So first of all, I feel like I should apologize that this is only the fifth episode of Book One/Two, and publication is – ohmygodareyouseriousnoyouvegottobekidding – five weeks away. Five weeks from this Thursday, to be exact. I had planned that this would be a monthly series but (a) I have been busy, busy, busy with the aforementioned Book One and Book Two and (b) the publishing process really isn’t exciting enough to warrant a monthly update, as since September my days have mostly been about writing and waiting.
But hey – publication is five weeks away! FIVE WEEKS. I can’t get my head around this at all, especially since when I signed the deal, publication was more than a year away. When will this start feeling real? My guess at the moment is when I see it in a bookshop. Like, not a bookshop I’m launching or signing stock in, but one I’ve happened to wonder into. So, if you see me walking around Dublin bookshops a bit dazed and confused, you’ll know what’ll have happened: it’ll have just sunk in.
Anyway, quick recap paragraph: This all started back in October 2014 when I signed with my agent, Jane Gregory. (This was actually a link in a chain of events that can be traced back to 2009, but let’s keep it simple. We only have a paragraph.) Then in March 2015 I got a book deal, although I couldn’t tell people about it until last May. Then we had various milestones along the way: Proper Author headshot, cover reveal, proof copies arriving and a preview in The Bookseller. Before all that fun stuff I wrote several drafts and suffered through being on submission. You can catch up with all Book One/Two posts here.
What’s been happening since the last episode of Book One/Two?
The Final Cover
The final cover is here! This is the one that will actually be on the copies you will (hopefully) see on shelves (somewhere). I love this strapline.
Also, in the flesh, the title and my name are done in raised lettering that has this really weird, really cool kind of shadow effect. If you look at it dead-on, it looks like it does above, but from the side, it starts to look blurry – thus reflecting the overall “anxiety” message of the cover design as a whole. I love it!
By far the most exciting thing that happened was finished copies came in! This is the actual book, in the flesh, so to speak. I’ve seen proofs already, yes, but they are a totally different thing.
I just love, love, love how the cover looks – the colours and the finish. And – MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL – the dress I’ve bought to wear to my launch is the perfect background. I can sleep at night now.
As soon as finished copies arrived at Corvus HQ, piles of them started going back out – to bloggers. Thank you to everyone who shared a pic of their book post! Seeing that all over Twitter was so much fun.
What’s all that stuff you see in the pictures that isn’t the book itself, you ask? Well…
Fun With Printed Stuff
Here’s the thing: six years ago, I self-published for the first time. Almost four years ago, I started working freelance for Penguin Ireland, helping with their social media campaigns. I’ve also spent hours with published and self-published friends brainstorming and e-mailing and imagining all sorts of ways they can promote their books. I’ve also been dreaming of being a published author since I was about eight years old. You know the way some women keep pictures from magazines of dresses and table favours and other wedding things, planning their big day in their imaginations? Well, that’s me – except it’s not my wedding but my book launch, and it’s not dresses or table favours but ways to promote my book.
(Well, there are some dresses in there. I have to wear something to the launch after all.)
In Distress Signals, Adam’s girlfriend Sarah goes on a business trip to Barcelona – and doesn’t come back. Instead, a few days later, her passport arrives in the mail with a note stuck inside it that reads I’m sorry, S. The logo on this sticky note is what leads Adam to a cruise ship called the Celebrate where, it seems, Sarah was last seen alive. So… I went and made these sticky notes for real. I designed a logo for the (fictional) cruise company using PicMonkey and then found a promotional product company to print them up. (I refuse to name them because I wouldn’t give them any publicity – their customer service was crap.) Alison, my publicist at Corvus, then went and wrote I’m sorry, S on them and stuck them onto the blogger copies. Cool, right?
Another item that’s mentioned in Distress Signals is a Do Not Disturb sign, which Adam sticks on his cabin door. Now, actual DND signs – glossy, pre-cut – are quite expensive, and I really wanted the sticky notes, which aren’t cheap. So I wondered: was there a way to fake it? The answer is YES, if I made them DIY DND signs where you cut out the bit for the door handle yourself. Vistaprint does DL-sized postcards which, once I’d selected a thick card stock and a glossy finish, really looked the job. They’re also a great size for a bookmark in a trade paperback and look, they actually work!
Also, Corvus sent me their leftover wrapping paper. Behold, for I have made it into bunting. (What I’m actually going to use that bunting for, I have no idea.)
And no, it is not a coincidence that the first draft of Book 2 isn’t finished yet.
(It almost is. Almost.)
THE PROPS CUPBOARD
For the last few months, I’ve been slightly obsessed with buying blue and nautical thingys to use in arty-farty Instagram shots and to maybe give away as prizes with copy of the book down the link. My finds included all manner of stationery things, mugs, candles, artificial flowers… Even headphones. I may also have bought this T-shirt.
The problem is that I now have more than enough blue things but yet, I keep buying them.
Somebody stop me.
No, really. Stop me.
I love, love, love when people post pics of their copies of Distress Signals on Twitter and elsewhere online, or tell me what they’ve thought of it.
— Michelle Davies (@M_Davieswrites) March 27, 2016
— Dawn (@crooksonbooks) March 26, 2016
— bleachhouselibrary (@margaretbmadden) March 18, 2016
— Mark Edwards (@mredwards) February 23, 2016
The scary part of this whole adventure is that while I’m getting really getting excited about the launch, I really don’t know how the book will be received. The whole thing is a huge unknown. Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it? So if you’ve got an advance copy or you’ve pre-ordered or even if you’re just planning on reading it when it comes, let me know! It’ll help me sleep at night and it’s way cheaper than Xanax.
I stuck this down the end because I can’t reveal any specific details yet – stand by for an official announcement – but the great news is that Distress Signals WILL be published in the US of A!
I don’t know when exactly yet, but it won’t be on May 5. You won’t have to wait long though, as it will most likely happen before the summer is out. Distress Signals will be published Stateside in hardback (hardback!), e-book and audio, with a mass market paperback following later. (Just like here – the mass market paperback on this side of the pond is scheduled for January 2017.)
If I’ve failed to mention it already, an audio book will be released here, i.e. Ireland/UK, and it will be available on May 5. I got a very exciting e-mail a couple of weeks ago asking me what I thought of the guy who’s been picked to read it. Exciting and surreal.
(Yes, a guy – it’s mostly first person narration by a 30-something guy from Cork. Apparently the audio book guy will be doing a Cork accent, which just tickles me pink. But anyway.)
So that’s it for now. I’m off to lie down in a dark (blue) room.
Can’t wait until May 5? Keep an eye on my Facebook page for your chance to win a personally inscribed, expertly gift wrapped (!) copy of Distress Signals soon – PLUS a special prize! More exclamation marks!
And if you sign up to my newsletter, you’ll get access to a special preview of Distress Signals RIGHT NOW.
(Fun fact: if you’ve read this far, you’ve seen the cover image at least 25 times. I’ve counted.)
(Another fun fact: do you know what I realised the moment I hit publish and saw the date? It’s exactly 6 years since I self-published Mousetrapped. I released it on Monday 29th March 2010.)
(Hat tip to Hazel Gaynor who wrote “It’s a book!” underneath the picture of the finished copies that I posted on Facebook for the title of today’s post!)