Writing in Ice: The book of the blog


Writing in Ice: A Crime Writer's Guide to Iceland by Michael Ridpath

If you have been enjoying this blog over the last few months, you may want to buy my new book Writing in Ice: A Crime Writer’s Guide to Iceland. 

It’s a compilation of the posts I have already published, plus lots more.  It’s an account of how I researched Iceland for a detective series, with, I hope, lots of useful information for anyone who is planning to visit the country.  It’s not entirely serious.

Lilja Sigurdardóttir, one of Iceland’s top crime writers, said Writing in Ice is “the guide to Iceland I have most enjoyed” and that it is “so knowledgeable and humorous, yet kind toward our country’s quirkiness.”  Maybe she’s just being nice, but it made me happy.  

Mike Ripley of Shots Magazine describes it thus: “Essentially a love letter to the geography, people and sagas of Iceland, Ridpath’s memoir not only charts his research into the Icelandic Psyche but also provides a road map for planning. plotting and writing a crime novel set in a foreign country.”

I have published the book myself, under my own imprint, Yarmer Head, which was a large hill behind the house in Yorkshire where I grew up.

I have self-published before, but only the US versions of my books, which meant I could piggyback off the work of my British publisher, Corvus.  I decided to publish Writing in Ice as professionally as I could.  So I paid the same guys my publishers use to design the cover and the map, and employed my favourite copy editor and proofreader to go through it.  I even employed a freelance publicist to help me draw up a publicity plan.

The paperback is printed and distributed by IngramSpark, and I think they have done a good job.  It’s print on demand, which means that they don’t print until they have an order.  This helps with avoiding the need for marshalling large boxes of books, but does mean there might be a delay of a couple of extra days in ordering a book from a bookshop since the book needs to be printed.

I have learned from all this that it is easy to self-publish a book badly and it is a lot of work – and quite expensive – to self-publish well.  I have come away with renewed respect for all the work publishers do.

So how do you buy this book?  The easiest and possibly cheapest method is to buy the ebook or paperback from Amazon.  If you prefer to avoid Amazon, you should in theory be able to order it from your local bookshop wherever you are in the world.  You can also contact my local bookshop, Lutyens and Rubinstein in Notting Hill: I will make sure they have stock.   

I will continue posting on this blog.  Many of the posts will, no doubt, be similar to chapters in the book, but some will be different.  I am confident Iceland will continue to provide me with new material, and I intend to get interesting Icelanders to post on my blog as well.

Thanks for reading this.  One of the pleasures of the new social media world with all its clicking and scrolling is that a writer feels much closer to his readers than was possible in the past.  I like that.


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