… is of course the name I gave to the No.1 car, after we made a record-breaking drive up to the Arctic Ocean in Alaska. That was in 1999 and since then the book I’ve written about the 2CV Alaska Challenge and its aftermath has had a somewhat tortured history. I started the book in 2000, but shortly afterwards fell in love with a girl half my age (it’s a long story, that didn’t have a happy ending, and I won’t go into it here). I finally finished the book in 2004, whilst spending six months living in a cowshed in France. It was a massive tome, weighing in at some 180,000 words, and a friend of mine pointed out that it contained too much detailed historical information. Was it a travel book or a history book? So, I did a re-write on the first half of the book, which tells the story of the 2CV Alaska Challenge, and called it I’ve just had a brilliant idea! (dumb title, huh). The book weighed-in at about 70,000 words and I sent it off to a big UK travel publisher, where the head honcho was very interested in it. But it was the usual story: after sitting on I’ve just had a brilliant idea! for six months, the big travel publisher rejected it.
The Autumn of 2005 found me down in Portugal, where I was setting-up a mad business scheme (another long story), and that’s when I decided to self-publish Brilliant Idea as an e-book. I sold the book directly from my own web site using Allopass as the payment processor. Sales were sluggish, to put it mildly, and I was lucky if I could sell four copies a year. Then Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) came along. I resisted for a while (mostly because you have no control over your money on KDP, and there’s also a lot of spam authors) but finally went with the flow, and in 2011 I published I’ve just had a brilliant idea! on Amazon.
Whist it was nowhere near being a best-seller, Brilliant idea did sell quite well on Amazon, and I got some nice reader’s comments. This prompted me to re-write the second part of the original Alaska Challenge book. I called this re-write Down and out in Duncan and Port Hardy and published it on Amazon in 2012 as a sequel. Down and out didn’t shift as many copies as Brilliant idea, and some readers didn’t like the fact that what is really one continuous story had been split into two parts. So, now, nine years after I finished the original manuscript, I have unpublished Brilliant idea and Down and out and am instead publishing it all as one book; and of course it’s called The Yukon Queen, and it’s available as both an e-book and a paperback. These links are to Amazon and its paperback publishing division, CreateSpace. The Yukon Queen can also be found in just about all online stores, including Apple iPad/iBook, Barnes & Noble and Sony Reader Store. By the way, that ‘Books’ thingy over there in the right hand pane links to my titles on Smashwords, which as well as being a publisher of e-books is also a major distributor (to Apple, Barnes & Noble, etc).
I was also going to include in this post some stuff about creating book covers, and also what a nightmare it can be to format manuscripts for e-book publication, et al, but I’ll save that for another post.