My First Week as an Author

A little over a week ago, I became an author. Here's what happened:

  • I didn't have the 'I am an author' moment. I had a panic attack. I think the panic attack was a physical manifestation of the 'I am an agent and a publisher, and a retailer, and I have to handle all my own PR and be shiny at all times, and I'm as reliable on that front as a big-arsed donkey in an antique shop' moment.
  • I discovered that even if you give someone a direct link to a Kindle book, they STILL go to Amazon, search for it, and tell you your book is nowhere to be found. I have lost track of the number of times this has happened. Amazon has conditioned its customers SO well. I salute you, noble dictator. 
  • I discovered that making the book available in so many formats (Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Sony Reader, Nook and PDF) was the right move! Have made sales consistently for all formats other than Nook. (Thanks to Rachael Moore for the pic of her phone, by the way).
  • The book sold! *Stunned*. It didn't just sell a couple, either, and it sold every day. Within a week, I was in profit. Seriously. :)
  • Emails and DMs began to flood in, begging me to explain how I'd done it. I'm planning to put together a course to cover this.
  • Emails and DMs began flooding in, telling me not to show off, get above myself or feel proud in any way. I ignored them for the most part, because what kind of example is that? New writers know they have to walk through Hell to get their book into print, or onto a Kindle, and they keep doing it in the hope that, one day, they will have a small moment of triumph. I refuse to deny myself - and them - this small moment of triumph. Here it is... I rock! I dare you to say the same on your own blog when you become an author  :)
  • People want to pigeon-hole me, and that's tricky. One blogger wanted to set me up as an 'indie or die' writer, so he could throw stones at me. The problem is, I'm not. I think traditional publishing is great - for most people. I think Amazon is amazing, and I may put the book there in time. I'm just doing an experiment. Why must people always think that other people are so easily defined? I'm not, so... as an author present to myself... I adopted the word 'Intriguing'. That way, I can help kids with communication problems, like I had, and I get to pick my own label. When called for, my name will henceforth be The Intriguing Rebecca or - and this is the long version - Gloriana Bexter 'The Intriguing' Woodhead. That should stop the labels. (Although 'mad' and 'delusional' are also labels, so it MAY not).
  • People want to pigeon-hole the book, and THAT is fun to watch. Calibre has a new bookshop - it links back to the author's site, so I'm still retailing it - but they choose the tags. They defined my book as 'literary'. Now. I once had a discussion with a publisher, in which he told me: 'never define that book as "chick lit". It is quality commercial fiction.' I've always viewed it as commercial fiction you wouldn't be embarrassed to be caught reading on the train, or commercial fiction with chew toys for literary readers. I put this to Calibre. No, they said. It's literary. So, in it went. Others have defined it in various literary and commercial ways. Today, it was described as 'chick lit'. Hurrah! I've invented label-teflon. :) While I can attempt to define myself, it's really none of my business how others define my book, but I'm an interested observer. 
  • Everyone loves 'Rock'. Some are deeply affected by experiences that either Mary or Jackie have. Clive is secretly adored. A few characters are loathed - you'll know which ones if you've read the book. Let me know your fave characters.   
Here are some early reviews: America (no spoilers), America (some spoilers), America (no spoilers)Ireland (no spoilers). If you find any English reviews, let me know!

P.S. If you want to point people direct to the sales page, but can't remember the link, send them to If they want to take the book for a test drive, send them to and if you want to promote the book on your blog, grab the code under the badge in the sidebar and put it in your sidebar. It links to the sales page. Thank you. xxx

The First Reviews for Palaces and Calluses - share this link on Twitter. Thank you!
The book is out, and ... people like it! I'm thrilled. It already has an international following. I've made sales in the UK, Europe, America, Canada, and Australia so far, and people are buying it in all formats (glad I didn't just stick to Kindle). At the moment, Kindle's in the lead followed closely by iPad and then Sony Reader and PDF and, finally, Nook.

The majority of feedback I'm getting is through private messages or DMs on Facebook and Twitter, or people are emailing me from this site. They are going into great depth about why specific characters have affected them, or how the book has helped them. I'm so happy to read these messages. One character comes up over and over though as a favourite with readers of both genders ... Rock.

Rock was pretty much transcribed from life. The other characters are fictional, but Rock is very close to a beloved dog I once had, called Rob. He's the dog in my book trailer. He was so extraordinary that I knew he had to be shared with more people than one dog ever can be. They don't travel well, and they don't live long, but if I immortalised him in novels, I knew he'd share his magic with people all over the world. He already has.

Aside from the personal messages, a couple of people have gone public with their admiration. I received a wonderful review from a US editor, Mary Louise Ruehr - Books Editor for the Record-Courier in Ohio:

Palaces and Calluses


Today is launch day for Rebecca Woodhead’s debut novel, Palaces and Calluses.

