How To Get Published in Just 50 Easy Steps

(Did you miss me? After the craziness of the Distress Signals month-long blogging bonanza, I decided to give you all a month off from me. Well, a month and a bit. Also, since I last blogged WordPress have hidden the ‘justify paragraph’ button from me and it is driving. Me. CUCKOO. I can’t even look at this left-aligned. Oh my God. Deep breaths. Wait! Keyboard shortcuts! YES. Okay. It’s all okay. Everything’s going to be okay. Breathe… Okay. Anyway.)

As of February 1, this little blog is a staggering SEVEN years old. One of the first posts I published on here was a tongue-in-cheek How To Write A Novel in 37 Easy Steps. So, seven years and a bit on, and to break my post-blogging-bonanza fast, I’ve decided to update that – or rather, continue it.

How To Get Published in Just 50 Easy Steps! 

  1. Decide, aged 8, that you are going to be a novelist.
  2. Ask Santa for a typewriter.
  3. Ask your parents for an electronic typewriter.
  4. Ask your parents for a PC.
  5. Spend much of your late teens carrying the first three chapters of your first attempt at a novel, a Formula 1-themed thriller named Chequered Flag, around on a floppy disk. By ‘novel’ read ‘excuse to daydream about Jacques Villeneuve’s abs on the cover of Jacques Villeneuve: A Champion in Pictures’…
  6. Sorry, drifted off there.
  7. Avoid studying for your own Leaving Cert, i.e. the final exams in Irish school, by writing a funny but quite pointless YA novel about avoiding studying for the Leaving Cert. Submit it to a publisher whose office is 5 minutes’ drive from your house, because you think geographical proximity will help seal the deal.
  8. Get rejected.
  9. Tell your parents you need a laptop ‘for college’.
  10. Go to college.
  11. Drop out of college.
  12. Go to NYC for a week’s holiday and think this qualifies you to write from the POV of a NYPD detective. Submit your (god awful) attempt at a detective novel via post to a top London agent and get so swiftly rejected that SAE arrives back at your house before you do.
  13. Stop writing. Pretend that reading books about writing will move you closer to your published novelist dreams in the meantime.
  14. Quit your crappy job working in a greeting card store.
  15. Quit your pleasantly boring job working in an auctioneer’s office.
  16. Take a job in the Netherlands.
  17. Take a job in France.
  18. Take a job in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
  19. Buy John Mayer’s Continuum album and put ‘Stop This Train’ on repeat for 36 days. (This is KEY.)
  20. Go backpacking in Central America.
  21. Start writing a book about number 18 after you return home to Cork.
  22. Find an agent who is interested in said book but cannot represent you on the strength of it due to there being only about 23 people in the whole world who’d be interested in reading it and even less in buying it (probably).
  23. Tell agent you are already writing a novel. (This is a big fat LIE.)
  24. Decide you can’t write the novel because your soul-destroying job is slowly but surely sucking all the life force out of your blackening soul and if you don’t do something about it soon your heart will be an empty abyss of abandoned dreams, bitterness and contempt.
  25. Quit your job – in the middle of a devastating economic recession, for maximum dramatic effect.
  26. Put a MacBook on your credit card, because you simply cannot work under these conditions.
  27. Use your savings to relocate to an isolated and slightly scary holiday home by the sea (in winter, in Ireland) with two coffee machines and your new computer.
  28. Write a comic, corporate satire, chick-litty novel. Describe it The Devil Wears Prada meets Weightwatchers.
  29. Start submitting the novel to agents and editors.
  30. Buy John Mayer’s new Battle Studies album and put the song Assassins on repeat for thirteen days. (No, really. This is KEY.)
  31. Self-publish the Disney book, i.e. Mousetrapped.
  32. Read an article about cruise ship disappearances in a magazine that someone left behind them in a café that your mum was in shortly before she picked it up and brought it home.
  33. Write a book about number 20.
  34. Self-publish that book, i.e. Backpacked.
  35. Get a meeting at a Major Publishing House by way of your friend Vanessa. The MPH don’t like the Weightwatchers Prada book, but they do like your writing. Tell them you’ll write something else.
  36. Writing something else (well, a synopsis and three chapters of it) and send it to the MPH.
  37. Writing something else else (well, a synopsis and three chapters of it) and send it to the MPH.
  38. Write something else else else (well, a synopsis and three chapters of it) and sent it to the MPH.
  39. Go for a meeting at the MPH and get offered freelance work using social media to promote their commercial fiction titles instead. Be very excited about this.
  40. Get an idea for a thriller from number 32. Write 30,000 words of it.
  41. Stop.
  42. Buy John Mayer’s Born and Raised and put the title track on repeat for the entire month of May.
  43. Let a year pass.
  44. Struggle to find anything to play on repeat on Mayer’s Paradise Valley. *tear*
  45. Decide to apply to return to university as a mature student to student English Literature.
  46. Panic when you actually get in, as this necessitates a move to Dublin. Use the panic to push past the 30,000 barrier and finish the thriller. Call it Dark Waters. Start submitting it to agents.
  47. Go to college. Stay this time. Use this as a distraction from the UTTER DEVASTATION OF REJECTION.
  48. Unexpectedly get offer of representation from dream agent while sitting in a coffee-shop near college waiting for your American Genres lecture and looking out at grey and gloomy rain. (Hooray!)
  49. Work with agent’s amazing in-house editor to write a second draft of the thriller. Change the name to Adrift.
  50. Get a 2-book deal. (Bigger hooray!) Change book’s name to Distress Signals. Start buying everything you see with an anchor on it and planning your book launch like it’s your wedding.

