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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Deja vu. Or anyway deja scrawled.

When I'm on the phone or watching TV at present I'm also signing sheets of paper that will be bound into the front of copies of ANANSI BOYS, one to each dumpbin per store, or at least for the first 5,000 dumpbins.

Last time I did this, for American Gods, some people were hitting the bookstores on the day of release, finding the signed copy and sticking it on eBay. But mostly they were a pleasant surprise for the people buying the books.

The sheets of paper say,


THIS LIMITED AND SIGNED
FIRST EDITION OF
ANANSI BOYS
BY
NEIL
GAIMAN
-
HAS BEEN
SPECIALLY BOUND AND PRODUCED
BY THE PUBLISHER

and beneath that is a line above which I scrawl my name. I faintly worry that people will think that the publisher has signed the book, and that it's not me. I've done about three and half thousand of them so far, since I've been back, and I found myself having a strange flashback to this journal on Friday the 13th of April 2001, the last time I did this, when I wrote:


Friday, April 13, 2001

"What's in that box you just opened?" asked my daughter.

"Pieces of paper," I said.

"It says American Gods on the box. I thought it was books."

"No. They're just title pages. 5000 of them."

"5000 in that box?"

"750 in that box. 4,250 still to come."

"Why are they sending them to you?"

"Because I have to write my name on them?"

"On all of them?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"Because America is a very big place, and not everyone can get to a book signing. This way stores who order them will be able to sell a signed, limited edition for the same price as the regular ones, and so people in Texas or Florida or Utah will be able to buy signed books. See down at the bottom where it says 'This is a signed first edition of a limited number of 5000 copies.'? I'll sign above there, like this."

"Does that say 'Neil Gaiman?' It looks more like 'Nel Gurgle.'"

"It's how I sign my name."

"Will they take a long time to sign?"

"I expect so."

"When will you do it?"

"When I'm on the telephone. Or watching TV. Or listening to music. Or travelling."

"Can I sign some for you, to help?"

"I'm afraid not."

"I could write Nel Gurgle as good as you can."

"It has to be me."

"Oh. Okay then. Have fun. I'm going to ride my bike."

It doesn't look like Nel Gurgle anymore. Maddy thinks now it looks more like Ned Gun. She made no effort to offer to sign any for me this time, though.

I also remembered the next blog entry from back then,

I signed the sheets of paper for the limited edition from the box of 750 sheets. I signed and I signed. Eventually I asked my poor assistant if she wouldn't mind counting them, because I was sure I'd signed a lot more than 750 sheets. Turns out the box contained 2,500 of the things. Mostly I'm just signing them. Sometimes I'm drawing eyes, too. Very occasionally I've started doodling and drawing, mostly so far drawings of a very crusty Uncle Sam. And most of the time I'm using other colour inks than black, so that the people who pick them up don't go "Oh, they just print those signatures". They don't. It's me.

And so Lorraine and I counted out sheets of ANANSI BOYS paper until we knew what a stack of a thousand looked like, and we established that I'd been sent about seven and a half of those stacks. So I put two of the stacks away and have been signing the other five.

Pretty much all signatures, though. No drawings, this time except for an occasional doodle of a lime.
...
Hello Neil~I hope you're recovering nicely from your tour. I don't know how you do it. I've just finished Anansi Boys, being one of the lucky 450 or so in the U.S. to acquire a galley. I loved it. You are my favorite author for many reasons, one of which I love your incorporation of myths and gods into the real world. Anyway, enough buttering up. I did really enjoy the story.When American Gods came out, I preordered a signed first edition of AG from Dreamhaven--aka neilgaiman.net. Will they be doing the same for Anansi Boys? I unfortunately can't make it to any of your signings--they didn't send you anywhere near me, I'm afraid--and when I look on neilgaiman.net, there's a preorder available for two editions (it appears) of Anansi Boys, but doesn't differentiate between a signed and unsigned copy. Help?Thanks,Regina
I think they've been nervous at DreamHaven because they don't get the books in until Friday the 16th (they don't go onsale until Tuesday the 20th) and they weren't sure that I'd actually be able to sign them before leaving for New York.
Having said that, I've now promised I'll sign as many as I can for DreamHaven. They are keeping their current policy at http://www.neilgaiman.net/ship-sign.php which says that they aren't having me sign stuff... But they will have signed copies of ANANSI BOYS. (I need to talk to the people at DreamHaven now that I'm home to organise it.)
***
And here's the French Translation of this blog -- http://www.neilgaimanfr.blogspot.com/ -- and the Portuguese one at http://www.livejournal.com/community/neilgaiman_port/ -- my enormous thanks to both of the people who are doing them.
(More translations as they occur, and there's a list up at http://neilgaiman.com/journal/foreign.asp)
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