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Sam Catling

Sam Catling

London, United Kingdom

Sam Catling spent most of his formative years feeling like he didn't really fit in, but it wasn't until he started working on cruise ships that he found himself, sorta...

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About the author

Sam Catling was born in London, England, and grew up in the rural countryside of Essex County.
Displaying an interest in the performing arts from an early age, Sam later went on to study drama, music tech, English literature and film at college.
Feeling somewhat victim to the middle child syndrome (his words not mine), Sam took a chance at working as an entertainer on-board cruise ships to get away from it all.
It was never something he even considered an option growing up, but as soon as the idea became viable after completing college, Sam went about the application process following some sound advice from his Nan.
After spending four years at sea, and many years of trying to readapt to the pace of life back on land, Sam finally found the courage and motivation to write his first book whilst studying for a BA in music business at Middlesex University. Sam has been a hobbyist writer for some time, but never tried to write a book before. His passion for writing comes from a desire to entertain, and since starting to take his writing more seriously, has already begun work on multiple other projects. 

In his youth Sam co-wrote a comedy script with a friend, which they had written for a show already in existence and sent into the BBC. In response they received a hand written letter from comic actor Paul Whitehouse, applauding and encouraging the efforts of the script and to keep up the good work. 
Sam recalls this to be one of his earliest recognition's of praise he ever got as a writer, and he attributes that encouragement as one of the driving forces that spurred him on through the years.

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Success! Seems Like Smooth Sailing has already sold 84 pre-orders , was pitched to 38 publishers , and will be published by Cranthorpe Millner .
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$9 Eco-Warrior

26 readers

If books in their physical form scare the bejeebers out of you, then by all means, grab the E-book book only option. There's no judgements here, this is a nice campaign :)
You will also be able to gain access to all campaign updates, and an invitation to join my community detailing future projects and collaborations.

Ebook included

$16 Smooth Sailor

45 readers

1 paperback copy of the book "Seems Like Smooth Sailing", Plus an E-book copy.
You will also have access to all campaign updates, and an invitation to join my community detailing future projects and collaborations.

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

$26 Techie Supreme

2 readers

If you want to be environmentally friendly, or you absolutely hate paperback books, then choose this option.
This offer contains 1 copy of "Seems Like Smooth Sailing" the E-book AND the Audio-book as well.
The book has been written in a style perfect for this medium, and I very much look forward to recording it.
You will also have access to all campaign updates, and an invitation to join my community detailing future books, projects and collaborations.

Ebook included

$30 Sharing is caring

2 readers

Because your so considerate, or because you just dont like sharing, this offer comes with not one but 2 paperback copies of "Seems Like Smooth Sailing" plus a copy of the E-book.
You will also have access to all campaign updates, and an invitation to join my community detailing future books, projects and collaborations.

2 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$36 One of each please

3 readers

As the title suggests, this offer comes with 1 signed copy of "Seems Like Smooth Sailing", Plus 1 E-book and 1 Audio-book.
You could read it on a kindle or your phone during your morning commute, read the paperback in the park on your lunch break to show everyone how cool you are, and listen to the audio-book on your way home when your eyes are completely spent. It's completely up to you.
You will also have access to all campaign updates, and an invitation to join my community detailing future books, projects and collaborations.

1 copy + ebook included

Free shipping

17 of 20 left

$46 You Legend!

2 readers

You will get everything as mentioned in the previous offer, but just in case someone comes up to you in the park, and looks as though they are about to ask what you are reading and where they might be able to buy a copy, you whip out a spare and tell them to spread the good word...but that you also like it back, you paid for it after all.

2 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$100 Super Legendary Hero!

0 readers

Only you know your business, no-one else, so who am I to judge if you want a bundle of books to gift out to all your friends!
This offer comes with an E-book, Audio-book, 5 signed paperback copies AND your name in the acknowledgements section of the book.
I haven't even written an acknowledgements section yet, so if you end up being the only person generous enough to choose this option, then it's fair to say that you could have a page in the book all to yourself!

