As you read this I’m hoping that the UK will be bathed in glorious sunshine – but regardless of whether the summer has finally decided to put in an appearance, the ebook edition will be available for a mere 99p, for the duration of the bank holiday weekend. Come Tuesday morning the price goes back up! Get it now!
A FREE kindle reader app is available for all smartphones, computers and tablets from amazon (.co.uk | .com)
If you prefer to read with your ears there’s always the audio edition, narrated by myself and my co-author. This too is available from today. We’ve teamed up with audible.co.uk to give you the opportunity to get your copy for free. Just use this link, follow the instructions and search for ’How To Eat Loads And Stay Slim’.
The paperback edition will be available in just a couple of weeks – early June we hope – also from amazon. Use the ‘subscribe’ button in the top right hand corner of this website if you’d like to be reminded. But the first five people who leave us a favourable review on amazon, for either of the editions that are there now, will get a paperback, signed by both of us, for FREE, when it comes out.
(I’m going to be really strict about this though; your review must be visible on amazon.co.uk or amazon.com, AND you have to be amongst the first five people to let me know. Don’t wait for the paperback to become available – leave your review today)
Phew! So that’s three editions. What’s the fourth?
US Paperback edition of How To Do Everything And Be Happy
From June 4th, How To Do Everything and Be Happy will finally be available in selected Bricks and Mortar Bookshops all over the United States, and from your favourite online booksellers.
Of course it’s been available in the US as an ebook, and in audio, for a while – but now you lovely American folk finally be able to get a paper copy without having to order one from overseas.
To mark this auspicious occasion, Harper 360 (part of Harper Collins) have decided to give the US-printed paperback a brand new, all-yellow cover, hence the subtle re-branding exercise on the book’s ebsite, twitter and on facebook. What d’you think? Funky eh?
Of course the inside of the book remains exactly the same – this isn’t a new version – so there’s no need to rush out and buy a new copy of the book if you already have one. Not unless you really, really want to. Although I would certainly understand if that were the case. Just as – one imagines – there might be those amongst you who might see a market for importing the US branded copy of the book, and selling it here in the UK as a collectors edition. I’m just saying is all.
If you’re a long time reader of How To Do Everything and Be Happy this might seem oddly familiar. And so it should. The original book jacket for ‘Happy’ was very similar – different colours, different silhouette, but the same basic layout and iconic star burst background. It proved a popular cover, but when Della and I came to think about this book there was another very good reason why it was time to dust off the old design and give it a new lease of life.
Just like it’s predecessor, throughout the new book you’ll come across various ‘Action Points’. The idea is that you stop, address the action, and then continue. But where ‘Slim’ differs is that each of the Action Points has a ‘star rating’.
You earn one star just for buying the book (did you spot that line of blue text along the bottom?), and with every additional star you acquire you will steadily increase your chances of being able to eat loads AND stay slim. Collect enough stars (thirty or more would be a good target to have) and Della and I personally guarantee that a slim figure, coupled with a healthy but satiated appetite, are yours for the taking. And all you have to do to earn a star is complete an action point.
Back to the cover though. Della and I can’t really take any credit for what you see before you. Both covers were designed by my good friend Ellen – who having taken our suggestions into consideration, ignored them completely and blew our socks off with the colourful creation you see today.
Ellen is an extremely talented young woman. Together with her business partner and fellow wordsmith Dan (hello Dan), they work for an advertising agency that’s going places. As well as the rather funky clothing company extragged.com
To finish up I thought I’d share with you the following video that Ellen helped create for Sir Paul McCartney (to be played behind him and the band during the American leg of his world tour)! It basically involved locking Ellen in a room for two weeks with a huge blackboard and getting her to draw whatever came to mind to the song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, with occasional input on the phone from Sir Paul himself. The result is pretty stunning. Like I said, talented young woman.
If you’re reading this in your email or you can’t see the video – click here
A few days ago I met up with the very fabulous Michelle Ward, singer and presenter on Phoenix FM, as well as writer, journalist and fellow author Sylvia Kent. We talked in general about books, book titles, as well as How To Do Everything and Be Happy, How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim, and How To Start Dating and Stop Waiting. The conversation span off into dating disaster stories where, perhaps fortunately, we eventually ran out of time.
