The Amateur Author

Remember how I wrote that ol’ book? It’s almost two years since Transworld signed me up. The whole publishing process has been the most mental rollercoaster ride and it feels strange to have barely mentioned it, especially when I documented all the other rollercoasters of the past eight years. I was quiet during the book deal and book writing process due to fear of cocking it up then quiet once it was published for fear of sounding like a self-promoting smug git.

But it has been a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience and I need to get down some of these memories before they fall out of my head. There’s so many details in the WNP archives that I’d never have remembered had I not blogged them at the time. I know there’s only three people reading WNP now thanks to my criminal neglect (and that’s not because I’m too smug and happy to blog, as it has been suggested; just sideswiped by bastard job, etc etc) but I hope you guys won’t mind me wittering on about this author stuff.

Every time I’ve tried to write on WNP this year I’ve been kind of paralysed with self-consciousness so I’m going to start over and remember how I just used to write about stupid things that happened in my life for the pure hell of it. Woohoo!

To get started here is a wee thing I wrote for Trashionista about life after publishing.

. . .

Sometimes it’s still hard to believe I’m a proper published author. There’s a dent in the living room ceiling from a champagne cork, popped on the day I signed the deal for Dietgirl, yet apart from that my life looks much the same. I get up, I go to work, I swear at the computer, I come home; I watch University Challenge.

But then I get to have all these delicious Author Moments. Like skulking around doing interviews. I run home at lunchtime to chat to Spanish radio stations; I yak to Australia in the dead of night. I sneak into empty offices, hoping the boss doesn’t catch me as I tell yet another journalist how I gained all that weight.

“Nutella!” I hiss down the line, “Yes. That’s right. I used to eat it from the jar with a spoon. S-P-O-O-N!”

Then there’s all the book stalking. I remember the very first sighting – 23rd December, 1PM, face out and snuggled up to Gordon Ramsay’s bio at the local WH Smith. I took photos from five different angles then stood there poking the cover, making sure it wasn’t a mirage.

I’ve managed to curb the habit now, but for weeks I was drawn into every passing bookshop with the same irresistible lure I once felt for the dessert bar at Pizza Hut. My mood soared or slumped depending on whether or not the book was stocked, where it was placed and/or the number of copies. When my publisher told me that ASDA had taken it on, I dragged my husband Gareth around three different stores to witness this first hand. The first two stores didn’t have it, and the third had an empty space on the shelf with a plastic label beneath: Amazing Advents, Shauna Reid.

“They don’t have it!” I whimpered.

“They might have sold out!”

“Or maybe they changed their minds and never got it in the first place!”

“This is a very tumultuous time for you, isn’t it?” said Gareth. “And consequently, for me also.”


Best of all has been the lovely surprise of reader emails. Again, I’ll always remember the first, from Verity in Warwickshire. I nearly wrote back, Mum? Is that you? I couldn’t believe someone had read the book without being nagged by me to do so.

Since then I’ve had warm emails, funny emails and emails so heartbreaking that I drip snot and tears on the keyboard. I’ve even had a few confessions: “OMG, I thought I was the only one who ate Nutella with a spoon!”

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for January 2022.

25 thoughts on “The Amateur Author

  1. That must be bizarre being in Asda that is being a proper PROPER book.

    I am upset you haven’t Olympic blogged unless I have missed it. Mostly because the uk are ahead of aus tee hee etc…

  2. What Jude said.

    And I refuse to give credence to these bizarre rumours about us Stralyans getting beaten by the UK in the Olympics!

  3. Ha. And my boyfriend thinks I am weird for eating Nutella with a spoon….. I am glad I am not alone. Though I am sort of, because, you have apparently stopped eating the Nutella with the spoon.

  4. How else are you supposed to eat Nutella? The wee individual packs (always too small) CAME with a little wooden spoon for the purpose!

  5. I remember when I saw a giant pile of your books at the Borders at Heathrow earlier this year! It was quite exciting.

  6. teehee indeed nude :p haven’t watched much olympics, Athens was in a much more convenient time zone!

    Loth – never was one for individual packs, straight to the jar with spoon πŸ˜‰

  7. Hey, there seem to be at least SIX people still reading. 50% improvement on your estimate!

    “Amazing Advents” – it took me an awfully long time to work that out…

    I have that problem with bookshops too, without the excuse of being an Ortha. I look for your book when I’m there. I haven’t met that many Orthas.

    Once, in Moscow, my friends and I bought some Nutella as a much-needed change from all the cabbage-based hotel meals provided by the tour we were on. When we got back to our hotel, we realised we had no spoons or any cutlery at all. We ended up breaking some biscuits – the only other food we had – into chunks small enough to get into the pot, and scooping it out that way (and, inevitably, getting it all over our fingers). A spoon would have been positively civilised by comparison.

  8. What I want to know is, when’s the NEXT book?!?! You’ve got a damned fine turn of phrase. Maybe a “Shauna sees Europe” book or something?

    Anyway, I’ve never really got into Nutella but I used to make up lemon icing to eat when I was a kid – sans the cake to put it on. Talk about risking diabetes or something – EXTREME sugar high. The combination of pure sugar and ease of making. Then there’s golden syrup – deadly stuff.

    I’m hungry now – dammit!

