Yes, that’s right – Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest, the story of my ten-year journey from hill walker to Everest climber is out now in paperback. You can see a list of stores where you can buy it here.
The paperback is available through Amazon initially. I will be expanding the reach over the next few weeks and adding more book stores to the list as it becomes available elsewhere. You can sign up to my mailing list to be kept up to date.
But why should you give a toss? Here are five reasons to buy the paperback. If you’ve read it and liked it then please do add more reasons in the comments if you can think of any!
1. It will inspire you to find your own Everest and climb it
Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest is a book about an ordinary guy with a big dream. When I was a youngster I used to get thrashed at squash by a 50-year-old bald guy – my dad. I failed to inherit his sporting prowess, but to add insult to injury, I did eventually inherit his haircut.
I took up hill walking because all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other – a skill I was able to master from a young age. But I couldn’t climb to save my life; I didn’t even have a very good head for heights.
Somehow I ended up climbing Everest. How on earth? This book tells you all about my journey, from the high-altitude trekking, to learning the basic mountaineering skills, and tackling bigger and bigger challenges.
But you don’t need to have a dream of climbing Everest to find my story inspiring. All you need is a dream to tackle something so far beyond your horizon that it seems ridiculous.
Dreaming is the easy bit. But deep within us we all have the patience and determination to follow a dream if we choose to.
2. You will be supporting a revolution in mountain writing
Not so long ago my story about an ordinary guy doing something out of the ordinary would never have been published. Even now, if you look at the bestselling books about mountaineering they are either ripping yarns involving elite mountaineers, extreme tales of survival, or accounts of major disasters. These are the only books about mountaineering that publishing houses believe people want to read.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these books, but I believe there is a whole genre of mountain writing out there waiting to be written, one with a far broader audience of readers.
When the digital book revolution opened the publishing doors to people like me five years ago, I started uploading some of my diaries to Amazon. They were entirely self-edited and I didn’t even regard them as proper books, but they found an audience. Although there were a few sniping reviews, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and it encouraged me to devote three of four years of my life to writing Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest.
What was it about the writing that seemed to resonate? The reviews I received were full of comments like these:
What I enjoyed so much about this book is that the writer is a real person with the same fears and excitement that I think any of us would feel in climbing Everest.
He lets you feel like you are travelling along with him, going on an adventure with a regular guy.
Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest is one of the first books in a new genre of mountain writing. If you buy it, enjoy what you read, and post a positive review, then it will encourage other writers to contribute to the genre.
You can read more about this new genre of mine on the About page of this blog.
3. You will roar with laughter (or hopefully chuckle a bit)
When I first started writing Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest after I returned from Everest in 2012, my aim was to write a Bill Bryson-style five jokes per page. I wrote whatever came into my head in frivolous style, then went back and edited what I’d written. If there weren’t enough jokes then I added some more.
I soon realised that five jokes a page in a work of non-fiction is not so easy. I don’t know how Bill does it, but I could only do it myself by including one or two jokes in dubious taste which I then had to edit out again.
When I sent the manuscript out to my beta readers for early feedback, some of them pointed out that the book also makes a few serious points which are undermined by a joke or two in the next paragraph. So I edited out some more.
Even so, there is still plenty of humour in the book. In fact, I believe Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest has a higher joke-to-page ratio than any book about mountaineering since The Ascent of Rum Doodle. Some of the jokes might even make you laugh.
4. You can learn about mountaineering history in an entertaining and accessible manner
Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest is about my journey from hill walker to high-altitude mountaineer. I interweave my story with early history of the mountains I climb. This history includes George Mallory rock climbing on Snowdon, Shipton and Tilman exploring the Himalayas, Hans Meyer romping up Kilimanjaro, and Edward Fitzgerald wheezing his way up Aconcagua.
The stories are told in an entertaining and accessible manner. Although there are notes in the back of the book, these only reference the bibliography in case you want to read more about them. There are no important facts hidden in the end notes, and you don’t have to keep a finger in the back of the book and flick back and forth as you read, like you do with many history books supposedly written for the lay reader.
I never use any big words to impress the reader when there are easier alternatives. If historical characters do anything I regard as being silly, I’m not afraid to say so with a bit of gentle ridiculing. But mostly I put their extraordinary pioneering exploits into context to show that exotic travel has become much easier now.
5. You can grasp the book firmly in your hands and smell the ink wafting off the page
So far all of my books have only been available digitally. E-books have a number of advantages. They are cheap to produce, easily transported (you can carry a whole bookshelf of them on a single device), you can receive them immediately, search them by keyword, make notes in the margin without ruining them, etc.
There’s just one problem: not everyone reads e-books. Some people prefer to hold a book in their hands and proudly display its title to everyone on the train.
If you’re one these people then the paperback version is for you, beautifully formatted with original cover art, black and white photos, notes, bibliography and index.
And the book is print-on-demand, which means it’s specially printed and bound for you, and you can even smell the ink wafting off the page (well, maybe not that last bit).
Bonus reason – You will be helping to support this blog and hastening the publication of my next book
My ultimate ambition is to become a full-time writer. Early sales of the digital version of Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest have been favourable enough to suggest that it’s achievable some day, but it’s not sold enough copies to make me quit the day job just yet. I’m currently looking for another contract, and when I’m working full time again I will have less time to spend on this blog.
But while I look for a job, I’m cracking on with my next book. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about yet, but all will be revealed in due course.
Here once again is the list of places you can buy Seven Steps from Snowdon to Everest.
And please please, if you like it, then leave a brief review on Amazon or the site where you bought it. I can’t emphasise enough how important word-of-mouth recommendations are for an indie author who writes in their spare time and has no marketing budget.