Publishing and writing and stuff

I am glad that I am able to say that I have been writing and publishing recently and that is why I haven’t posted lately which is much better than the alternative of being a lazy fuck. No – I have actually done a few things recently and I can honestly say I’m pretty happy about it.

Because of my passion to write, publish, help others with that and basically have fun with anything having to do with books whether they be digital or something I press to my nose and smell that lovely scent of paper and ink…sorry got lost in the moment there. Um. Right okay, so as I was saying because of that passion, I started Witching Hour Publishing a while back. It started out as a way to publish the anthologies that my writers group, the Ink Slingers Guild (ISG), decided to make in 2012. Then we did another book last year and this year we have two already lined up. One is our third anthology coming out in November and the other is a super fun book called ‘The Death of Jimmy’. It is a book of really short stories and in every story there is a guy named Jimmy and he dies. You can read more about it here if you like. That one will come out in 2-3 weeks.

I also published my first book in the Gargoyles Den series called The Guardians. I love the characters and have a ball writing them so that was of course a ton of fun and book two is halfway there.

Three of my friends from the ISG and I have started a round robin story where we each write a paragraph or five minutes worth and pass it on to the next person who has a week to do the same and pass it on etc. So far it’s pretty fun so I am expecting something epic as an end result there.

I have also started a fantasy novel collaboration with my good friend Rhiannon and we have had a ball setting the stage for it. The first book is mostly set on Earth but part of it is on another, more advanced world and a good chunk of book two will likely end up there too. The characters are coming together nicely and the first chapter that Rhiannon laid down is awesome. Sooooo having fun with this one.

I also have been working on another friend’s book release, designing her book covers and helping to figure out her online presence. Nicole DragonBeck will be coming out with her first published novel pretty soon here and look out because NO ONE at my writers group wants to read their stuff after Nicole. She’s really talented and I am really looking forward to helping others find that out too.

So there you go! That’s been my world for the last many weeks. Somehow I have managed to fit the reading of quite a few books in there as well and I am long overdue for some well deserved kudos so that too is coming soon.

To a wonderful 2014! <clink>

That said,

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How to put your book on Amazon – Part 2

Okay, so part 1 of this process can be found over here.

Starting with the last bit of instructions on there, here’s the continuance of getting your book up on Amazon!

  1. All right, now you’re at the stage where you have everything you need. For those of you that are eager to roll, get yourself over to Amazon and get started!
  2. I kind of jumped the gun on that ‘run over to amazon’ prompt. You are going to have to go to kdp amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing) to get started but it might help you to know what you need to have decided a couple of things before you finish setting everything up.
  3. That and you need to have your book formatted and ready to go.  For both my writing and my eBook formatting I use a software called Scrivener. If nothing else, it has a cool name. No really, I love it for my writing. Plus they have a nice 30 day trial and if you decide to buy, it’s only $40. It does a ton of stuff (a lot that I don’t even use) and it will format in all kinds of different file types. For amazon, I have my story (and all it’s accompaniments) compiled into a ‘.mobi’ file. To upload to Amazon you can also use a ‘.pdf’ of your book. I haven’t tried that so I don’t know how that comes out BUT the ‘mobi’ file comes out beautifully. I imagine it will also take ‘ePub’. I can only tell you what I did but I am sure there are many ways to skin this dinosaur.
  4. As I mentioned earlier, get yourself over to amazon and log in or sign yourself up. While you’re doing that, you might want to be listening to ShutEmDown by Celldweller, you know some crazy loud music to go along with your crazy loud plan for world domination, one book at a time. Or not. Your choice.
  5. Once you’re logged in, you will see, at the top of the page: Bookshelf, Reports, Community and KDP Select.  The bookshelf is where you end up once you’ve logged in too. This is where your list of books will be once you have them in there!
  6. At this point, you might find that your brain has grown in proportion to your understanding of this website and you see that you can move along this thing without my help. If so – by all means, carry on quickly and get that book published. If not, I’ll help explain the parts and walk you through the quick version. But that will be another day.

Cheers!

How to put your book on Amazon – Part 1

I imagine there are a zillion places out there (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little) that will tell you how to put your book on Amazon for some fee or another. The truth is, if you go to Amazon, they walk you through it for the most part and you can actually get through the other side relatively unscathed. Now that’s kind of easy for me to say. For more years than I am willing to share my full time, professional job has been as an administrator. Sometimes it was as a secretary, sometimes an assistant and yet other times running several divisions of a company. Now top that with some back ground in design and I had it “easy”.

