Finished Writing My Book! What’s It About and What’s Next?

Man w c bus

I have some exciting news that I’m thrilled to finally be sharing with you. I recently finished writing my travel memoirs—a collection of stories about my journeys on 5 continents around the world over the past 11 years!

What It’s About

The book is about my trips off the beaten path and in the moment, which have often had a goal (unintentional at times) of self-discovery. It’s very similar to what’s on this site. But even better. Deeper. Funnier. Quirkier. And grittier. Think Chickybus on Steroids!

How It’s Set Up

The book is divided into 6 main sections referred to as “rides”—one for each country or region—and the stories/more specific destinations are called “stops.” You, the reader, are a “rider”/“passenger.” And you’re right there with me, in the moment, every step of the way.

Although I’ve been to many countries, the book focuses on just 11 of them—those that were story-worthy. Here’s a list: China, South Africa, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, the USA, Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Here’s the itinerary—I mean, synopsis!

List of “Rides”/Sections

Ride #1: Silence is Golden (People’s Republic of China)

Imagine teaching English in China—10 years ago—in the province where “Chairman Mao” was born. On this ride, my simple English-teaching mission gets complicated by “lingdaos” (young Communist Party leader-students) and a mysterious chalk drawing in my classroom. Do I give in to my journalistic urges to ask questions or do I keep quiet? More importantly, am I able to connect with my students’ hearts and minds?

beijing 1 044

Ride #2: Removing the Mask (South Africa)

My plans to visit/help out South African friends, recent crime victims in Ecuador (where we first met), go awry when I learn that the safari we’ve planned is going to be a “family vacation.” With three young boys joining us. Memories of my own less-than-ideal childhood are stirred up and I want to run—to the lounge bar. But then, I see an opportunity to be in the moment with the kids. Do I take a risk and embark on my own possible healing journey—or not?


Ride #3: Viva la Revolución (Central America/Mexico)

As a Latinophile who’s “enamorada” with the word “revolución.,” it makes sense that I’d want to travel from Nicaragua to Mexico—in one month—and on chicken buses. Join me (and a friend) for younger-man temptation, heart-warming encounters with locals and yes, a 12-hour chicken bus ride full of quirky characters. The name of that story? Chicky Bus. :) The type of self-discovery? Well, you’ll have to get the book to find out…

Man w c bus

Ride 4: Floating Feathers (USA)

This ride begins at a Native American ceremony in the Northeast, where a boyfriend and I hope for peyote “medicine” to mend our troubled relationship. Later, I go off the beaten path in New Mexico and have a random yet powerful experience on a Native American reservation. Then, in a cabin in the wilderness, I come face to face with one of my deepest fears. What do I do and who am I after the experience?
Indian Prayer

Ride #5: Turkish Delight (Turkey)

Imagine if the Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar made a Turkish film. If so, then this ride would provide the plot. It begins like a Shakespearean comedy and then, when I head East, it morphs into a tragedy (or perhaps a black comedy). As I simultaneously pass through Kurdish terrorist checkpoints and clash with a friend, the tension builds. And the climax—a la Almodóvar—leaves you wanting a cigarette—and a shot of “raki” (a strong Turkish drink)!

Turkish viagra

Ride #6: 40 Arabian Nights (the Middle East)

After some personal setbacks, I feel a certain pull to the Middle East—the Arabic language and the culture. A random invitation to stay with a Circassian-Jordanian family leads me to travel, solo, to Jordan and “bad-boy” Syria. After several wild rides, I’m drawn to Lebanon, where a quest to meet a Colombian hermit leads me to a place of paradox and introspection, where only I can answer the deep questions.


Would Love Your Advice/Input

Title of the Book?

I’m not sure yet. I’m considering a few (and am open to suggestions). In each case, there would probably be a short main title, followed by a longer subtitle such as “…and other ‘rides’ on the Chicky Bus.” Seems to make sense since many people already know the name and because it represents the concept. What do you think?

1. Nomadic Namaste (sounds too much like India?)

2. Meeting a Hermit in Lebanon (not quirky enough?)

3. Paradox of the Hermit (too deep?)

4. Chicken Bus Epiphanies (?)

5. Chicken Bus Diaries (?)

6. Tales from the Chicky Bus (maybe just call it what it is and leave off the subhead—or would only those who know this site get it? or would others perhaps be interested in the unusual name?)

I’d love for the title to capture the essence of the book on three levels—quirky, fun and deep—versus just being limited to one. Do you think that matters? Which title do you like the most and why? Any other possible names you can envision?

Publishing—Self vs Traditional?

Traditional publishing: The process seems to take forever, and I’d really like to have this book available early next year. If I got published this way, I think it would take a year perhaps. And I would only get a small cut of the profits, right? And I believe that I’d have to do my own marketing anyway. Is it worth it?

Self-publishing With this option, I could get my book out there much faster and could make more money per copy, but…I’d have to learn a lot about the e-book process, formatting, etc. I’d have to market it myself (but I think I know how to.) I’d have to create a cover or hire someone to do so. My PhotoShop skills are just so so.

Also, I would also want an on-demand print option so those who like paperbacks could get one. How long would all of this take? How much work would it be? And is it worth working with a company that handles some of it for you and gets a bigger cut than normal?
Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

The Audience

I believe there are many possible audiences for this book, including:

  • Independent travelers (solo/couples) whose style is similar to mine
  • Tourists/package travelers/armchair travelers who prefer vicarious off-the-beaten path experiences
  • People outside the US (including those in the countries I’ve written about) curious about a solo female/American traveling internationally
  • ESL/EFL students interested in American culture from an international perspective
  • Educators (eg, ESL, anthropology and political science professors)
  • Metaphysical/spiritual types interested in risk-taking and “in the moment” living
  • Anyone who enjoys reading memoirs, slice of life stories and/or being entertained


Special thanks to anyone who’s taken the time to read all of this and to those who are offering advice. I greatly appreciate your interest/assistance and I look forward to publishing this book at, when it first comes out, to offering some complimentary copies to friends from Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere. Y’all rock!

