I’ve finished the last draft of book three. I now have to do the last major adjustment to the text – basically drop the whole thing into Notepad to strip out all the formatting, along with any nonsense MS Word has seen fit to add and then reformat from start to finish. If you are wondering why I would want to do such a thing, a friend recently also publish a book, one based around Napoleon’s 1812 campaign in Russia. He tried dropping his work directly from Word into the upload program. Somehow it bollixed up the word ‘Cossack’ – which in anything to do with 1812 is going be a word used at least three times per page. So, no avoiding it. Ah well, onwards and upwards.
Tag Archives: kindle
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.
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.
During December I finally got around to what had for a while been on my mental to-do list for a while, namely to change the front covers for the e-book versions of both the Nameless War and the Landfall Campaign. I was never entirely happy with my first efforts and as a consequence of my ongoing Ships of the Fleet project my 3D modelling skills are definitely better now than they were three years ago. I did wonder whether this would have any effect on actual sales.
And the answer a month and a bit down the line is…. maybe.
December probably wasn’t the best time to undertake this change if I wanted to try to study the effects of this change. Over Christmas a lot of new e-reader devices hit the market simultaneously and obviously that has an effect on sales. Still my sales, which after the glory days of just after the launch of book two, had been bobbling along at under a hundred per month, close to doubled. Also I did notice that my Amazon ranking has on average improved. But a lot of different and in many cases uncontrollable factors could be coming in play. So far so ambiguous.
The relevant the cover art for e-books – given that the image will be the size of a postage stamp on the screen of an e-reader – is subject to debate but the whole exercise has got me thinking. The conventional advice is that you get everything right before publishing. But in the case of cover art is there a right answer?
Below is one of my childhood favorites. The edition I read was one on the left, the one on the right is I assume the current edition.
Back in the days of yore (so ten years at most) when books only existed in dead tree format, they would get printed in runs of hundreds to thousands, depending on expected popularity. If the book did well enough to justify further runs then every so often a new edition would be prepared with a new cover.
Why update at all? If the cover on the left was judged good enough in the seventies or eighties when the copy I read was presumably printed, then what’s wrong with it now?
Well obviously times have moved on. Styles and expectations changed but also the familiar can slowly become the ignored. No publisher wants their titles to lie gathering dust and an old familiar cover become easier for the book buyer to pass over on route to something newer and shinier. This applies to really everything that can be bought and sold, so even if the product remains unchanging, the wrapping needs to be refreshed every so often.
But returning to e-books. As I’ve said before, once an e-book hits the digital shelves it could potentially stay there forever. Unlike the finite shelving of a physical bookshops there is no space limitation. But this means that a given title is in competition with every other book available and with each new year thousands more books will join it. Again, as I have said before, the self publisher has to think into the long term. At the very least a the cover art will likely have to rejuvenated every few years to keep up with style changes. But should we be thinking in terms of ‘the very least’?
Unlike physical books the digital cover could, if the mood took you, be changed on an almost daily basis. Now that would probably be over the top but perhaps the self publisher should be thinking in terms of having two or three covers and cycling through them every six to twelve months. Just enough for them not to fade into background.
I’m not selling this idea as part of the next get-rich-quick self publishing scheme. I have no evidence to back this line of thought up. But possibly it is something to be added to the self publishers tool box. If you want to compare my old cover to the new, the links to Amazon below are the new, I haven’t got round to updating the Smashwords.
So this evening I have finished the first draft of Book Three. Which is to say I have got to a point where I have felt able to write what I believe are the two word that a writer always need to be aiming for: THE END
So what next?
Well between now and next October I need to:
- Write the second draft
- Edit some more
- Get it edited
- Write the cover blurb
- Prepare the file for publication on Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords.
- Come up with cover art
- Prepare the paperback file
Well thank god I took the ‘lazy’ route of self publishing.
I think I’m going to take this even off though and drink that beer that been in my fringe since August.
UPDATE 31st October 2014
Until further notice The Nameless War and the Landfall Campaign have been removed from Smashwords.
I am please to announce that book two of the Nameless War – The Landfall Campaign, is now available on Smashwords, for all you non-Kindle users. A little later than I originally planned but it is a bit more complicated a process than with the Kindle. I should also be putting up my novella The Job Offer within the next month.
The Job Offer, currently only available on Kindle.
Something different this time, a guest blog from fellow self publisher Catherine Brophy with a little personal tail of science fiction.
BUT IT’S ONLY FOR NERDS!
I suggested Science Fiction. There was a sharp intake of breath and startled show of the whites of their eyes. You’d think I’d suggested barbequing a baby!
Let me explain. I’m in a book club. It’s all women. They’re all bright, they all work and they all love a challenge. We have just one rule… no cooking. We’re not one of those book clubs that cook elaborate meals get tiddly and only make passing reference to the book. We don’t have the time for cooking elaborate meals. We’re all working women, we have lives, we love reading. You can open a packet and pull a cork but that’s the max for hostessery.
Over the years we’ve read everything from classics to chick-lit, biography, history, science, travel, philosophy, you name it, we’ve read it… except science fiction. That, it seemed was a challenge too far.
“That stuff is only for nerds,” they objected, “teenage boys and losers with no friends…”
“I’m married to one of those nerds.” I said.
They were taken aback. They know my husband and like him… well duh… he’s intelligent and funny and thoughtful and warm.