5 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$200 Captains Club

0 readers

If you are so inclined to go as far as supporting me by choosing this option, then of course you get everything as listed in the offer above, but I will also take you out for dinner in London, providing you choose from the kids menu and you only drink tap. (that's a joke, you can have whatever you like)

5 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$300 Squire for a day

0 readers

It makes sense that whilst I have this platform I may as well try and get a days work out of it.
In my day to day I zip about London using all manner of transport working as a Handyman.
So if you choose this option, you will get everything listed in the captains club offer above, but I'll also come to your house, and do a days labour before taking you out for dinner, and when I say labour, I mean either furniture assembly, painting and decorating, heavy lifting, that sort of thing....nothing kinky!

5 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$500 Pyromaniac

0 readers

Maybe the title of this offer is in poor taste, but if you decide that you hate me and my book so much, that you want to get a whole bundle of books just so you can have your very own book burning event, then by all means be my guest.
It's not illegal to burn books that you own, but it is illegal to have a bonfire in most places without a permit, but I'm sure you knew that already didn't you...
You book burning sadist!
Alternatively I suppose you could set up a small book stall that just sells copies of this book, then you could sell them and double your money.
You make a profit and I get more copies out there, win win!

Maybe you are just so bloody generous that you decide to gift all the books to your friends, family and strangers you meet on the street.
This is an unlikely scenario, but I thought I'd just leave it out there...

100 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

Seems Like Smooth Sailing

This is a coming of age, just flown the nest, tell all comedy memoir about the ups and downs of working on-board a cruise ship as an entertainer.

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Biography & Memoir Comedy
50,000 words
75% complete
9 publishers interested


'Seems Like Smooth Sailing' is my own personal journey of what experienced working on-board cruise ships as an entertainment host. You will get a behind the scenes (below the water line) look into the lives of not only myself, but some of the staff and crew as well.

At the time most of the events in this book took place I was but a mere lad of nineteen and late to bloom. For whatever reason I was confident enough to get up on stage in front of a room full of strangers, but painfully shy when it came to talking to attractive members of the opposite sex. So just in case you’ve heard on the grapevine a few squalid tales of debauchery that a life on-board can bring, I want to promise you early on that this is not that kind of book. That being said, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a few risqué moments thrown in for good measure. However I tend to unfortunately be in the possession of a rather inconsistent charm-o-meter. Think one minute Hugh Grant, Mr Bean the next.

If you have doubts about going on a cruise, then this book might encourage you. If you have ambitions to go and work on a cruise, then this book won't dissuade you...probably.

For the most part though, this book follows a linear tale of discovery, challenging situations and attempted self-improvement.
The title of this book is an attempt to correct the general misunderstanding most people have when it comes to working on-board cruise ships. Which is that it is really just one long extended vacation. Yes there are a lot of benefits that this type of career can offer, but it is 7 days a week and requires a lot of hard work. 

The book's style is (I hope) funny at it's core, and unlike other cruise ship memoirs I have read, mine attempts to be as honest and self-depreciating as possible, warts and all.
I think the beginning of the book does a good job of putting the reader in my shoes as the narrative character, because like most people at the age of nineteen, I didn't have a clue.

Writing this book now in my early 30's with a career in entertainment behind me, hopefully means that my ability to be an effective and emotive story teller has some small amount of truth to it.


A few pages on who I am, why and how I started writing the book, also a heads up on what and what not to expect within the book.

'On the very first lesson of the very first day, my very first lecturer asked the class to write a very mini-autobiography and gave us ten minutes to do so. It’s amazing how such a simple thing like that can really help your brain turn its headlights on.'

Chapter 1 - Changing Course 

Details of my home life and work situation, how I was shaping up as a young adult and setting the scene for the inciting incident to come, which was to start working on cruise ships.  This chapter also includes how the notion of working on cruise ships came to me, how I applied, how my interview went, what training I had to go through and the excitement building up to arriving at the ship.

'It was time to start packing. And by packing I mean my mum did it all for me because it was the last chance she’d have for a while to be all mumsy. I was subjected to a barrage of questioning “Will you need this? Shall I pack that? Do you have enough skin cream?”(For my Eczema) etc.'

Chapter 2 - A New Chapter…Literally 
My first few weeks on-board learning the ropes and getting acquainted with a life at sea.

'I felt like crying. I wanted so badly to be good at my job, but found with something like hosting in front of a family audience it takes a lot of practice and a think before you speak mentality.'

