Sunday, 30 June 2013

Diary of an Aspiring Writer – How to E-publish

I have recently been considering my options when it comes to getting my work to a wider audience and like many out there the consideration to self publish is a very real one.

I have been writing short stories and publishing them on my blog for about a year and the feedback has largely been very positive. I also took part in last year’s NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month) and managed to complete a 50,000 word novel. Since then I have been editing the novel, or rather not editing the novel, as once it is edited I will have to think about publishing and getting other people to give me feedback on my work. The editing stage is, in my opinion, the worst bit. What if as I read through I find plot holes and parts that I thought were clever hints to the murderer’s identity are actually just gobbledegook? This will all need to be changed and corrected.

I have now committed to complete my first edit by the end of July and I actual have two people who have offered to read and critique it after that. These people are relative strangers who I have met through twitter and the Open University and therefore I trust them to not sugar coat their impressions.

So in order to procrastinate a little further I decided that I would try to publish some of my short stories in an anthology to learn the art of e-publishing. I always try to prepare myself with the proper tools and about six months ago I bought a book about self publishing and how it could be done easily and quickly. I settled down and read the book, which only took about an hour but to my horror it talked about html formatting. This meant nothing to me and seriously had me reconsidering the route I had chosen. However the book, which was in e-format, had a link to a website where I could get an html file which would help.

I settled down at my desk and followed the links. Aarrrggghh! The link no longer exists. What should I do next? Well I had already signed up to Kindle Direct publishing and so decided to see what they said about publishing your book. I went on and followed the process and on there was a link to two free books called ‘Build Your Book for Kindle’ and ‘Publish on Amazon Kindle with Kindle Direct Publishing’. These books are quite frankly amazing. Within one evening’s work I had a book that was formatted and loaded onto Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and ready to be uploaded onto Amazon. From there it took Amazon twelve hours to upload the book and the very next morning I had my first sale. A friends and family sale, but none the less a sale.

For those of you looking to publish get these books. They are free and they tell you everything that you need to know. I would also suggest that you read ‘Build Your Book for Kindle’ before you start writing if you can, as there are a few formatting areas that would have saved time if I had done them from the start.

I don’t know if this would work on other formats but with the size of Amazon and the size of my book/following I don’t think I need to worry about that too much.

The one thing I would say is I did struggle with my cover. However as this was effectively a learning exercise. For the novel I will definitely be paying a professional to do that for me. Also watch out for the categories when you set up on KDP. My book was listed as non-fiction for the first two days as I had not realised there was a single category for fiction which then breaks down into different genre whilst all the non-fiction categories are there as headings from the start.

So my advice is that self publishing is definitely easy to do. However don’t forget your work still needs to be of a professional standard and the marketing is all down to you.


Jo’s first Anthology – So the Feeling shows is available from Amazon at the links below


Sunday, 16 June 2013

Home comforts

She’d never been here before but she knew the address was right. She had written enough times, always sending the cheques, one a month. Harry must never know. He had forbidden her from having anything to do with this. Harry knew that she would only end up getting hurt and he had been right. These last three month’s there had been no contact except for the one letter that first time the cheque was late. Threatening the worst things, she couldn’t take the chance; she had to keep sending the money. Harry couldn’t work out why she never had any money. He made sure she was well provided for but she had started selling things to cover the cost. First of all the clock her grandfather had left her and then some of her mother’s jewellery. Recently she had had to start selling things Harry had bought her. He was going to notice soon and that was why this had to stop. It had been going on for nearly two and a half years now. It had to stop and she was going to make that plain today. Three more payments and then no more.

She walked up the communal stairs surprised by the general disarray in the corridors. She had expected something much more palatial based upon the amount she had been paying. Maybe it was just the corridors; there is no accounting for who you end up living with. She walked up to the third floor and saw the door to 3b was slightly ajar. She double checked the number and slowly pushed the door. It swung open to reveal a kitchen come living space. Clothes and magazines were strewn all over the sofa and the coffee table was covered in plates and cups which, judging from the crust inside them, had been there a long time. Her mouth fell open. She couldn’t believe this was what her money had been spent on. She slowly walked through into the kitchen area. The way the dirty dishes were balanced was worth of some kind of physics award. It was lucky that the window was caked closed with mould and other dirt because even the smallest breeze would have unbalanced them. The only clean thing in the kitchen was the oven and that looked as if it had never been used. As she slowly took in the general detritus of the kitchen a small tear ran down her check. She had given up so much to make sure that she could afford the monthly payments and this was what he had done with them. She couldn’t believe she had been so wrong. Harry had known this would happen and he had tried to warn her but she had been stubborn, hadn’t listened. Well she knew better now.

She heard a strange noise from behind a door on the left of the living space. She carefully walked over and opened the door. Lying there was a young couple, the smell of marijuana still hanging in the air. She stood there staring at them, when the man stirred and opened his eyes. He looked up and saw her standing there. Rubbed his eyes, blinked. She turned and started to leave. Seeing his pay cheque walking away he sprung out of bed and started to chase after her. He got to the bedroom door just as she exited the flat, slamming the door behind her. She could hear the dishes crashing to the floor.

As he got to the door he saw her rushing down the stairs and he knew it was pointless but he had to try to call her back. ‘Wait, please. MUM’.

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