Want to Read a Chapter for Free?

Don’t want to miss the bus? Then sign up for my monthly newsletter (no spam or sharing your address—I promise). I’ll give you access to one or two of the chapters. I’ll also be able to communicate with you re: release date, free book giveaways and discounts. Click here to get on board! You may also want to follow me on Facebook and to subscribe to the RSS feed. Thank you!

Special thanks to those photographers over at Flickr whose photos I borrowed via Creative Commons.

92 Responses to Finished Writing My Book! What’s It About and What’s Next?
  1. Sabina
    October 16, 2011 | 3:29 pm

    This really does sound like an interesting book, Lisa. It’s good that you wrote it with a quirky and fun tone, not preachy or weepy or anything too serious. I think you could attract more readers with the lighhearted voice you’ve given to the book. I’m thinking about titles, and I think it should be something that right away lets everyone know what they’ll find inside the pages while at the same time being general enough to attract the masses. I personally had never heard the term chicky bus until I “met” you. I’ve heard of chicken buses and didn’t realize chicky was a nickname for the nickname. Maybe other people haven’t heard of this before either, so you might want to leave “chicky bus” out of the title. Or maybe I’m the odd one out. I think also letting people know, either in the main title or the longer subtitle that your travels have spanned five continents, and perhaps 11 years. The distance covered is interesting enough to get my attention while other people might be intrigued with the number of years. I hope this helps!

    • CB Driver
      October 16, 2011 | 4:11 pm

      Thanks for the interest and feedback, Sabina. Great ideas! Perhaps Chicky Bus should only be in the subtitle since many know the name, but not the main title sincemany don’t. You make a good point re: the time and number of continents. Or perhaps there could be a subtitle or blurb on the front re: “One woman’s journey to 5 continents in 11 years” or something to that effect. Good to know that part of it was something of interest to you, too.

      Thanks so much for the input–really appreciate it!

  2. bethany parks
    October 16, 2011 | 3:59 pm

    just an idea,… check out
    bethany parks recently posted..Happy to be here.My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 16, 2011 | 7:47 pm

      Thanks, Bethany. Looks really cool and I like that there’s a good cause involved that benefits children. Will keep it in mind!

  3. Monica (@thetravelhack)
    October 16, 2011 | 5:13 pm

    Sounds really interesting. Anyone who has travelled so much must have some amazing stories to tell. As for the title, I really like Tales from the Chicky Bus. That way you’d also carry your readers over from your blog. Looking forward to it.

    • CB Driver
      October 16, 2011 | 6:39 pm

      Hi, Monica. Thanks so much for your comment/feedback! Cool that you like that title. It may have potential–especially if I consider the feedback from April (who came in after you). It could make sense since it carries over, as you said.

      • blair collins
        October 19, 2011 | 1:06 pm

        two more thumbs up .. Tales From the Chicky Bus….

        Be who you are. :-)

        • CB Driver
          October 19, 2011 | 2:24 pm

          Hi, Blair. Thanks for the feedback/advice!

  4. April Thompson
    October 16, 2011 | 5:40 pm

    Congrats on this milestone! I don’t know the first thing about publishing, so good luck with that.

    In terms of the title, I like #6. Those that read the blog, would get it, and those who don’t I think would be intrigued enough to want to learn more.

    In terms of marketing to your audience, I think it might be easier to pick one really niche audience and really spend your energies penetrating that market before branching out to the others. A good place to start, the demographic of your blog. Once that demographic is saturated, start branching off to others.

    Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps!
    April Thompson recently posted..Matador U: Get Paid to Travel the WorldMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 16, 2011 | 6:41 pm

      Thank you, April. It’s taken a few years (maybe several) and has been a lot of work–so glad to have made it to this point. PS: There’s another book in the works that is the prequel–saving that for later! :)

      Anyway, you make some excellent points–targeting the niche first and then branching out. If that is the route to take, then a simple title like “Tales from the Chicky Bus” could be the way to go. Thanks so much for your 2 cents–it’s worth a lot! :)

  5. Robert Watson
    October 16, 2011 | 10:13 pm

    A few thoughts for you:
    Title: It is hard to come up with a title which is clever, quirky and draws readers to make a purchase. IMHO, the first 4 are too “smart”. #5 won’t work – diaries gives the image of boring daily writings. #6 is the best of the group, but often a mini-story can draw people in. Example: “The Chicken Bus Leaves at Dawn” subtitle: “Ruffled feathers across five continents”
    Audience: if you try to target such wide interests, then you risk satisfying no-one. Suggest you target the first two on your list and really hit the mark with them.
    Publisher/Self-Publish: To be frank, it largely depends on whether your intention is truly to get Income or whether you want Prestige. For Income, go self-publishing. Find yourself a local Writers Group and someone there will help you. For Prestige, approach a publisher. They will require you to have a very good book in terms of story, layout, style and grammar/spelling. But, if your book sells well, they may also give you an advance on your second book.
    Marketing: which ever way you go, you WILL be doing the bulk of your own marketing. Blogging, Tweeting, radio, television, YouTube, getting guest posts on others’ sites

    I wish you all the best – it is a great thrill to hold your first ever book in your hands!

    Cheers from Down Under, Robert

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 12:34 am

      Robert–Hi and thank you so much for taking the time to share your ideas. They’re excellent! I see what you mean re: the title possibilities and the audience. Makes a lot of sense. I think the top few groups are the best to focus on for now.

      Re: self-publishing…at the moment, I’m leaning in that direction for a number of reasons–including timing (and money). Someone is editing the book right now, working hard to make it as tight as possible (I’ve seen too many sloppy editing jobs in the past). My biggest concern now is the cover. But I’m getting some ideas. As for marketing, everything you said is exactly what I’ve heard. Fortunately, I’ve been on Twitter for a while now and am on some other sites. Radio/TV would be great…perhaps in time.

      Meanwhile, thanks for everything–the advice and well wishes…cheers!

  6. David Nagy
    October 17, 2011 | 4:46 am

    Hey there,

    I hope this might help you to go the self-publish way.

    It’s really not that hard like it seems.