Chapter 3 - Making my mark 

Coping with home sickness, and making an effort to start getting the respect of my team and finding my place within it. 

'The sensation of chewing food that was tougher than old boots and smelt worse than them to boot was unbearable. So I ran for the nearest railing and launched it overboard retching loudly.'

Chapter 4 - There Are No Stupid Questions…Hah! 
Unfortunately, these stories are all true and are a mixture of things I personally encountered and things I collected from colleagues over the years. Hold on to your sanity.

e.g “Do the crew live on-board?” 

Chapter 5 - Sometimes There is Some Time for Show Team Show Time  
A collection of stories that mainly revolve around my time spent with the show team.

'There were some pretty attractive girls that I had come into contact with during my education, but none of them could hold a candle to these girls. I remember being incredibly bashful whenever any of them would try to talk to me, and so news of my shyness quickly became well known.'

Chapter 6 - What happened next?!
Working with a new team after seeing the last ones leave, plus an insight into my sexual awakening. 

'I wanted to prove to everyone that I was up to
it and could keep an audience entertained. Annoyingly only three people turned up to my quiz that afternoon, and they sucked the fun out of it because they all took it so seriously. That evening I got really drunk'

Chapter 7 - The Importance of Down Time
Explaining how I learnt to cope with a hectic schedule.

'I quickly became quite adept in the art of napping. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when it comes to serious sleep deprivation as a result of constantly working and lighting the candle at both ends, napping is less of a life choice and more a daily essential.'

Chapter 8 - A Few of My Favourite Things 
Things I took for granted at the time, but have later come to appreciate.

'It was the most incredible rum I have ever tasted. It was so good that I cared more about drinking it with him, rather than taking note of it and getting some for myself in the future, as a result I’m now furious with myself.'

Chapter 9 - Incredibly Exciting Inciting Incidents 
A collection of dramatic stories.

'We had it all, everything a good soap opera needs. An open buffet of delicious arguments, an engine room of noisy complaints, and a medical room constantly coping with ridiculous injuries, emergencies, and even deaths.'

Chapter 10 - Reintegrating With Reality 
Processing my first contract and coming to terms with leaving that bubble. Making comparisons between life at sea and on land, and finally setting the reader up to be able to segway into the next book with ease.

'It’s a funny thing returning home after any extended period of time. I felt like Shy Stallone as John Spartan in Demolition man. Cryogenically frozen then re-animated three decades later, and was then unable to grasp the concept of how to use the three seashells to wipe my own arse.'


According to U.S Census data, there are an estimated 71 million millennial's in the US which is about 30% of the total american population. I was unable to find statistics for the UK.
Currently one of the biggest trending books out there is Adam Kay's 'This is going to hurt', which has now sold more copies than Michelle Obama's autobiography. It's a fantastic memoir/diary of his experience working as a junior doctor for the NHS in the UK. It has a brilliant blend of comedy and tragedy making it a highly recommended book. 
My book in comparison might be a bit more accessible for the type of people who don't necessarily want to read stories that make their stomach lurch. But in comparison, my book also shares its own universal truths which I'm sure will resonate with plenty of people.
In terms of the sub categories for the millennial's, there are a few that I believe my book could be suitable for.

1. The Hipennials (29% of all Millennial's):

This group are mainly students, hungry for information and looking to be entertained. They are cautious consumers with their fingers on the pulse of whats trending, and social media savvy. They are the type of millennial's who believe they can make the world a better place, and this books message would I think, greatly appeal to them.

2. The Old-School Millennial (10% of all Millennial's):
This group is probably the one I myself fit to closest as I prefer a face to face every time, much like the old school millennial They consider themselves to be disconnected in part at least from the rest of society, but are confident, independent and self-directed. In addition they are charitable, spend the least amount of time online and love to read the printed word.

3. The Gadget Gurus (13% of all Millennial's):
This group are known to be successful, wired and free-spirited, much like the underlying narrative of this book. They are mostly male, earning above average income, and are the greatest contributors towards new content in general. 

4. The Millennial Moms (22% of all Millennial's):
This group are confident, digitally savvy, highly social, female dominated and family oriented.
They are among the wealthiest sub group of all the Millennial's, and have high online presence in terms of activities and shopping.
They are also keen travellers, (so the topic of travel in this book should appeal to them).