“He loves science fiction” I ranted on, “ and fantasy/alternative universe/time travel… all that stuff and he also loves philosophy, classics, history, travel and regular fiction. They’re not mutually exclusive you know. Maybe you’ve been watching too much “Big Bang Theory”
They shuffled their feet and looked sheepish.
“But isn’t it mostly … well… rubbish?” they asked
“Have you read any?” I countered.
“It’s like everything else there’s the good, there’s the bad and the horribly ugly. The trick is to read the good stuff.”
“So suggest something.” They said.
Now I was in a quandary. What should I suggest? My friends were unaware of the infinite sub-categories within Sci Fi/fantasy genres so my choice was wide. Too wide. I thought of Frank Herbert’s Dune but reckoned it might be too long to start with. I toyed with King Rat because I love China Mieville. (‘My job,” he said in an interview “ is not to try to give readers what they want but to try to make readers want what I give’, Fans often demand that their favourite writers churn out more of the same, this limits the writer and keeps them from writing their best.) I flirted with The Terror by Dan Simmons. But I finally choose Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs partly because I’d read it recently and partly because I thought it was an easy introduction to sci-fi fantasy genres… and oh yeah… because it’s beautifully written..
The book club read. They loved it. Some have converted and are asking for further recommendations. The rest are at least willing to admit that it’s not entirely rubbish. Success.
So now that I’ve opened a few people’s minds why don’t some of you try my latest book… it’s a comedy and hey… everyone enjoys a laugh don’t they?
A COMEDY ABOUT MONEY, FAME AND THE CELTIC TIGER
The Celtic Tiger is in his prime and the Kerrigans are splashing the cash. They have made it big time, so eat your heart out you small town snobs! But Daddy’s-girl Kirsty wants International Celebrity and devotes herself to this dream. She crashes Madonna’s Christmas party but that doesn’t help. She goes on Big Brother and causes a stir but doesn’t help either, However, when a You Tube video of Kirsty goes viral, fame arrives with a bang. But Tracey O’Hagan, a blast from a shady patch in the Kerrigan past, has appeared on the scene. She’s mad. She’s bad. And she’s definitely dangerous to know.
Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends. It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Catherine Brophy is a writer, story-teller and broadcaster. She writes film, T.V. and radio scripts and she also writes short stories. Her previous novels are The Liberation of Margaret Mc Cabe and Dark Paradise. She lives a blameless life in Ireland but escapes whenever she can. She’s been rescued by a circus troupe in Serbia, had breakfast with a Zambian chief, ate camel stew in the Sahara, and was kicked by a horse on the Mexican plain.
At this point in time Amazon’s system is the dominate one in the world of self publishing. However it isn’t the only show in town. The question I would like to offer a few words on is whether it is the only one worth bothering with.
To date I have published ebooks via Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo and paperback via Createspace; the links for them can be found at the end of this post. Now this post is probably pretty worthless without some numbers. So as of end of 19th May 2013 I have sold – and I would like to put emphasis I mean sold, not given away – over Thirteen thousand units for the Amazon Kindle, twelve via smashwords, thirty five for Kobo and about forty for Createspace (a few went to friends and family so lets call it thirty). Now I would point out that my launches have always been a bit ragged and I have yet to put my second book or novella up on smashwords so it is far from a perfect like for like comparison but based on those numbers the Amazon system wins hands down so obviously it isn’t worth putting your work anywhere other than Amazon. Right?
I don’t think so. Now there are those – especially in traditional publishing – who view Amazon as the Devil incarnate. I don’t subscribe to that view either. I think that a couple of different factors have to be considered.
1) It isn’t a great idea to hitch your wagon solely to one system. Amazon may be dominant today but what about tomorrow or next week or ten years from now? Like I said in my last post we have to think long term as well as short.
2) Like I said not the Devil incarnate but Amazon is a big rich company that barely knows I exist. It will do what suits it, not what suits me, however for as long as other systems are out there, Amazon knows that the self publishers owe it no loyalty and can abandon it just as quickly as they arrived.
3) Until your work goes up on a platform it is impossible to know how well it will sell. Obviously if it is not there it won’t sell at all.
4) Exposure. What kind of person can I guarantee will never buy my books? The one who has never heard of them. When one of my books appears one a person’s screen I stand a chance of making a sale. The more places my books can be found, better the chance of a possible reader/customer coming across it. Think of it as a minefield, the better the density the more likely someone is to step on one (for the record my writing will not remove your leg)
Now the flip side of this is time and labour. With the exception of actually writing the book, setting up the file is the most time consuming part of the whole process. It is also one of those unromantic parts of self publishing that I doubt anyone enjoys. Obviously based on my numbers none of the others have paid for the time spent on setting them up however given time they might. Obviously there is an element of trade off to this. Publishing via a route that has too small a chance of yielding a financial reward is not a good use of my time. Still this is all part of the judgement a self publisher has to make. We are currently in the first generation of e-publishing. One of the problems I foresee is updating. As new ereaders – or their conceptual successors – come on stream file formats will change and odds are, to keep our work available, we’ll have to be ready to change with it.
I will admit that this post has more than a whiff of Do-as-I-say rather than Do-as-I-do since Amazon is at the moment the only place where everything I have is available but it is a reflection on the difficulty of multiple platforms.
The Job Offer, currently only available on Kindle.