If you want to read Distress Signals, check it out here for Ireland/UK and here for the USA. Also if you’re in Dublin this Saturday, I’m chairing a panel on self-publishing at the Irish Writers’ Centre Women Aloud NI IWD event. Get more info on that here.

Also, on a more serious note, there’s an update on the Irish resident accused of murdering his wife on the MSC Magnifica. In a line that could’ve come from Distress Signals, his lawyer has said to reporters, ‘If this was murder, where is the body? Where are the witnesses?’ (There are neither because, of course, this is a cruise ship.) A working theory is that he allegedly stuffed her body into a suitcase and threw it from the balcony of their Deck 11 cabin. You can read more about this terrible case here.

Next time on Catherine’s blog: the Great Desk Redesign of 2017! It involves an actual pink typewriter. AN ACTUAL ONE. 

Introducing… MOUSETRAPPED as a POD Hardcover! And You Can WIN Stuff! More Exclamation Marks!

oldpost

It’s March 29th 2013, which means that I self-published Mousetrapped exactly three years ago today.

Three years. Three of them! Can you believe it? I know I certainly can’t.

To mark the occasion, I decided to quit slacking and do something I’ve been thinking about doing for ages: I made a POD hardcover edition of Mousetrapped with Lulu. 

MT_hardbackflat

It’s bringing sexy(hard)back. 

Before we go any further, it should be noted that this making-a-POD-hardcover thing should be filed under Things We Do Just For Fun. It’s not a very good business decision. The hardcover edition is expensive to purchase ($33), and I’d say I could count on my hands the number of readers who’d consider buying it. But that’s okay, because I’ve done this primarily for me.

I wanted to see it in hardcover. And I knew as soon as I opened the Lulu box and saw it that it was totally worth doing.

dust_jacket

But this isn’t just the paperback edition with a hardcover. Oh, no. The paperback is 5.5 x 8.5, for starters, so I had to redo the interior to make it fit its new 6 x 9 size. I also had to get Andrew Brown, my cover designer, to make the original cover fit into the dimensions of a 6×9 dust-jacket, with the new addition of inside and back flaps. (A difficult job considering Lulu does NOT provide the same in-depth info CreateSpace does when it comes to making your own cover.) Hardcovers generally have the blurb inside, on the flaps, so the back cover had to be changed too. As you can see above, I stripped everything off it except for the background image. Continue reading

Welcome to BACKPACKED Week! (And Oooh, Look at That Fancy Video!)

Welcome to BACKPACKED Week, which, rest assured, is not a week of posts about MY NEW BOOK THAT’S OUT NOW, but a week of self-publishing posts about stuff I learned while self-publishing MY NEW BOOK THAT’S OUT NOW. So what I’m saying is if you don’t want to buy or hear anymore about MY NEW BOOK THAT’S OUT NOW, you don’t have to take a week’s holiday away from my blog. I, like, pinky swear.

