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.