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy, which I completely enjoyed.

The main character is forced to reinvent herself after a shocking betrayal. Besides the emotions evoked by the romance and heartbreak, we’re treated to the warmth of family and friendship, as well as a bit of intrigue, some humor, sarcasm and just plain silliness.
The book is filled with believable characters — some you’ll love and some you’ll love to hate — including smart women, handsome hunks, a nasty boss and a wonderful dog named Rock. Oh, and did I mention, the author drops us right into the English Cotswolds?

The quality of the work rises above that of much of today’s popular literature because of Rebecca’s writing. She has an easy style that makes you want to leap to the next page. She’s just a natural, as anybody who’s been following her on Twitter (@rebeccawoodhead) can tell you. (She’s been named one of the most influential women on Twitter. I “met” her online a couple of years ago when she was up for Ms. Twitter U.K., which she won.)

Her book is a novel, but her own remarkable real-life story also makes for compelling reading: “I’m a coma survivor,” she writes on her blog. “As a child, I sustained such bad injuries in a car accident that I was told it was very unlikely I would ever be able to write as well as my peers. I taught myself to speak, read and write again — without the help of a speech therapist or counsellor. When I typed the last word of the first draft of my first novel, that felt like success.” You can find more on her website.

The end of Palaces and Calluses will leave you wanting more. Fortunately, this is Book 1 of a planned series, and she said she’s already deep into the second book, so the wait won’t be too long!

UPDATE: The book is now available as an e-book in several formats.

Today, there was another surprise. I found this tribute on my wall from my friend, Ernesto Busnelli - though I hope his assistant has her vocabulary recalibrated after she finishes the book. There are a few rude words!

If you've made a video about my book, or you've taken a picture of yourself reading it - you'd need to hold up a sign that points to your e-reader and says 'this is Palaces & Calluses' though! :) - or if you've blogged about it, please let me know and I'll tell people.

My personal sales goal for this weekend has nearly been reached. Only have to sell five more books and I'm there. To make it easy for you to help, I've put up a special offer ON TOP OF the special offer I already have going, AND I'll give away a free e-book to someone who has retweeted a particular tweet on Twitter - you'll need to hunt for it - and someone who comments here, once I reach my goal. I'll only do that if I reach my goal by the time the offer ends though. Ready? ...

For the rest of today, my special Word Nerd #EbookEaster deal is running. Buy three or more books and you get 20% off. You can't do this with DRM-protected books, because you only rent them. With my books, you own them, and you can give them as gifts. I think they'd make great Easter gifts for friends or family who don't want to eat too much chocolate, or who have lactose intolerance, diabetes, etc. The books are actually CHEAPER than chocolate, (decent sized Cadbury egg = £6, my e-book = £2.99, or £2.39 if you buy three or more. I think the deal expires at 9pm MST, but I could be wrong. Not great with time zones. Best to grab it now.

A Bunch Of Us Are Starting A New Literary Tradition. Are You In?

This isn't just any Easter. This year, we are celebrating a ROYAL WEDDING in England, so I wanted to come up with a new tradition to pull my chums from around the globe into the merriment. Now... it just so happens that my debut novel - out this week - is called PALACES AND CALLUSES. It has Palaces in the title! How perfect is my timing?? Anyhow. It seemed to me that a book launched in the month of a royal wedding needed to be the catalyst for a slightly more elegant tradition at Easter. Intrigued? Read on, and I'll tell all!

Here's What I've Got
  1. A brand new novel. 
  2. A quest.
  3. A brand new tradition. 
Here's How it Can Make You a Better Person

If you buy this book, the following things will happen:

1/ A brand new novel  - you will change my life. 

I went through a coma, and taught myself to read and write - without medical assistance - from scratch, so I could bring you this book. If you buy it, you validate that this was a good move on my part. If other kids going through what I went through see that, it will help them keep going with the struggle. It's a LONG and HARD STRUGGLE. It helps if you can see people who've succeeded.

2/ A quest - you will change the lives of others.

I'm on a quest, and I want you to be part of it. I'll write about this after the event (I have a column in a national magazine, and I blog for Groupon) and you'll have bragging rights, if you help. According to this month's Writers' Forum, the average book (traditionally published or otherwise) only sells between 400 and 500 copies. I have to beat that. I'm independently published, not because agents and publishers don't want me, THEY DO. I sent very nice rejection letters, and we're all still chums. In fact, they're cheering me on. I am doing this myself to show it can be done, and to help other writers do the same, because writers (of fiction particularly) have become the least important part of the writing industry, and I need to shift the balance.

3/ A brand new tradition - You will change culture.