We’re all exclamation marks and over-zealous capitalization here this morning because my new book, Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America, is out now! Yay! Squeals! Formatting headaches! Please peruse this snazzy – and somewhat unusual – book trailer I made earlier:

If you can’t see a video, click here to watch it on YouTube.

What did you think? I have to say I’m pretty smug about that trailer, even if it did take hours and hours and a twelve-pound bag of coffee grounds to make. I even bought the music and everything. (I know, right? Get me, all obeying the law.) Tomorrow I’ll be telling you how I made it, where I got the idea to make it and where you can legally get super cheap music to put to your own, and that’s just one of many information-packed posts I’ll have on here this week. The schedule looks a little something like this:

TODAY:

Um… you’re reading it already.

LATER TODAY: The Even Easier Way to Format Your E-book

I had an e-book formatting epiphany last week, and it came just in time as I was about to hurl my Macbook out the nearest window in frustration. This approach to formatting sounds drastic but is actually easier, simpler and works so well that I went and re-formatted Mousetrapped the same way and have started re-formatting Self-Printed, just so all my books could look as good. And I’m even putting images in Self-Printed. Yes – images. That‘s how well this method works.

TOMORROW: How I Made My Snazzy Book Trailer

I think book trailers are great fun and can definitely help spread the word about your book, but they don’t need to be what you think they need to be. There’s only one rule for making them, and that’s think outside the box. In this post I’ll be telling you more about the wonder that is Jing, explaining how I purchased music so that I don’t go to jail – and telling you how much it cost me – and how I put the video above together.

backpacked catherine ryan howard

Because this post hasn’t had a cover image yet.

WEDNESDAYMaking a Real Book

There are oodles of information online about how to get your e-book into tip-top shape, but what about the interior of your CreateSpace or Lulu paperback? It is so much easier to make your physical book look amazing, yet it’s here where most self-publishers fall down. In this post I’ll be showing you what needs to go in and how you can make it look good, as well as showing off the insides of the Backpacked and (the newly-reformatted so that it matches) Mousetrapped.

THURSDAY: How Much Work is Self-Publishing? 

Many people think that publishing an e-book and/or a POD paperback isn’t that big of an operation, and that’s partly the fault of people like me who say things like, “Uploading to CreateSpace takes about half an hour.” It does, but that’s only a drop in the ocean of what a professional self-publishing operation entails. To show you exactly what’s involved, this time around I kept a list of all the things I had to do just to get to this point. Today I’ll post it, and its length may surprise you…

FRIDAY: 10 Things Self-Publishers Shouldn’t Worry About (But They Do)

When I’m self-publishing, I’m asked a lot of questions. Most of these are things that I would’ve loved to have someone tell me about it when I was starting out, and I’m happy to answer them. But some of them are about things that are so far down the list of things that you, as a self-publisher or promoter of books, should be worried about – or even thinking about – that they’re actually on another list, headed Are You [BLEEP] Kidding Me With This? Today I’ll reveal what they are.

And I think that’s enough to be getting on with, don’t you?

So back to business. Backpacked is out now, priced $2.99 in e-book and $14.95 in paperback. You can purchase it:

If you’re not sure whether or not you want to read it, you can download the first three chapters free here and check. If you don’t know anything about Backpacked at all, you can find out more about the book hereIf you pre-ordered a signed paperback copy of Backpacked, rest assured you will be receiving your book shortly. Obviously they have to get to me first so I can sign them, and then I’ll send them to you. You’ll receive an e-mail confirmation once your order has shipped.

Me, on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua, writing (notes in the travel journal that would one day help me write) Backpacked. See more photos from the trip in the slideshow on the homepage of Backpackedbook.com

If you buy it, I’ll be your best friend forever if you can do even one of these things too:

  • Get around to reading it
  • Review it – on Amazon, on Goodreads, on Library Thing, or even just in crayon on a Post-It that you stick on your fridge
  • Tweet that you’re reading it
  • Recommend it to a friend (if you like it, that is!)
  • Get the book’s cover tattooed on your face (extra brownie points for that!).

