Would the real Peter Jones please step forward

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Back when my agent was shopping How To Do Everything And Be Happy around the UK publishers, there was some talk about whether or not I should change my name to avoid confusion with the other Peter Jones who, whilst equally tall, is often described as being more dragon like, and has a tendency to arrive at venues in a helicopter.

Sharing a name with a celebrity has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand people rarely forget me. I’m Peter Jones. Like the dragon. Like the shop. Memorability is a useful thing when you’re an author. On the other hand, journalists have this annoying habit of getting VERY excited about the possibility of an interview… and then lose interest just as quickly when they realise I’m not a billionaire, or a regular face on prime time television.

It’s a little like I offered you a five quid, and you thought I said five-hundred quid. When you realise I meant a five pound note you might feel ever so slightly let down. You might politely tell me to keep my cash. I want to say, “it is still cash you know!” but neither you and I are the actual people in this scenario, and nobody’s talking about cash.

Even amongst readers there’s some confusion. I occasionally get emails along the lines of “so you’re not the real Peter Jones then?” (am I somehow not real). And at a book signing back in January one lady came up to me, asked for the book to be made out to her son – and then promptly told me that he was doing my business course at college (I just nodded and smiled). Then a couple of weeks back, when I popped along to Author Della Galton’s latest book launch, one of her readers (who was clutching a copy of How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim) exclaimed “Wow! You’ve written a book with Peter Jones! Will he be here today?” When Della pointed out that I was standing right behind her there was that awkward moment of confusion that I’m beginning to expect when I’m introduced to people.

It occurred to me that a little re-branding might be in order. Time to tell the world that there’s another flavour of Peter Jones available, and like any branding exercise, give people some sense as to what I’m about. With this in mind I had some new author photos done.

Reaction has been mixed. Most have reacted very positively. Others… less so. I feel that I’ve stuck my head above the parapet somewhat. But then I suppose that was the point.

I’d be interested to know what you think (though try to keep in mind that I’m a human being, with actual feelings, armed with a delete button…), and even more interested if you’ve got a similar experience of your own to share. Use the comments box below.

You can see more of the pictures from the shoot on my facebook profile

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da



Recently I’ve had a spate of emails asking me how on earth I’ve managed to shift so many copies of my book, How To Do Everything and Be Happy (1,296 copies last month (October 2011), on amazon, in the UK, and rising).

The official answer is, of course, that it’s a bloody good book and how dare you suggest otherwise. But unofficially even I will admit that there may be more to it than that. After all, no one knows just how good it is until they read it and for that to happen something else has to persuade them to part with some cash.

I have three pet theories.

1) My name. People tend to remember my name. They’re then quite surprised how different I look on telly, and the fact that I haven’t arrived by helicopter. Not to mention that I don’t own a department store.

2) The Title. People really like the title. Which is relief as I originally wanted to call it How To Be Happy, then The Happiness Blueprint, then So You Want To Be Happy, before finally settling on How To Do Everything and Be Happy. Phew!

3) The cover. People really really like the cover.

I can’t take any credit for number three. Both the ebook and paperback covers were designed by my good friend Ellen – who having taken my suggestions into consideration, ignored them completely and blew my socks off with the colourful creation you see today.

Ellen is an extremely talented young woman. Together with her business partner and fellow wordsmith Dan (hello Dan), they run Stalk and Seed, an advertising agency that’s going places. If you’re of a mind and you get a moment you should check out their funky website at stalkandseed.com.

But in the meantime I thought I’d share with you the following video that they helped create for Sir Paul McCartney (to be played behind him and the band during the American leg of his world tour)! It basically involved locking Ellen in a room for two weeks with a huge blackboard and getting her to draw whatever came to mind to the song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, with occasional input on the phone from Sir Paul himself. The result is pretty stunning. Like I said, talented young woman.

If you’re reading this in your email or you can’t see the video – click here