My new paperback ‘The Last Goodbye’ is out February 2016

 

The Last Goodbye: A History of the world In Resignations is available at all good bookstores from 6th February 2016.

 

A new, updated and expanded ‘reboot’ of F**k You & Goodbye for the mass market, The Last Goodbye brings the tale of human history’s most misunderstood driver bang up to date with revealing insights into some of the highlights of the past two years – from Pope Benedict XVI’s mysterious self-sacking to the will-he-won’t-he resignation antics of FIFA’s former president, Sepp Blatter.

 

The Last Goodbye F**k You & Goodbye Author Matt Potter

The Last Goodbye is published by Little, Brown in the UK and Commonwealth, and Silvertail Books in the USA, Europe and rest of the world. Here’s what they said about the hardback edition last year…

 

“Rage, wit or breathtaking chutzpah that will leave you silently applauding or, maybe, looking to the door yourself” (Metro)

“A hilarious history of the resignation letter… Potter examines our fascination with parting shots” (Daily Telegraph)

“There is a poetry to the best resignations that comes from having nothing to lose” (Independent)

“Will make you want to quit your job immediately” (Buzzfeed)

“Just magnificent – an alternate history of our time” (Monocle)

“A fascinating and profound look at how quitters shape history” (The Current)

“A cracking read” (The Daily Politics)

“The sort of book that makes you think, long after you’ve put it down” (Rev. Richard Coles BBC Saturday Live)

“Celebrates the art of the elegant – or explosive – resignation” (The Week)

 

For any media or rights enquiries, please contact me via my agent, Humfrey Hunter at Hunter Profiles.

 

The real reason I write: In praise of ‘threshold apprehension’

 

The cover for my next book arrived today. Any writer will tell you: the arrival of their new book’s cover is an exciting moment. Me, I’ve always found it a little bit poignant too.

 

Up to this point, it’s all about the making. There are routes to take; ways to turn things. The whole project exists in that glorious state of suspension where all things are possible. It’s crazy, but I always thought I knew pretty well how the pilot in that Roy Lichtenstein painting feels the instant before he pushes the button that makes the Blaaaaaaam! happen. (It always struck me as quite a peaceful, meditative picture for that reason. I understand I may well be alone in this.)

 

It’s elsewhere too. There’s a great Black Francis album called Bluefinger, all about the life of Dutch artist, rock star and heroin aficionado Herman Brood. It contains a song called ‘Threshold Apprehension’ that nails the feeling, the taste in your mouth, of being just about to nail something; the split second before the “Yessss!”. Threshold apprehension. (In the context of the album, I suspect it’s also about the feeling of a hit of smack, and the 9th-floor window Brood eventually jumped to his death from, but let’s stick with the eureka thing for a moment.)

 

It’s an obscure feeling, and you don’t hear it talked about much, but that’s only because (by definition) there’s nothing tangible you can show people. The Blaaaaaam! is what they see; only the pilot knows the heavenly chill that had him upside the temples the second before.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some Eeyore, saying that having done good work (insofar as I have done any) isn’t satisfying and wonderful and all. But being about to nail something great is The Drug.

 

It’s also the secret feeling. You’re alone with it. It’s the one result of the creative process you don’t get to talk about at awards ceremonies or on CVs, or see in the press, or exchange views on with your kids, or your mates. You’d sound like a freak. But you know it’s the fix that really keeps you in the game.

 

So that’s the feeling, from spark through pitch to publishers, tracking your story, bringing it to life, right the way through edits, then cover discussion and brief and feedback to the publishing house. And then…

 

Well, then there’s this… thing. A good thing. You love it. You brought it up, dammit. And it looks confident and it’s hanging out in shops and with the rough boys and girls on Amazon and in the press, and all you can do is wish it good luck out in the world, prepare yourself to explain it a few hundred times, and hope you gave it the toughness to handle itself out there. But it’s not yours any more, not really. Which is just fine, actually. And I mean, by this time you’re over the cover. You’ve seen it too much. You want to think about something else.

 

So you turn your attention to other things. Call people you haven’t seen for a while (you’ve been writing your book too many evenings lately). Get back to those things you love to read. Surf the net.

 

And that’s when the idea hits you. The idea… maybe even The Idea. Now this, this is exciting. You can almost taste it…

 

The case of the vanishing cover

The cover that wasn't (left); and the one on the book (right)

The great lost cover? Here’s one cover redesign that came in from the brilliant Stuart, art director at Pan Macmillan, only to fall by the wayside in favour of the one you see in UK and Commonwealth shops, on the right, and here. I just thought I’d post it here for two reasons. One, because although it’s not going on the book, I love it as a piece of art, and I hope some of you out there enjoy it too. And two? I guess because some might find it interesting to see just how plastic and continuously morphing a book is, right up to the moment it hits the shelves. (And if you think this is a radical change, imagine what’s gone on with the text.) I’ve always been a bit of a geek for outtakes and early sketches from musicians, painters and writers, and I guess this is the closest I get to having a “lost bootleg” from those year-long Outlaws Inc recording sessions. It’s very cool. But the one on the right? That feels very cool… and like it’s right.

German edition is riveting. Literally.

The cover of Tödliche Fracht: Die heimliche Geschäft in Waffen und Drogen – the German title for Outlaws Inc., was finalised today, and a thing of rare beauty it is. The German publisher Econ/Ullstein, has gone to town with a grey-metal ‘special’ and embossed ‘rivets’ to replicate the sinister crates and plane fuselages that transport illicit arms, drugs and contraband across the world’s blank spaces. I love covers like this – they’s beautiful, they’re tactile, and they engender their own excitement for the feel, before you even think about the content. The German edition hits stores across Germany and Amazon on 30th September 2011.

US edition of Outlaws Inc finalised

The American cover of Outlaws Inc was unveiled on Amazon today. It features ammunition of the type transported by the book’s maverick pilot protagonist, a former Soviet Red Army grunt I’ve called Yuri – but whose real name(s), identity, even appearance and moves I’ve agreed will remain secret to protect both him and me. He makes his living trafficking looted and grey-market ammo, aid, drugs, even black-ops forces, to warzones, rebel strongholds and pirate ships. It’s a nasty job. It’s a dark cover.

Outlaws inc (US edition)

Outlaws inc (US edition)