Useful links to books & book chat

Would you like to pre-order Dead Lucky? If you fancy a signed copy, pre-order from the amazing Rocketship bookshop in Salisbury…

Would you like to order The Girl Who…?

Looking for writing chat and tips?

One of the most fun things about being a debut author is that I finally got a chance to swap writing tips with other authors and share some of my own. I feel a lot less alone now than I did when I was working away on The Girl Who… in my basement, wondering if it would ever amount to anything… or if I’d ever even finish it. There’s some really strong advice in these chats from smart, talented kid-lit and young adult writers. So if you’re looking for writing tips or general writing advice, it’s worth taking a look…

Here’s my chat with Emily Barr on the Atom Books Instagram channel we talk about capturing the teen voice, why we pick the themes we do, why Emily made the switch from writing adult fiction to YA and how to pitch to an agent.

This is me on super-spooky Amy McCaw’s BookTube channel we talk about how to create characters with depth and tricky second books (how you take 10 years to write your first then have to crank the second one out in a year flat, while still learning how to be a better writer. There’s also some good book recommendations in there.

Here’s my Book Chain chat with Sarah Ann Juckes we talk about writing from unusual perspectives – her main character is bed-bound with a chronic debilitating illness. And how to create a satisfying ending without making it super-neat and sugar-sweet.

Here’s my Book Chain chat with Dave Cousins we talk about the idea for The Girl Who… why I wrote the book with three different perspectives and I go off on one about opening a dialogue between Gen Z and Gen X.

To contact me click here

The Book Chain Project – passing on the love

One of the weirdest thing about being an author is taking that secret beloved project you nurtured for years and then… having to talk about it in front of the whole world. Thankfully I had The Book Chain Project to ease me into this. It’s a really simple idea: One week one author interviews another, who then interviews the next in turn. It’s a great way to find out about different authors’ work – and amazing to find out how much we all have in common.

First I was interviewed…

When it was my turn, my interviewer was Dave Cousins, author of YA books like 15 Days Without A Head, and middle grade books including My Robot’s Gone Wild. I was unbelievably nervous and cack-handed, Dave was incredibly confident and professional! We talked the media spotlight, ‘missing White Woman syndrome’ mental health issues… But we also talked about Calvin And Hobbes, how we both write by the seat of our pants and why I love piglet squid. (Answer: what’s not to love?) It really was a pleasure to chat and swap writing tips.

Then I was the interviewer…

I’ve spent years interviewing people so I was much more comfortable being the one asking the questions. I was really excited to get the opportunity to talk to Sarah Ann Juckes, author of Outside and The World Between Us. Like me, she writes stories about young people in impossible situations so we have a bit of common ground.

Sarah’s books are full of insight, wisdom, suspense and big feels and it was brilliant to get the inside story on how she writes. The book is told from two different perspectives, which switch from paragraph to paragraph. That sort of thing is hard to pull off, but it works so smoothly and sends a strong message about how two people can look at the same view and see something completely different.

image of a piglet squid which looks like it has a cute smiley face and curly hair
A piglet squid, just because. Image credit: Caters, Samuel Greenberg, SunGazing

Huge thanks to KL Kettle for organising the Book Chain, and making it so wide and varied. There are debuts, well-known names, picture book, middle grade and YA fiction writers. If it’s writing tips you’re after there’s so much wisdom in there. Check out the YouTube channel for more Book Chain Project videos, and it’s also available as a podcast. And the chain is still rumbling on – for latest interviews, follow @thebookchain on Twitter!

You can read more about my writing on my blog, about my book deal here or get some more info on my book, The Girl Who… here.

Delve deeper into The Girl Who…

People can’t bring themselves to say what happened to her. They just call her ‘the girl who… you know…’

This is Leah. Ten years ago she witnessed a troubled gang member kill her mother and sister. The media focus on her as a survivor made her a public figure, a famous survivor and a poster child for forgiveness. People feel sorry for her. People admire her. But at seventeen she’s hiding a darker side, an angrier side. And she can’t stop thinking about revenge…

And then there’s Ellie. She likes to think she’s pretty easy going. All she wants to do is hang out with her mates, make YouTube videos and, eventually, get famous. But then her mum fell in love with Leah’s dad. And she has to move out of her nice comfy home in to Leah’s gloomy flat above a decrepit bookshop. And she’s the only one who can see that Leah’s really not OK. That she might be planning to do something terrible…

The Girl Who… is about surviving trauma, about coming to terms with the past, but it’s also about figuring out who you are, despite other people’s perceptions of you. It’s also about the cringes and quibbles of living with a stepfamily. I really hope that you like it.