Needless to say, I’m pleased as punch, and for the first time in my short writing career I suddenly feel the need to celebrate with all those people who helped me get to this point. In other words, YOU. How does the afternoon of Sunday the 10th of February sound? From 1pm. Here in sunny Southend on Sea, at Waterstones Bookshop. Put that in your diary.
There’s no need to feel compelled to buy a new copy of the book if you’re an existing reader – I’ll sign whatever copy you have – but most of all I’d like to shake you firmly by the hand and thank you for your support.
As well as handshakes I can say with reasonable certainty that there’ll be FREE pens, badges, lollies, and glasses of fizz! Possibly with alcohol in them! And if none of that’s enough to entice you then there’s always the official How To Do Everything and Be Happy Balloon Hat! With his big smiley face and out-stretched arms, your smiley-balloon-hat will either communicate love for your fellow man, or stand in for you should you be feeling a little light in the love-giving department. And when you’re finished with him, just pop with a pin and pretend like it never happened. Definitely recommended for kids of all ages.
Obviously feel free to just ‘rock up’ if you find yourself walking past the store that Sunday afternoon – though it would be mildly useful to get a feel for the number of people likely to show. You know, just so that I have enough bottles of fizz. Use the comments below or click here to let me know on facebook. Oh, and bring your friends.
Waterstones Southend is opposite Marks & Spencers at 49-51 High Street, SS1 1HZ. Map below.
I’ve just finished writing the first draft of How To Start Dating and Stop Waiting.
Some explanation is needed.
When I say ‘first draft’, I mean the version of the manuscript that came into being, whilst I sat here, bashing away at the keyboard, with one eye on my outline. I can tell you now that it’s the very best thing I’ve ever written, and that there’s probably only a couple of minor things that need fixing – perhaps the odd smelling mistake, or formatting error – and then it’ll be ready to be released to the world. Part of me wonders whether I should skip my usual editing process and upload it directly to amazon, once I’ve cobbled together some sort of cover.
Another part of me knows that what I actually have is a nothing more than a collection of loosely associated words. And by words I mean a letters arranged into groups, because many of these so-called words won’t actually appear in any dictionary known to man. Where a genuine word does appear there’s a very good chance that it’s not the one I actually meant to type, or that it appears several times in the same paragraph, or it’s part of a phrase that I’ve used over and over and over again. There will be punctuation and grammar mistakes everywhere. Jokes that don’t work. Formatting errors galore. In short – it’ll be a train wreck. A disaster. And I realise yet again that ‘finished’ isn’t a word that should ever share a sentence with the phrase ‘first draft’.
My mate Vikki Thompson is in a similar position. Having taken part in NaNoWrMo this year she’s looking at a 50,000+ word ‘novel’ and wondering what to do next. And whilst there’s a whole host of writing advice out there, here’s what I do to take my manuscript from first to final draft.
Let it rest – This is a luxury that I can’t always afford, but the truth is getting a little distance between you and your WIP (‘work in progress’ – I hate that expression) helps you to lose the rose-coloured spectacles you were wearing when you found yourself thinking, “hey, this is pretty good stuff.” And by you, I mean of course, me.
Print it. Read it. Mark changes – for reasons that I’ve never been able to fathom errors are easier to spot on the printed page. Once you’ve invested paper and ink into something those stupid swelling mistaks will leap out at you and blow raspberries. But more than that, it’s easier to navigate through a printed document. I take a red pen and start ringing words, striking through whole sentences (and paragraphs), and putting wiggly lines in the margins (which is short hand for ‘meh – probably needs a re-write’).
I make changes.
Print it. Read it (aloud this time). Mark changes – Oddly, reading something aloud is the only way I know to find out if the ‘rythmn’ of the piece is right, whether my sentences are too long, and whether it’s clear who’s speaking. Sometimes I’ll even take a chapter to my local writing group and get someone else to read it whilst I follow along on another copy and mark where things don’t sound right.
I make changes.
Give it to Jules – my assistant Jules is usually the first person (after me) to read anything I’ve written. Having worked together now for many years I know I’ll get a brutally honest opinion. Gone are the days when she’d write a long diplomatic note about how she got a little lost, or “perhaps it could be better still”. Now she’s more likely to strike through an entire page and scribble “bit poncy” in the margin. Often Jules won’t be able to tell me what’s wrong with a particular piece, only that it doesn’t work for her. And that’s fine.
