Archive for July, 2011

Promo stunt goes horribly right!

There was an unlikely occurrence this weekend, as the home-made promo team for ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ swung into action at last.

Promo team outside Water stones

Well, you’ve seen the picture. What more do I need to say? If I was known for having rational ideas, well, it probably wouldn’t have been worth writing a book about my life.

If things had gone according to plan, this little stunt would have taken place on Launch Day Weekend, on Friday and Saturday last week. A family crisis meant we had to delay it ‘till this Fri/Sat, and the fact that is pissed it down with rain most of Friday persuaded us to reschedule for Sat/Sun. No-one wants to hug a soggy bear. No-one wants to wear one. There was a major disadvantage in these delays; it meant that I was available. On Launch Day I’d hardly dare leave my computer to pee, and my wonderful sister (Gill) and fiancé (Roo) had planned to do the bear-and-pants-show without me. Now, a week later, I had no excuse at all. And neither did my Mum, so I roped her in too.

Mum in bear suit

At a gnomic five-foot nothing and a quarter, she looked less like a bear and more like an Ewok.

We’d been up all night printing flyers and reinforcing the gigantic pair of cardboard underpants. So, a fairly typical evening in my house. On a beautifully clear Somerset morning, we descended on the town of Taunton.

My first victim was an older woman, slender with long grey hair. Unlikely to buy my book, I thought, but an ideal test subject; my sales pitch had yet to be practised. Hell, it had yet to be invented. I approached her and muttered something about having written an e-book.

She turned on me, eyes blazing with righteous fury. “I don’t approve of THAT at all!” She declared.

Oh bugger.

She then proceeded to tell me in emphatic detail, how technology was the work of the devil. How our society is being destroyed by it, even as we speak! How we are sinking further and faster – the only way to free ourselves is to wipe it all out forever!

“I’ve just paid this young man in cash,” she indicated the green-grocer’s stall behind her. “Credit cards ruin people’s lives – credit cards and COMPUTERS! If I could I would burn the lot of them.”

There really wasn’t much to say to that. I hadn’t been cursed so thoroughly since… well, ever.

“Would you like a flyer?” I offered.

She glared at me as though I had stood on one of her doubtless many cats, and I retreated slowly.

The rest of the morning passed without incident. Not without interest though. Once the crazy woman made her departure, I offered a rather more subdued sales pitch to the green-grocer she’d so kindly paid with pure, innocent cash. He was more receptive.

“Sounds great,” he enthused, and whipped out an iPad from under his stall. He concentrated for a few moments, tapping the evil device on various corners with a grubby finger.

“There!” He proudly showed me the display, featuring the front cover of ‘That Bear Ate My Pants’. “Got it! I’ll read it tonight.”

I was stunned. For a techno-whoring minion of the antichrist, he was a jolly nice chap.

There was a bloke collecting for Guide Dogs for the Blind, sitting outside the car park on a stool with his bright blue plastic bucket. We’d all donated after parking, and had threatened to come back in costume. Now seemed like the perfect time for it. Gill handed him a flyer and he glanced down in surprise.

“We’re advertising my new book, all about my crazy adventures in Ecuador!” I explained.

His brow wrinkled. “But… I can’t read. I’m blind.”

It honestly hadn’t occurred to me. “Oh. Um. Sorry!”

He was still clutching the flyer the next time we walked past.

Gill was wearing the pants. Her new husband, much amused, was trailing us and taking photos. Every so often she would stop and ask him to help her adjust the string shoulder straps. Every time she would mug an unhappy face at the nearest passer-by and tell them “My pants are falling down!”

Roo was a great advocate, loudly proclaiming the merits of the book to everyone we passed. “Buy it – it’s hilarious!” she told a businessman.

“Fuck off,” he replied.

After that she decided to take a turn in the bear.