Feel like adding it to your TBR?

More about me here

Here’s some reviews…

YAundermyskin

Itsallaboutthebooks

ACornishgeek

What kind of lockdown writer are you?

I haven’t managed to find the credit for this one – if you know could you tell me so I can add it in?

History is full of stories of people who write against the odds, with the threat of jail, disgrace or death by consumption hanging over their heads and somehow this spurs them on to create works of great mastery, but to be honest most writers I know function best when they have warm feet, a steady flow of tea or coffee and the knowledge that their writing won’t land them in jail. Still, back when I started I always used to think that writing would be what got me through any big trauma, that it would be something to focus on, to escape into, when normal life imploded.

And then All This started. (All This is the universally accepted shorthand for saying “a bloody great pandemic which is killing people around the world and creating a global recession as well as making us all stay home going a little crazy.”) It’s changed life for very single one of us, affecting our work in so many different ways. So what kind of lockdown writer are you…?

1: The Barbara Cartland

I don’t mean by this that you’re a pink-wearing aristocrat with the habit of making sexist pronouncements and wearing too much mascara but that you’re incredibly productive (Babs, God love her, wrote over 700 books.) From day one you were rattling off chapter after chapter. The words flow, the plots knit together, and after you wore through your keyboard you took to lying on a chaise lounge dictating your work to your butler. Possibly. You are probably a lovely person, but I’m afraid the rest of us don’t like you very much right now.

2: The Zoom Juggler

Working from home means that you still don’t technically have any extra time to write your novel. But if you switch off your camera and mute your mic during that interdepartmental catchup then maybe… Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

3: The Hemingway

You are drunk. You have been drunk since last Tuesday, whenever that was. But it’s OK because you’re a bloody genius.

4: The harassed parent

Reading social media updates from Barbara Cartlands is likely to send you into a fizzing impotent rage. Because you used to be a writer but now, it seems, you are a full time educator, housekeeper and, according to your offspring, oppressive slave driver. You’re either writing in bursts while the kids are distracted by Disney Plus, working late at night and producing trippy, semi-conscious prose or getting up at sunrise and feeling like a zombie for the rest of the day.

5: The Switcher

Before All This started you were plugging away quite nicely on a neat sci-fi concept or a cosy mystery but then The Big Idea came. You’ve dropped everything and are now working on a dystopian novel set in a post-pandemic civilisation, or a thriller in which a Jack Ryan character is tracking down an evil virus-releasing organisation, or a lockdown-inspired romance (working title: Stuck With You.) A tiny part of your brain is shouting Noooooo. You should probably listen.

6: The Harper Lee

The lockdown has made virtually no difference to you because you never go out anyway, although you welcome the introduction of social distancing.

7: The cov-crastinator

You always said you’d write a novel when you have time – and now you have time, hooray! And you’ll start just as soon as you’ve baked that sourdough, finished that Zoom birthday party for your brother’s mate’s girlfriend and cleaned the inside of your grocery cupboard. And finished that blog post about different types of lockdown writer.

8: The too-anxious-to-write one

Provided you’re healthy and have enough money to survive lockdown seems like the ideal scenario – trapped at home with little else to do but write your novel. But the reality is that there’s a huge terrifying thing happening in the world at the moment, people are dying, people are losing their livelihoods, you’re legally banned from visiting your own granny, the government is making you angry and the conspiracy theorists on Twitter are making you even angrier. Some people write to escape from reality but others can’t work when the anxious noise from the world is too great. Now might be the right time to read lots of wonderful escapist fiction instead.

At the moment while we’re still in the thick of it, it’s hard to tell how the lockdown will truly change our lives or influence our writing. Elements of it will creep into the stories we tell, adding a sense of unease and panic, or a streak of reality to tales of courage and pulling together. My feeling is that we should just keep writing whenever we have the time, but without piling on the pressure to get things finished. I’ll let you know if I ever get around to following my own advice. In the meantime I look forward to going to lots of real-life, wonderful book launches when All This is over. See you on the flipside.

Tweet me your lockdown experience here

Fancy reading something escapist? There’s a few recommendations here and here

My friend has written a short piece on writer’s block during All This.

So… I got a book deal!

After a few agonisingly long weeks of waiting, the news is out – I have a book deal! In fact, I have a two book deal! My novel, the one I’ve been banging on about on here for the last few years, is called The Girl Who… and it’s an emotional thriller for young adults (YA), focusing on two seventeen-year-old girls.