If you don’t buy it, that’s okay. I’ll still be your friend, and although I may harbor some lingering animosity towards you, I promise to hide it well. You can still help spread the word about the existence of me and this book by:

  • Sharing links to this week’s blog posts
  • Re-tweeting links to this week’s blog posts
  • Spreading the book trailer around like a (nice!) virus
  • Getting the book’s cover tattooed on your face.

So that’s it for now, folks. If you do happen to tweet about Backpacked at some stage this week, please use the hash-tag #backpackedbook. That way I can keep tabs on you all… [Evil glint in eye.]

Find out more about Backpacked here.

(Phew. Coffee time!)

99c: The Results and the Kindle “Indie” Bookstore

Three weeks ago I reduced Mousetrapped‘s e-book price tag from $2.99 to 99c. Before I did, I updated the e-book with details of Backpacked and put the opening chapter as a preview at the end, as the whole point of this is to sell more copies of Backpacked when it comes out next month. This morning I reset all the prices to $2.99 (it’ll probably take a few hours to filter down so if you haven’t yet bought it for sofa cushion change, quick! There may still be time!) and looked at my sales data to see if reducing the price, even for such a short time, made any difference.

It did. For the first week, there was no discernible difference, but for the last two it’s clear the lower price has led to more sales.

Since January 2011, my highest rate of books sold per day (based on total sales for that month divided by the number of days in that calendar month) was 28.9. That was for January which is the busiest month of the year for e-books and not good for comparison, so let’s scratch that. The next highest rate of books sold per day was 27.4, which was in March. The lowest rate of books sold per day was 17.7, in June.

For the first two weeks of this month, with my price at 99c, I was selling 32.8 books per day.

This tells me two things:

If I reduced my price to 99c, I could join the Big Boys E-book Sellers Club, as 1,000 book sales a month every month seems to be the agreed threshold for a successful e-book author. And I could do it with just one non-fiction book. 

If I reduced my price to 99c, I’d have to get a real job. 1,000 e-books at 99c equals a royalty cheque worth around $346 and so I’d much rather sell half that at $2.99 (and so earn over $1,000 on the 70% rate), thanks very much.

It is nice to see things like this though:

(And before you ask, the reason the e-book has a different amount of reviews to the paperback is because to Amazon they’re two different editions thanks to my attempts at updating Mousetrapped back in February. I don’t want to talk about that headache ever again, so let’s not. And yes, I’ve already been in touch with them, etc. etc. Don’t even mention it.)

Also, last week a Twitter follower informed me of the Kindle “Indie” store, a subsection of the Kindle store dedicated to, from what I can gather, books published through Amazon KDP. (There’s an FAQ on KDP that supposedly tells you how books get on there, but it doesn’t give much away.) Because Mousetrapped is a highly rated bestseller in some of its categories, it won a place on the “Biographies and Memoirs” which when Biographies and Memoirs is cycled through to the main page, means I get front page billing. Nice, right?

Well, no. It’s not bad, but it’s not much of anything. The Kindle Indie store is near impossible to find from within the Amazon site, and who would be going there anyway to buy their books? (Well, apart from other “indie” authors who are at pains to support the movement, needless to say.) And it’s not really for “indie” authors or independently published books – it’s just, from what I can see, for books published through Amazon KDP.

So let’s be clear: this store exists as an advertisement, and it’s not the books it’s advertising. (Oh what’s the red arrow of mine pointing to? Oh, yes. The service owned by Amazon that makes these books…)

Over the weekend I made the final interior file for Results Not Typical, and ordered a proof of Backpacked just using the rough draft to see if a little image of a backpack works on the section headings. I’m really looking forward to getting them out there now. After yet another scathing “The bitch didn’t even work for Disney!” review on Amazon.com over the weekend, I cannot WAIT to release a book that doesn’t automatically make a small but vocal section of society completely and hatefully overreact for no good reason. It’s just a book, people!

Find out more about Backpacked here. Want to get an e-mail letting you know when these books are out? Join my mailing list at the top of the page. 

