Tag Archives: independent publishing

Right… now what?

Okay, second attempt at writing this entry after accidently kicking the plug out of the computer – twice.

I haven’t been very active on the blog front of late; this is because over the last six weeks I have been busy, very, very busy. This busy-ness has come in the form of attending Loncon, making my panelist debut at Shamrokon, taking on new duties in the day job and of course doing final preparation for Book Three of the Nameless War – The Last Charge, which goes live tomorrow morning – in fact the paperback is already available. That last point I really didn’t think I was going to achieve on time, but I guess practice does make perfect.

Tomorrow morning the book will hit the digital shelves, the six hundred odd people who have pre-ordered will receive their copy and I – at risk of sounding over dramatic – will finish what has over the last ten years, become a fairly major part of my life. So I suppose the question becomes what do I do now, now that I have completed my side of the bargain and finished the series?

Well I can tell you one thing I am NOT going do: that is follow the suggestion of one friend who has put forward the idea that I should write trilogy in four parts. No, NO, NO! I am not Douglas Adams.

I will continue write. Writing is and remains a pass time I enjoy (the money angle doesn’t hurt either), I enjoy the process of getting the collection ideas down and linking them into a coherent whole. I enjoy the creation of my characters, I enjoy building the worlds they inhabit. I enjoy self-publishing with the challenges and opportunities it brings.

I have ideas for the future; readers of this blog will be familiar with my Ships of the Fleet project, its future depends on how the first one is received. There is also a long parked side project which I have begun to look at again and perhaps longer run the Battle Fleet universe has more tales in it.

When it comes to the immediate future one thing is for sure though. I’m taking October off and booking a holiday – Malta looks nice.

See you.

Oh PS, for anyone who hasn’t yet read The Nameless War, on the 1st October to celebrate the arrival of Book Three is it going on sale.

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Filed under Book Three of the Nameless War, Random Rants, Self Publishing, Writing

Book Three – The Last Charge is now available for Pre-order

If the end was near in my last post it is getting nearer. Book three is now available for pre-order on Amazon.UK and Amazon.COM. Publication date is now set for the First of October. (Yippeee)

Last Charge cover

Those of you on my mailing list will be getting a sample chapter later this week just to whet your appetite.

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Update on The Last Charge – Book Three of the Nameless War and other news

The Last Charge

Okay, so where are we up to?

Despite a dose of food poisoning this week saw the hand over of the manuscript for The Last Charge get handed over to my editor so unless he picks up something that has gone horribly, horribly sideways, the October release date is still looking good. In terms of tasks to be completed that leaves me with:

The Blurb (already wip)

The Cover Art (not started but I have some ideas)

Reading the manuscript again once I get it back. (I don’t remember writing this sex scene)

Preparing the file for the various electronic platforms. (Why won’t you work you stupid piece *************)

Preparing the file for the paperback.  (Why won’t you work you even stupider piece *************)

Preparing for the release.

But like I said – looking good.

 

Other News

As regular visitors are likely aware I have had an ongoing blog project call Ships of the Fleet. Up to now it has been done mostly for my own amusement but I am planning to formalize and expand the material into a short ship guide which I intend to release as an ebook along side Book Three. I don’t know whether there is a market for this kind of material so this project is me testing the water. The subject of the book will be the ‘Battleships of the Fleet’. So far I already have one new model done up with another about a quarter done and the write up has begun. I’ll need to do two more models and go back and look at the three which have already been displayed to freshen them up a bit*.

This does mean that bits of Ships of the Fleet might be disappearing in the future so enjoy them now. However, this is a side project, which means of secondary importance. If time starts getting short, then Book Three comes first.

Okay that’s the new round up complete.

 

 

 

* I recently and finally got round to obtaining a new PC. In the past I would decide a model was done when it got to a level of complexity that caused my old computer to basically stop and have a little cry every time I asked it to do anything.

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Berezina

This is just a shout for my friend Jan van Embden who has published his first book: Berezina. A historical novel set around  of Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow. Apparently my self publishing success encouraged him to try his hand, which is nice – normally I get counted as a warning to others 🙂

Regards

On Amazon UK and Amazon.COM

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Writer Beware

A celebrated children’s author-turned-publisher has left the country, with a trail of unpaid debts and angry authors in her wake.

It started so promisingly and ended so horribly. Twenty months ago Jill Marshall was a local hero, albeit an adopted one. In 2011, Next magazine chose her as its Woman of the Year (arts and culture), an honour still listed on her profile on internet site LinkedIn.

Marshall is now back in England, having left behind a posse of irate and disillusioned authors, a trail of debt and no forwarding address. A “desperately-seeking-Jill” message by one of the authors on Marshall’s Facebook page has gone unanswered, attempts to contact her by email and via the two vice-presidents appointed to her company have proved equally fruitless…

The above quote is take from the New Zealand Herald and the full article can be found here. Now I’ve talked quite a bit about self publishing and traditional publishing but now I’d like to say a word about publishing in general.

For the would be writer I believe we have entered a golden age. With the advent of e-publishing the writer has never had more potential routes to the book buying public. But while there are readers out there, there are also sharks. The vanity press industry has of course a long and inglorious history and somewhat inexplicably still exists. But they aren’t the only ones a writer should beware of.

In the case of the article at the top I would guess1) that the individual in question went in with honest intentions but found herself in over her head. What can be taken from that is that someone can be honest but that doesn’t make them competent.

