between the author's friends (who all have several years of catching up to do) and People The Author Should Meet -- who can be buyers from book chains, people from publishing, journalists, or just people who somehow got to the party. And the trick is for the publicist to get the author around the room in order to talk to everyone there without the author's friends ever feeling slighted as he gets yanked away from them after a measly three minutes.
I have very understanding friends, but I still worry about getting all the way around the room.
(Normally, an hour into the launch party, everyone's downed as much of the publisher's wine as they can and the publicist is having a fit as two journalists are found trying to make love under an antique table, and an ancient feud about a long-ago book review surfaces and there's a screaming match between five old friends and someone else starts crying in a corner and the last thing anybody cares about is the author anyway, nor will they remember much in the morning. But still, as long as publishers persist in holding the launch parties, and as long as the wine keps flowing, people will keep coming.)
I'm looking forward to the UK tour. I have no idea how long the lines at the signings will be over there, or how the book will do. I know that Hodder are behind it all the way -- they're doing the hardback at a discount with a money back guarantee, which I learned when I saw it a couple of weeks ago -- as good as Stephen King or your money back. I'm not sure that's what I'd have said about it, and I keep getting the urge to write to Steve and explain that it really wasn't my idea. But if it gets people to pick up the book, I'm happy. I just hope they aren't looking for chills and real horror because, while there's a lot of stuff in American Gods, that's not really the territory it covers.
How long have I been typing this? I should go to bed. Good night.
posted by Neil Gaiman 11:19 PM
Someone at one of the stops put a piece of paper down on the desk in front of me. Secret advice for blogger users it said. When I opened it up, it said, write your blogger entry in notepad first. But unless I'm writing from the road, I never do. I just head over to blogger.com, enter the blogger and start typing.
I just typed an entry, hit ... some key... and everything I'd typed to that point vanished completely. So I'm doing it again.
Let's see.... first of all, ignore previous comment on the NY Times bestseller list not being out till next Sunday. That was written because I'd lost a day and thought it was sunday -- this was caused by (a) a two week long marathon tour across America (except for the south) without much sleep at a city a day and (b) buying the Sunday papers on the way home. Mock me if you wish -- you try doing a tour like that, and be happy if all you lose is a saturday.
And the list is up at:
http://www.nytimes.com/books/01/07/08/bsp/besthardfiction.html -- and thanks to Jade Walker for letting me know, over in the Well. Jade does a really good online e-zine for writers called Inscriptions -- if you write, want to write, or you just like writers, you should go and look at it...
Talking about Except for the South, there were some people who came a really long way to get their books signed on this tour. Most of them were from Texas, and many of them drove... I felt guilty and was pleased at the same time. My assistant tells me I'll be a guest at Aggiecon next year, so people won't have so far to drive...
(Which reminds me: we probably need a page of my future appearances, conventions etc somewhere at neilgaiman.com...)
Okay. Now to shave and then -- onward to DreamHaven!
posted by Neil Gaiman 9:46 AM