More On BACKPACKED…

At the moment I’m going through Backpacked and tweaking it as per my editor’s instructions, and since this is taking up all my time and not leaving any for “proper” blog posts, I thought I’d use this fine Friday to give you some more info about the book that I’m equal parts excited and terrified to be releasing into the open world soon.

This is the final cover design for the paperback edition done as per usual by Andrew Brown of DesignforWriters.com. The photo to the top of the front cover is one of two volcanos on the island of Ometepe in Lake Nicaragua, and the photo on the back is of me looking like I’m pondering something on the shores of Lago de Yojoa in Honduras (taken by my best friend and traveling partner, Sheelagh).

When people see these “presentation views” they always ask, “Is the book really that thick?” Well, the thickness of the book in that view is as standard – so no. But Backpacked is thicker than Mousetrapped because – yes, you’ve guessed it – it’s longer. Mousetrapped was about 66,000 words and 232 pages, whereas Backpacked is 73,000 words and about 275 pages.

Its official release date is September 5th. This is less to do with availability and more to do with the fact that it was on September 5th 2006 that I moved to Orlando which in a long chain of events is how this whole thing came to be, so since I’m releasing it in September anyway I thought that’d be a nice touch. I’m not sure exactly when it’ll be available – it could be a couple of days before, a couple of days after – but the first people to know when it is will be those who have signed up to my mailing list.

(Next it’ll be you, dear blog readers, so don’t worry if your inbox can’t take another mass mailing.)

Want a sneak peek at the table of contents? Well, you’re in luck:

  1. Prologue: Charbroiled in Choluteca
  2. Departure Day
  3. Into the Airlock
  4. The Corrections
  5. Us Versus the Volcano
  6. Zona Viva
  7. Down the Gringo Lane
  8. Skool Daze
  9. The Adventurers
  10. Oh Danny Boy
  11. Of Red Frogs and Blue Iguanas
  12. The Brewery
  13. The Longest Day
  14. Border Crossing
  15. What’s Up, Doc?
  16. The Island
  17. Jésus Saves
  18. Goodbyes in Boca
  19. Epilogue.

And finally if you visit BackpackedBook.com, you’ll see a slide show of photos on the main page that will give you a good idea of the misadventures Backpacked has in store.

Also if you were wondering, my prices are staying the same:$14.95 for the paperback and $2.99 for the e-book.

20k Books Sold: My Game Plan

Even though my e-book sales took a dip in May and June, I’m still not swayed from my goal of selling 20,000 e-books by January 2012.

To date I’ve sold 6,310 self-published books so that just leaves 13,690 to shift in the next six months or so.

Um, yeah…

[Gulps]

How am I going to do it? Can I do it? And why, pray tell, don’t I just write my goals down privately instead of telling the whole world (or at least this tiny corner of the internet) about it, thus saving myself from the potentially horrendous embarrassment of failing miserably at achieving them?

Well, I tell you them to motivate myself and yes, I think it’s possible. Likely? No. But possible? Yes. Maybe. I think 15,000, frankly, is doable – although with a lot of hard work – and 20,000 is a bit of a stretch. But doable goals are kind of pointless so 20,000 it is.

The game plan has three elements:

  1. Release new titles, including a novel
  2. Take at least a module at the Konrath School of E-book Selling
  3. Launch the novel with an all-guns-blazing publicity campaign.

Release New Titles

My first book (perhaps you’ve heard of it?), Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida, was released in March 2010. The paperback is $14.95 and the e-book is $2.99.

My second book, Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing, was released in May of this year. The paperback is $15.95 and the e-book is $2.99.

In June I released three “Self-Printed Shorts” in e-book only and priced at 99c. They are: Publish a POD Paperback with CreateSpace, Publish an E-book with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and Sell Your Book Using Social Media.

So that’s 5 titles, so far.

In September, I’ll release the sort of sequel to Mousetrapped, Backpacked: A Reluctant Trip Across Central America. (I say sort of because although it chronicles my backpacking adventures after I left Orlando, it stands alone too.) This will be identical to Mousetrapped in size and price: $14.95 for the paperback and $2.99 for the e-book.

As soon as Backpacked comes out, I’ll bundle it and Mousetrapped into a single e-book title, Mousetrapped… And Then Backpacked Too, priced at $4.99.