Due to the style of humour and pop culture references in this book, the target audience can easily span multiple nationalities, It has been proof read by a few different nationalities already, and was well received by them.
Overall the book opens its arms to a widely diverse audience, although some of my anecdotes could potentially cause some offence.
It's the kind of book that has an easily inhabitable narrative character, and sets about on an journey where just being yourself isn't always the best advice.
I think this book would be good for anyone struggling with perhaps their own self-image, and could potentially give them the courage to go out and try things that they never thought of trying before.

This is the kind of book that you can easily pick up and put down at your own leisure.


In order to promote this book campaign to people I have several approaches. 

The first has been to build up a mailing list of interested parties over the last few months. This  is so I can effectively link people to the Facebook campaign page, and crowdfunding page once it goes live. The email list consists of former colleagues, clients, friends, family and people I met along the way.

I intend pay a bit of money to help boost the campaign on Facebook to drive more people to the crowdfunding site .
I plan to reach out to a few people I am personally connected with who have considerable social media followings and call in a few favours. This will hopefully help me to reach a wider audience as well. Additionally on Instagram I will be sure to post up to date info with relevant hashtags to generate hype and to help me find my audience.
I intend to promote my book to the audience at the end of gigs when I perform stand up comedy, there are a great deal of people who will happily approach me at the end of gigs asking to know more about the book, and are willing to support me with my campaign.
I intend to reach out to bloggers who fit with the books genre and link them to my page as well.
Finally, my aim is to offer people the book as an E-book, paperback, and audio-book, with a bunch of different bonus extras as well
I am not the biggest user when it comes to social media, but hopefully there are people I am connected with that can assist me in making my campaign as succesfull as it can be.
Instagram - 235 Followers
Twitter - 101 Followers
Facebook friends - 761
Facebook campaign page current likes - 40
YouTube -  26,136 views, 49 Subscribers
Emailing list - 110+


Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member: Answers to All the Questions Every Passenger Wants to Ask - By Joshua Kinser - 22 Dec 2013
Self Published
'Drawing from his experiences working as a musician and an art auctioneer, the author tells the laugh-out-loud and also poignant story of what cruise ship crew members experience from the minute they first step onto a ship to the day they walk down that gangway for the last time'.

This was perhaps the best book series I read which isn't surprising, as the author used to be a paid writer before he started working on ships as a drummer. He did a few books which is one of the reasons I was inspired to do a series of my own. One problem I had with the book was that I thought it was in places just a little bit whiny. I'm not as voracious a reader as I would like to be, but I like to read books that aren't too preachy or dense with exposition, so I think in some respects that is where my book differs.

Diary of a Cruise Ship Entertainer: A Hilarious Insight into a Life at Sea - By Lyndsey Spiers - 11 Feb 2016
Self published
'Ever wondered what life is like living and working on the open seas? This laugh-out--loud diary is a true account of what goes on behind the scenes in the life of an entertainment host as you join Lyndsey on her 3 year adventure sailing to 29 ports of call, being generally ridiculous for a lving and against all odds being given a shot at assistant cruise director! A must read for cruise fanatics and wannabe cruisers alike!'

This was the book that inspired me to write my own because it was written by a fellow entertainer. Sadly the book only made me laugh out loud on one occasion, and the only memories I have from the majority of this book is that she ends a lot of stories by making the excuse she was drunk, and that she was often quite irresponsible in her role. Some of the content was great but poorly executed, and it made me think I could do a lot better. It pushed me to challenge myself to write a few mundane stories but make them as interesting as possible, as well as reminding me to keep my writing persona humble and self depreciating. I believe that no one really likes stories about people who get by on luck and show no thanks for it.  

Cruise Confidential: A Hit Below the Waterline: Where the Crew Lives, Eats, Wars, and Parties -- One Crazy Year Working on: A Hit Below the Waterline ... Working on Cruise Ships – By Brian David Bruns - 18 Sep 2008
Travelers' Tales (18 Sept. 2008)
'In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt — or in this case, the dirty water — on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes readers down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving readers gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre.'

This book seems to have had the most commercial success, with more positive reviews that any other on the market. It has a rags to riches type of narrative which I enjoyed. An american man who takes a job as a bar tender which normally is a role reserved for eastern Europeans and Filipinos. Sadly though I didn't find his stories all that entertaining, and his style came across a bit arrogant at times. It was written a while back so there was a lot that was different in the industry when he worked there compared to my own experience.

