It’s been a very exciting couple of weeks – we launched, we signed, we were featured in The Observer, and we sold out our first print run. Great news for publishing, rather iffy news for anyone who wants to buy a book!
It was very hard to know what kind of demand there would be for a graphic novel adaptation of a hundred-year-old travel memoir. We were fairly confident it would appeal to polar nerds, and to fans of graphic novels, but how many people is that, and how would they even find out about it? When I was originally looking for a publisher, Worst Journey‘s resistance to categorisation was a liability – how do you sell a book when you can’t narrow down even which shelf to put it on? Is it children’s or adults’? Science? History? Travel? But precisely this quality has turned out to be a strength: I have had people tell me they got one for their adventurous grandson, their nerdy niece, their comics-loving brother-in-law, and their history nut great-uncle – and all these people were confident that it was just the thing for their intended recipient. We had started with a print run of 1000, just to see, and with people buying multiple copies for a wide range of people in their lives, we’ve ended up more or less selling out, in just under two weeks! Never could have guessed.
I’ve had a number of people asking me how to get hold of copies, so if you’ve come here looking for the same thing, here are some answers which I hope will help:
Where can I get a book, like, NOW?
Currently, the gift shop at The Polar Museum in Cambridge has the most copies in stock. If you can get to Cambridge (Wed-Sat 10-4), your chances of being able to walk out with a book are pretty high. (Please also visit the museum, it’s extremely cool!) Should they run out before the next print run is delivered, you will get a voucher which you can exchange for a book when they come in. Mail order is technically possible, but they have limited staff, so be patient.
Cambridge is dead to me; can I go somewhere else?
The Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill and Ink@84 Books in Highbury are our partner bookshops in London. At the moment of writing, I don’t believe they have any copies in stock, but they are filling online orders as soon as a rogue copy appears. If you place an online order then you will be prioritised when the new shipment arrives, and if you’re going to be in London you can probably arrange to collect your book rather than have it shipped.
Why privilege the Southeast?
Because we’re still waiting to get processed into the catalogue of the main book wholesaler in the UK. One we’re in with them, any shop in the country can order copies, as well as places like hive.co.uk and bookshop.org where you get Amazon-like service while supporting high street booksellers. The places selling Worst Journey now are places with which either I or Indie Novella have existing relationships, and by necessity we both live in the Southeast. If you’d like your local bookshop to stock Worst Journey, why not put them in touch with Indie Novella and see if they can’t order a few copies? Not right now, because there aren’t any, but when we get some more.
So what’s this about a second print run, then?
We ordered 2000 more copies on Tuesday! They’re expected to be delivered on 20 December. I acknowledge that this is very, very close to Christmas. It’s unlikely that your order will actually reach you before Christmas Day, if you’re having it shipped, even if you’re in the UK. But it will arrive not long after. We’re really scraping in under the wire for getting it before Christmas at all, but it can only happen because the book gets printed in Norwich rather than China. You’d be waiting upwards of six weeks otherwise! Hurrah for local businesses.
Can I get a signed copy from you?
One of the reasons I partnered with a publisher, instead of self-publishing like the cool kids, is so that they could handle the commerce while I got on with making Vol.2. At the moment there are no copies to sign; when we get some more, I will be signing more for The Children’s Bookshop and will be having events at Ink@84 and Jam Bookshop (details TBD). You will be able to order signed copies from them. I have also left a number of signed copies at The Polar Museum (see above). If you’ve already ordered a copy and you want it signed, please bring it to one of the events! I am really looking forward to signing a loved copy of the book.
I’m not in the UK; do I have any hope at all?
Yes! Indie Novella, The Children’s Bookshop, and Ink@84 Books all ship overseas. It’s expensive, but it’s a flat rate, so you’re better off clubbing together with other people who want copies and splitting the cost.
If you’re in the EU, don’t mind waiting a bit, and are OK with getting the book in German, you’re in luck! A super deluxe German edition will be on sale most likely in the spring. Other languages may happen if it does well enough.
Elsewhere, our long-term plan is to partner with small presses in different countries to distribute the book locally. If your country has an independent publisher who you think would be a good match for Worst Journey, please let us know via the form on the Contact page! It always helps to have a personal recommendation.
I’m a bookseller abroad and I don’t want to wait for you to find a distributor in my country. Can I order some books directly?
Yes; get in touch with Indie Novella and they will be able to sort you out. At the moment we are limited by having no stock, and when we do get stock we will need to prioritise existing orders, but the backlog will clear eventually and we’d love to get you some books.
If you have a further question, please do not hesitate to use the Contact page to ask it!