I’ve written a real actual book!

There’s Ellie – lively, outgoing and desperate for fame. And then there’s her new stepsister Leah, who actually is famous but for the most horrific reason: as a child she witnessed a notorious crime, the stabbing of her mother and sister.

In the aftermath her father set up a charity to campaign against street violence and she has become a heroine, a poster child for bravery and forgiveness. It seems like the whole world knows what she’s been through but can’t bear to say it. They just call her “the girl who… you know…”

As Leah struggles to grow up, in the limelight but plagued with dark and terrible thoughts, Ellie is the only one who can see that something is very wrong.

The deal is with Atom which is great as they specialise exclusively in YA stories, so I know I’m in good, experienced hands. Just before the news came out I met met my editor (I have an editor!) Olivia Hutchings and publicist Stephanie Melrose as well as my brilliant agent Lina Langlee, who got me the deal. It’s the weirdest sensation, after writing away in my “spare” time over the years and barely showing anyone my story I now have a whole team of people who like it and who are committed to getting out into the world.

Atom editor Olivia Hutchings, author Andreina Cordani and publicist Stephanie Melrose
Me standing between Olivia and Stephanie after a lovely lunch talking about the book. Must learn to flash my teeth when I smile…

I know a lot of writers have a problem with letting go of their work and who knows, I might find it hard when Olivia’s first edit comes back to me. But after years of second-guessing and staring at the words thinking: Is this too much? Or too little? it’s wonderful to be able to talk to people about it and work on the story to make it the best it can be.

The weirdest thing of all is when I realised that other people around Atom and its parent company Hachette had also been reading the book and talking about it. There was talk of people being “up all night” and saying “just one more chapter.” When I met Olivia and Stephanie we were joking about the characters as if they were people we all knew and liked. It’s almost as if I’ve written a real, actual book. Hang on… I’VE WRITTEN A REAL ACTUAL BOOK!

Two days after I signed the deal I discovered there was already a placeholder for pre-orders on Amazon. And when the publishing trade journal, The Bookseller wrote about the deal calling me “Cordani,” I felt like a proper author. I also had so many lovely messages from people saying congratulations. So many that I ran out of excited gifs and emojis to respond with. It was like having a baby, but without the “I haven’t slept in days and my boobs are about to explode” part.

So this is it, a new step on the road for me. I’m still in the process of taking it all in at the moment, which is why there aren’t oodles of details in this post. I feel like I’ve got so much to learn before spouting any opinions.

There will still be lots of journalism and book reviewing in my life – I’ve no plans to give that up – but I’m also looking forward to sharing more of my novel-publishing experience as I go along. I can’t wait for next September when it finally hits the shelves!

Read my previous rant on publishing here

Looking for a twisty YA thriller with heart? Try this one

NaNoWri…WOAH

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people doing NaNoWriMo should not post a blog, two weeks in, saying how brilliantly well it’s going.

Because almost exactly half an hour after posting my previous entry I wrote a paragraph which suddenly laid bare an enormous plot hole. Which then led me to spot another, and another until my happy playground of a work-in-progress had transformed into a lunar landscape of epic plot craters.

Oh, that was a fun afternoon. And then of course there was the inevitable day of work lost due to kiddy illness – and I’m sure there’s more of those who follow. This is another reason why the timing of NaNoWrMo sucks – it’s the start of cold and flu season and if you’re a parent you’re often permanently up to your neck in snotty tissues and Calpol between Halloween and March.

This year, though, I was incredibly strict with myself and on days I couldn’t work I would drag myself into the office/dungeon after bedtime and blearily crank out a couple of paragraphs of sheer nonsense to keep my head above water. I’m definitely not heading for 50,000 words but every little helps, I guess. Current word count so far is 20,421 which to a feature writer like me still seems like a lot of words.

Anyway, no learning experiences or amazing insight here but if you’re in the same boat, please do let me know and share any wisdom you may have. In the meantime, I’m off to bang my head repeatedly on the keyboard and include the results in my word count…

Tweet encouraging things to me here (please!)

Read about my previous NaNo mid-month hiccup

Or chill out with a lovely book review

I’m doing NaNoWriMo! Again.

National Novel writing month logo a shield with crossed pens, a laptop and a cup of coffee on it with a viking helmet on top for some reason

If you’re a freelance journalist the timing of National Novel Writing Month sucks. The ideas of putting aside all paid work THE MONTH BEFORE CHRISTMAS to work on a novel which may or may not get published is something I’ve struggled to get over year after year.

