Almost five years to the day since writing the first line, my first novel is complete and ready to ship worldwide.
Self-published with help from Saeah and the Otterpine team.
You can buy the beautiful paperback (and digital) edition at charliewalks.com.
I'm used to selling digital products so selling a physical product is something new.
But I'm excited!
This is the best thing I've ever made.
I made a launch video to go along with it, a cumulation of the journey.
The video adds a visual element to the letter below.
A letter to Pauly letting him know the book's ready to go.
If you've read the book you'll be a fan of the meta.
Go to charliewalks.com and you can buy my beautiful book anywhere in the world!
We talked about this for years.
That book I was writing.
Out in the wild!
You can hold it, flip the pages.
I started typing the first draft then moved to pen and paper.
But the rhythm feels better.
The same feeling as when I first learned to write as a child.
The curiosity of the blank page teasing me forward.
Six or seven notepads by the end.
Then I typed them up and retyped the words four, five, six, seven different times.
Every couple of months going to the printer and printing the next version.
The printing clerk got to know me.
You’re back they’d say.
Yes, I’d say.
Getting up earlier and earlier each morning.
My tools: sometimes coffee sometimes tea always walks always other writers.
Looking out the window looking at the wall wondering where I’ll go today where I go when my pen comes off the page when I pause when I sit back from my screen
I care an increasing amount about how things look.
Beauty of the highest standard even with words on a page.
It sounds silly with writing.
How can words on a page look good?
Compare a legal terms sheet and my new book.
I decorated my whiteboard with edits.
Ticking off one chapter at a time.
Some too long.
Cutting them in two, in three.
My high school teacher gave me a C in English.
I wouldn’t read that mud either.
I did it Pauly. Ho ho, I did it!
I wrote a book I’d like to read.
I think you will too.
You’re in it after all.
Those stories we talked about, the man on the boat, skydiver Rick, the women, the friends, the enemies, Raj! Oh, Raj!
All these characters you helped create.
Sometimes I forget you’re my nephew Pauly. Such a label doesn’t describe our relationship.
You’ll love the cover too.
Charlie’s a funambulist!
Do you know what that word means?
Well, in Latin, funis means rope and ambulo means walk.
So a funambulist is a rope walker or better a tightrope walker.
Charlie the funambulist, Charlie the tightrope walker!
No spoilers now c’mon.
There’s the blurb for that!
But I prefer fun-ambulist.
A fun walker!
I designed the cover with that in mind.
Drew a man walking between city and nature.
A modern dichotomy.
Many artists submitted their interpretations.
I went through them all and picked the one you see.
Perhaps I should’ve gotten my computer to make one.
Used one of the new generative artificial intelligence models.
Charlie, me, the main character, is a machine learning engineer after all.
The digital version came out on my birthday last year.
But it’s not the same.
You can’t hold it. Can’t smell it can’t feel the tactile satisfaction of flipping pages and most important: can’t show it off on your bookshelf.
I lost a bet Pauly.
I bet Dave it would be out three years ago.
A reasonable sum.
I better sell some copies!
He said not to worry about it.
But I have more self-respect than that.
It’s here Dave! And don’t worry my friend, you’ll get your money soon!
When the first printed copies arrived I almost cried.
My book Pauly!
The book I’d like to read! The book I’d like to write!
I picked one up and kissed it.
All those days walking past bookstores and public libraries holding the works of my gods and imagining one day my name being amongst theirs!
Ruby helped me unpack them and I got to work signing and numbering each one, the first 150 copies.
I gave one each to friends and family far and near.
Handwriting letters to put inside just like this one.
Thank you thank you thank you enjoy my book it’s the best thing I’ve ever made.
I being the cumulation of a lifetime of people and stories around me. I as in me, Charlie, only took the time to put them down on paper.
Hand-wrapping the first editions on the floor sweating because of the summer heat because of the fire under my feet!
One to India Italy Melbourne Canada New Zealand. Leaving them outside for the delivery person to collect.
One of them even got caught in a local flooding event!
And to local public libraries!
A Charlie Walks hit list.
Someone converted an old red phone booth into one.
Out the front of homes, old sheds, old fridges, saying hello to the caretakers, this is a custom book and them saying oh yes, thank you.
Will anyone find them?
Don’t answer that.
The fun is in not knowing!
Like the feeling of watching birds fly behind the clouds. The Japanese call it yugen. The enchanting mysticism of the unknown.
And the reverse heist!
What a laugh!
I’ll show you a video next time I see you.
But if a heist is taking without asking a reverse heist is leaving without asking.
I left a few copies of Charlie Walks at a large bookstore.
I heard later the manager wasn’t happy.
They wanted to sue me.
Oh goodness Pauly.
What have I done?
Wrong to leave the books?
But forgive me for assuming the lightheartedness of a bookstore owner towards a new author.
Next time I’ll just ask.
Excuse me, would you like my book?
I tried it.
One bookstore said yes.
Another said no.
Turns out it’s that easy.
You just ask!
I held a makeshift bookstore of my own near the water. The local cafe owner Andrew offered a good deal.
Anyone who buys a book gets a free coffee he said.
I printed signs.
Buy a book, get a coffee.
People loved it!
One of my primary school teachers even bought a copy!
It’s incredible how supportive the world seems to become when you support yourself first.
I’ll let you on a secret Pauly: I’m my own biggest fan.
I stood by my book and said, hello this is what I’ve made.
Many people said they’d always wanted to write a book.
Some even had drafts waiting to be finished.
Now they’d seen my novel, felt it in their hands, it gave them a healthy dose of well, if he can do it…
I sold out Pauly.
And I could order more for myself to sell locally.
But what about my readers elsewhere?
I asked a publisher to help.
And they said they’d never done fiction but there’s a first for everything.
It surprised me what you can achieve by just asking.
They helped with the formatting made it look even better than I could on my own, we’ll get our special printer to print the next copies, they said, you’ll love the quality.
And I do I do I do.
Like a real novel!
The feel, thick and solid, the sound of the pages turning, the typeset easy on the eyes, plenty of white space to let the reading mind wander.
Oh you’ll love the story!
Science fiction but not too much. Coming of age. Love, loss, enough song and dance for the romantics, enough technology for the nerds.
I’ve gone on for too long.
But I can’t help it!
I’m sure you can tell how excited I am to finally let these words go and become yours.
I did it Pauly.
I wrote a beautiful book.
A book that’s now available to buy worldwide.
A book I’d like to read.
And I’m sure you will too.
PS Let me know when you’re finished and we can talk about ideas for the next one.