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!

59 thoughts on “Book One/Two Episode 3: Proof Copies!

  1. MarkM says:

    As one on the other side of the rather large pond where there is no publishing date as of yet unless you’re keeping big holiday secrets, I would love to get one of those packages whether it makes it for Christmas or not.

    Rgds/Mark M.

  2. Kathleen Howard says:

    I hope you are not too stressed really looking forward to reading distress signals see u next sat love Kathleen xoxo

  3. Marese Hickey says:

    Well done on getting your ARC’s Catherine! I am using the 3rd ed of Self Printed to wade through self-publishing my first book while also having started my second. Thank you for writing all 130,000 words of it. My cats jump onto my keyboard looking for my attention and I give them treats to go away and leave me alone. They will be obese by the time I get anything published. This writing business is not for wimps. Enjoy your success and best of luck!

  4. Julie Lees says:

    Wow! You are so busy, but hey! it’s all good. Please enter me for a chance to be picked to win an advanced copy. Would love to get the opportunity to read your masterpiece.

  5. Carolyn Brooke-Millward says:

    Ooh, this would be amazing! So looking forward to Distress Signals – I have loved your previous work, and it was cool to meet you a couple of years ago at Mousemeets! Best of luck with all the promo work, from Carolyn with the lovely earrings!

  6. Rachel Goodman says:

    MEEEEEEEEEEEE. I can’t wait for Distress Signals!! As a new debut author myself (contemp romance from S&S), I know EVERYTHING you are currently feeling and it is overwhelming and exciting and anxiety-inducing and AHHHHHHH. So happy for you!!!!

  7. Tim Yearneau says:

    I’m in the middle of finding errors in my own proof copy, when in fact I thought I found them all! So I know what you are wrestling with. Perhaps if I win a proof copy of your book I can find errors nobody else can … hehehehehe.

  8. Jaimie says:

    The proof copies look amazing! Of course, I’d like to win one! And writing a book goes exactly like that gif set for me every damn time! Particularly the wine stage! xx

    • ofglassandbooks says:

      You could have written a screenplay for dancing tuna fish and peacocks and published it in the format of a comic strip and I would have read it!!! Make my Xmas a thrilling one and pick me!!!

  9. Foxbbit says:

    Loved your 5 stages of writing Catherine!! Receiving your advanced copy of Distressed Signals would be an awesome gift for my birthday month!

  10. David Keane says:

    I’m currently reaching the end of a first draft and I can really identify with the 5 Steps above. Except I’m off booze for this month! Can you imagine? I don’t know how I’ve survived TBH but… I’m getting there. And I will definitely be having a glass of something bubbly when I get the first draft done (hopefully mid-December). Proofs look great! You must be delighted.

  11. Natalie Murray says:

    I am loving the excitement of your journey! I would also love a copy of your book — it’s exactly the genre I’m enjoying at the moment! Good luck with the next one!! 😊

  12. Kathryn Capelli says:

    How exciting for you to see your book finally in print. I cannot wait to read it! I’d love to win a copy. And so elegantly wrapped? Yes, please! 🙂

  13. elec1951 says:

    My husband and I loved your book ‘Reluctant Backpacker….’, we are always recommending it to other travelers.
    Congrats on your new book, looking forward to owning it 😉

  14. lovehappydaily says:

    I’ve loved following your story since Mousetrapped days, Catherine! I can’t wait to read Distress Signals – not because I’m into crime stories but because you’ve got such a great voice as a writer. Plus 😁

  15. Sarah Painter says:

    Meep! I can’t wait to read Distress Signals – so exciting! And I love your GIF-description of writing book two even though it’s a little Too Close To Home. I’m at the Ron Swanson stage right now… x

  16. Patricia Johnson says:

    Your books make me smile and realise I am not the only happy mad person out there. A disney fan who went to Jelly Rolls and lived the dream. I love the way you write, so honest and capturing, I would love to read your new book for Christmas, pick me, pick me! Faith, trust and Pixie dust!

  17. Dawn Key says:

    From your conversational writing style and choice of GIFS, it is apparent we are somehow related. ‘Distress Signals’ sounds intriguing – thank you for the opportunity to be considered for one of the advance copies. From across the pond, sending you Success and Blessings!

  18. Hans Maerker says:

    The book looks great. Looking forward to get my hand son it and read it. Life here in Malta (Mediterranean) is quite different from my former stomping grounds of WA or OR. Whether the book would arrive in time for Christmas is just considered a bonus. What counts is that it does arrives at all. 🙂

  19. catherineryanhoward says:

    Thank you all so much for entering – and for your enthusiasm! If you’d like to increase your chances of winning one of the 3 copies, you can also (1) leave a comment on my Facebook page, (2) retweet my tweet about it or (3) leave a comment on my Instagram post. Check the blog post for links. This giveaway is open until midnight GMT on Friday 4th December.

  20. Ciryn says:

    YES STEP 3 – It is so calming to see that you hit the same prison wall that is Act II. Not that I want you to be held at gunpoint by Act II, but it’s nice to realise I’m not the only one constantly trying to plot a daring escape over the wall! (Ha! “Plot” look at me using puns unintentionally). I’m still testing strategies to overcome the abyss in plot that is Act II so I can be prepared in future… fingers crossed one day I am a savant of plot points.

    I am looking forward to this book! I love curling up with a thriller!

  21. catherineryanhoward says:

    Thanks everyone for entering and congratulations to ***Lady Nicci*** who has won the specially wrapped, personally inscribed copy of DISTRESS SIGNALS!

    If you didn’t win, you’ll have another chance to get an early copy in the New Year, when we start Goodreads giveaways.

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