Announcing… BACKPACKED!

So you may have guessed this already, but the new book I’ll be releasing towards the end of this summer, AKA Super Top Secret Self-Publishing Project No.2, is the sequel to Mousetrapped, Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America. Yes, a year after I kicked Mousetrapped out of The Dusty Drawer, I have finally made the decision to send Backpacked out there after it. (Although Backpacked was never in a drawer – I’m still writing it.) And here is the current version of the synopsis:

Catherine prefers bath robes to bed bugs, lattes to lizards and mini-bars to malaria. So why is she going backpacking?
Catherine Ryan Howard isn’t the backpacking type. Working for one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, she and her employee discount have become accustomed to complimentary bath robes, 24-hour room service and Egyptian cotton sheets. As for vacations, Catherine likes places that encourage lying – lying on the beach, lying by the pool, lying in bed…
She’s been on what feels like one long holiday in Florida when her fearless best friend, Sheelagh, announces plans to backpack across Central America. With Catherine’s US visa set to expire, no desire to return home to Ireland and her common sense, evidently, on a day off, she agrees to go along. After all, how bad can this backpacking thing be?
Um… very bad, actually. Catherine soon finds herself showering with the threat of electrocution, living with mutant cockroaches, sleeping on wooden planks, suffering from all but one of the side-effects listed on her anti-malarial tablets (liver failure, if you were wondering) and riding a horse up the side of an active volcano.
And that’s just the first week.
Picking up where her bestselling memoir, Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, left off, Backpacked is the wry tale of what happened when one very reluctant backpacker hit the backpacker trail and discovered that beyond the mosquitoes, bad coffee and flea-infested hostels lay even bigger mosquitoes, even worse coffee and flea-infested hostels with no doors on their bathrooms.

Over the next few months I’ll be doling out little drops of Backpacked like precious stones (or common pebbles, depending on your viewpoint!) including such magnificent wonders as – kindly ooh and aah accordingly – the cover (ahh!), the dedicated book site (ooh!) and the first chapter (double aah!). The most exciting thing about this though, for me, is the opportunity to go through this entire POD/e-book self-publishing process again but while knowing exactly what I’m doing. This will certainly be a new experience, considering the last time I did it I couldn’t really have known any less.

So what am I going to do differently?

5 things I did with Mousetrapped that I won’t be doing with Backpacked:
  1. Having a book launch or selling copies through my website (because it’s a waste of money)
  2. Making a book trailer (because honestly I can’t think of what I’d do for it)
  3. Seeking coverage or other publicity offline (because the book is only for sale online and therefore this is a waste of time – and possibly money too)
  4. Getting my control-top knickers in a twist over the print edition (like freaking out because it’s on but not on, or because there’s no image on the Book Depository, or because – well, I’m just not going to stress about it. I’ll go with the flow and remind myself that print sales will account for a very small percentage of my overall sales. Relax.)
  5. Blogging about every step of the way – only because it’s the same way! If anything out of the ordinary happens, I’ll be sure to let you know, but otherwise it’s going to be the same old.
5 things I didn’t do with Mousetrapped that I will be doing with Backpacked:
  1. Making it the best it can be, straight out of the gate (so later editions are not vast improvements, just updates)
  2. Having it edited as opposed to just proofread
  3. Releasing the e-book edition first, ahead of the paperback
  4. Design a separate e-book cover (with no tiny text)
  5. Linking it to Mousetrapped by putting the first chapter, The Call of the Mouse, at the end of Backpacked, and then updating Mousetrapped by putting the first chapter of Backpacked at the end of that. This is probably the most exciting part of this: I will now have two memoirs available, doubling my promotional opportunities. There’ll be no escape! [Evil laugh]
5 things I did with Mousetrapped that I’ll be doing with Backpacked too:
  1. Designing a ‘white band’ style cover. Anyone who knows me knows how important Things That Match are to me – especially books by the same author and/or in the same series – and boy, are these two books going to match. They’re going to be soooo pretty… [Drifts off into matching book cover daydream.]
  2. Making a small number of review copies available to book bloggers
  3. Pricing the e-book at $2.99 and the paperback at $14.95
  4. Having a dedicated book site
  5. Using the same services: Createspace, Amazon KDP and Smashwords.

So that’s the news. I really, really, really hope there is at least five or six of you out there actually interested in reading about my reluctant backpacking adventures. If you’re not sure, that Us Versus the Volcano story is pretty indicative of what you can expect from – gulp – my second travel memoir, Backpacked.

Join me tomorrow to find out who won those signed copies of Mousetrapped (see below) and my second Big Reveal post, or Mousetrapped‘s sales figures, royalties, etc. one year on. I did that at six months too; if you missed it you can catch up here.

Don’t forget that you still have the chance to win a signed copy of Mousetrapped. To enter leave a comment on Monday’s post before midnight GMT tonight. I’m also looking for beta readers for my self-publishing project 1.5, Self-Printed. Find out more about that here.

23 thoughts on “Announcing… BACKPACKED!

  1. Nick Finley says:

    Hi Catherine,

    I think the premise of the book sounds GREAT. I can think of many, MANY ways this could be hilarious. And as a former travel agent I was laughing out loud when I read “…she and her employee discount have become accustomed to complimentary bathrobes, etc”. LOL!!! Best of luck with this. I think you have some comedy GOLD in the works there.



    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Nick! I hope so… It WAS quite a shock going from 4 and 5 star hotels (and knowing just want to ring up guest services for so you get the best out of your stay – more amenities, pretend it’s your birthday, etc. etc.) to hostels that cost $5 a night and felt like squatters’ dens. 🙂

  2. Dianne Greenlay says:

    Your blogs always make my day! 🙂 This sounds like a great read. Can’t wait to get it. This way, the rest of us too chicken to strike out on our own travel adventures through Central America, can live vicariously through yours!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Dianne. That’s such a nice thing for you to say – makes MY day!

      I was a big chicken – deep down didn’t want/was scared to go, but felt I should push myself. Glad I went in hindsight of course but I didn’t always feel that way during it – it’ll all be in the book! 🙂

  3. Shel says:

    At first I wasn’t too excited because I am a Disney person, not a backpacking person, but I read the volcano excerpt and LOVED it! I can’t wait to read the rest of the book. You are such an entertaining writer! I smile the entire time I read your pieces!

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Shel, much appreciated! That’s something I’m kind of worried about – not sure how it will go down. Mousetrapped readers might not be into it because it’s not about Disney (although it IS about writing Mousetrapped, a little bit!) but then I think it might appeal to a larger number of people, i.e. readers interested in travel, because it’s not about Disney. We’ll see…!

  4. diane says:

    Oh, yay! I’ve been wanting to hear these stories ever since I read that you went to South America, can’t wait! (I won’t have to wait long, right?)

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      It all depends on how fast I can type…! 😉

      I’m aiming for an e-book release in early August and a paperback in late August/early September, but I’ll have a better idea once the first draft is done and the editor has had a look at it. Really want to avoid the whole “I liked her first book but the second was poop” scenario – so may be crippled with writerly fear and unable to write anything. We’ll see!

  5. diane says:

    I’m sure that won’t happen, but it makes sense to take the time you need to feel confident about it (and I think getting editing help is a good idea for anyone) but still, roll on August 🙂

  6. Lani says:

    Congratulations! I love the summary/sneak peek summary. I absolutely HATE budget travel (ewwww yuck yuck) and so can totally sympathize and empathize with some of your descriptions. And im looking forward to yr humorous take on it all! And maybe, just maybe i will be inspired to take the leap and do a little backpacking myself? (okay, that last bit was a lie but everything else was totally true!)

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