Today is the day. Almost a year of non-stop obsession over my book, Strange Nervous Laughter, and today (today!) it hits stores. Hits them. Like a tidal wave (or, more likely, like a gentle wave lapping on the shore, seeing as there are usually only a handful or two of copies in each store.)

I haven’t seen any of these said books in any of these said bookstores, so to me it still seems a little unlikely — this after having gone through a rigorous rewriting, editing, proofreading, cover-making, proofreading (again) process that lasted months and strung me out on a number of occasions. Still, it doesn’t really seem real.

Wait till I’m standing next to a little pile of them. Then I’ll get back to you.

What does seem real, though, is the exciting marketing mission on which I’ve been. When I say I I mean, of course, we. When has anyone ever achieved anything entirely on their own? (Yes, I stand by that statement, even when you cite solo treks to the North Pole and reclusive thesis writers in the heart of the Karoo. There’s always someone backstage, making coffee, remembering to switch the geyser on, packing that extra pair of thermal socks.)

I digress.

The we isn’t just me (as in the ever-popular Royal We). It’s also my brother, Niall McNulty (, who is a web genius and an ideas man who has helped turn my very simple idea of a website into something really special. (Check it out —

And my dear friend Lev David ( who, with his creative consultancy Say Yay, has worked some amazing email magic and flooded me with ideas.

You think I’m using too many superlatives?

I think not.

We designed a five-part email series of interesting snippets of the book combined with really beautifully shot images relating to love. (Don’t scoff! Strange Nervous Laughter is a book about love, but it’s not a romance.) The framed images are also available as downloads on the website, along with recipes, a sample chapter of the novel and, later today, four original illustrations commissioned from a talented young illustrator, Colwyn Thomas ( as a little celebration for my book being in stores.

Recipes, you ask? Of course! Green mashed potatoes, green pea soup, mint ice cream — one of my characters, Harry, only eats green food. And Beth’s Never-Fail Feel-Good Hot Chocolate.

So first there was the email series, three in a row (every few days) and then one two weeks later, and one in a month. The open rate for the first email was something ridiculous like 84,75%, and there was only a 2% drop-off rate between the first email and the second. (I take personal offence that there was even a 2% drop-off. What were they thinking?)

Signing up for the email series allows you to download a free PDF of the first chapter of Strange Nervous Laughter, including a little letter from me (signed!)

Next up is the celebratory “Yay! It’s in stores!” email (today) with Colwyn’s custom-made illustration.

On Monday we launch an interactive competition where we ask people to submit their best kissing photos (again, Strange Nervous Laughter is a book about love), to a gallery on Facebook (where the “Strange Nervous Laughter is cool” group has more than 100 members and counting).

The prize? A brand-new iPod nano 4GB with video. Launched two days ago.

The point? To get as many people, all over the world, involved. Everyone has a photo of themselves kissing a lover or a friend or a pet or a baby; it’s easy enough to load it on to Facebook. And the more people who are joining “The Kissing Group” (as it will be known) the more people are finding out about Strange Nervous Laughter. Genius!

The website will soon have a media page, with all the relevant info for download. I handwrote 30 personal letters to each of the members of the media (radio, newspaper and magazine) receiving press packs, outlining who I am and why I think Strange Nervous Laughter will appeal to their readers or listeners. Throw in a paper packet of branded (stamped) green tea, a gold ribbon and a free copy of the book, and you have yourself a pretty nifty press pack.

No TV yet. Anyone got any bright ideas?

Then there’s the blog. Of course there’s the blog! is a little something I write on every day, and the response has been overwhelming. It’s my little airing-my-thoughts space, and I’m free to be as honest and open as I like. What a treat! It’s like a journal online, only instead of it just being me trying to get perspective on life, there are people responding.

And, lastly, there are the tea parties.

One in each city (Durban, Jo’burg and Cape Town) in the next few months, complete with cups of tea (green or otherwise), cupcakes with green icing, a reading and some good old-fashioned tea-party fun. There’ll be a competition to win one of three custom-made, exclusive, three-of-a-kind-ever embroidered Strange Nervous Laughter cushions. They’ll be so cool.

The challenge? Write the best one-liner ending to the phrase “Love is …”

All entries will be posted on the website.

I think that’s about it for the time being. Although I’m sure between Niall and Lev and I we’ll come up with something else soon.

Oh yes! And I’m trying for a Guinness World Records attempt. World’s largest cupcake. End of November. I’ll keep you posted.



Bridget McNulty

Bridget McNulty is a writer, content strategist and creative director. She is the editor of Sweet Life diabetes lifestyle magazine ( and...

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