    Scott F πŸ™‚

  9. bloody hell i just realised my phone auto-corrected JUDE into NUDE. sorry about that jude!

    hsg – ahh borders. i like borders now. P.S. will you ever blog again? πŸ™‚

    scott f – holy sugar rush batman! as for books i think i’ve done enough mining of my life for material πŸ™‚

    k – ooh that’s very inventive! and tasty sounding…

  10. Glad you are getting back to writing about the stupid things “just for the hell of it”, Shauna. That’s the whole reason I read this blog! Not that I think they are stupid. Not really. Quite hilarious, actually.

  11. I want to know what the next book is too πŸ™‚ Any plans for a novel? πŸ™‚

    I just bought the latest Kate Atkinson book… Love the title “When Will There be Good News?” – that is actually kind of hilarious, given what her books are like!

    I also bought myself “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Writing a Novel” πŸ™‚ Unpublished types like myself need all the help we can get πŸ™‚

    I loved your book, I hope there are plenty more to come πŸ™‚ (In your own time of course πŸ˜‰

  12. “that’s not because I’m too smug and happy to blog, as it has been suggested”

    Oi! Who is talking smack about Shauny? Seriously, dude, I hope no one has suggested you might be too big for your boots now you’re a bona fide Aurrrthooor [cut to shot of Shauny by fireplace seated in Chesterfield wing-backed chair, monocle’d of eye]… If it’s true, send them my way and they’ll have to contend with a burly angry pregnant chick!!!

    What a spin out couple of years it’s been for you – when you’re busiest, and wanting to seem modest (which you should NOT be doing!!!), it’s the hardest to write about just the ordinary silly old things. Don’t feel like you have to apologize, celebrate it, lady!


    Lots of love! xoxo

  13. Well, you’ve got at least 15 people reading this blog. I’ve lost hours of the day reading through the archives and I’m always happy when I realize there is something new posted. Now that I’ve just outed myself as a big loser, I’m going to find the nutella (and a large spoon.)

  14. Cool Shauna,

    Nice to see you’re back, and I proudly display your book on my bookshelf at home…I was so hard on it, it’s falling apart!


  15. I must admit, I ALWAYS check this blog first!

    Not that you are taking suggestions on blogstuff, but…
    I love the posts you used to do about life in Scotland (remember going curling, or was that hurling, I get the 2 confused since I’m an American).

    I love your Aussie views on Scottie life!

    More! More! More!

  16. yeeeees I am still reading!

    I must admit, I was horrified when I realised that there was such a thing as a stat counter and that you would have been well aware that I compulsively clicked on wnp 500 times per day at work, and at home, etc etc. You must have been worried I was a psycho, but no, just a bit tragic.

    Now as it happens the daughter just wandered by with a large gobbet of nutella on a spoon. She picked up that little habit from the French girl who was here for a few weeks.

    I thought of you the other night, I stayed up to watch the end of the Olympics. (noone in Australia watched ONE SINGLE MINUTE, you know!!!) and I spotted the marvellous Alex Popov, my boyfriend, looking rather fabulously Russian. I will forever associate you with him. HA!

  17. Yup, still reading πŸ™‚
    I bought your book, too. My housemate has it at the moment and she keeps waking me up in the middle of the night giggling over it. The Shauna-admiration society has gained another member!

  18. My nieces, ages 6 and (almost)3, eat what they call peanut butter pops. ie peanut butter on a teaspoon. We introduced them to nutella on a spoon, but they prefer it on Salada bikkies, or Saltines as they’re called over here.

    one thing I CANNOT watch them eat is peanut butter plopped on the end of half a banana. {gag} What is it with peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and bananas, together! My father-law even eats Nutella and Peanut Butter together. {shudders}

    Then again, they think Alaskaboy and I are weird. I can’t wait for a delivery this week. We’re gonna take a pic of us. . .holding the 2.5kg bucket of Vegemite we’ve ordered. LOL

  19. Gah! Hit Submit instead of preview. Buggerit.

    So, is there gonna be another book? Is there? Is there? You famous author types have to keep your fans happy, ya know.

  20. I’m not a big Nutella fan. Shock and amazement, I know.

    But Maxwell is touring and he’s supposed to have a trilogy coming soon. I got an extra pair of tix for the Toronto show Oct. 12 so if you and Dr. G are in the neighbourhood…

    Congrats on all the success. You deserve it you chocolate body-painting freak you πŸ˜‰

  21. I’m still reading. Just delurking to encourage you to write more about your life in Scotland. I love hearing your takes on my/yours/our? country.

  22. Half the reason I started my book site was so I could blog about the book writing process before I forgot what it was like. It’s hard to promote a book without sounding overly self-promotional, particularly a memoir which is all about the author. I think you did a lovely job, and hopefully I didn’t end up sounding like a git either πŸ™‚

    It is weird sometimes though. It’s hard to talk about all the wonderful things that have happened without sounding vain, full of myself, or inadvertently making people jealous. But, I should be allowed to talk about what’s going on in my life, right? That’s why people read my blog to begin with.

  23. Hello
    Verity from Warwickshire still lurking. Yes the same one, and no, definitely NOT your mum, I’ve never been to Oz. x x x Anyway, at least 3 people have read my copy now, do we owe you royalties?

    Tip: The book definitely works wonders as I am now 2.5 stone (that’s, erm 35lbs) lighter than when I bought it.

    There’s a girl at my work, who’s working her way up through the upper end of clothes sizes. I noticed that she has bought in a jar of Nutella to eat by herself. I can see her doing all those things I used to do with food at work. I wonder if anyone ever thought that about me, and what they could have done / what I can do…

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