Guest Post: Should I Self-Publish?

Today I have the very talented Samantha Ferguson with me as a guest blogger. Does the name sound familiar? It should. I ranted and raved about her superb novel, The Secret Diary of a Checkout Girl last year, which earned one of my rare 5 star reviews because it was FANTASTIC.

Don’t remember? Check out the review here!

But that’s not why Samantha’s on my blog today. Instead, she’s here to give authors considering taking the self-publishing route an insight into the process. The ups, the downs, the marketing.  A lot of what she says here I couldn’t have said better myself, so dive right on in and enjoy!

Continue reading “Guest Post: Should I Self-Publish?”

Author Interview: Samantha Ferguson

Right. So I’m beyond excited to have author Samantha Ferguson on my blog today. If you don’t remember, I had a bit of a mental breakdown reviewing her hilarious and A++ book, The Secret Diary of a Checkout Girl, and I’m really pleased that she signed up to do a little interview with me. Basically because I want to aggressively promote her as much as possible. Because the book was amazing. Did I mention that already?

Anyway. I won’t keep you. Enjoy the wonderful Samantha!

  1. Tell me a little about your recent release.

My book is titled, ‘The Secret Diary of a Checkout Girl’, and I self-published it with the help of a wonderful company called CompletelyNovel. The Kindle version was released on October 23rd, and the paperback came out on November 3rd.

The book is written from the perspective of a checkout girl named Suzie Quesnell. Suzie is tired of spending every day doing a job she loathes, so she decides it’s time for a change.

  1. What was the first scene you plotted for your debut novel? Feel free to be vague so we don’t ruin the surprise, but why did that particular scene turn your plot bunny into a full-blown novel?

I used to be a checkout girl myself, so whenever anything ridiculous happened (be it good, or bad) I wrote it down on the back of a receipt. It was a great way to vent.

One particular incident that stands out is when I got rotting, out-of-date, cat food all over me. I’ve never known a smell as bad. Naturally, as authors do, I put my poor protagonist in the same situation. It was easier to laugh about it that way.

Before I knew it, I had tons of receipts filled with incidents like the above, and thought, ‘Hey, I could make a story out of these!

  1. What are your biggest fears about this release?

Seeing as this is the first book I’ve ever published, I’ve pretty much felt every conceivable fear. But, because you probably don’t have all night to read this, and because you’re probably not a therapist, I’ll just mention the top three:

  • I’m afraid I haven’t done a good enough job at creating empathy. It’s a tough thing to do, and Suzie is such a bitter, sometimes ruthless, character, that I fear people will struggle to feel for her.
  • I’m worried that the book will not translate well overseas. It’s set in an English supermarket and draws upon a lot of UK pop culture. It’s also laced with British humour. I don’t know how well that will translate. I’m sure we’ll find out.
  • I have a fear of being typecast. I love all genres, but mainly tend to write stories of a thriller nature. I have no more plans to write another novel like this one, so I hope I will not be typecast.
  1. Do you see some of yourself in your main character? What traits have passed from you to them?

In some ways, Suzie and I are very different. She’s cynical, brash, and almost feels like the world owes her a favour. Whereas I am a shy, hard-working, daydream believer.

Then, on the other hand, I can see a lot of myself in Suzie. When I was stuck in a dead-end job and felt like there was no way out, Suzie was the bitter, sad, and lonely person I saw myself becoming.

  1. What was your main character wearing to his/her Halloween party this year?

A direct quote from the book is: ‘I’m not a fan of Halloween. Dressing up like an idiot so you can get a measly bit of cash? I do that for a living’. So she was probably wearing her work uniform and getting quietly, but heavily, drunk in the corner.

Suzie Quesnell was just a typical checkout girl, until one day she thought: ‘What the hell am I doing with my life?!’
This is the very honest, very secret diary that she used to plot her escape from Eggberts Supermarket.
So, if you’ve ever been stuck doing a job that’s not for you, or, God forbid, you still are stuck doing a job that’s not for you, then read Suzie’s book. Laugh with her, cry with her, but more importantly, change your life with her.


Samantha Rose was born in Blackburn, Lancashire. She has been writing stories ever since she could hold a pen (aged 3). Although, most of these were illegible until about ten years later.

In 2013, Samantha graduated from Edge Hill University with a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing with Film Studies. In 2015, her first novel was published.

Samantha currently resides in the seaside town of Southport, with her partner, Bradley, and their Weimaraner (don’t know what a ‘weimaraner’ is? Look it up, and be prepared for a cuteness overload).

Go follow Samantha on Twitter, or like her book on Facebook!

Review: The Secret Diary of a Checkout Girl by Samantha Ferguson


Hi. Yes, hello. Is it socially acceptable for me to scream from the rooftop about how amazing this book was? Because that’s what I’d like to do. I think, quite honestly, this book is one of my favourite books of 2015. I’m a total sucker for “diary-esque” books, because I find them really witty and engaging. Bridget Jones’s Diary was one of my favourite books growing up (probably the second in the series, since I read that first), and this, in my opinion, was on par with that.

Albeit in a slightly moodier, less whiny sort of way.

Let me be the first to say I’ve worked behind a cash register since I was about nineteen. It’s torture. Slow, painful torture, and I connected with everything Suzie was talking about in an instant. Her life was my life, especially in the last year or so. I too had worked at a not great job for a number of years. I too sometimes dreaded looking elsewhere because that was such an effort, and that job was comfortable and easy and brainless… I get Suzie’s story 100%.

The writing here is snappy and clever. Witty. Samantha Ferguson is a ridiculously witty and hilarious author, inducing LOL moments alongside cringe-worthy ones in equal measure. There were a few over-the-top moments in the book, but hey, who’s to say they couldn’t happen? We’ve all had gross coworkers–and lifers who think there’s nothing better than that job. We’ve had pervy managers, nagging parents, and work commitments getting in the way of important life events. I mean, none of myroomies have ever brought home a prostitute, but it couldhappen.

What I liked most about this book was that Suzie sorted herself out in the end. Some heroic man didn’t waltz in and sweep her off her feet. When I first started reading, I 100% expected there to be some guy who’d show up, they’d fall in love, life wouldn’t seem so terrible, blah blah blah. But no. Things were shit right up until they weren’t. And I loved it. LOVED IT.

There were a few errors throughout the text, though I didn’t care. Yup. Grammar obsessive me was like NOPE MUST KEEP READING DON’T CARE DON’T CARE DON’T CARE. It was a grand ol’ time, and I can’t praise this piece enough. When I initially saw the price ($5 or so), I was like… Do I really want to buy this? But the cover drew me in, followed by the promise of a diary from someone who probably all but lived my life, so I sucked it up and spent the money.

So glad I did. I flew through this book, and I feel a lot of other readers will do the same. It was fantastic. FANTASTIC.


Check out the book on Goodreads for additional purchase links!