    If you want to know more or you need more help, please do send me an email.
    Also if you’d like to be involved in a community project I’m working on, give a sign. I believe it would be helpful for you and many other people too.

    All the best,

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 9:18 am

      Thank you, David. That’s a great article there–a really awesome guide. The person who wrote it clearly knows what they’re doing. Nice that they put that together. Perhaps I could do this on my own. I have a MacBook Pro and Pages and a decent eye. I’d love to be able to include photos, etc. too. Hmmm.

      Meanwhile, let me know about your project. Can you DM me with a link over on Twitter? Or we can exchange e-mails there. Or you can send me an e-mail using my contact form here on the site. Thanks again!!

  7. Alan Horton (@TravelFlag)
    October 17, 2011 | 10:00 am

    First all of well done and congratulations on getting this far. Both in terms of your world travel and publishing a book.

    I love the Chickybus on Steroids and the rider/passenger philosophy!

    I like your titles 1-6, I could do with a bit of Turkish delight myself.

    I like the book title “Tales from the Chickybus” – I think it’s tremendous for people that know you but also interesting to people who don’t. They’ll be asking – What’s this chickybus all about?

    This link on self-publishing maybe of interest –

    A friend of mine recently used a publisher to publish his book, he came to the conclusion it was just too much effort to self-publish. If you get the right publisher they can actually be very good at marketing the book too.

    If you decide to self-publish you should be able to find all the people you need to help you/employ at sites such as and – People from these sites only cost when you use them and tend to be cheaper to use than companies direct. You would however have to put more time in typically than allowing a company to manage the process. Ultimately you pays your money and takes your choice.

    I subscribed to your newsletter, so i’m now looking forward to the free chapters and monthly content.

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 10:24 am

      Hi, Alan. Thanks so much for the kind words, your ideas and for signing up as a new passenger! Great that you like the steroids, etc.

      Took a look at the link; interesting info there. The decision re: how to publish is a tricky one. I love the idea of a publisher taking the book on and working with me to get it ready and then promoting it, but I’ve been hearing that they want you to do most of that now. I’ve known some writers who turned down opportunities to work with agents/publishers once they discovered the reality of what they would have to do. Of course, I do see the many benefits to a regular publisher.

      I think I may go with self-publishing for one simple reason: time. I’d like to get the book out as fast as possible since a) people are interested and b) there’s another book in the works (a prequel). My biggest challenge over the next month or so may be figuring out the cover. Interesting that people (including you) are digging the title that has Chickybus right in it. Good to know.

      Thanks again!

  8. Angela
    October 17, 2011 | 12:16 pm

    Aww this is so exciting! Congrats on your new book! I would definitely go for self-publishing, and for the title, probably the last one and then add a little subtitle.. Can’t wait to read it!!
    Angela recently posted..A trip, a photo – A glimpse of Islam in TehranMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 11:23 pm

      Thank so much, Angela–so nice to see your interest in/enthusiasm for it! Not a bad idea to combine the final title with a subtitle. Maybe: “Tales from the Chicky Bus….one woman’s quest to discover the world and herself.” Hmmm. It’s got possibilities!

  9. Claire
    October 17, 2011 | 5:31 pm

    Very exciting for you! Congratulations. I vote for Tales from the Chicky Bus and maybe have a short sub-title so that people know it’s about world adventures. I like the Chicky bus title because it’s distinctly YOU! I also vote for actual paperback copies. Just like to have them around ;)
    Claire recently posted..A Little Shame and Embarrassment AbroadMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 11:24 pm

      Thanks, Claire! So you like that name, too, huh? Very interesting. I’m glad you like the name and I like the reason why, too! And yes to the paperback copies–I do think quite a few people still like them. I find I can only do e-books if I’m traveling light and don’t want the bulk. If I’m at home, then a paperback is easier somehow.

  10. Terri
    October 17, 2011 | 6:24 pm

    Wow!! I’m impressed. You’re motivating me, as I’ve been recently considering publishing an eBook.

    I think you have the right idea in regards to the audience. Even though the book is travel “related” it seems that it will read more like a memoir. Personally, I love a memoir (if it’s interesting:)).

    My vote on the possible title of the book is #6; Tales from the Chicky Bus (I really like this one), or “The Chicky Bus Diaries.” Please don’t use anything with “Chicken.” I get the “chick” thing, as you know, I’m a self described “chick”, but I’m not a chicken. LOL

    I think you should use your alias in the title. If you’re creating a “brand” I kinda think your book should have that brand on there somewhere, which links for your other marketing and media efforts. IMHO

    I’d like to know how the publishing goes. Please keep us posted.

    Have a Great Day!!
    Terri recently posted..My Top 7 Cruise Vacation TipsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 11:27 pm

      Hey, Terri–so cool to hear that this is motivating you. Awesome! I have a feeling you’ve got some great stories, especially about Saudi Arabia.

      I hear you re: the word chicken–LOL. I don’t care for it either. Someone once suggested that I put a bus on this site with chickens hanging out of the window, and I said–”NO.” It would just be…wrong. You know?

      I think your advice is excellent and I hear you re: the brand. At this point, it is Chicky Bus, so that will have to be on the cover somewhere and possibly in the title. Thanks so much for joining in and giving your input!

  11. Torre DeRoche
    October 17, 2011 | 7:05 pm

    Nice work and congrats!! It’s looking really great.

    I’m a bit torn on self-pub vs traditional pub at the moment. They both have their pros and cons. I’ve done an epic amount of work on my book: 3 years in development and editing (much more in editing than writing), then another 10 months for design, marketing and promotions. That’s a huge amount of time! Self-pub may seem quicker, but I don’t know that it is. The only way it can be significantly quicker is if you cut corners or editing, design and marketing, but then you’re releasing something that may not be your best work, and it may not be something you want to put your name to?

    If I wasn’t a graphic designer by trade, and my sister wasn’t a professional editor, I would’ve easily spent $15,000+ on the work I’ve had done on my book. To get the book at a publishable level is a significant investment. Even then, sales are slow. My marketing and publicity has been amazing, but they don’t fly off the shelves. That’s just the reality of it.