I make changes.
Give it to first readers – I’ll print a couple more copies and send it to people I’ve identified as my trusted ‘first readers’, a crack team of operatives who will give me their honest opinions on anything and everything. For this book that’ll be Wendy Steele and Della Galton. Together they’ll pick up on anything that Jules missed; jokes that still don’t work or can be misinterpreted, bits that ramble on too long, are hard to follow, or simply don’t make sense. Like Jules both ladies know better than to spare my feelings. I’m not looking for encouragement – I’m looking for things to fix!
I make changes.
Send it to my agent – finally, my lovely agent Becky will cast her beady eye over the book. If I’ve done my job well she’ll complain that she couldn’t speed-read the manuscript because she kept slowing down to read it properly. She’ll then send me her changes which are usually more structural in nature, moving elements she feels a publisher would particularly like to the front of the book, and generally making the book more commercial.
I make the final changes.
This entire process will usually takes me longer than it took to write that initial draft, but what I’m left with is usually something I can feel mildly proud of. And for the first time I can finally say, it’s ‘finished’.
So there I was, sitting at home, having me tea, when the phone goes and me ol’ pal Matt (who never, ever calls me) says, “Mate! Your book’s just been on the telly!!”
And he was right too. As part of a short feature on ‘Self Help’ books, on the BBC’s One Show, the new version of How To Do Everything and Be Happy briefly makes it into the shot along side books by Paul McKenna and Deepak Chopra.
If you’re interested you can view it here - on the iPlayer website – but only for a day or two, then it’ll be gone forever!
The eagle eyed amongst you may have noticed that it’s been a while since I posted an entry on this blog. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been ludicrously busy, and whilst that wouldn’t be a lie (these past few months have been possibly the most manic I can remember) it certainly wouldn’t be the whole truth.
The thing is, I’ve been feeling a bit of a fraud.
This is my author blog – it says so right there at the top of the screen, but with only book to my name, published through my own company, there have been times this past year – quite a lot of times – when I’ve felt that calling myself an author is akin to the average man on the street buying himself a second hand lute and declaring to the world that he is a musician. But no more.
Allow me to give you a potted career history of Peter Jones.
Back in my early twenties, a series of poor choices and lucky accidents resulted in me becoming self-employed and working for most of the UK’s Credit Card banks as a freelance business consultant. I was (and I suppose, still am) an ideas man, and a fix-it man; wealthy men would ask me how to make even more money using the tools they had at their disposal, and I would tell them. Though it pains me to admit it, the credit crunch is partly my fault – not my idea, but I was most definitely pulling the levers and pressing the buttons that made it happen.
It wasn’t a bad way to make a living – the money was nice – but whilst I enjoyed the problem solving, and the company of the people I worked with, as the years rolled by I became less and less comfortable working in that industry. By the time I met my wife Kate I wanted out, and much of our time together was spent trying to find ways to use the few skills we had between us to create an alternative career. We tried everything from website design, to property investment. None of those things really worked. And when she died, it felt like my dreams of escaping credit card consultancy died with her.
How wrong I was.
What actually happened was that my focus changed. And instead of trying to dig myself out of the pit I’d spent almost twenty years getting myself into, I concentrated my solution-finding skills on seeking out the very thing that I seemed to lack; happiness. I read a lot of books, made a lot of lists, and tried anything and everything I could think of. Most of the ideas didn’t work. But some.. did!
One day a good friend of mine (hello Tina) suggested I ought to write down some of the quirkier ideas. Several months later I found that I’d accidentally written a book.
Around that time one of my banking contracts was drawing to a close, so I took the somewhat risky decision to dedicate the next few months to publishing my strange work of accidental non-fiction, first as an e-book, and later as a (Print On Demand) Paperback. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog you’ll also know that not only did I achieve that but that the book was quite successful. And when I say ‘quite’, I am of course being extremely British about the whole thing. I’m using ‘quite’ in the same way that some Americans might use the world ‘wildly’. By Christmas of last year my sales were such that I’d started to wonder if I could actually get away with not returning to my previous life – whether I could achieve the impossible, fulfil a child-hood dream, and become a full-time author.
