Tuesday 3rd January 2012
Don't worry guys. The banter in prison is brilliant. Everyone says so. Best thing about it. Enjoy your stay. Hope your friends will get to come along too.
In other news Orange Mark from the British Comedy Guide who puts up my snooker podcasts has had a power cut which has prevented him from uploading frame 4. I mean it seems unlikely. I'm just wondering if he's listened to the show and is organising some kind of intervention.
My new year energy levels are up (could it be all those Actimel? Do they work even from the bin, like some kind of yoghurt based homeopathy?) and still getting plenty done. I managed a 30 minute swim for the first time in ages and then, like the grown up that I am somehow becoming went out with my girlfriend to look at kitchen and bathroom showrooms (we're getting the house done up - it's about time. I've lived here for nearly 10 years and done pretty much nothing to the place - it's falling apart around our ears). But these choices are not to be taken lightly. We are about to decide which toilet we are going to be sitting on, perhaps for the next decade. You really have to sit down and have a long hard think about a decision like that. And they don't seem to like it in the shop if you use the toilets for that. What's wrong with them?
We parked in the car park of Currys/PC World by Wandsworth Bridge and the showroom was opposite. A sign informed us as we walked away from the computer shop that the car park was only for patrons of the store and anyone who left the complex would have their car clamped. It was a bold warning, but one that I would think would be difficult to enforce. I decided to live dangerously. I was planning to go into the shop later to buy a case for my phone, so if they clamped me it would be their loss. I would take my custom elsewhere - very slowly, with the clamp spinning round on my car like in that episode of the Simpsons that they don't show very much any more for some reason.
We saw some expensive bathrooms and kitchens. No real choices were made.
When I got home I intended to write the proposal for my Rasputin film, but instead, for some reason started looking into Kindle publishing. Whilst I was swimming I had had a vague idea of trying to write up my diet book, provisionally entitled, "All Diet Books Are A Rip Off: Including This One." As you can see, it's not really a massively commercial venture and the publishing industry wouldn't touch it because they know it would be powerful enough to bring down a major arm of their business (and not because the idea is rubbish). But I could write it myself and put it up and see if the 191 people who subscribe to my blog on kindle (75 on trial basis) might buy it. Who knows if I didn't put it up for free on my website maybe more people would give it a punt.
The book publishing deal from Kindle is much better than the blog one. As long as you can sell over $10 worth of stuff a month you get 70% of the price of every book sold (minus a small delivery fee and some VAT). Obviously this is significantly better than any deal you'd get with a publisher, but the downside is that no one will pay you for your work in advance. I assumed that it would be way too difficult to set up, but it's alarmingly easy. It's all explained (and there's a helpful video) at on this site, but essentially if you've got your book in Word format (or a few other variants) you can upload it within minutes (though it takes a few hours to get published). It's an interesting avenue for aspirant and successful authors alike, though probably only really of worth to people who are already incredibly successful and don't need the engine of a publishing house and PR company behind them or to people who are never realistically going to get published through conventional means. I suspect an awful lot of dross will be uploaded (I plan to add to it), and I guess it's possible that word of mouth could make a success for an unknown author who has some talent. It's not going to put publishing houses out of business, though it will surely alter the way they operate, but it might be curtains for those vanity publishers who charge you loads of money to get your rubbish book published. And that won't be a bad thing.
It might be perfect for me and some of my lower key projects. I would still hope to write books for more general consumption and think it's vital to have a good editor (as well as a marketing and art team who will make the book look good and get it out to the right people), but for some of my less commercial projects it might be a viable way to get things out into the world and possibly make some money. When Go Faster Stripe took the bold decision to publish Bye Bye Balham (the first 6 month of this blog, with extra entries and hindsight thoughts added), we had no idea how it would go or if we'd make our money back. We published a couple of thousand and sold over half of them, turning in a modest profit in return for a lot of work and leaving us with quite a lot of books clogging up our basement or storage space. But perhaps the kindle is the natural home for such a project. No working out how many to publish, no overheads, just the time taken to write, collate and format and copy edit (by no means easy tasks). If I do all this myself, it will be rough and ready and should not be read by those kinds of people who get apoplectic if a semi-colon is misused.
I managed to find a draft of "Bye Bye Balham" in Word format and decided to give it a whirl. There is nothing to lose and possibly tens of pounds to gain. And if it goes well I can look to releasing more of the blog in this interesting format (I was actually very pleased with the book itself - I very much liked being able to judge the 35 year old me from the distance of six years, as well as feeling comfortable with revealing the more personal stories that I didn't write about at the time). The good thing about the kindle books as opposed to the kindle blogs is that you can read them on any device that supports the kindle app (the blog is just for people with an actual kindle) so it's open to anyone with a smart phone.
Plus you set your own price, which was a tricky decision. But I thought the price of a cup of coffee seemed reasonable for a 288 page book, so it's going to come in at a little under £3 (I think). I will let you know when it's available.
But perhaps more excitingly any budding authors out there can now have a go at writing a book, without the excuse that it'll never get published. That was a convenient excuse for many who liked to think they could write a book, but no longer. And if you want to incentivise yourself, Jerry Seinfeld came up with quite a good concept called "Don't Break The Chain". It's something that I've been doing without realising it (or coming up with a neat system) for over nine years now. I have been writing every day, not wanting to leave a day without a blog. But this simple system of marking a calendar with a cross for every day you've written something and then attempting to keep the chain going is good for writing (or dieting or exercising). You can read about it here where you can also download a free calendar (which is pretty easy to make yourself, but why bother).
So stop saying it'll never happen and get on with it. And if the book I encourage you to write becomes the next Harry Potter, then all I ask is for 1% of all profits in perpetuity. Or at least a part in the film.
Please buy my ebook when it comes out. Those kitchens aren't cheap you know! (I think this is one of the more valid charitable appeals "This is Richard, a 44 year old comedian with only the money from his live gigs, writing and DVD sales to sustain him. Just £3 will buy a tile for his kitchen floor...." and so on. Might sell this idea to a student revue.)
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
You can subscribe to this blog on Kindle. Now only ï¿½0.99 a month here. Or just carry on reading it on here for free.
Also on your kindle (or any smart phone or tablet with the kindle app) catch up on the early years of Warming Up (with extra retrospective additions) with Bye Bye Balham and The Box Lady and Other Pesticles (only ï¿½3.53 each)
[ Email this edition of Warming Up to a friend ]