    I’m right in the middle of experimenting with all of this myself, so in about 1 year, I can probably give you advice about which avenue is best. But for now, I honestly don’t know …

    Re the title, I agree with Robert Watson.
    Torre DeRoche recently posted..Where Did All My Emotions Go?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 17, 2011 | 11:32 pm

      Hi, Torre. Thanks so much for stopping by. Appreciate that you took the time–and glad you like the way the book sounds! And wow to everything you said. I’m glad you’ve shared some of the drawbacks of self-publishing. I don’t always see that and it’s important to know what one is getting into.

      I have an excellent editor working on it right now, but I don’t have a graphic designer. I’m decent at it but not great and so, that might be an issue at some point. Hey–what would you charge? :)

      Anyway, your point is well-taken. To prepare a book properly does take time, energy and money. Will keep that in mind. Thanks! And meanwhile, I wish you continued success with your book!

  12. Stephanie - The Travel Chica
    October 18, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    That was fast! You deserve a congratulations already, although I know you have a lot more work ahead of you to get it published.

    I like the last 2 titles.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Buenos Aires Odd Jobs: The Dog WalkerMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 18, 2011 | 7:33 pm

      Hi, Stephanie. Thanks! It’s actually taken about 4 years due to taking long breaks at times. A few times, I didn’t write for a few months. Fortunately, it came together recently! And true re: the work ahead of me….

      Meanwhile, thanks so much for your input re: the title! I appreciate it and will keep it in mind. Sounds like others are on the same page (excuse the silly pun).

  13. faraway67
    October 18, 2011 | 3:43 pm

    It´s hard to add to the wonderful comments here…so I just want to tell what I think – I really love the idea of dividing your book into “rides”.Gives me the feeling to me invited to just join you (to which I am VERY much looking forward;-) Personally I like title no. 2. but then I see the point in what other comments say. I think something funny like “Tales from the chicky bus”, what was suggested before, or “Take a ride on chicky bus” or something similar might work better, along with a nice subtitle. I really hope you find your way of publishing it – and I am very curious to read – either on my kindle or as a real book. Keep it going!

    • CB Driver
      October 18, 2011 | 7:37 pm

      Barbara–Thanks so much for joining us here to chat about this. I’m so glad you like the “ride” concept–awesome! And it’s exactly as you described it; you will hopefully feel that you’re right there with me. I also like Title 2 a lot. A friend of mine, a marketing consultant, actually suggested it one day when I used the phrase in a sentence. He said, “Hey….why not make that the title.” It’s very tempting since the story about the hermit is the final “stop” and a place where certain things are pulled together.

      I hope that 6 months from now, or even sooner, we’ll be able to chat about what’s in the book–that would be absolutely amazing! I have a feeling that you’ll love the China story the most. :)

  14. Lorna - the roamantics
    October 19, 2011 | 2:04 am

    wow lisa! CONGRATS!!!! what a major achievement and your experience will surely help countless others! i don’t have experience in publishing, etc. but i do like tales from the chicky bus as a title. true to you and provocative enough for those who don’t know you yet. wishing you the greatest success with it!
    Lorna – the roamantics recently posted..Never Say Never- What I Learned From Rock StarsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 19, 2011 | 8:26 am

      Hi, Lorna! Thanks for the congrats! I do hope that the book inspires others to travel more and to try healthy risk-taking and being in the moment. Can lead to many incredible moments, experiences and insights! Very interesting that you also like Tales from the Chicky Bus. Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate it!

  15. Lenore Greiner
    October 19, 2011 | 3:14 am

    Lisa, my pick is:

    Chicken Bus Diaries! Love that title. And definitely self-publish it. You’ll be in control. And going through a publishers means they get most of the earnings from your hard work. Read Tim Leffler’s book “Travel Writing 2.0″ where he covers the pros & cons. For me, I will go the print on demand route, market on eBay & Amazon and through my travel blog. Good luck with this! Very exciting.
    Lenore Greiner recently posted..Devastation in PerugiaMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 19, 2011 | 8:28 am

      Thanks, Lenore–great to know which title appeals to you! Re: self-publishing…what you’re saying does make a lot of sense. I had not heard of that book, but I’ll look into it.

      You’re writing a book, too? Very cool. What’s it about? Can’t wait to learn more! And glad to hear that you’re going to take the self-pub route. Will be interesting to see how it goes. Best of luck!

  16. Gray
    October 19, 2011 | 8:16 am

    Yay! This looks terrific, Lisa, I can’t wait to read it. I personally like Tales from the Chicky Bus as a title. I’m also becoming a big believer in self-publishing. That way you have more flexibility and are in control of your own destiny. Going the traditional publishing route can be very frustrating and take a long time.
    Gray recently posted..Plaza de Cibeles, The Prettiest Plaza in MadridMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 19, 2011 | 8:31 am

      Awesome to hear, Gray! I can’t wait until it’s possible for you to read it. I think we’d have some fascinating conversations about the experiences, for sure, since most of them were as a solo traveler! So you also like that final title? Very interesting. It’s starting to seem like that’s the consensus. Hmmm.

      As for publishing, I do like the flexibility and control of self-publishing–especially because I have some unconventional things I might want to do with the book (eg, including a “director’s cut” of sorts at the end with some snippets that didn’t fit but are cool anyway). We shall see…. Thanks for your ideas!

  17. Jeremy Branham
    October 19, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    Wow, this is awesome! I am really impressed with all that you’ve done, the stories you’ve put together, and the time you have taken to write this! Sounds like a fantastic journey and an interesting read.

    As for the title, I have to go with Tales from the Chicky Bus with my 2nd choice being Paradox of a Hermit. Have to go with the self publishing option as well but if you can get a publisher, that would be awesome!
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Where in the world am I going?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 19, 2011 | 2:23 pm

      Thanks, Jeremy! It’s very exciting and I’m pleased with the story selection, too. Each “ride” is quite unique and really takes you somewhere. It’ll be amazing to chat with people after they’ve read it–can’t wait! Of course, there’s this business of publishing first.