“I am supporting myself
doing the things I love & enjoy,
and no longer worry about bills.”
By March, and thanks to the persistent efforts of my assistant, I found myself one of the many authors taking part in the prestigious Essex Book Festival. A few weeks later I signed a three book deal with audible (.co.uk | .com), the world’s largest supplier of audio books. I asked if I could audition to read my own book – I passed the audition, recorded the title, and timed the second e-book edition of How To Do Everything and be Happy to launch alongside the audio in June.
It was always my intention to bring out this updated version in paperback too but events took a slightly different turn. The ebook success and audible deal got the attention of an agent, who in turn was able to get the attention of some fairly major publishers. On August 31st I officially signed a deal with publishers Harper Collins to relaunch the book that got me here in the first place. Essentially How To Do Everything and Be Happy has broken into the mainstream.
What does this actually mean?
Well firstly the book has a brand new funky cover. Secondly, the e-book is now available EVERYWHERE, for every e-reader on the planet, from all good e-book retailers. Thirdly, it’s still only £1.99 (or your local equivalent).
And last, but by no means least, a brand new paperback version – with all the lovely second-edition extras & goodies – will be on shelves, in bricks and mortar UK book stores, on the 17th of January 2013 (a little later in the US – be prepared for half a zillion pictures of me in bookstores up and down the country on facebook in the New Year)
To celebrate the re-launch of the paperback I’m planning on having a book-launch thingamy. I’m not a huge fan of book launches, or indeed any social gatherings (you seem surprised?), but even I’ve got admit that this can’t go by without something to mark the occasion. And so long as I’m left in charge of organising it please consider yourself (and a friend) invited, because I could never have got this far without you!
So does this mean I’ve achieved my goal?? Am I no longer worrying about bills? Pfff! Not quite. But I’m a good deal closer, and I’m still working on it.
The next book - How To Eat Loads and Stay Slim - is finished. In a few days I’ll be able to tell you where and when it’ll be available. And right now I’m half way through writing a third book, and about to start a fourth. I am quite frankly stunned at what I’ve managed to achieve. Not proud – just stunned. Pride will follow shortly I’m sure, but right now I’m still reeling on a daily basis from how much you can achieve if you set your goals correctly, and put some effort in.
And you’ll be pleased to know I’m feeling a good deal less fraudulent. Expect more frequent author blogging from this point on. At least, assuming I’m not too busy.
One of the best things about being an author – if not the best thing – is the opportunity I’ve had to meet my readers, many of whom have interesting ideas, fabulous suggestions, or extraordinary tales of their own to share.
Take for example, this week (or last week when you get to read this). Reader Jamie Anderson popped by How To Do Everything and Be Happy‘s facebook page to “LIKE it“, having just finished listening to the audio book. I got an email telling me he’d done so and moments later I found myself admiring his “cover photo” (all of which will mean something if you happen to use facebook). Anyway, we struck up a conversation, and a while later Jamie dropped me an email to tell me why the image meant so much to him.
Here’s part the email I received:
About 4 years ago I was running a company I had set up 3 years previously doing something I was good at but didn’t really love. Suddenly one night I was struck ill, and ended up in hospital. The doctors told me I most likely had an autoimmune condition and that my life was about to change forever. I lay in my hospital bed reading pamphlets they had given me about how my life was about to change. I downloaded Audible on my phone and purchase Michael Heppell’s “Flip It” book, which helped me look at this potential nightmare in a different way.
Anyway, I was discharged and went home with my huge basket of new drugs to deal with this condition.
I sat down, and started to list all the things that I wanted to do. All the things I wanted to change. All the things I wanted to try before this condition got the better of me. “Fly a helicopter”, “buy a stupid red American 80s sports car”, “Try rock climbing”, “travel to…”, “Get out of this company I hate”. You get the idea.
6 hours later, I got a frantic answerphone message from the doctor whose care I had been in. “Please call us back urgently Mr Anderson, we need you to come back in”. I feared the worst. Had the biopsies shown cancerous growths? Could this get any worse?!