In fact, when I logged on and looked at my profile at the end of October, I found three versions of the same novel with three different now-discarded titles and dismal word counts for each. It was a fascinating glimpse back in time but also kind of depressing.

This year, though, was going to be different. Previous novel is finished, edited and re-titled, and I now had a fresh new idea I was itching to try out. Plus a small posse of online buddies who were doing it with me. Bring it on.

I’m half-way through it now, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1: It doesn’t matter if you write a pile of crap.
The sanctimonious little chart on my profile tells me that I should have written 25,000 words by now. It also says that to make the classic NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words I need to write 2,250 words today. Well, that ain’t happening.

I have all my best ideas while writing crap


I’ve often thought the emphasis on words can be a unhealthy – you write a load of old rubbish just to bump your word count and end up having to go back and unstitch it later. But now I’ve got the first novel under my belt I realise I have my best ideas while writing crap (and also while in the shower for some reason.) Also, the unstitching is actually an unavoidable part of writing a novel. I have a trifling 13,993 words under my belt so far and half of those are utter crap but, like the weirdo I am, I’m actually looking forward to going back and changing it. I like seeding in all the good ideas I had while I was writing terrible stuff.

2: Buddies really do help
I’m lucky enough to be friends with a few unpublished writers online, and we’ve been bolstering each other up with word counts and pep talks. This wasn’t the case for the first few years and it’s made such a difference knowing I’m going to report back to people about it rather than just sitting here writing into the abyss. I spent my whole journalistic career with editors breathing down my neck, and I now can’t work without deadlines and pressure – or with the mutual support of colleagues.

3: Once a Brownie, always a Brownie
Back when I was in the Brownies, I loved getting a badge and being part of a tribe but I have to admit I find the whole tribal thing a bit cringy these days. And I’ve always thought the badges on the NaNoWriMo site were a bit patronising. You get a badge on your profile for writing two days straight, one for a week… etc. Pathetic, right? So why was it that last Saturday I wrote for 15 minutes between 11.40 and 11.55 so I could log a word count on the site and get my “Updated My Word Count Seven Days In A Row” badge? God I’m sad. But if it works, it works.

LOOK! LOOK AT MY SHINY SHINY BADGES!!! I mean… not that I care obviously.

Some of my friends also prepped beforehand – putting together a day-to-day (or even a scene-by-scene) plan of what they were going to write, reading the pep talks on the NaNo website, going to write-ins. I’m not that way inclined, being more of a “splurge the words onto the page” kind of a writer, but it’s nice to know those resources are there if I should ever have a personality transplant.

All I know is that at the beginning of November I had the stub-end of a novel and, if I continue writing on the same track, by the end of November I’ll be well into the second half – even if a large part of it is drivel. So, cautiously and with a due sense of trepdiation, I’m calling NaNo 2019 a win.

Read more about my first attempt here

And more about how crazy deadlines can be motivating here

Fancy reading a book review of Unfollow by Megan Phelps-Roper instead?

Tweet me to chat about NaNo…

Why anyone who publishes a book is amazing

It’s easy to slag books off. I do it all the time – as a reviewer I see lots of not-very-good books: novels which are cynical imitations of another title which did quite well a few years ago, novels written to a formula, novels cranked out when the writer had a deadline but was struggling for inspiration. And everyone’s favourite punching bag, Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s fun to slag off books and as a wannabe author it’s encouraging – if this load of old twaddle can get published, so can I. So yes, I do it, I’m only human.

But it’s also deeply wrong and unfair, because every non-celeb person who has ever had a book published deserves huge respect for beating the odds. They have been through at least a dozen agonising and increasingly Hunger Games-esque stages to get there…

To get your book published takes faith determination and a rhino-like skin1: They had a Very Good Idea. You know, just like the one that’s floating round your head at the moment that would be an absolute best seller if only you could find the time to write it all down.

2: They had a Second Very Good Idea which gave the initial Very Good Idea wings. Boy goes to wizard school has potential, but Orphaned boy goes to wizard school where he discovers a dark link between himself and the powerful wizard who murdered his parents is the start of a seven-book series.

3: They found the time to write it down. Hours. Days. Months. In the middle of the night, getting out of bed at 5am, punching it out with their thumbs on their iPhone on a commute. Or even giving up their jobs. Despite all the crap going on in their lives, they found the time.