      Interesting to see that you also like the “Tales” title. I’m also a big fan of Paradox of the Hermit because that is the name of the final chapter and where many things come together. I also think that it’s very intriguing. (What sort of paradox would a hermit have? Wouldn’t his life be simple?) Do you think that it sounds too esoteric, too deep or too New Agey? The main title could be: Paradox of the Hermit, with a subtitle as …”and other tales from the ChickyBus.” The best of both worlds, perhaps.

      Thanks for your ideas!

  18. Erik
    October 19, 2011 | 7:38 pm

    Sign me up! I’ll buy a copy in whatever format you choose to publish in. That is quite an accomplishment, I’ve been working on two different travel books, both are about half finished. I firmly believe now that I will never finish them, because even if I did I wouldn’t have the confidence to send it to a publisher.
    Erik recently posted..Photo of the Day- Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, OhioMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 19, 2011 | 11:58 pm

      Erik–thanks so much. Would be so cool if you read it and we could chat here in a password-protected post. I’d love to see what people would have done in the same situations, etc. Would be really interesting!

      You’re writing two books? Wow. Are they about specific locations or travel in a general sense? Would love to learn more!

  19. Shane
    October 20, 2011 | 8:09 am

    Congratulations Lisa. Hopefully it’ll be so successful small children will be soon be selling a ripped off photocopied version to travellers everywhere :)
    Shane recently posted..Our New Site: Free or Cheap Volunteer Work AbroadMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 20, 2011 | 10:12 am

      Thanks, Shane. That’s hilarious! But yes–that would be a sign that it’s a hot item–he, he, he!

  20. Valerie Hamer
    October 21, 2011 | 8:38 am

    You rock Lisa. I can’t add more to the title debate. I like ‘Tales from the Chicky Bus’ too. There are plenty of others (like me) willing to pitch in and help market it for you. :)

    • CB Driver
      October 21, 2011 | 10:36 am

      Hi, Valerie. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! You like that title, too, huh? Hmmm. What if I had another title and had that as the subhead? Do you think that would work as well? Or just that as a main title and nothing else. Thanks so much for saying you’d be willing to help market. That means a lot to me. Maybe I should (once it’s out and I know what the heck I’m doing) set up one of those affiliate marketing situations. Not sure how they work, but it’s a possibility. Thanks for everything and PS–you rock, too!

      • Valerie Hamer
        October 22, 2011 | 8:47 pm

        I think there probably should be some subheading that gives people a bit more insight into what the topic is.
        I talked to my book fiend friend and she helped me make one for my non fiction effort, and it follows that pattern.

        Catchy/intriguing main title and brief explanatory sub. You have lots of followers who are going to promote this, can’t wait to see it.

        • CB Driver
          October 23, 2011 | 8:47 am

          Valerie–Thanks for chatting with your friend and asking! That makes sense–catchy title with an explanatory subhead. Will work on some of those and see what they sound like. What’s your non-fiction book about?

          Thanks for your interest and support!

          • Valerie Hamer
            October 23, 2011 | 10:32 am

            My masterpiece is the story of a Korean woman’s hobby: blind dates! Have been wrestling with it on and off all day. :)

          • CB Driver
            October 23, 2011 | 12:05 pm

            That sounds really cool! I’m sure there are some great anecdotes in there–real gems. Good luck and look forward to learning more!

  21. [...] travel memoirs–a collection of short stories from around the world. To read a synopsis, click here. To sign up for my monthly newsletter–and to receive a free chapter at some point in the [...]

  22. Roxanne
    October 24, 2011 | 6:33 am

    First of all, congratulations on this wonderful accomplishment! It must feel wonderful to have completed the book. Secondly, a lot of the answers to your questions are at the Travel Memoir Writers facebook group. I believe you have already joined it, but if not, I highly recommend it. I like the titles with Chicken Bus in them, but I am biased, since they bring back fond (and dangerous) memories from Guatemala. Best of luck with the process and I cannot wait to read the finished product!
    Roxanne recently posted..Taking a cue from Joan DidionMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 9:32 am

      Thanks so much, Roxanne! I did join the Travel Memoirs Writers group on FB and must get back into it and look around. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot, so thanks for mentioning it. Re: the title…you like those certain ones, too, huh? Interesting. And cool that you’re a chicken bus girl, too! I hear you re: fond/dangerous memories. Great way to put it! :)

  23. donna morang
    October 24, 2011 | 1:56 pm

    I don’t know where to start. First off we have done so many of the same things it is incredible. I published my memoir Big Backpack–Little World through Createspace and I’m very happy with it. It is on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. I am certainly no computer whiz, but found it quite easy to do myself. This has kept the cost to almost nothing.
    I have found the most difficult part of all is the promotion. No matter if you self-publish or go with a traditional publishing house, you will need to do promotion and marketing to get any attention.
    If I can help in any way let me know. Perhaps you’d like to give Big Backpack–Little World a peek, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask.
    Buena Suerte! Oh, I like “Tales From the Chicky Bus”
    donna morang recently posted..What I love about MexicoMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 11:53 pm

      Hi, Donna. Nice to meet you…also, love the name of your book–it’s great! I’d like to learn more. Please feel free to share the link here.

      Meanwhile, glad you know that you used Createspace and it went well. That’s awesome to hear. As for marketing/promotion, that’s what I keep hearing. At this point, I’ve worked so hard on this site that I think I’d be able to devote energy to it. I hope so, anyway. It’s easy to get burned out, you know? At this point, I’m investigating all of it. Will hopefully figure it out soon. Perhaps we can chat sometime somewhere (Facebook maybe).

      Also, thanks for the feedback on the title!

  24. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    October 24, 2011 | 5:24 pm

    Wow! So awesome. Congrats on finishing the book!
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Red Tide Magic – Bioluminescence Captured With Video and Night PhotographyMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      October 24, 2011 | 11:53 pm

      Hey, Christy. Thanks so much!