My First Cruise – by Timmy Funn - 14 Mar 2019
Independently published (14 Mar. 2019)
'Heard of Laughter Therapy? No? Well this book is a little bit of shallowness seeking to make you chuckle, smile and grimace, all of which is good for your soul. The author treads a path between fiction and reality as he sets out on his first Cruise adventure into the Orient. You will recognise some of the scenarios he describes, they are happening around you all the time. It’s what makes being a human so much fun – watching other humans. '

This book has only just come out and has been written it seems from a passengers perspective. It appears on the surface to be quite a childish book, as the author put his age on the cover at 49 and 3/4. I like that approach as it strikes a chord with a lot of people who are still clinging to their youth. Compared to a lot of other cruise ship books this one caught my eye, because lot of the other covers are pretty dull and unappealing. I have yet to read this book but I may well decide to.

Cruise Ship Stories - 12 Years of Working on Cruise Ships, Behind the Crew Only Door, Getting Jobs on Ships, Life On Board - By Guy Beach - 4th Jan 2014
Publisher: Guy Beach (4 Jan. 2014)

'If you are reading this intro, then I take it that you have an interest in cruise ships. It could be you want to work on a cruise ships, you want to or have taken a cruise, maybe you are looking for tips on cruising or maybe you just like fun stories about cruise ships. If you are interested in any of those items I just listed, then this book is for you'.

For me this was another inspiration to writing my own book as it just left me feeling as though I could do better. The book is written by a scuba diving instructor, and they could be amazing stories, but it just felt rushed and without much attention to detail. I wasn't able to put myself in his shoes because unfortunately the writing was so bad. A lot of disgruntled readers put emphasis on this in their negative reviews, as well as mentioning his repeated use of the phrase "We'll get to that later". I tried my best to tell stories in full and not use that same technique of baiting the reader to keep them interested.


There are so many cruise ships books out there that fit the fictional erotic novel or murder mystery genre, and there are a bundle of non fiction memoirs that sadly I just couldn't create a connection with. On the whole I would say that my book cover and title is something that stands out above the competition. As for how my work stacks up in comparison, I would love to claim that it is fresh, honest, and has an engaging quality to it that will delight whichever readers decide to take a punt on it. Others who have read it.
I would say that even though there are some similarities regarding content against the competition already out there, my book has a focus on the naivete of youth, and the journey to maturity. It's written in a conversational, readable style that easily hooks the reader and contributes to an authenticity and likeability as the author and narrator.

9 publishers interested
Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc. logo Atlantic Publishing Group, Inc.

250 copies • Completed manuscript.
Atlantic Publishing has been providing millions of readers information to jumpstart their careers, start businesses, manage employees, invest, plan for retirement, learn technologies, build relationships, and live rewarding, fulfilling lives. Our award-winning authors and publication staff strive to make our products the best and most up-to-date available. We go further than most publishers to get our customers the best products.

Hybrid publisher

Children Fiction, Mind & Body, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Politics & Social Sciences, Society & Culture


Black Pawn Press logo Black Pawn Press

​If the name sounds familiar, it's because it's a variation of the name of the publishing company used in the television series Castle. For those unfamiliar with the premise, the show featured a mystery writer who follows a police detective for research and winds up writing an entire series of books based on the cases they work on together. Having become friends during the run of the series, the imprint's founders (both authors themselves), thought they'd pay homage to the show and brought Black Pawn Press to life.

In forming Black Pawn, we knew we wanted to do things a little differently. Instead of focusing on specific genres and tailoring to industry standard demographics, we're more interested in allowing people to simply tell their stories. Whether it's based on actual events, or if it's something they've allowed their imaginations to conjure, we're going to give them the opportunity to share their work with readers in both print and electronic formats. While other publishers are constantly worried about the bottom line, money isn't our driving force. Good people are, and it's sometimes those people who are being overlooked by mainstream publishing houses. Just take a look at some of the titles we've released so far and those in development, and you'll discover everything from a real-life mystical experience to the basis of several upcoming feature films and television concepts.

​So when you think of Black Pawn Press, think of us as a publishing house where we firmly believe that imagination has no boundaries.