I headed back to the hospital, and met with the anxious Doctor. “Mr Anderson, I’m sorry, we have made a big mistake”. “Oh God… it’s cancer isn’t it” I thought.
“You don’t have this autoimmune condition at all!” She said. “It’s a simple bacterial infection that has caused all of this, and we can clear it up in 7-10 days with these pills”. She thrust some new pills into my right hand, and took the bag of pills from my left hand.
It had all been a terrible mistake, and after about 1 month I was fully recovered. But it made me think how fragile life is and how quickly it can change. If that’s the case then what the hell was I doing living a life I didn’t love, doing things I hated every day, and not doing the things I really wanted to do!?
Well, it took me another 18 months to close that business, and it was horrible. But the result is that I’m now happier! I’ve flown a plane (not a helicopter yet), done several sessions of rock climbing, and bought (and sadly sold) a burgundy 1987 Pontiac Fiero. My God, I loved that car. I want to get another one. I will get another one. I own a 1988 Pontiac Fiero – 20th December, 2012. See, I’ve read the book! I’m now a self-help junkie, and your book is one of my top 10 (out of the 150 or so I have read so far).
Anyway, my cover image on my Facebook page came about as follows: I thought long and hard about who best to ask about how to live life well and make the most out of every day. I realized that the dying (those who knew they had 1-4 weeks to live) would be the best people to ask. It’s amazing how that sort of news can suddenly make you very wise and bring incredible clarity to what you think about life. The same week, I found an article about a nurse who had asked the dying their main regrets.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
These were so striking, I kept reading them every day, but they weren’t very powerful written in that way. I then read a related article where someone had turned them into commandments, and another had created the image you’ve shared.
It’s not perfect (the don’ts are a problem), so it’s on my list to remake the image with more powerful affirmations. But my feeling is that if you follow these affirmations in life you can’t go too far wrong.
What an amazing story, eh? And I have to say I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for sharing your story Jamie – here’s hoping you get to fly that helicopter soon.
Oi! Pay attention! This post has been ‘archived’ because things have moved on quite a bit since I wrote it.
To read something a tad more current, click here
TEN THOUSAND sales after its initial release, the long awaited Second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy is now available in ebook and audio format
The new edition has a numerous updates throughout, including some great reader feedback, and the following new sections:
‘Potential Boxing Day Problems‘ (revised and updated)
‘Advanced Boxing Day‘
‘Potential Now List Day Problems‘
‘Determining Your Next Action‘
‘Advanced Diary Tips‘
But, for me, the most exciting part of this re-launch is the fact that it’ll be available in an entirely new format!
Now Available in Audio!
From TODAY you can also download the second edition of the book from audible (.co.uk | .com), an amazon company and the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word audio entertainment, and listen to the book “read by the author” (in other words, me)!
Oi! Pay attention! This post has been ‘archived’ because things have moved on quite a bit since I wrote it. To read something a tad more current, click here
Fifteen months and 10,000 sales after its initial release, the second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy will be officially available (in two formats) from this Friday (8th of June, 2012 ). To say I’m pleased, is something of an understatement…
Who’d have thunk it. It’s probably a little under two years since I first penned the opening chapter to what became How To Do Everything and Be Happy. And now, all these months later, a revised an updated version of the book, featuring new sections and reader feedback, will be coming out on Friday.
For me, the most exciting part of this re-launch is the fact that it’ll be available in an entirely new format – audio!
The audio version is part of a three-book deal that I signed with audible – the internet’s largest supplier of spoken word audio entertainment – back in February. This was a very exciting moment for me, not least because I myself have been a long time member of audible and many of the books that I’ve “read” over the years have actually been read to me whilst I’ve driven to and from various places of work. Some authors don’t feel fully-published unless they can pull their book from a shelf and riffle through the pages. Bizarre though it may sound I feel the pretty much the same about what my mother describes as “talking books”. Having my book available in all three formats feels like a significant achievement.
So, from this Friday you’ll be able to download the second edition of How To Do Everything and Be Happy from audible (.co.uk | .com), and hear the book “read by the author” (in other words, me)!
Before you do that however…
If you have any comments, questions, glowing endorsements, please feel free to drop me a line via the contact page or the comments box below.
In the meantime, Happy Reading – here’s to the next ten thousand sales :-)