  25. Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    November 2, 2011 | 1:56 am

    Congrats Lisa! You must be completely stoked!! I like Robert’s and Torre’s suggestions — perhaps something like “Ruffled Rides: Tales from the Chicky Bus”. That way you could build off your first book and onto the second “More Tales from the Chicky Bus”.
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..A Tale of Two TreksMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 2, 2011 | 9:09 am

      Thank you, Raymond! I’m definitely psyched! Great ideas re: the title. I’ve actually thought about splitting the book in two because I have about 120,000 words and typically, memoirs are shorter. If I did, then the first book would be about China, South Africa and Central America/Mexico and the second would be about the USA, Turkey and the Middle East. Hmmm. :)

  26. Linda
    November 2, 2011 | 4:53 pm

    Many congratulations! Your excitement is palpable! I have no experience either, but as someone who came to travel blogging via an addiction to travel writing (books mainly, and still my preferred reading) I totally agree with everything which Robert said, and also Raymond’s last comment and yours about a sequel. Whichever way you go I wish you lots of luck and look forward to adding your book to my collection!
    Linda recently posted..Walking Tours: Are They Worth It?My Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 2, 2011 | 5:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Linda! Awesome that you’re still into reading books. I sometimes find that the only time I can is when I’m traveling and happen to be somewhere where there’s no Internet. And I miss it, you know…

      I appreciate your input and will totally keep it in mind. Believe it or not, I actually have a prequel of sorts that I’m working on, which is 1/2 finished. It’s all about how dreams about shamans, etc. led me to take a trip to Ecuador that was life-changing. That book is definitely Chickybus style–off the beaten path/in the moment–but with a more spiritual angle. That would have to have a very different name, of course. Anyway, this could end up being 2 or 3 books. I look forward to completing all of the them–for now, just 1 would be great–and I look forward to when you’ll be able to read them so we can chat about the people and experiences. I think it’ll be great!

  27. Kelsey
    November 3, 2011 | 9:40 am

    I don’t have much advice for you, but I absolutely love the structure you chose! How very clever. One of the things stopping me from writing my book about living in rural Korea is that I have no idea how to structure it.

    • CB Driver
      November 4, 2011 | 8:38 am

      Hi, Kelsey. Thanks for the feedback re: the structure–glad you like it!! A book about living in rural Korea sounds fascinating/intriguing. I’d love to learn more. Were you working on a farm there? Is there a recurring theme of sorts that applies to the entire story? Or is it more a collection of stories that stand on their own but are nicer together? Have you written a post about the book idea? If so, feel free to link to it here.

      • Kelsey
        November 4, 2011 | 10:09 am

        Nope, I was teaching at seven different middle schools on a rotation.

        I really don’t know what I’d write about, to be honest. I felt like every day was a different struggle, but other than that, I’ve never felt that my time there warranted writing about. But, everyone who talks to me about my year spent there keeps telling me I should write a book.

        • CB Driver
          November 4, 2011 | 10:17 am

          Seven different ones? Wow. Must have been wild. Like a game of “musical chairs.” Maybe “musical classrooms”? :) Perhaps it could be a teacher-oriented book, one that’s entertaining and educational (in terms of teaching and being in another culture). Sounds pretty cool!

          • Kelsey
            November 4, 2011 | 10:29 am

            Yeah, I was at a different school every day. I rode my motorcycle to different parts of the island to get to the schools.

            Well, I would agree with you except that…I didn’t do much teaching. Due to the small size of the schools, I rarely taught more than one class a day (and at that, was mostly just a voice for the Korean teacher to use for dialogues), and spent most of the rest of my day stuck at my desk, browsing travel blogs. LOL.

          • CB Driver
            November 4, 2011 | 10:35 am

            Oh, OK. I see. LOL re: browsing travel blogs. Perhaps the cool experiences were in between the classes? Maybe it could be a novella/extended photo essay with scenes from each island with anecdotes and prose connecting the journeys? In any case, sounds like it was fun–even if the teaching was minimal!

  28. Lazarusrising
    November 5, 2011 | 2:23 pm

    I’m jumping into this late, having just discovered your blog through a writer that I also just met, but I have given your title some thought. I noticed that a lot of your readers prefer Tales from the Chicky Bus, perhaps because it is familiar and has a certain quirkyness that they relate to you. However, I feel that the stories you tell tie in more accurately with the subhead of your blog: Finding yourself off the beaten path. The chicken bus is a metaphor for a style of travel, rather than the actual mode in every chapter, right? How about “Chicken Bus Travels; finding yourself off the beaten path.” A title like this might cover all of you future writing in this series. A blurb about your blog would be fine to add to the cover, something like, By author of the travel blog, chickybus at Stumbleupondotcom.

    • CB Driver
      November 5, 2011 | 11:00 pm

      Hi, Lazarus (?). Thanks for jumping in and sharing your thoughts/ideas. You’re right re: “finding yourself off the beaten path.” It does reflect a certain commonality. The same is true for “off the beaten path and into the moment.” And yes, the chicken bus is a metaphor of sorts.

      Perhaps the name could be Tales from the Chicky Bus: One woman’s quest to find herself off the beaten path? What do you think?

      PS: I’m curious who the writer is that you know you mentioned my blog. Thanks so much!

      • Lazarusrising
        November 6, 2011 | 10:36 am

        I found your blog through a link to a travel writer: the suitcase scholar. On the title, I googled chicken bus and got one book with a similar title: “thoughts from the chicken bus.” about a girl who breaks off a relationship and winds up in the places you talk about. There were also several other books about travel with the chicken bus as a back drop.

        Here’s where I come down on using the term. It could be seen as derogatory to the cultures where this mode of transportation is no laughing matter. It is the only way they have of getting around and I think it’s wrong to make that a joke when we come from a place with so many opportunities. However if the term is used as a metaphor for the kind of off-road adventure you are focused on, and how it can open your mind to greater understanding, it becomes something to be praised, and we readers can find our own “chicken bus” adventures right where we are. I believe this kind of distinction is very important when laying down your philosophy as a writer.