4: They didn’t give up when they got 30,000 words in and realised that the Second Very Good Idea actually doesn’t work at all unless they go back and unpick everything that happened after Chapter Two. Instead, they went back and unpicked. Or they replaced the duff Second Idea with a shiny new Third Very Good Idea which made it even better.

5: They wrote 60,000 to 150,000 words about Very Good Ideas One and Two (or Three.) It might not be in a genre you like, it might be too light and fluffy or too flabby and pretentious but they wrote the words down. A story now exists where there was none before.

6: Then they edited, going through the whole thing until they were sick of the sight of it, rejigging it, taking bits out, regretting it, putting them back in. They cut things they loved, sliced out whole characters and wrote entirely new scenes instead, all the while not truly knowing whether they were making the thing better or worse.

7: They then sent it to agents. Dozens of ‘em. They received rejection email after rejection email until they wondered whether the Very Good Idea was actually Utter Tripe Idea in disguise. Maybe they took too long writing it and nobody wants dystopian YA stories any more, or a major plot point has been wiped out by the invention of Google Maps. Or maybe they just wasted an immense amount of their time and passion on something nobody wants to read. This could happen, and does – all the time. But if it doesn’t…

More bashing into shape ensues

8: An agent actually picks it out of their slush pile of hundreds, is moved by the words, blown away by VGIs One and Two, and signs them up. More editing ensues. Author and agent eventually agree that book is in good shape. Hooray!

9: Said agent believes in the book enough to haul it all around town to different publishers, or even take it to a book fair and say: “Buy my client’s book, it’s great and it will make money for you.”

10: In order to get a book deal, the author then has to cage fight JK Rowling using only a copy of The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook as a weapon. Oh wait, no, that’s just a weird dream I had.

10: A publisher sees the book, likes it and thinks that this is a Very Good Idea, which will possibly make money for them.

11: The publisher then introduces an editor into the mix who undertakes more Bashing Into Shape along with the author who is probably feeling pretty bashed themself by now. Once they’re happy, they haul it around town to the booksellers and supermarkets, convincing them that the author has had a Very Good Idea and that they, too could make money from it.

12: It has been years since the author had the Very Good Idea but it’s stood the test of time, it’s on the shelves. Now the author, the publisher and booksellers all join forces to convince us – the reading public – that the Very Good Idea is worth spending the price of a cup of coffee on.

What a way to make a living!

Seriously, it’s ridiculous, but that’s the way it works in traditional publishing. So to get your book onto shelves and into people’s hands takes an astonishing amount of faith in yourself and your idea, extraordinary discipline and commitment plus a rhino-like skin to deal with all those rejections and edits along the way. So anyone who has ever, ever had anything published is an utter hero. I salute you. And one day, glutton for punishment that I am, I hope to join you.

I wrote a book in three weeks and it changed everything

A few months ago, I wrote a book in the space of a few weeks. It wasn’t a particularly long one – just 12,000 words and it wasn’t a masterwork of fiction poured from my heart through the filter of my amazing literary talent.

In fact if I had to define it, Everything You Need To Know: Kings And Queens Through The Ages is one of those fun books you give to people at Christmas and then spot in their downstairs loo months later. But hey – a book is a book.

A friend put me in touch with a new publishing company which was planning to roll out a whole Everything You Need To Know series and needed writers. I fancied a new challenge and after a couple of enthusiastic emails I had myself a tasty commission. There was one small problem – they wanted the book in three and a half weeks.

All it took was a punishing deadline and the will to ignore my family

And so I was off, researching up a storm. I spent hours in my local library scouring biographies for light-hearted trivia, trawled Wikipedia for leads then disappeared down a wondrous rabbit hole of historical blogs and academic papers. In the process I became an expert on things I’d never been remotely interested in before. I found myself watching The Crown saying things like “Of course Princess Margaret’s been on a bus” or “ooh look, it’s the Poltimore Tiara!”

And as I worked, the words just came – lining up gleefully on the page as I discovered each treasure trove of trivia. It was tons of fun. Of course when this happens it’s usually a sign that the work will need some serious editing later on but the fact remains: at the beginning of the month there was no book – three and a half weeks later, there was one.

By then I was knackered – I’d been doing all my regular freelance work alongside it so had been working until 2am for weeks – but also kind of exhilarated. Because after spending years in limbo with my own novel, tapping out the odd paragraph between commissions, I realised I could write something long-form (well long-ish), and write it fast. All it took was a punishing deadline and the will to ignore my family for set periods of time.