That said, I also write a really good “How-to”. I’m going to tell you, in bite size pieces, how to get your book up on Amazon and available for all to purchase. This does not mean anyone will purchase it, I am not teaching marketing right now. But putting it there, yeah, I can do that.

So here are the first very basic steps:

  1. Prepare to spend some money. Yes, you can do this on the cheap. And some of you may have people you know to cut out some or a lot of expense but don’t cut yourself short. How much you need depends on a few things. Read the list below and go from there.
  2. Write story. (Hard to believe, I know, but extremely important)
  3. Get story edited by an editor. I do not mean your mother’s sister’s best friend who loves to read and won the spelling contest of 1984. Unless she’s an editor and then yeah, that’s cool. And that’s all I’m going to say on that.
  4. Get the story proofread. Yes, after the editor has their way with you (which if it’s a good editor, it really doesn’t hurt) make sure you get a final proofread.
  5. Get a book cover. I was lucky. I could design my own cover. Somebody, somewhere will find fault with it but I love my cover so they can kiss my arse. There are many places online doing book covers, some expensive and some cheap. Make sure you look at the reviews or go by referral or maybe you’re lucky and have a friend who designs.  You’re going to have to do some research and find the right designer for you. Make this happen. Do not let it scare you away. You wrote a friggin novel (or story or whatever the heck you did) and you deserve to share it. Just make sure the cover doesn’t scare people away from it.
  6. Go buy an ISBN. International Standard Book Number. You can get them assigned by Amazon or Createspace or from elsewhere else but then someone else owns it and it can be a pain for your future marketing/ownership and well who knows what else.  Just bite the bullet and buy it. (When I last checked they were $125 each or $250 for 10, I bought 10…)
  7. There are a few things you need to write in addition to your story, if you want to that is, that you should go ahead and do now: Dedication, About the Author, “Book Blurb” (What does it say ‘on the back of your book’?), Acknowledgments.
  8. All right, now you’re at the stage where you have everything you need. I’m going to walk you through the process on Amazon but I have to give my daughter a spelling test so I’ll have to get back to you on that. For those of you that are eager to roll, get yourself over to Amazon and get started!

Woot! I’m going to be a publisher too.

So about two weeks ago I downloaded Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 1) by Susan Ee on my beloved Kindle.  The moment I finished the last page I went looking for book two. I was hooked. To my absolute horror, there is no book two as of yet. I ended up looking her up and reading some of her blog.  After seeing that she writes AND makes movies, I guess I was okay that book two isn’t out yet.  I also looked up her publisher. As a writer trying to figure out what to do with my book, I thought maybe her publisher might be interested in my story.

That led me to something else, but first, some background. And a cigar. Let me take you outside with me…

Okay, cozy outside chair, cigar lit. I finished my full length novel near the end of last year. It was mindblowingly (is that a word?) awesome to have done that. I’ve had several test readers and I love the reviews.  I attended the Writers Digest Conference in January and pitched my novel. Out of four pitches, I had three ask for either the first 50 pages or first two chapters. I sent the first two chapters to two of them (one is snail mail and I honestly haven’t gotten around to that yet). One hasn’t answered yet (okay, it hasn’t even been two weeks yet) and the other sent me no thanks. It was actually totally nice and it didn’t make my head want to shrivel or perhaps fly to NY and throttle someone.

I’ve been looking at traditional publishing versus self-publishing. And trying to figure out which way I want to go on that. On top of that, I’m also co-founder of the Ink Slinger’s Guild, a writing group, which started up a little over a year ago and is one of my pride and joys. This year we are doing an Anthology. I have to figure out how to publish it.

Then my husband decides that he will help with whatever I need in order to get our daughter’s children’s books published. So here I am trying to decide which way to go.  Well, I have a solution for some of it.

When I went to Susan Ee’s publishing company, I found that SHE is the owner of the publishing company. That spurred me to thinking. I could open my own publishing company and that would take care of my daughter’s books and the Ink Slinger’s Anthology. I will continue to send out my book to traditional publishers and if it comes down to 100-200 rejections then maybe I will simply take matters into my own hands. Or perhaps I will do it sooner. We’ll see how I feel about it next week.

My intention is to share the bumps and successes that I come across, the resources, the friends etc. as I move along this journey. And of course, I will continue to tell you about yummy books that make me happy (or occasionally vexed or confused).

Wish me luck! Cheers!