        I can give you several problems with your title “Tales from the Chickey Bus.” First, tales has a negative connotation. It recalls the idea of gossip. Telling tales. It also conjures fairy tales, ie something we might not choose to believe. The other term that’s troubling is “chickey bus.” It is a term that only your readers know so it comes across as an inside joke. That leaves a lot of potential readers out. It also it a made up term which we can only learn if we find your blog, and even doing that we might not understand. I’m actually not sure what it means, there is a female connotation with chicky and the idea of fun is in there (sounds like cheeky) but in reality the bus is not a girl who is cheeky is it? It’s just a bus and you are the girl. The phrase: Tales from chickey bus (with no the) actually makes more sense, but you can see now that the subject is missing. What kind of tales? travel, scary, funny? These are things I learned from my mom who was an English teacher and writer. A writer must be clear above all things.

        I stand by my suggestion of “Chicken Bus Travels; finding yourself off the beaten path” It has potential to be a great series of travel and insight books, and best of all, it hasn’t been done… yet. I suggest you grab it and get your books placed on the shelf right next to Chicken Soup for the…whatever.

        • CB Driver
          November 6, 2011 | 12:11 pm

          Thanks, again, for your excellent ideas and feedback. I hear you re: chicken buses. They actually have a special place in my heart because they represent the real people of the cultures where they’re used and because I do think it’s possible to experience self-discovery anywhere–even on a chicken bus. So your points re: not making a mockery of the buses as transportation are well-taken.

          I’m not sure I agree with the negative connotation of the word “tales”; I do feel pretty comfortable with it despite what some might think it means. As for Chicky Bus itself–I can see where some might be confused by it. Fortunately, most people who hear it for the first time are intrigued and want to learn more. And that’s a good thing. I do realize that those who know of it get it while those who don’t might be thrown a bit. But made-up names that happen to be memorable tend to do quite well.

          In any case, I truly appreciate your taking the time to join the discussion and to make your suggestions!!

        • CB Driver
          November 6, 2011 | 12:12 pm

          Oh and thank so much for seeing the potential of the book–that means a lot, too! :)

  29. Trans-Americas Journey
    November 5, 2011 | 10:41 pm

    Congratulations and good luck!
    Trans-Americas Journey recently posted..Product Review – Hummingbird Compressible Travel PillowsMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 5, 2011 | 11:00 pm

      Thanks so much–appreciate it!

  30. Priyank
    November 19, 2011 | 5:32 pm

    Hello Lisa, Congratulations! I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult task it must be to write a book. It sounds like a book that would really enjoy reading. First step – signing up for the free chapter ;-) LOL
    Priyank recently posted..5 free things to do during a layover in Miami airportMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      November 20, 2011 | 7:50 am

      Priyank–hi, welcome to my blog and thanks so much for the congrats! It has been a lot of work and it was hard to complete it due to the time I spend on this site. Fortunately, I pulled it off. Now I’m editing. I’m so glad to hear that it’s a book that you’d enjoy reading. I must get it done even sooner then! I look forward to the day that it’s published and we can chat about things that happened in it!


  31. Naomi
    December 7, 2011 | 7:12 am

    Congrats on the book, am so looking forward to reading it. I have no idea about publishing but just my thoughts about the title. The term “Chicken bus” is totally a central american/south american term, it really isn’t used anywhere else on the planet, except by americans who’ve previously travelled in CA/SA. Seriously, I’ve never heard of it outside that context, even a quick search of a travel forum fails to yield mentions of it outside CA etc. Given that your book is about a lot of other places than just the american continent, and you hopefully want a world wide audience, I’d go with the Chicky Bus reference because it’s you, your personal signature and nothing wrong with that. I think a small subtitle about it being a whole world thing is a good idea, because not everyone is interested in CA/SA and most of your stories aren’t about there, and the “chicken bus” reference might make people think it’s only about america.
    good luck with the editing, I’ve read a few self published travel books and a good deal of them are pretty crap writing, and would have been much better with some good editing.

    • CB Driver
      December 7, 2011 | 11:32 am

      Naomi–Hi and thanks so much for your comment! I hear you re: the phrase “chicken bus” not being so well-known and for it being CA/SA specific. I’m definitely going with Chicky bus in the title (for the exact reasons you gave) and, most likely, a subtitle of some sort. The name may be “Tales from the Chickybus.” I’ve found that those hearing the name of the site for the first time are usually intrigued/curious and so, it would satisfy those who know me and hopefully draw in those who don’t.

      I agree re: the editing. I, too, have read some awful books (which I picked up for free to read on my iPad) and have been very disappointed. So I’m taking that stage of the process very seriously. I’ve had one basic copy edit done and am now moving in to some critiquing and heavy editing, then rewriting. Later, there will be a few rounds of proofreading–not just one. Also, I’m going to publish the book as an e-book first. Then, if I’ve missed anything, it will be easier to correct.

      PS: In addition to selling the book as one book (to those who want to completely experience the journey, I’m also going to divide up the “rides” and sell them individually. This will help me reach people who are only interested in one specific region and don’t know my work yet. Perhaps for $1.99, they’d be willing to take a chance on me. What do you think about that sort of set up?

  32. Naomi
    December 10, 2011 | 10:55 pm

    Not sure, because my tastes would be different to others. I’d buy a whole book because I’m interested in all places, sort of a way of making me keep my travel options open. And I think there’s a lot of dreamers out there who love reading about other people’s experiences but may never travel much themselves.
    I think $1.99 for just one chapter might be a bit steep, I’d almost certainly buy an e-chapter for 99c though. Hey! I’m cheap OK??
    Naomi recently posted..Let’s start with something easy!My Profile

    • CB Driver
      December 11, 2011 | 8:10 am

      HI, Naomi. Thanks for your answer. I’m glad to hear that you’re someone who prefers an entire book. I personally love the book in its entirety. But I do understand how and why some like smaller pieces.

