I have written and published three books so far.
The Full English was a bit of an experiment. I took it into my head that I wanted to cycle the length of England. I would take notes of my journey, stopping off to visit castles, abbeys and a good few tea shops, and of course talking to people along the way. Then I would write a book about it and see if any publisher could be persuaded to take it up.
The plan worked for the most part. Except that the two publishers who offered to publish The Full English both thought that sales might just about reach 1,000 books – with luck and a following wind. And for some strange reason I thought I might do better.
So I set up Bike Ride Books, taught myself how to lay out the text of a book for publishing, used the services of a graphic designer and a cartoonist, and found a book distributor who would work with me. I then set about marketing The Full English to book shops and wholesalers, getting reviews from local newspapers and from cycling, travel and history magazines, and asking youth hostels along the route to display posters.
It worked, and there have now been three print runs.
I used the same model for A Bit Scott-ish, and more recently for A Lake District Grand Tour.
A Bit Scott-ish
Pedalling through Scotland in search of Adventure, Nature and Lemon Drizzle Cake
Available in paperback, and shortly as an e-book on Kindle.
‘Mike Carden pedals via the Orkney Islands, the flow country of Sutherland, the Cairngorm mountains, rolling Perthshire, historic Stirling, the rocky coast of Fife, the romantic city of Edinburgh and the Borders, bringing his own descriptive style to a beautiful land.’
“With almost unquenchable good humour, the author takes on everything that Scotland can throw at him.” Velo Vision cycling magazine
“A nice line in self-deprecating deadpan humour … a real winner” The Stirling Observer
“A lively account of a journey through Scotland.” The Scots Magazine
“Easy to read, charming and very funny.” The Local History Magazine
A Lake District Grand Tour
Pedalling through Lakeland: The Challenge, The History, The Wildlife, The Scones
Available in paperback, and as an e-book on Kindle.
“You need a sense of humour to saddle up for a nine-day tour of every lake in the Lakes, every major town, every fearsome pass (including Hardknott and Wrynose on the final day) – a grand total of almost 400 miles of bottom-buffetting, thigh-pumping pedalling – and Carden has this in abundance as he rattles through the wildlife, the history, people and stories of the region he is passing through in the company of son Richard. And, of course, the cappuccinos and scones they needed en route to complete their epic.” The Cumbria Magazine
“Relaxed and chatty with a ready wit. His humorous observations are reminiscent of Stuart Maconie’s travelogues but with added panting and pedalling.” Cumbria Life Magazine
“I thoroughly enjoyed the book.” Conserving Lakeland
“A very well written book with a chatty humorous style.” Keswick Reminder
“Easy style of writing, built-in gentle humour and eye for detail.” Arrivée Magazine – the long-distance cyclists’ magazine
“This is one hell of way to see the Lake District National Park! A great description of the grandest of Lake District tours. Get pedalling!” Richard Leafe, Chief Executive, Lake District National Park Authority
“A Lake District Grand Tour is gentle and lyrical, but above all it is an open invitation to come and cycle by the shores of Ullswater, Grasmere, Wast Water, et al. And why wouldn’t you want to? Read the book – take the tour, Lakeland is waiting.” www.cyclo.co.uk