Hybrid publisher

Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement


Cranthorpe Millner logo Cranthorpe Millner

250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Cranthorpe Millner operates a hybrid publishing model. This means, should an author pass our editors’ strict filtering system, we can offer different kinds of agreements depending on the author and the manuscript. With some authors, we work under a ‘traditional’ model, whereby we cover the full cost of publication and the author is offered industry-standard royalties (8-10%). To some authors, we offer what we call a partnership or contributory agreement, whereby the author is asked for a financial contribution so that we may share the risk and enter into a partnership together to publish the author’s book. In this case, the author receives around 60-75% royalties.

Hybrid publisher

Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Mind & Body, Mind & Body, Romantic Fiction, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Biography & Memoir, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, History, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Science, Science, Sports & Outdoors, Sports & Outdoors, Travel, Travel

United Kingdom, Canada, United States

Emerald Lake Books logo Emerald Lake Books

500 copies • Completed manuscript.
Emerald Lake Books is a hybrid publishing company that provides a unique blend of business coaching with publishing to help its authors succeed, whether it’s their first book or their fiftieth! Emerald Lake Books specializes in working with positive people who have an engaging, exciting, or entertaining message to share with the world. Using a unique, goal-oriented approach to publishing, we combine our business and publishing knowledge to help our authors set and attain goals for their readers, their brands, and their books. And many of those books have gone on to win international awards and recognition.

Hybrid publisher

Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Mind & Body, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Science, Society & Culture, Technology & the Future, Travel


1106 Design, LLC logo 1106 Design, LLC

Dear Author,

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We understand that your book is not just a passion project but also a potential source of income. That's why we offer a range of services tailored to your needs at affordable prices. Depending on your manuscript's word count and complexity, our packages range from $4,000 to $10,000. And here's the best part: after this one-time investment, every penny of net revenue from book sales goes directly to you, never to us.

If this sounds like a better way to publish your book, I invite you to browse our services, design samples, no-surprises pricing, outstanding customer reviews, and educational articles at You can download a free PDF of my book, "Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing and an Insider's Look at a Misunderstood Industry," and request a free, no-obligation consultation.

1106 Design has been in business since 2001 and is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau. We are a “Highly Recommended Expert” at and rated "Excellent" at Alli, The Alliance for Independent Authors, at, where you can find a "watchdog list" of the best and worst publishing services companies.

How can we serve you today?

Michele DeFilippo, owner

Service publisher

Children Fiction, Christian Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Essay, Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Mythology & Folk Tales, Poetry, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Women's Fiction, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Children Non-Fiction, Christian Non-Fiction, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Communication Skills, Corporate Culture, Current Affairs, Economics, Education, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Humor & Entertainment, Journalism, Management & Leadership, Marketing & Sales, Mindfulness & Happiness, Money & Investment, Motivation & Inspiration, Nature & Environment, Parenting, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Philosophy, Politics & Social Sciences, Popular Science, Productivity & Time Management, Psychology, Reference, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Sex & Relationships, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & the Future, Travel, YA Non-Fiction, Science Fiction & Humour


Atmosphere Press logo Atmosphere Press

250 copies • Partial manuscript.
Atmosphere Press is an independent publisher dedicated to author rights. We publish in all genres and have an exceptional editorial, design, and promotional staff. We stand for Honesty, Transparency, Professionalism, and Kindness. We want our authors and their readers to be blown away when they first hold that book in their hands. It needs to look good inside and out, and feel good to the touch. And, of course, the words need to be top-notch, and our editors are devoted to making that the case.

Service publisher

Children Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mind & Body, Mystery, Thriller, Horror & Suspense, Romantic Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, YA Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Business & Money, Career & Success, Cookbooks, Food & Wine, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Journalism, Personal Growth & Self-Improvement, Politics & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Society & Culture, Sports & Outdoors, Technology & the Future, Travel


Authors Unite logo Authors Unite

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Chapter 1

Changing Course

It began just like any other wet blanket tell–all tale. I was just one of many hopeless teenagers out there void of inspiration, bereft of ambition and lacking of any testicles. Puberty decided it was going to take it’s time with me, and I was in danger of falling behind with not just my pubic hair, but also an increasing lack of my own self confidence.