      I don’t think you’re cheap, by the way. I totally get it! :) I should clarify what I meant by “one ride at a time.” That would not be one chapter (as in a couple thousand words), but an entire section of the book with a bunch of chapters in it. One region of the world. The price would be based on word count. The section with 9000 words and 5 chapters would be $.99, those sections with about 15,000 words would be $1.99 and the largest sections, with 25,000 words, would be $1.99 or 2.99. These days, from what I’ve seen, people are selling entire books that only have 50,000 words in them, so I think these prices would be fair. It would, of course, be more economical to get the entire book.

      Thanks for your feedback!

    • CB Driver
      December 11, 2011 | 9:41 am

      PS: I just visited your blog and tried to leave a comment. I wasn’t able to, though, because it doesn’t allow for someone with a name/URL. Can you change that in your settings? People like me (who don’t have a or Blogger account) could then leave comments. Thanks!

      • Naomi
        December 12, 2011 | 8:39 am

        thanks for that, didn’t realise it was so restrictive, no wonder no-one bothers to leave a comment. have changed the settings, muchos gracias.
        Naomi recently posted..Were we a front?My Profile

        • CB Driver
          December 12, 2011 | 8:46 am

          You are very welcome–so glad to help!

  33. My Favourite Travel Blogs of 2011 | Traveling Tomboy
    December 31, 2011 | 11:34 am

    [...] the same opinion about many, many topics within the travel/lifestyle design/blogging world.  She recently finished a book that will hopefully be published soon, and I think that she avoids the typical RTW-trip dynamic [...]

  34. Sky
    January 1, 2012 | 5:35 pm

    Wow, I love the sounds of this! I would definitely read it. I don’t have time right now so read all of the comments, so I apologize if I’m restating things that everyone else has already said. But, long before traveling was my passion, writing and reading were. I’ve been following the publishing and self-publishing market for years now, so I thought I could give you some advice.

    First of all, as far as traditional publishing goes – it’s really, really hard and a really long process. You’re looking at well over a year, if not two or three. And, if you want to get published by a “big” publisher (Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, etc), then you need an agent, which requires a lot of querying and that process itself can take a long time. Then you’d have to revise and they would shop it to editors who would probably have you revise it AGAIN and THEN you’re looking at 12-18 months before publication. That’s if you find an agent or a publisher that will pick it up. Travel memoirs are among the hardest things to sell. But, you already have a big following so that would certainly help you. If you went this way, pretty much everything would be in the hands of the publisher – from cover art to pricing to distribution. You are likely to get an advance, which can range from a few grand and upwards, and until that earns out, you wouldn’t receive another penny. Most books don’t have advances that earn out.

    Then there’s self-publishing. If you want this book out in the next year, that’s probably your best option. Google is your friend with this. You would need to pay someone to design a cover – that’s one of the most important things if you want someone to buy your book. Then you would have to format it or pay someone to do it. So, you’d be looking at putting a few hundred to a grand or so into this. BUT you would then have total control over everything – pricing, cover, distribution, etc. If you are seriously thinking about this, I would recommend looking in to Smashwords or Createspace. Smashwords will format it for various e-book websites (B&N, Amazon, Sony, etc) and Createspace is partnered with Amazon and is for Kindle e-books and print books, which will then go on Amazon and other sites. Personally, this is the option I would probably go with, especially since you already have a following. This is a blogpost that I found particularly helpful – It’s mostly about fiction books but pretty much everything could also be used for a travel memoir as well. He has tons of wonderful posts on self-publishing as well.

    I hope this helps! :) Good luck, either way!
    Sky recently posted..Looking Forward to 2012My Profile

    • CB Driver
      January 1, 2012 | 5:51 pm

      Hi, Sky. Nice to meet you and thanks so much for your comment. I really appreciate all the info you shared. It’s funny–when I first wrote this, I was sort of torn, but leaning in the direction of self-publishing. A week later, I was 100% sure I’d do it on my own.

      Right now, I’m working on editing and cover design. I’ll soon be looking for a formatter to help with preparing the text for the different formats. I’m definitely looking at Smashwords and Createspace, as well as BookBaby, etc. I’ll also check out the link you sent.

      Thank you so much for everything!!

  35. Julie Morey
    February 2, 2012 | 9:04 pm

    I just found your site the other day and have been having fun poking around. I am working on a travel memoir also, so was interested in your book. I like Tales from a Chicky Bus and would go with Kindle publishing. It is really easy to do, go to creating space on amazon, they have a whole section on kindle publishing – if you haven’t found that resource already. :)

    • CB Driver
      February 2, 2012 | 10:34 pm

      Julie–Hi, nice to meet you and thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! You’re also working on a travel memoir? Excellent! What’s it about? Where were you? Feel free to post a link to share. I’d love to take a look.

      Re: the self-publishing…I think we’re on the same wavelength. I want to go with Kindle first, a few more digital formats and then I’ll probably use CreateSpace on Amazon for the print-on-demand version.

      Thanks and I look forward to learning more about you!

  36. [...] I’d like to tell you, but this is part of one of the stories in my book (which I’m hoping to publish in April or May). I’d hate to spoil it (a lot more happens [...]

  37. [...] of fun, quirky and trippy short stories from over a decade of traveling. To read a synopsis, click here. To sign up for my monthly newsletter—and to be notified of free giveaways, etc–click here. [...]

  38. [...] feel really burnt out for a multitude of reasons—including editing my travel memoirs, maintaining this site, working at my full-time teaching job, etc. I’m really out of balance now [...]

  39. Carlo Cretaro
    April 19, 2013 | 4:42 pm

    Excellent idea for a book Lisa. I’ve seen a lot of people have success using the kindle/amazon system to get their book out to the masses.

    Something to keep in mind.

    Carlo :)
    Carlo Cretaro recently posted..Next Stop: Moving To ThailandMy Profile

    • CB Driver
      April 20, 2013 | 9:41 am

      Hi, Carlo. Thanks! I’m about to publish the book–in a matter of days! Just to Kindle first; other formats will be next.

  40. [...] I first completed it (the rough draft, that is) last year. Two sections that I’d mentioned in that post–about South Africa and the Southwestern U.S.–were removed and may be in another [...]

  41. Wesley
    January 14, 2014 | 12:44 am

    Can’t wait to read your book

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