Monday, October 10, 2011

And now...a guest! Love and Chocolate welcomes Catherine Ryan Howard!

I'm very excited today to have my blog buddy, Catherine Ryan Howard here today, who is taking over Love and Chocolate to talk a little bit about Self-Publishing, a subject she is totally expert in, and has written the definitive book to prove it. She's also written two books, Mousetrapped and Backpacked, which dominate the Amazon bestsellers lists, and her first novel, Results Not Typical, is out now too, more about that at the bottom of the post! So (drumroll) with no further ado, over to Catherine!

Self-Publishing: The Family and Friends Problem

One of the most annoying things about self-publishing is having to explain what it means – or doesn’t mean, rather – to your family, friends, colleagues, hairdresser, postwoman, etc.
No, your book won’t be in bookstores. No, you won’t be on The Late Late Show. No, you’re not surprised the guy at the counter in Waterstones had never heard of you or your book. No, it’s not quite like Cecilia Ahern. Yes, she is good, isn’t she? Yes, you’ll have to go buy it online. Yes, online. Amazon. The American one because the paperback isn’t available yet on No, they do ship to Ireland. Yes, I suppose it is a bit expensive. No, I understand. Don’t worry about it. No, really – don’t.
It’s easy to forget that although you and I may know exactly what it means to self-publish an e-book to Kindle or publish a paperback with CreateSpace, the average person on the street – even if they’re a book lover – doesn’t have the first clue. Your Twitter friends and Facebook fans may buy their books online just like you do and so won’t mind trusting Amazon to deliver yours, but that’s because (since they’re on Twitter and Facebook), they are comfortable online. The majority of people still buy books from shops, and don’t even realise that other books exist. When I told a relative of mine that I’d sold my 8,000th book, she said, “Yes... but are they all real books or are they the things you read on your computer?”, the implication being that “the things you read on your computer” didn’t count.
If you’ve previously expressed a desire to get published... well, good luck with that. Your decision to self-publish will be seen, in all likelihood, as a defeat; you couldn’t get the book published, so you decided to do it yourself. People outside of publishing won’t understand thinks like “niche market” or using e-books to pay for your coffee supplies while you write The Greatest Novel Ever. They’ll just assume you’ve given up. Or worse – they’ll think you’ve been published. I very nearly threw up a little bit when I overheard a friend of mine saying to someone, “I’m not sure who’s publishing her book ... I think maybe Harper Collins?” Um, no. Not quite.
But confusion isn’t the worst reaction you can illicit from family and friends – utter disinterest is. You assume, in your About-to-Self-Publish naiveté, that everyone you know is waiting, credit card at the ready, to add your book to their Amazon cart and then take up a position by the front room window from where they can stalk the postman until it arrives, when the reality is that most of them will rush to read it at a speed similar to that of evolution. Think about it: how often do you bolt to your nearest bookshop on the day a book is published? How often have you thought to yourself, I really want to read that book and then not get around to it for another year? And if you don’t like to bungee jump, would your best friend setting up a bungee jumping business change your mind? Don’t take offence if even your closest friends mutter something incoherent about when exactly they’re going to get around to reading your latest tome; if they never read, they’re hardly going to start now. Ask any who has had a book out there and they’ll tell you that they were surprised by the people who bought it and the people who didn’t.
So that’s my cautionary tale. Don’t say you weren’t warned...!
(Sally interjects at this point - 8,000th book? wowee!! good going, Catherine!!)
Results Not Typical on can be found here.
Results Not Typical on can be found here.

And because Catherine is, as well as being a publishing powerhouse, also a very nice person, she's given me details of a fantabulous Goodreads Giveaway:

If your readers visit they can enter a giveaway to win one of five paperback copies of Results Not Typical. Open for entries from September 30th-October 31st. Open to all countries.

About Catherine:
Catherine Ryan Howard is a 29-year-old writer, blogger and enthusiastic coffee-drinker. She currently lives in Cork, Ireland, where she divides her time between her desk and the sofa. She blogs at

About Results Not Typical:

The Devil Wears Prada meets Weightwatchers and chick-lit meets corporate satire in the debut novel from Catherine Ryan Howard, author of the bestselling memoir Mousetrapped: A Year and A Bit in Orlando, Florida. Through their Ultimate Weight Loss Diet Solution Zone System, Slimmit International Global Incorporated claim they’re making the world a more attractive place one fatty at a time. Their slogans “Where You’re Fat and We Know It!” and “Where the Fat IS Your Fault!” are recognised around the globe, the counter in the lobby says five million slimmed and their share price is as high as their energy levels. But today the theft of their latest revolutionary product, Lipid Loser, will threaten to expose the real secret behind Slimmit’s success...The race is on to retrieve Lipid Loser and save Slimmit from total disaster. If their secrets get out, their competitors will put them out of business. If the government finds out, they’ll all go to jail. And if their clients find out… Well, as Slimmit’s Slimming Specialists know all too well, there’s only one thing worse than a hungry, sugar-crazed, carb addict – and that’s an angry one. Will the secret behind Slimmit’s success survive the day, or will their long-suffering slimmers finally discover the truth? Available now in paperback and e-book editions.

Thanks very much for blogging with me today, Catherine, and I wish your new book just as much, or even more success than your others!


  1. Love this. I just selfpublished my book TELESA and know exactly what Catherine is talking about! lol The confusion, the apathy, even the pity and sadness for you..."oh, she published it herself? poor thing" But like you explain, its got a lot to do with the fact that many friends/family dont know or understand about the ebk thing or the amazon thing. And until very recently, i had no clue either about all that stuff. I want to say (and shout from the rooftops) that Catherines blog and book Self-Printed have been my stepbystep HOW-TO -DO-IT guide. Catherine, your book is amazing and I recommend it to all my writer friends who are considering selfpubl. (and even if they arent i still tell them abt it anyway because they SHOULD be conisdering it) Because of Catherine, I was able to get my book out into the world with less screaming and fewer headaches than i would have if i had tried to do it alone without the help of her book. Thank you.

  2. So true, Catherine! As a first time author, I purchased and gave away 30 copies to friends and family who had listened patiently to me over the years as I blathered on about my book. What's funny is I can tell who hasn't read it yet because they change the subject when I bring up my writing!

  3. Lani, I totally agree with you, I found Catherin'e book really useful when self publishing Bound to Love - pretty vital, in fact!

    J, I know, me too, with the people I know have my books and haven't read them!!

  4. I hate to say it, I WAS that family member once. NOW, I get it, and I can't wait to publish my own books. Guess, I got some of that coming to me ;-)

  5. This does make me laugh...I have had my book, The Class Ceiling, on Kindle for one week and am very interested to see who has bought and who hasn' are so right - if they didn't read before, they are not going to start now!

  6. family first believes life is precious and is committed to healing, caring for and saving lives wherever possible - particularly the dignity and value of older people.