When you buy e-books from Amazon, you only ever rent them. Many people don't know that. I love Amazon, and will rent out my books there eventually, but first I wanted people to OWN the books they buy from me, so I've put no DRM on them, and set up a shopping cart that's independent from Amazon. It all works smoothly. The point is, though, that you will own my book, and you can buy them as gifts for as many others as you like. This brings me to the new tradition. Easter is coming. Plenty of people dread the approach of this holiday. Not for religious reasons, but for chocolate-related ones.

  • I'm a BIG fan of chocolate, but I don't want to be a HUGE fan of chocolate. I fall a little out of love with it after every Easter, when none of my clothes fit. Do you feel the same?
  • Easter is becoming a celebration of sugar. What if we raised its status a little? Just to be clear, I'm not talking about its religious significance. The church has that covered. I'm talking about what we do with the holiday culturally. Seems to me that it gets short-changed. Christmas has: presents, tree, songs, outfits, pantos, Santa, elves... etc, etc, etc. There are SO many cultural traditions included with Christmas. Easter just gets eggs, bunnies, the hunt for eggs and bunnies... Simnel cake... um... flowers? I feel Easter needs at least one more, so here's what I propose: give e-books as well. #EbookEaster - a new tradition that respects: anyone on a diet, diabetics, people with lactose intolerance, and people who are just a little bit classier than the cheap-choc munchers, who'll regret their lardy-arsed choices the next day. :) 


  1. A decent sized Cadbury egg will cost you £6. 
  2. My e-book will cost you £2.99 (price goes up to £4.99 after 20th April, but it's still cheaper than chocolate) so celebrating The Arts will cost you less than filling your/their guts with sugar.
  3. Not being able to eat chocolate over Easter SUCKS as there's no celebratory alternative. Let's make the consumption of cultural treats a tradition for Easter too.
Will you help? I think this could be such fun if we do it together, and bring in a new tradition that a/respects writers b/respects non-chocolate tolerant people and c/introduces novels to people who only ever read non-fiction.

The reason I added the last point is because I've been astounded at the number of people in that category who've bought my book and raved about it - and it's only been out for a day. I love that!

The 'fictive trance' is something that doesn't happen with non-fiction. It takes a particular kind of brain activity to induce, and it means that people who read fiction typically have a higher IQ than people who don't. Why? Because the writer only ever writes half of the book. The reader brings his or her own experience to it, and mentally writes the other half. That builds IQ. Literature happens between the writer, the book, and the reader. We're all part of that process. Once you buy my book, it's your book as much as it is mine. You can take IQ to the bank if you then go back to your non-fiction, and take a bit of action. Meanwhile, you're having a bit of fun, travelling into another world, which in the case of my book is England.  :)

Will you buy a copy of my book, so I can eclipse that figure of 400-500? I'd like to get it up to 2000 before I announce the numbers to the industry, but 400 is the absolute minimum I must sell to make this point. You can give them as gifts. Start an #ebookEaster tradition and be just a little more elegant because of it. The history books will show YOU as the one who started this tradtion in your family/village/city.
  1. Print off the receipt email for the ebook.Add an elegant note.
  2. Put it into an egg-shaped/bunny shaped box - they're everywhere right now.
  3. Put it in the cuckoo's nest you made for the Easter egg hunt, or hand it out when other eggs/bunnies are handed out. Make that person feel SPECIAL not just differentIf I got a chocolate bunny or egg - just like always - and someone else was chuckling with their e-reader, reading an e-book, hours after I'd downed the last sugary morsel... I'd be jealous!

Here's What You Need To Do Now
  1. Go to (the short url - if you'd like to tweet it - is ).
  2. Click the button for Kindle, iPad, Sony Reader, Nook, or PDF.
  3. Think of a number. Put it in the box.Who can you think of who'd smile a little wider if you bought them a book that transports them to The Cotswolds (the place that inspired Shakespeare, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Jilly Cooper... etc) in England over Easter? Think how classy it would be to be the one who introduced that bit of culture to the celebrations. Type how many you'd like to buy, in the box.
  4. Decide whether to pay using your paypal account, or a card. Follow the steps on the screen.
  5. An email will be sent to you, with your book. 
  6. TELL PEOPLE. Trend #ebookEaster on Twitter, and get people reading. Share this on Facebook. Spread the word. Being someone who continues a tradition is lovely. Being someone who STARTS one is PRICELESS. For a tradition to start, it takes more than just one awesome person. It takes lots of awesome people. I think you're awesome, and I think we can do this. Let's do this!! *Does Excited Word Nerd Dance*.
Here's the link:


I Am Now a Novelist!!!

I'm sure I've said everything that needs to be said, except one thing ... enjoy the book!