We de-beared and de-pants’ed outside Debenhams so we could swap jobs and take it in turns to use the loo. Roo suited up and immediately started dancing to the music in her head. Within minutes she had been offered a job by the cafe next-door. They needed a human statue for the upcoming flower festival. Apart from us getting married that week (and going to my Uncle’s funeral in Manchester) we really didn’t have much else on. So she took the job.

Bear and pants

We moved to the seaside for the afternoon and the lifeguards were fascinated. When the Giant Underpants shoved their way into their hut there were gales of laughter on all sides.

“Hot pants,” one of them quipped, eyeing up my sister.

“People have been trying to get into her pants all day,” I warned.

“Well, I’m the one in authority here,” said the oldest of the lifeguards; “Knick-her!”

I groaned all the way down the beach.

Halfway back up the ramp I was accosted by a tiny blonde girl of about six. “Excuse me, what are you doing?”

I favoured her with a grin and launched into my standard spiel. “I’m telling everyone about my new book, ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’ It’s very funny, and there are bears in it doing very funny things!” Okay, so it wasn’t exactly my standard spiel. I handed her a flyer to seal the deal and strolled off.

A few steps later I turned to check on the bear, only to discover the blonde girl was walking along behind me. “Excuse me,” she said again, “can I have one of those for my friend? He wants one.”

“Here you go,” I told her, handing her another flyer. She skipped away merrily.

“We’d better move,” I said to my team.

“Eh? Why?” They followed me quickly back up the boat ramp and into the crowd at top speed. “Where are we going?” Gill asked when she caught up with me.

“Well, those flyers I gave to the little girl?”

“Yeah?”

“The second line on them reads ‘Holy SHIT! I’m about to be eaten by a bear.”

“Oh…! Right. Yeah, we’d best get moving then…”

The flyers did their trick though. I was delighted to see some people had kept hold of them, and were brandishing them at me the same way you’d show a crucifix to a vampire. ‘Keep away,’ their eyes said, ‘you’ve got me already…’

Of the teenagers we met, some were clearly too cool for skool. These types, terrified of anything that could endanger their street cred, fixed their ludicrously outsized sunglasses on the horizon and strode past as quickly as possible. But one group of lads showed an interest. They dared each other to hug the bear (something that kids as young as 18 months had been managing to do without being dared all day). “Is it a boy or a girl in there?” One lad asked.

“Girl,” I replied.

Suddenly they all wanted a hug. One even tried a little dry-humping. His mate noticed and dragged him away with a stern warning. “Matt, bestiality is NOT the answer!”

Bear poses with lads

Then Gill offered a flyer to a confused looking man. “But I am here on holiday,” he said in heavily accented English. “I don’t know what to do?”

“Where are you from?” Gill asked.

“Cherr-many,” Came the response.

Gill brightened, and gave the bloke a wide smile. “Welcome to England!”

This marks the first time in the history our our two nations, that a citizen of one has been welcomed to the other by a gigantic pair of cardboard underpants. At least as far as I know.

As the day drew to a close and our dancing bear had hugged her way into heat-stroke, Gill (in pants) tried to flyer a flyerer – only to find out the man was advertising The Path To Heaven. In fact he had a large placard with a flow diagram, neatly depicting which sins pointed you towards Purgatory and Hell (and in which order), and which acts of redemption allowed you to ascend to the clouds. It looked so… definite.

He didn’t even offer me a flyer.

I could tell from his expression that there is no place in heaven for people like us.

So. What did I learn?

1) NO-ONE can resist ANYTHING when it’s handed to them by a walking pair of underpants.

2) Children love bears. Especially smiling ones. This works well, as while they are hugging, poking and otherwise molesting said bear, I can chat to the parents about my book. HOWEVER, it does make a lot of people think it is a children’s book. Perhaps I should consider writing a children’s book. Or renting a werewolf.

3) Promoting from behind a keyboard isn’t nearly as fun as getting out there in the real world. Especially if you’re a complete lunatic. I can’t imagine we made many sales from our activities, but we sent some photos and an article to the local paper. They’re bound to print something – literally nothing else happened here last week.