When I was in primary school I was diagnosed with A.D.D. In secondary school the diagnosis was re-confirmed, but then when I was college I was diagnosed with it yet again. For me, it was as if I was hearing it for the very first time, probably because whenever I had been told before, I most likely wasn’t paying any attention.

I struggled through college, and so after completing my A-levels I had no designs or aspirations whatsoever toward academic achievement.

I was working a part-time job as a trolley Wally at Asda’s, and I for a very short period I also ground my teeth behind a desk for a telesales company. Neither gave me any sort of job satisfaction and for a few months, I was a real burden to my folks (sorry about that guys). One evening in 2006 my Nan came by the house fresh from her first ever cruise ship holiday. She was sun-kissed and glowing with excitement as she to told us all about her voyage. As she rounded off her story she turned to me and said. “Sam, why don’t you go and work on a ship?” At first, I thought she had sunstroke as I was certain I lacked any of the necessary skills needed to work in such a place. I’d once considered joining the Navy because I liked the idea of getting away and going out to sea, but the money was crap, the living quarters were tiny, and the only job description that I really leaned towards, was the unfortunately titled role of ’Seaman Specialist’. With friends like mine, I’d never be able to live a quiet life ever again so I didn’t preserve with a career in the forces.  My Nan however, informed me that there were young people around my age who worked within the entertainments team on-board. I leaned in closer and was keen to know more.  She then told me how she had spoken to some of the ents about how they got started (that’s entertainment hosts for short, not ents as in Treebeard and his other tree buddies from the Lord of the Rings). I listened to everything she had to say with new found enthusiasm and she concluded by saying “you’d be great at something like that!”

I wasn’t particularly married to a career in telesales or the supermarket, so I followed up my Nan’s suggestion and advice by heading to the local newsagent and ordering a subscription to the Stage magazine. It was in the jobs section of this publication where roles were listed for cruise ship staff, and for the first few copies I received, I saw nothing that matched up to what I was looking for. It was after about three weeks that I found an advertisement for cruise ship ents hosts. I got so excited that I hurriedly submitted an email request for an application pack. When it arrived in the post I was buzzing excessively. In my mind, I was practically already dancing the Cha-Cha Slide on the open deck with the sea breeze caressing my face. Then I opened the envelope and read the first line at the top of the page on a list of questions…

‘What previous experience do you have within the entertainment industry?’

Well my heart just turned to lead and sank. It took my whole body with it and I was now a man overboard losing the fight to stay above sea level. I snapped out of the daydream and back to reality. I threw the application across the room and let out a noise that can only be spelt ‘Mmwraaah!!’ I had no experience, who was I kidding. I’d been in education all my life and the only two other jobs I’d ever had were a waiter and publishing distributor (which is a fancy way of saying paperboy). I remember thinking I wonder how else I am inadequately qualified for this job? So I went and picked up the application and read through the other questions. They were thankfully just standard questions that I was able to answer. I left the first one blank with the intention of going back to it, and when I did, I had a long hard think to myself. I re-read the question aloud in my head and put emphasis on different parts of the sentence in a variety of combinations. ‘What previous experience DO I have within the entertainment industry?’ So I thought outside the box and conclusively decided it was best to write ‘I have had extensive experience working with trolleys in ASDA car park for the past two years’.

And that boys and girls is how I landed an interview to work on-board a cruise ship. They got in touch to inform me that my little tongue in cheek comment got a big laugh in the office, and would I be able to come in and meet with them for a chat. I was speechless. I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be taken seriously and my form would just get thrown on the heap of unsuccessful applicants.

The actual interview was pretty informal. I got asked a bunch of questions about my home and personal life as they tried to size me up. I made them laugh a couple of times which is always good and we parted ways shaking hands. The drive there and back took just under eight hours, so the nerves of ‘did I get it did I get it?’ lasted the entirety of the return trip. 

That evening during dinner I got a phone call from the interviewer. The call was straight to the point which was good for me because I was right on edge. The guy on the phone said, “Sam…its good news…you’ve got the job” Unable to contain my excitement I let off a scream of pure elation directly into the phone. I probably damaged the poor guy’s eardrums but I like to think he was used to delivering that kind of good news, and had pre-emptively muted the phone line as quickly as he had told me of my good fortune. 