Title-wise, we’re now up to 7.

Then in October, the novel, Results Not Typical. I don’t know how much the paperback will cost yet, but the e-book will be $2.99.

That’ll be my eighth e-book title.

In November, I’ll send out the final More Mousetrapped story. (If you’re not familiar, new stories from my time in Orlando go out to everyone on the More Mousetrapped mailing list once a month, and have done since March.) Come November, I’ll take the nine existing stories and compile them into an e-book, More Mousetrapped: 10 More Tales from A Year and  A Bit in Orlando, Florida, the tenth being a new, previously unreleased story and some bonus articles, etc. and charge 99c for it. This isn’t really a stand alone title; it’s aimed at people who have already read Mousetrapped.

So by December when, if last year was anything to go by, the e-book high season begins, I’ll have 9 e-book titles for sale (with 4 of them also available in paperback).

And I may also be suffering from exhaustion.

The Konrath School of E-book Selling

Deluding yourself into thinking that you can emulate J.A. Konrath’s success is so common amongst self-publishers that there should be some kind of formal support group for it, and you can rest assured that I don’t think I can. However I do think that his recommendations for selling e-books make a lot of sense and should be applied, even if they don’t result in the same royalty cheques for you (or me) as they do him. After all, they can’t hurt.

Here’s some things he’s recommended doing on his blog that I am incorporating into my own game plan:

  • Dropping the price for a time. For the month of August I will be dropping the price of Mousetrapped‘s e-book to 99c. I’m doing this because I’m interested to see what will happen and because I hope what will happen is that I’ll sell a lot of books. I won’t make any money off them – when you charge 99c you only get a 35% royalty – but maybe some of the people who take a chance on it at that price will then be willing to pay $2.99 for Backpacked which, wouldn’t you know it, comes out the very next month. Before I drop the price I’ll be updating Mousetrapped‘s e-book with the opening chapter of Backpacked.
  • Taking up plenty of virtual shelf space. If you’ve ever accessed Amazon’s Kindle store from an actual Kindle, you might well have wondered how anyone finds anything on there that isn’t Stieg Larsson or The Help. (Although if all I could find was The Help, that’d be fine by me. I LOVE that book.) Most of the people who buy Mousetrapped e-book, based on e-mails they send me, finds it by happenstance. Either it comes up in a search they do for “Disney” (and is high enough up the results for them to find me), or Amazon recommends it to them because of other books they’ve bought. If you’re one book in a million, how often might that happen? Who knows. But I do know it’ll happen more if you’re five books in a million, or ten, or fifteen. The more books you have, the more space you take up, and the more space you take up, the most visible you are. So I’m releasing more books, and bundling some of those books together. It really is the opposite of dieting: you want to take up as much space as possible.
  • Link your e-books. One of the most exciting things about having more than one book available is that I can snare Mousetrapped readers into buying Backpacked and or vice versa. I can try and get people who enjoy my non-fiction to read my novel, and people who enjoy my novel to read my non-fiction. Konrath says that every e-book should have a few chapters of another of your e-books at the end of it, so I’m going to do just that. And with a link directing them to the full book at the Kindle store where they can continue reading it with one click, it should work well. I hope it will, anyway. As I said it can’t hurt.
  • Treating your e-book as a second store front. This was an issue raised on Konrath’s blog recently that I had never thought about. If you buy a lot of low-cost e-books, you probably download a lot of e-book samples. If many of them are self-published/by authors you don’t already know, you might end up with a Kindle chock full of books and no memory of why exactly you wanted to read them. To help these readers, start your e-book with the blurb or product description that appeared on your Amazon listing. (If it’s long, you can always put a “Skip to beginning of book” link above it.) In his book How I Sold 1 Million E-books in 5 Months, John Locke recommends that you not only put your blog URL at the end of your book, but at the beginning too. It takes a while to read a book and with your blog URL in their head, the reader might have a sneak peak at your blog or Twitter feed at work tomorrow morning, and find a good reason to finish reading your book when they get home.

The Novel: All Guns Blazing

I don’t really have anything planned publicity-wise for Backpacked, other than informing as many readers of Mousetrapped as I can that it exists (and a little video that for now is a secret but which I’m very excited about).