Book Launch - Tonight

My début novel launches here, tonight (so my friends in America and Australia will be awake too). Wear fancy socks. Pour a glass of something bubbly, or grab a cup of tea. A few things you might want to know:

  1. Even if you have a Kindle and are used to the idea that the e-books you buy are only rented (which is how it works at Amazon), if you buy my book, you will own it.
  2. The book will be available in a Kindle edition (Kindle optimised mobi-format. It has been tested on Kindles in the UK and US, and on Amazon's free Kindle for PC reading device); Sony Reader edition (ePub optimised for Sony Reader); and PDF edition. If you want to read it on your computer, you may choose to buy the PDF, or buy the Kindle edition, and download the free Kindle for PC reader.
  3. I have not used DRM. I want to treat my readers like adults. You know I'm not a faceless corporation, and every sale matters to me, so I trust you not to pirate my work. In fact, I trust you so much that I'm allowing you access to your file 5 times, so that if you screw up the download the first time, you won't lose your book. I may be naive, and you may all steal from me, but I like the idea of readers and authors respecting each other, rather than eyeing each other with suspicion, so I'm going to chance it. :) If you all fleece me, and I can't pay for food, I'll change it. You're book lovers as much as I am though, so I know you'll support this. It would be cool if lots of authors did this, so let's make it easy for them to do so. What do you say?
  4. I look at the way publishers do things. The first people to the till are charged the most, then the price goes down. That seems odd to me. Aren't the first people to the till your best customers? Aren't the ones who rush to buy book the ones you want to celebrate? Again, I could be missing something here, but it seems to me that my need to recoup any expenses is less important than happy readers. If I'm wrong, I'll take the hit so that none of my aspiring writer friends have to. I'll keep you informed. Anyhow... I want to leave pricing this at its normal rate for a couple of weeks. About a week before the royal wedding - 20th of April - Palaces & Calluses goes up to its normal price. Until then, as a thank you for everything my wonderful Word Nerd Army chums have done for me over the years, I'm putting it up at an Early Word Nerd Bird Rate.
  • From 20th April, Palaces & Calluses will cost: £4.99
  • Early Word Nerd Bird Rate (until 20th) = £2.99
US Translation: The exchange rate changes all the time, of course, but the eventual price is around $
8.14, and the price until April 20th  is $4.87

I open the shopping cart tonight. Check back here then.

The next part of the journey, after that, is not in my hands. It's in yours, my friends. Once the book leaves me, how well it does is up to you. This is your part of the journey. If the book becomes a huge success, you'll have bragging rights. I know you well enough to know that, if my writing inspires you, you will spread the word. I'm very blessed to have friends like you. Thank you.

WOW! 200 Downloads in 2 Hours!!!

TIME'S UP! Putting the book to bed after its exciting day. It needs its strength for its big début on Wednesday. Well done if you grabbed the first three chapters for free. 

UPDATE: Rather than write another blog post, I'm hijacking this one. I'll leave the chapters up until 11pm, since I'm an hour late. Sorry chaps. Had to sort out international copyright stuff so that I could do this. Took a bit longer than I thought, so ... as a reward for your patience ... you get THREE WHOLE CHAPTERS! I've bundled chapters 1-3 together, and you can find them here. The password is wordnerdsrock (because you do).

Yesterday evening, I put up the first chapter of my book for two hours. More than 200 people downloaded it! You can see some of their comments if you look at the last post. Here are some from Twitter:

I need more...1 chapter isn't enough!!! - play4smee

Just read the chapter, so capturing! I need to know more :) can't wait to get the book now to read the rest. - RhiRhiB 

I'm hooked after reading Chapter 1 and I'm looking forward to reading the whole book. - BookishMagpie

I love it !!! cant wait for it to become available to buy... - Susielwcp 

I loved it! ...  I'm definitely interested in reading on to see what happens next! - reader1107

It's wonderful -- can't wait to read the rest! - melissamaday 

Many more missed the opportunity to grab it, and they've begged me to put it up again, so I am.

Today, my latest Word Nerd Monday post comes out on Groupon, and my Writing Magazine column goes out to subscribers. To celebrate, I'm giving away two things.

The first chapter will be up for the rest of today. It's just before 1pm GMT now. I'll leave it up until tonight. At around 8pm GMT I will put up Chapter 2. At 10pm, they're both coming down. Ready?

Chapter 1: The password is ... wordnerdarmy

Look forward to reading your comments.

Oodles of love,

Chapter 1 of My New Book!

UPDATE: You missed it! Check back here again tomorrow evening, just in case I have more surprises. :)

Launch Week Surprise 1? I gave away a Parker pen.
Launch Week Surprise 2 ... I'm giving away the first chapter of my new book.

Click here and type in the pass phrase, which is ... Word Nerd Preview (type it as it appears - with spaces and caps) I've taken it down now. Well done if you got it! Feel free to leave a comment below if you pick one up. If I get lots of comments, I might even be inspired to give away some more stuff. :)

Hope you like it.