Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Way Forward

My first English-language novel, The Way Forward is now available on, for those of you playing along at home, and, for our friends in the Soggy Nations. Set in Portsmouth, England, it is a witty, fast-paced novel about finding one's identity thousands of miles from home. Having moved to Portsmouth, England, to attend university, American Ben Stout soon finds himself tumbling through a series of sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking adventures, which, through luck -- or perhaps something a little more -- all lead him to a very simple truth.

The book is available via Kindle in its myriad forms. In other words, you can read it not just on the Kindle device but also through free applications for iPad, Mac, PC, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. Reading books on your phone! The future is now.

From this Saturday I will be posting one chapter of the book on the blog each week, through to the end of the book. That may sound slightly counterproductive -- considering that I want you to pay for it -- but the book is 33 chapters long. If you are hellbent on not forking over $5.00 (£3.00), it will take you until May to read the thing.

Some of you may know the history of this book. Originally titled Drinking Stories it was taken up by an agent but couldn't find a home with New York City's major publishers. Here are quotes about the book from two of those publishers:

  • "I must say I really enjoyed Cope's voice. He's eloquent, addictive and genuinely funny, which is rare."

  • "The author has a wonderfully readable style, and I liked the narrator quite a bit -- he felt very authentic. But after brooding on it for quite awhile, it's with sincere regret that I've decided to step aside on this. Ultimately I just didn't have a clear vision of how to publish this in a big way."

    Note that second comment. The editor was concerned about publishing "in a big way." When editors at major publishers look at books, they are first and foremost concerned about whether it will sell the thousands upon thousands of copies needed to justify the cost of editing, printing, storing, distributing, marketing, etc.

    And therein you have the reason I've released The Way Forward on Kindle. Through this method, I am able to sidestep those prohibitive financial aspects. I don't need to sell 10,000 copies. If I sell only one copy (thanks, Dad), I can chalk the thing up as a financial success.

    Of course, there is that question of quality control. Editors are good things, and perhaps you would be wary of a book that hasn't been filtered by a major publisher. That's why I'm making chapters available on the blog -- you make the decision. And, of course, you can also take solace knowing the book has been proofread at least nine times by not only myself but three other people. I've put a tremendous amount of time and effort into this book. I like it. I'm hoping you will, too.

    Buy The Way Forward on
    Buy The Way Forward on

    Afe said...

    Congratulations, that's a big achievement. I think it would be cool to write a book, but I'm guessing it's harder than it sounds.

    Chris Cope said...

    It's certainly more tedious than it sounds. Having written two books now, I find the most difficult part is not so much writing the book but then putting in the time and effort to make sure it doesn't suck. Going through the thing over and over and over again is wearisome.

    But, it's better than having a job.

    Elimare said...

    gonna buy this when I get home this evening...

    Chris Cope said...

    Elimare -- Rock on. I only wish all 6 billion people on the planet would follow your lead. Is that too much to ask?

    Tegwared ap Seion said...

    Bought! Thanks for dragging me into the world of eBooks. Pob hwyl!

    Donal said... would not let me buy it because I was not in the UK, the bastards. did let me buy it though and send it to my PC, but I don't have a Kindle to read it on.

    I do however have a Sony eReader so I have illegally stripped Amazon's DRM and converted it to an EPUB format for my Sony eReader.

    Please don't send your lawyers after me now.

    Chris Cope said...

    Tegwared -- Glad to hear it. Enjoy!

    Donal -- I'll need to sell a hell of a lot more books before I can afford lawyers. You're safe.

    Anonymous said...

    Chris, any chance of going here and getting The Way Forward legally available for us Sony eReader users?

    I'd rather not have to do what Donal did. I've been reading your columns for years now, and would love to get your novel too.


    Chris Cope said...

    Anon -- I'll look into what I need to do. I had looked into making it available through iBooks, but the costs were prohibitive.

    Anonymous said...

    Chris, thanks for looking into the Sony eReader support.

    On the topic of buying books, I would personally love to buy a travelogue book written by you. Hell, just throw together all the travel-related columns you've ever written and I'd buy it.

    I have done a fair bit of traveling through the states myself over the years, and laughed myself silly reading your columns about your travels. Ye gods, what a book that would be! You make such trenchant observations about people and places, both poignant and funny. Not an easy balance to strike. Anyway, thanks for brightening a lot of my days already.

    -Clare (again)

    Huw said...

    Chris, I am a bit behind on technology. Please will you record a reading of your book onto cassette tape, for me to listen to in my car. Do voices.

    I will pay you £3.

    Chris Cope said...

    Huw: For an extra £2 I'll come to your house and make it a one-man show.

    Owen Hansen said...

    I'd have to agree with the first of your previously prospective publishers regarding your voice. Having gotten a kindle recently, I look forward to making your book my 4th or 5th purchase, though I had forsworn paying for a book until I'd read my way through Project Gutenberg. Congratulations! I'm glad you did it.