Narcissism For Beginners

By Martine McDonagh

Formerly 'Things We Can't Undo' - Sonny was five when he last saw his mother. At 21, he sets off on a journey to find her.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Novel Formerly Known As Things We Can't Undo

I have news! Quite a lot of it. And none of it involves politicians, slimy or otherwise. We've been through the copy editing process, a relatively painless procedure thanks to the sharp eyes of Linda McQueen, and first proofs are being read by me and Unbound's proofreader as I write. The cover design process begins this month too.

And we have a new title. I've struggled to find the right title for this story and have never been entirely happy with Things We Can't Undo; too soft, and was never sure about the double negative. The central theme of the novel, narcissism, is wrapped up in the story of a young man whose youth has been effectively hijacked by the behaviour of his self-absorbed, narrow-minded parents. TWCU works, up to a point, and survives as a chapter title, but I love the new title, suggested a couple of months ago by copy-editor, Linda McQueen. And this new title (I'm really hoping this is the point in the post where the text breaks, the word more appears, and you have to click through for the answer, but what are the odds?) is Narcissism for Beginners. I hope you love it as much as I do.

But never mind all that, you say, when will we get our copies? Yes, I have publication dates too. Supporter copies should be ready in early November and trade publication is set for early March 2017. Hooray!

I'm starting to think about ways to promote the book, so please let me know if you have any suggestions. I'm up for readings, book group meetings, writing workshops, quizzes, anything book related really. I'm definitely going to be heading up to Scotland and am always happy to travel - there's nothing I love more than a long train journey (unless it's meant to be a short one).

So, we are absolutely up and running now. I'll keep you posted on proceedings, but please send me your brilliant promotional ideas.

If you're interested in reading about the kind of mess I get into while writing, here's a piece I wrote for Clare Flynn's blog while writing NfB faka TWCU:

Oh, and I've also updated my website: and have set up a new Facebook page because it wouldn't just let me change the title....

Love to all, in these extremely worrying times.



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Peter Howe
 Peter Howe says:

Congratulations, Martine. Great title!
Obviously we can do a publicity event at West Dean (in fact... maybe it could also be a new title for the MA Course...?)

posted 1st July 2016

Graham McPhail
 Graham McPhail says:

Brilliant news!

posted 1st July 2016

Katja Bell
 Katja Bell says:

Oh no, I loved the old title! Great news on the rest, through :)

posted 1st July 2016

Sarah Ivinson
 Sarah Ivinson says:

Fantastic news! How about a book blog 'tour'? You can sign me up for starters! :)

posted 2nd July 2016

Martine McDonagh
 Martine McDonagh says:

Thanks everyone - and sorry Katja. The old title is still there as a series of chapter headings though, along with three other former titles! Nice idea Peter, but might have trouble getting it past my bosses....will def have a launch event though. And yes please Sarah, will be in touch. x

posted 17th July 2016

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