4) Hot day + hot bear costume = one sweaty fiancé. The Giant Underpants were far better ventilated. That is not a sentence I get to use very often.

5) My family love me very, very much. And I use this love to make them look foolish, and then write about it. But you know, I’m okay with that…

So. Done anything crazy lately?

Bear hugging tree Roo in bear suit

‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ goes Live!

Holy crap folks, it’s really happening! As of midnight last night, ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ went live on Amazon.co.uk. At 8am it became launch day in the US too – but only because it turned midnight there. I’m not expecting to sell many books overseas until people start to wake up.

There’s already been a few sales here in England, but it’s far too early to check. Amongst self published writers there is a condition called CSRC, or Constant Sales Rank Checking. Pretty self-explanatory – watching the sales roll in and pile up is highly addictive. It can also be hideously demoralizing if, for example, you haven’t get a cat in hell’s chance of selling any books.

For now I’d like to believe I’m not in that category – and this wishful thinking is all that stands between me and the Disease. It’s making me too scared to check!

Some of you have very kindly offered your assistance in getting the message out to the world. For everyone except Roo and my sister (running around Taunton in the bear suit and the giant pants) this means Twitter and Facebook. I’ve tried to make this as easy as possible, to encourage lots and lots of sharing. Sharing is caring, folks! Here we go:

First, for the Twitter-maniacs amongst you, here are some Tweets you can use to tell your followers about the book: (or make your own up and add the Amazon links on the end).

With Link to UK site (Amazon.co.uk):

Semi-decapitated crocodile? Midget with a machete? Must be ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’  by Tony James Slater http://amzn.to/thatbear

Hilarious; unbelievable; ridiculous. No, not your face – the new book by Tony James Slater: That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/thatbear

Read the crazy new book by Tony James Slater: That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/thatbear

Released today! Funniest book of the year – That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/thatbear

There comes a time in every man’s life when he says to himself “Holy Shit! I’m about to be eaten by a bear!” http://amzn.to/thatbear

It’s true. A bear did eat my pants. Luckily I wasn’t wearing ‘em, or this book would be called That Bear Ate My Ass! http://amzn.to/thatbear

@Tonygetslost has just released his hilarious new book ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ Free sample available here: http://amzn.to/thatbear

Or with Link to US site (Amazon.com):

Semi-decapitated crocodile? Midget with a machete? Must be ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’  by Tony James Slater http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

Hilareous; unbelievable; ridiculous. No, not your face – the new book by Tony James Slater: That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

Read the crazy new book by Tony James Slater: That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

Released today! Funniest book of the year – That Bear Ate My Pants! http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

There comes a time in every man’s life when he says to himself “Holy Shit! I’m about to be eaten by a bear!” http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

It’s true. A bear did eat my pants. Luckily I wasn’t wearing ‘em, or this book would be called That Bear Ate My Ass! http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

@Tonygetslost has just released his hilarious new book ‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ Free sample available here: http://amzn.to/kKsMSR

For the more Facebook inclined, here’s a post I’ve been using:

There comes a time in every man’s life when he says to himself, “Holy SHIT! I’m about to be eaten by a bear!”

‘THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS!’ by Tony James Slater is the most ridiculously funny travel book this year. You believe that? Well, there’s only one way to find out… BUY IT! (Or download a free sample!)

http://amzn.to/thatbear (for UK)

http://amzn.to/thatbearatemypantsus (for US/Rest of World)

And for those who want to do both… well, who am I to try and stop ya’?

Thanks so much for all your help and support folks. I literally couldn’t do this without you. The chances are I won’t make enough money to buy you all a drink – it’s never really been about the money, which is just as well as Amazon don’t pay me my share until at least 3 months after the sale is made – but if I can, when I see you next, I will. And if not (and anyway) you have my heart-felt gratitude.

Now bugger off and go sell some books  :0)

Tony