So what I my watch out for points? Well…

1) Money. Lets start with the sordid one. If a ‘publisher’ can make money without you making money, that’s not a warning sign, it’s all the reason you should need to walk away2).

2) Know what level you’re aiming for and develop the necessary skills. Self publishing mean developing certain computer skills3). Traditional publishing means entering into business relationships4). Either way do the research to know what you’re getting into – do not assume it-will-be-all-right-on-the-night.

3) Research anyone/organization you deal with. There are plenty of places on the net where other writers will have reported the dishonest and inept. Find them.

At the end of the day if you have written a book, then what you have is probably the fruits of several years of effort. You have likely poured yourself into it and regardless to what it is, how good it is or how you would like to put it out to the world you are proud of it. Don’t you want to stay proud? You don’t want in a few years time to be looking back on it with anger and bitterness because you or someone else screwed it up.

So take a step back, engage what in the world of accountancy is called Professional Scepticism to take a cold hard look at your options, then proceed.

Regards

 

1) Emphasis on the word ‘guess’

2) Obviously there are a couple of qualifiers to that statement. If you self pub editors and cover designers are going to be paid before you make anything. But the point is these individuals offer only one service. Anyone calling themselves a publisher is in theory offering the full range of services needed to bring the book to market. If they’re looking for you to pony up cash… well then you’re effectively taking all the financial risks of self publishing without the potential rewards or put more succinctly – a sucker.

3) Which are surprisingly limited. I am not a computer expert and my first port of call when the computer acts up is to swear at it. After that I generally muddle through.

4) It is especially important that once contracts are mentioned you damn well read it. If it is over your head get someone with the necessary know-how and training to read it. Sign without knowing what you’re signing is just asking to be ripped off.

The Nameless War, available on Kindle, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback.

The Landfall Campaign, available on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and paperback.

The Job Offer, available on Kindle Smashwords and Kobo.

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I’m going to print this out, frame it and hang it above my computer.

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.”
Winston Churchill

My second book has now been slain and flung to public and thank God for that!

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Createspace Print on Demand – Pitfalls and Pratfalls PART II

A long break between postings and for that I apologize, I’ve been waiting for the proof copy of book two to turn up.

We left off at the final major hurdle – the cover art. While I’m not much an artist, I do have some talent so I already had an idea of what I wanted (basically a variant of the Kindle image file) and was hoping that a template type arrangement would allow me to drop the various components. No such luck. Oh such there is a template arrangement, but the results were going to be so blatantly amateur I never seriously considered them. There is the option to do it yourself and Createspace does provide a downloadable file to offer a guide on size for you see the cover has to be created as a single piece. Meaning front, back, spine and wriggle room all around the edges. Createspace does provide a file to help with this but due to the software I have access, to I couldn’t use this and had to instead had to measure very carefully. Once I had the file I then had to convert the file into a PDF, one that was both high resolution and relatively low file size and that was tricky. In fact so tricky I had to come up with a trick to do it. Basically Adobe have a facility to change image and information files in PDF’s, this is done for a fee. They also offer a free sample. I used the sample to turn my JPEG cover into a PDF that was the same megabit count as the original file.  So happy days.

Finally you send your draft files to be checked by Createspace. I hasten to add this does not mean they are looking for grammar errors or editing issues, this purely to see if the file will actually print. As long as you were careful and didn’t ignore any error messages, this shouldn’t be a problem. Certainly both of mine went through without any problems. You are offered at this point the chance to purchase a proof copy or you can just proof it online. Personally I think unless you are a publishing professional it is an act of insanity Not to get a paper proof. Sure it’s annoying to have to wait for it to turn up in the post but better to find out at this stage if something has gone wrong and you can bet your bottom dollar, that as soon as you have a paper copy in your grubby little fist you’ll find at least one typo that has slipped through. If alterations are made, then the file has to go through the proof process again.

Finally we come to the sordid topic of money. Namely how much am I going to ask for my work and where am I going to sell? Since I have a background in accountancy I take an unsentimental view of selling price. Yes, to me my work is priceless but to anyone else, it is worth what the market is prepared to pay for it, maybe less but never more (I’ve come across people who witter on about devaluing literature and generally I find myself struggle to control the urge to beat them round the head with an economic text book). So since I am an unknown self published author my pricing policy can be loosely summed up by the phrase ‘as little as possible’. The basic Createspace package means selling through their own site plus Amazon and affiliates. This is free. But there is also the option to go for what they call expanded distribution which gives for the princely sum of $25 the opportunity to sell through other sites like B&N. Well more exposure can’t be a bad thing? Unfortunately yes it can. Effectively it forces up the price of the book (in the US and those areas covered by Amazon.com). Given that POD already means higher per unit costs cost than traditional printing, anything pushing the unit cost higher still is unwelcome, so in short the expanded distribution means paying to make the book less competitive. It also puts a crimp on me making any changes to the file (such as another cover)  So for book two I won’t be making use of this.

There is also an option to make the work available to for Kindle. Personally I prefer to go directly through the Amazon system, which I am familiar with but does oblige me to contact Amazon to link the paperback and kindle additions together.

So there we have my guide to the Createspace experience. If anyone has any questions I will answer to the best of my abilities. In the mean time I will be taking a month off from writing to pursue other interests – or possibly huddle in a darkened room whimpering.

Book Two: The Landfall Campaign will be released in early October.

Cover of The Landfall Campaign

Cover of The Landfall Campaign

My next blog will be returning to Ships of the Fleet – The River Class Cruisers, until then regards.

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