And so, in the weeks that followed I came to a decision. For years I’d been struggling to fit my fiction writing around the demands of a fast-turnaround freelance job, plus the needs of two small children and a raggedy, untidy house. As a result my novel has inched along slowly, sometimes lying neglected in my Dropbox for weeks. It’s time to make a change, to take a run at it like I did with Kings & Queens.

And so from the end of last year that’s what I started to do.  I dropped all freelance work except book reviews – I could never give up book reviews. And while it was incredibly painful it was also a huge relief because for the first time in years I was prioritising the career I wanted.

Having time to concentrate made all the difference

A few months later, I have finished editing the manuscript of my YA crime novel, The Girl Who, and have started sending it to agents. Having the time to concentrate on this project has made all the difference. I know I’m privileged to be able to do it, that I have a husband in work who is able to shoulder the financial burden for a while – many others don’t have that luxury. It’s no wonder the world of writing is so inaccessible for so many – there’ll be a blog on this in the near future as I have a lot to say about this.

Sadly, things did not end well for poor old Kings & Queens. Despite the punishing deadline it’s now languishing in publishing no-man’s-land, like an ageing heir awaiting an abdication, as booksellers didn’t pick it up. But still, it could be the most important book I ever wrote, as it gave me the confidence to carry on.

How to edit your novel on Kindle

It’s been two months since I typed The End on my manuscript. I thought it would feel exciting and wonderful, but actually I felt kind of flat. Because although I was pleased to get to the end of my first draft – SIX FLAMING YEARS after starting it – I also knew there was tougher work to come. I dreaded the process of picking apart my hard-woven words, taking out all those flowery bits which seemed so beautiful at the time and crunching the plot.

Yup, I was dreading the editing process.

There’s just something about scrolling through a Word document which bogs me down. I pick apart sentences and shift words around but it’s impossible to step back and look at the broader flow of the story or check the pacing. Reading on-screen or even in an A4 printout doesn’t feel the same as reading a book.

I had the chance to read my book as the average reader would

Before Christmas I sent the manuscript to a kind, generous and straight-talking author friend for feedback and she asked me to send it to her in ebook form so she could read it on her Kindle. After an initial technophobic panic, I downloaded an app called Calibre which allows you to convert Word documents to .mobi or .epub files so they can work on an e-reader. Self published authors will know this process well, but it was new to me.

It suddenly dawned on me that I had the chance to read my book as a reader would. On a Kindle while sitting on the bus, lying in bed or brushing my teeth (Just me? Probably.)

It didn’t take long to convert the latest version of my MS (instructions are below if you haven’t done it before) and I got a genuine kick out of seeing my words on the Kindle screen. It felt more like an actual book than it ever had before.

Reading in that format prevented me from stopping every few minutes to perform major (probably unnecessary) surgery on an actually-probably-OK paragraph but I could still use the highlight and note features to jot things down as I went along.

It’s been a completely refreshing, new way to look at the book and definitely worth doing if you’re in a slump. Once I’ve finished, I’m planning to keep the ebook in front of me as I make changes which makes me feel one step ahead on the brutal editing process – and one step closer to getting my book off the ground.

How to turn your MS into an e-book (for editing, not self-publishing purposes)

This might be a completely bleeding obvious process for some people, but super handy for others, like me, who are new to this malarkey.

screenshot of calibre app open on a desktop

The Calibre window open on my desktop

1: Download Calibre online. My computer runs on Linux rather than Windows, which is probably why the screen grabs look a bit weird – but Windows versions are available. I used a dummy Masterpiece for the screen grabs – that obviously isn’t the title of my book. I did this because I STILL CAN’T FLIPPING THINK OF A GOOD TITLE FOR MY WIP DAMMIT.

2: Open Calibre and go to Add Books to import your document.

click on Output Format at top left to convert to .mobi

Add a cover then click on Output Format at top left to convert to .mobi

3: Then select your book and click on Convert Books. Go to Output Format and select .mobi for a Kindle. Other readers can run .epub documents. I added a random photo of an Elvis impersonator as a cover, just to see if it worked. It showed up in the actual document but, disappointingly, not on my Kindle homepage.

4: Hook up your Kindle to your computer and drag-and-drop your mobi into the documents folder with your other ebooks. You can obviously try to email it using your Kindle email address but I’ve had patchy results with this.

If you decide to try this too – or have used it lots before – let me know how you get on!

All about being stuck in the middle of a novel with no end in sight

How writers need networks