Now, I do not wish to brag, because recruitment processes vary from company to company, but every entertainer I ever met always told me that they had to audition for their role, and I just had a one-on-one interview. In fact, every job I ever got onwards from my first contract was either through a phone-call interview or reference. Surprisingly the only time I ever didn’t get a job, was when I actually had to audition for it! I guess I’m just crap when it comes to that kind of pressure.

In readiness for the start of my first contract, I had to meet certain criteria. Firstly I would have to acquire an ENG1 seafarer’s medical, then go onto a week of training at a maritime academy in Southampton. This would cover such topics as survival techniques at sea, crowd control management, basic firefighting and elementary first aid. I remember having the medical in Harley Street by a doctor who informed me that he had recently completed a medical assessment for none other than David Beckham! Although I am not up to the same level of fitness as Mr Beckham, I was cleared by the doc and given my certification.

The Maritime Academy was a strange place. It was mostly occupied by sickly looking teenagers who were sea cadets in training to become officers. I was informed that the flunk out rate for completing the sea cadet program was as high as 54%. A portly looking lad bounded up to me one afternoon and proudly began telling me all of the places he had been on the big cargo ships during his training. I asked which place out of all of them was his favourite, to which he replied: “Oh we weren’t actually allowed to get off the ship, but when I grow up I’m going to be a captain!” He had a good attitude but I couldn’t help but think he lacked the look of someone able to command respect and one to dish out discipline, let alone adhere to some.

My lodgings for the week were in a building that was up to par with a four star hotel, not too shabby I thought. And one evening as I stood outside the building having a cigarette, a squad of cadets came marching by, and in unison they halted, turned to face my direction and saluted me! It struck me as a bit odd but I deduced that it could have been for any of the following reasons. Either they were just practising, they mistook me for someone else, or they were just very polite cadets. I then found out later from reception that there had been a mix up with my room. The lavish hotel style rooms where I was staying, were designated for high ranking officers and captains, and so having no place among them I would have to move into cadet quarters. And who should my room-mate be, but the portly lad from earlier that day, who as it turns out had a rather tumultuous tummy whilst we slept. 

With me on the training course were a few other people all bound for different cruises so I wasn’t totally alone. We spent the majority of our time in classrooms having to listen to a number of long lectures about the importance of health and safety at sea, and crowd control management (which is as about as exciting as it sounds), It wasn’t all boring though. At one point I had to give CPR on a manikin to the beat of ‘Staying Alive’ by the ‘Bee-Gees’, which I’m told is the rhythm you need to keep to in order to do it properly, fun fact!

During basic firefighting we learnt about the different types of fire and how to extinguish them. (Something I’ve had to sit through more times than I can remember). We had to go into a simulated fire wearing the proper full body equipment including breathing apparatus. Our mission was to go into this small building that came complete with its own remotely controlled fire, and as a team we had to put it out and rescue a dummy that was supposed to be the equivalent dead weight of an eight year-old. Our teacher must have been joking because it weighed a metric tonne.

The most exciting thing we had to look forward to was the course on survival techniques at sea. We were given some idea of what to expect, which involved being dressed in wetsuits, learning how to correctly don a life jacket, and having to jump into a pool from a great height. (Pppph easy). We also were told to expect strobe lighting, a wave pool and wind machines to simulate a full-blown storm at sea. Madness! I couldn’t wait, it sounded epic, but the reality of the situation was that those things were at another training facility with better funding. Instead of the wind machine, there was a CD player with a stormy soundtrack. Instead of strobe lighting, there was a guy flicking the light switch on and off, and instead of a wave pool, another guy just stood in the pool and splashed the shit out of us! To be fair, it wasn’t that bad a simulation. 

  • Update #3 - It really did seem like smooth sailing Nov. 2, 2019

    Hi Everyone

    So I had kept my fingers crossed that I would be able to get the book out to you all by Christmas but …

  • Update #2 - Nearly at the finish line! June 26, 2019

    Hi everybody.
    Sorry for the radio silence these past few months, but it's been rather busy.

    I had about 9 different publishers show an interest …

  • Update #1 - Campaign ended April 22, 2019

    Hi everyone. Thanks again for helping me get through this past month by generously crowdfunding my campaign. I am currently awaiting word from publishizer who …

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