Book One/Two Episode 3: Proof Copies!

Welcome to the third installment of Book One/Two. (Do you need to catch up? Click here for all Book One/Two posts.) I’m writing this on Saturday 28th November and, boy, it’s been a bit of a week…

Monday night I saw U2 play their first gig in Dublin in more than six years, and someone very nice got us passes to the swanky Cedarwood Lounge so we got to pretend we were Somebody for an hour before the concert started. Wednesday night was what I like to think of as the Irish Publishing Christmas Party: the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. Books, glamour and complimentary glasses of fizzy alcohol – I mean, what more could a girl want?

L-R: Vanessa O'Loughlin, me, Hazel Gaynor, Elizabeth Murray, Andrea Hayes.

L-R: Vanessa O’Loughlin, me, Hazel Gaynor, Elizabeth Murray, Andrea Hayes. Taken by Ger Holland Photography.

Then the following morning, while I was nursing one of the worst hangovers of recent memory, the doorbell went and outside was a DHL courier with ten proof copies of Distress Signals, hot off the press.

Add all this to trying to finish a first draft of Book 2 and having my first two essay assignments for uni due just as we break up for the Christmas holidays, and you find me in a mild state of panic with not much time to write blog posts. So this’ll be brief…



Earlier this month I flew to London to meet with the lovely team at Corvus to talk about our plans for world domination – um, sorry, I mean promoting Distress Signals come May. You’ll have a front-row seat to most of it as it’ll all be detailed here, but for now, two words: PROOF COPIES!

Proof copies, known across the pond as Advance Reader Copies or ARCs, are special preview copies made for booksellers, reviewers, etc. and other people who really need to get to read the book months before its publication date. The text inside is the version we had after the copyedits but before the proofreading – at least, the text inside of mine are, anyway – and this should be kept in mind. They’re called “uncorrected bound proofs” for a reason.


I can’t even begin to tell you how weird it is to see words that you have been glaring at for years in 12 pt Book Antiqua on your computer screen now typeset in the pages of a very real book. I can’t stop staring at them.

And I have a VERY special prize to offer a lucky blog reader. Keep reading to find out more.



There’s not much to say about Book 2 at this point, because I don’t really feel that it even exists until I get to type THE END at the end of the Vomit Draft, and we haven’t reached that point yet. Until then, here is The Difficult Second Novel, in GIFs…

Stage 1: Excitement


A new idea! New characters! Writing I’ve already been paid for! LIVING THE DREAM! (Too much coffee already? Hell yeah!)

Stage 2: Honeymoon period


I so know what’s going to happen.

[writes the first 10,000 words in a day]

This is easy! I can do this! I love being a writer! I’m getting paid to do what I love!

More coffee? YES PLEASE.

Stage 3: First signs of trouble


[sound of brakes screeching as I reach the end of the inciting incident and find myself staring down the barrel of Act II]

Hmm. No, it’s okay. Totally okay. I’m just having a slow day. They can’t all be winners. The important thing is that I stay at my desk.

And drink more coffee.


Stage 4: Mild panic


What if I can’t do this? What if I only had the one book in me? How did I do this before? I CAN’T REMEMBER.

Stage 5: WINE


Erm… that’s it, really.

Lots of it.

Be one of the very first to read DISTRESS SIGNALS!

Do you want to be one of the very first people to read Distress Signals? Are you short of a book-lover’s Christmas gift? Fancy something special for yourself off Santa come December 25? I have three bound proof copies, hot off the press, to give away! Each one will be personally inscribed to the winner or to a person nominated by the winner, and each one will come wrapped like in the picture below.


How to enter:

Just in time for Christmas, the chance to WIN a proof copy of #DistressSignals 6 months before publication! It’ll come…

Posted by Catherine Ryan Howard on Monday, 30 November 2015

One winner will be chosen from blog comments, one from Twitter retweets and one from Facebook comments. You can enter on each platform to increase your chances if you like, but you can only enter on any individual platform once. If you win, I can’t guarantee delivery before Christmas as it will depend entirely on where in the world you live. The winners will be chosen at random on Friday 4th December. Good luck!

Not getting enough e-mails? Sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you them sporadically!

The Worried Writer

Happy Thursday!

I’m about to crawl into my writing cave for a ten-day Ultra NaNo type thing but before I do, I want to point you in the direction of The Worried Writer podcast. Specifically the latest episode, which features a long, giggly interview with me.


I really enjoyed chatting to host and fellow writer Sarah Painter about all things writing. Some of the topics we talked about include:

  • The name of my (fictional) self-help/productivity versus procrastination book, Don’t Start Until It’s Already Too Late.
  • The benefits of being traditionally published and why I think that ultimately, neither self-publishing nor getting published offers control (Oooh, controversial!)
  • Why I think I didn’t get a book deal until I deserved to – and what I was doing that made me feel like I finally did
  • How I pitched a winning idea for Book 2 to my editor… without actually having an idea for Book 2
  • Why if you claim that you only write for yourself but you’re also chasing publication, I’ll probably give you some side-eye…
  • The MASSIVE, PARALYZING, COLD-SWEAT FEAR that prevented me from submitting my work for ages – and how I pushed through it was dragged through it by writer friends (and why it doesn’t stop when you get the deal – sorry!)
  • Why luck can suck it
  • What you need to tell yourself when someone tells you won’t or can’t achieve your dreams.
You can listen to the episode here, or find it on iTunes.

NB: This was recorded a few weeks ago and so I refer to the publication date of Distress Signals being in June. But it’s May now. MAY!


If you have a listen, do let me (and Sarah) know what you think in the comments below…