But the novel – Results Not Typical – is an entirely different kettle of fish and I’m going to put a lot of thought into its promotion and launch campaign. I’m treating it as if I’m starting from scratch and essentially, I am. I have no reason to believe that anything more than a handful of my non-fiction readers will automatically purchase my fiction. So I have two things to do: convince my other existing readers to try it too, and somehow tell everyone else, i.e. people who have never heard of me.

One of the things I’m already doing is offering samplers of Results to everyone who pre-orders a signed edition of Backpacked from me. (Click here for more information about doing that.) These will be mini-paperbacks of about 100 pages wearing the actual Results front cover, a preview of the novel’s first section. I’m hoping that having them out there in the world will lead to some sales and if they don’t, they’ll still make a pretty attractive novelty item.

Or something.

I haven’t really decided on the specifics yet but the other stuff I do will probably include:

  • Writing guests posts/doing interviews for other blogs
  • Supplying review copies to book review sites and bloggers
  • Releasing the first chapter as a PDF/putting it on the blog
  • Blogging about it
  • Tweeting about it
  • Talking about it on Facebook
  • Video blogs
  • QR codes (just as soon as I think of a reason why)
  • Giveaways (I’m going to be giving away something BIG – watch this space!)
  • Paying for advertising (still on the fence about this; we’ll see)
  • Chocolate-based bribery.

If there is anything you can do to help me promote Results, I’d love to hear from you. Message me through the Contact page.

I’ll be finished the main prep on all this by September and will take between then and Christmas to write the first draft of a new novel that I hope will one day be traditionally published. That’s where the “20,000 books sold” will come in – I hope it’ll help sway an agent towards “yes” in the decision to represent me.

And after that, I’m off to lie on a beach for a year.

Or for a couple of weeks, anyway.

(Actually, what am I going to next year, book-wise? Going to have to put figuring that one out on my To Do list, me thinks…)

P.S. I’m putting the finishing touches to Backpacked this week so apologies for the Twitter silence and Facebook neglect!

Click here to pre-order a signed copy of Backpacked.

Coffee Break: Coffee to Write Travel Memoirs With

I’ve told Sarah, Backpacked‘s copyeditor, that I’ll be sending her the finished manuscript at the end of this month. I have to, if I’m to have any hope of sticking to my own schedule and getting the book out in September.

Or even, sometime before Christmas.

(Joke! It is coming out in September. Don’t worry. Not too much, anyway.)

The book – surprise, surprise – isn’t finished, but I do have a whole seven days to work on it, fifteen days if I work to my actual self-imposed deadline of July 8th and not my scare-myself-into-doing-it false first deadline. But I am an ickle bit behind on my word count and so am going to have to put in a few very early mornings and a few very long days, and to do that I’m going to need a lot of coffee.

Yes – even more coffee than usual.

The coffee I normally drink is Robert Roberts’ American Blend and since I go through about a bag of it a week, I was delighted when they asked me to try their new New York Roast. It has a strength of 6 and since American is 3, I was a little bit scared of it but its flavor, while strong, was not at all bitter, had no yucky aftertaste and was actually really, really nice.

It’s my new breakfast coffee, and its lovely yellow cab reminds me to hurry up and write more books so I can go back to New York and spend an entire day in the basement of The Strand…

[Drifts off into New York daydream…]

And fun fact: it’s a cup of New York Roast that’s now immortalized forever on the cover of Backpacked.

So for the next couple of weeks while I finished Backpacked, I’m going to be alternating between the two: New York Roast in the morning, to wake me right up, and then American Blend from lunch time onwards, to keep me awake. I’ll also be throwing in the odd cup of their Guatemala Blend because, hey, Backpacked starts (and spends most of its time in) Guatemala.

In fact I can get coffee from three of the five countries Backpacked treks through, so I might just have to give a few bags away when it comes out.

If I haven’t drank them all, of course.

Click here to find out more about Robert Roberts. New York Roast is the first 6 strength coffee to be produced here in Ireland. Irish writer friends: you can find their coffee in Dunnes, Superquinn and Tescos. 

Click here to read all my coffee breaks