The Old Switcheroo

What if it stinks? The small book, that is, what if it’s just dreadful? What if when it’s finished I proudly ping over a copy to my brother and he tells me: “I don’t…look I’m not sure what you think you’ve been doing over the last six weeks, but this. Jesus. What is the. What IS this? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.” Or something like that. What if he says something like that? And what if other people say something like that too? I’ve informed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people that – no matter what – I’m writing this thing and this thing is going to be published before Christmas and that, well, they could do a lot worse than buying a copy. But what if the copy they buy is shit? And it wouldn’t just be their copy that was shit, would it, it would be every copy. What if I produce a thousand copies of shit?

One of the reasons I based the character on a character from Withnail & I  is because there is already a keen fan base out there, that I could shift a number of copies on the idea alone. What if they hate it? What if I end up spending my evenings signing into forums under assumed names to write things like: ‘Well, it isn’t too bad. It’s got a certain something. The bit where he does the thing is good. Isn’t it? You know, and some of the dialogue crackles. It doesn’t really though, does it? Oh God, even I can’t defend it and I wrote the fucker.”

It’s possible that the mainstream media will get wind of it. Some flabby plum at the Guardian might write a shrieky review where he says “Hahaha look at this prick who thinks he’s written a good book about Withnail & I where in fact he’s done no such thing. What a stupid fucking idiot, it’s the worst thing I’ve ever read hahaha.”

Well, Flabby Guardian Plum, I’ve got news for you. Rather, I’ve got a way out for me. If this thing does turn out to be truly, truly dreadful, I’m going to pretend that it’s intentionally truly, truly dreadful. I’ll phone up FGB, and say “I’ve got a scoop for you fat boy, so listen and listen good. I deliberately wrote a bad book to gain publicity. I tried to write the worst book in the world to gain attention. Now that I’ve got it, I can reveal that the ACTUAL book is coming out in three months. This one was just a smokescreen. I mean, an attention-grabber. Hold on to your hat, fatty, because the real book is coming out in three months and will blow your grubby little mind to bits.”

That’s what I’ll say. It will be a massive lie, but I’ll still say it and it will give me three months to write something much better. If, in those three months I write something that is only marginally better or even slightly worse, then I can pretend that that too was a trick and that the ACTUAL ACTUAL book is being worked on as we speak . See, I’ll tell anyone who will listen, same thing. Double publicity. What’s the matter, not heard of double publicity? Well, you’re hearing it now.

And if that book is bad too, just repeat. Repeat until I’m an old mad man with 100 crap books behind me, lots of promises that THE REAL ONE is coming soon and quite a healthy relationship with Flabby Guardian Plum.

It feels good to have a back-up plan.

A plum, earlier. 



27 responses to “The Old Switcheroo

  1. Pitch,

    At least you’ve got an agent mate.

    I nearly had one of those. I sent the first three chapters of my book to Annubis in Leamington. They got back asking me to send the entire ms. I did.

    Two months later I was told it was just a little on the short side and could I possibly bung on an extra 10, 000 words. I did.

    Two years later i’m still waiting by the phone. What’s that all about? Not even a thanks.

    Point is. You have a decent contact within the industry who clearly believes in you. Just finish the book.

    I fully expect to be at the opening bash getting absolutely twatted on wine/beer/lighter fluid

  2. Maybe not the lighter fluid

  3. I’ll send you a cheque for the first copy if you email me your address. I’m playing the long (well, middle) game. You write the book, it’s ace, you get loads of money, die from beak overload and the book’s value skyrockets.

    Got to have a plan pitch!

  4. Are you sure that’s a plum?

  5. Pitchy – Say if I was an editor and maybe wanted to hire you to write something, how the hell would I go about it? I’ve scoured this site as if searching for weapons of mass destruction, but I can’t find an e-mail address anywhere. You’re not on Twitter or Facebook and you even seem to try your best to keep your identity secret, as if you’re Batman or something.

    I do know your real name, but even Googling that doesn’t seem to yield any results when it comes to being able to contact you. What am I meant to do? Hang around Boscombe, Paris and Marbella, hoping to bump into you?

    Essentially, what is your email address? If you’re not comfortable putting it on here for all your obsessed female readers to obsess over, then please send me an email. I might have some work you’d be interested in.

  6. Mya, I think you’re on to something. It looks like it could be a cherry…

  7. People reading this blog need to learn how to properly identify fruit. That’s definitely a plum.

  8. Fuck the “what ifs?”. It’s the doing it that matters, and you’re doing it. Write a little book that pleases you, not plummy cunts on The Guardian. Money? Well, it would be good to get some. But for heaven’s sake don’t curse your mission by making that the point of it.

  9. “Hahaha look at this prick who thinks he’s written a good book . . . . What a stupid fucking idiot.”

    Pitch That Thing, I’m shocked. Do Guardian people really speak in such terms?

    There’s me thinking they were all clean finger nails and no farting in bed.

  10. Splendid ‘what ifs’. Keep them coming. If I review it for my 12 readers, do I still have to pay for my copy? I ask because I have no money.Or at least none I’m prepared to spend on your book. Don’t get me wrong, I support you wholeheartedly. Just not financially.

    By the wasy, I met a man last night and we bonded slightly drunkenly over the unmitigated, unquestionable genius that is the Withnail & I screenplay. A work of art. One of the best screenplays ever written. Inimitable. Redoubtable. Indomitable. Immense. Those were the some of the words we might have used.

    Anyway, best of luck!

    • I can’t believe, K-Pipe, that you’re not going to buy my book. I suppose it’s the same as me not buying your book. Yours does look very good, I must say. Did you spell way with an s in it in your book, or do you just save your sloppiness for my wonderful comments section? Thanks for the luck.

  11. Are you allowed to do that? Are you allowed to just steal a popular character and write a shit book about them? If so, why the fuck haven’t you done a ‘What Jesus Did Next’ series where Jesus just dicks about in Bournemouth and North London, getting drunk and being called ‘Perfumed Ponce’ a lot? You could use the same storyline for pretty much any character. All you’d need to do to write a new shit book is go through and replace all the ‘Jesus’s with ‘Withnail’s and hit the ‘publish’ button.

    Did you choose Withnail because you reckon you’re just like him? I bet you did/do. And Orwell. You reckon you’re well Orwell. Why do you keep saying you’re exactly like Withnail and Orwell and Jesus? Christ.

    I think this is a smashing idea by the way, and can’t wait to about the adventures of Steve Orwell-Withnail. It’s got bewildering stocking filler written all over it. I’m going to buy 20 copies (maybe, definitely at least one).

  12. That Orwell stuff was over two years ago A-Pipe, you’ve been away a long time. I pretty much love ‘Bewildering stocking filler.’ Is that what you think I do though? Just dick around? I definitely don’t just dick around. I’m up to all sorts of good stuff, including not paying you back your 40 (which I’ve just nudged up to 50) pounds. See you at my self-indulgent party.

  13. *laughs* Your post is great. Writing a book is a tough idea, because you’re always wondering if someone would like it (I know I feel that way every time I think up a new book idea!) Good luck with finishing your book, and hopefully you get good reviews so you don’t have to lie and say you’re coming out with the actual book in 3 months!

  14. Let’s hope so TSS. Thanks for the laughs and saying that it’s great. It’s that kind of stuff (and other kinds of stuff) that gets me through the day.

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