The Passenger

On the 15th, gods of Amazon allowing, the latest glimpse into the Unseen World should be available for download.

Bus Stop at night and ghostly womans face. ebook cover for The Passenger a short story set in the Unseen World

Available through Amazon & to list subscribers

Not every passenger reaches the destination they expect.

Life may not be fair, but not every sacrifice goes unrewarded. Even at your lowest point, in depths of despair, sometimes an unlikely saviour can be found. 

About the (marketing) Journey

This one will be released under the Urban Fantasy and Magical Realism categories, though I toyed with the idea of going a more thriller/supernatural way. I’ve gone a little crazy this time and will also be dipping my toes into the marketing side as well. I have a landing page set at up using ConvertKit to attempt to grow email lists, and I am looking into Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook ads. As part of this, I’ll be offering a sweetener (who doesn’t like free stuff?) by having the story free for the rest of July.

As part of this FREE period, the story will be available as a direct download from my website for those who don’t use a kindle. I’ll let you know how all that pays off.

From the creative side

The Passenger is different from my other recently released short story, both thematically, and in intent. It relates more directly to the WIP books, and it stands on its own as a story I’m quite proud of. It may be a little purple, a little heavy on the metaphor, but I am happy with it. I’m also releasing it to share with the world, not as a tool to investigate the Kindle publishing process. There is also a kind of trigger warning at the front of this one, so we’ll see if that has any impact on the conversation.

Urban Ritual was a cute little story, but the reason for publishing it was the publishing process itself. I needed to work out the kinks for myself in order to be prepared for the bigger works to come.

 

How to Publish on Amazon

Today I pressed the publish button on Amazon. Here is what you need to know.

If you already know how to publish on Amazon, you can skip this post, but for those who have yet to experience this particular ‘joy’, there may be more to this process than you would suspect.

Full disclosure, between reading everything carefully and multiple google searches this took me almost a full day.

My novels aren’t ready but in the interests of preparing the way, I have decided to individually publish a few short stories that have been gathering dust. I have to tell you, this is not generally recommended. Most experts will tell you to publish short stories in anthologies or collaborations with other writers… and they are right. I’ve willfully ignored this excellent advice because I’m not particularly looking to profit from this but to learn. This way when I get around to publishing the bigger works there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises.

What I’ve learnt today might be helpful to anyone else following the same path. Obviously, you want your final draft ready to format. You should also have

  1. Your banking details 
  2. Your front material and back material ready.
  3. Your description (for ebooks this can be your blurb)
  4. Your cover image and author headshot ready to be uploaded
  5. A knowledge of which categories you want to publish under
  6. A set of up to seven keywords/phrases to help readers find your book
  7. You should also be aware of your ownership rights and options for Distribution, and DRM
  8. If you plan on publishing under your own ISBN you should have already purchased that. 

Setting up Banking

Naturally, the Amazon site uses American standard terms. You can check your bank homepage to find out the BIC/SWIFT code and the routing number is just the BSB to identify the bank and branch. As an Australian to looks like only the .au site will allow electronic fund transfers, so for everywhere else you sell (we’ll look at that later) make sure you select the check option. Tax is pretty self-explanatory and where it asks for a TIN just use your TFN.

Front/Back Material

If you are using Kindle Create (you can download a copy for PC or Mac) then adding front and back material is a breeze. Don’t forget to include a Copywrite page and you can use the template provided by KC. You should probably also add an about the author page, a bibliography, and links to your active social media funnels. In this case, since this is only my first upload I’ve included all three in the same entry. Everyone seems to be recommending using a headshot so readers can relate to the author, but I have skipped that.

Description

Your description is how you sell your book to potential readers, it should mimic back cover of a paperback including the blurb, but you don’t have to stop there. Have a look at successful authors in your genre and use them as a guide.  

Cover Image

There are lots of sites that can put you in touch with a good cover designed, or for the artistically gifted you can create your own. For my short story, I created my own cover with GIMP know-how and the magic of stock photography. being an e-book and having no plan to publish the story in physical format (at least not by itself) this was relatively simple. However if publishing a paperback you need to understand the different cover dimensions, the effect that has on page numbers, and how that, in turn, impacts the spine width. I also didn’t need a barcode or a back cover with the book blurb on it.

Categories

This is where Google is your friend. There are a heap of categories and the ones you choose will impact how you reach your audience. For example, Urban Ritual deals with magic, a god, and a mostly typical urban setting. Putting it under Fiction/Fantasy/Urban is a no-brainer, but I can’t put it under Occult & Supernatural as people searching those terms are looking for a ‘how-to manual’ not a quick read. I suggest you do some research BEFORE you get to this point.

Keywords

Keywords are where you get creative, they are also where you can sink hours looking at Kindle metrics trying to find the most popular phrases and descriptions. To get maximum exposure you don’t want to waste a slot on something already obvious in your book details. So having published under the category of Fiction/Fantasy/Urban there is no point wasting a keyword field on Urban Fantasy. The first two of my keywords are basically meta-data, the next three are descriptive. Fear not, you can change these later if you find something you think will work better.

  • short story – because I don’t want people to think they were tricked into buying a short piece when they were looking for a full novel.
  • Australian Author – a bit of geolocation doesn’t hurt
  • magic ritual
  • urban myth
  • ancient gods

Ownership, Distribution & DRM

You should own the rights to your work. No trademarked names, no stolen intellectual property. Your work should be original and yours. DRM is murkier, I will be doing a lot more research before I publish a full novel, but in this instance, I didn’t select DRM on principle. If that turns out to be a mistake it won’t cost me too dearly. I also published across all available sites, moving forward I may narrow my market to just the UK, Australia, Canada and the US but I an work out the details later.

Optional ISBN

If you plan to distribute wide you should give this some thought. I’m publishing a (very) short story in digital format so I’ve left this blank. Which means I will be using the automatic AISN provided when you publish on Amazon. If I wanted to have more control over my work I would supply my own ISBN. Remember you need a different one for each format you publish in.

 

 

Urban Ritual

Urban Ritual should be available on Amazon this week.

Urban Ritual cover image

This is a stand-alone short story that could be considered ‘plot adjacent’. It is set in the same world/city there is no crossover in the terms of meta-plot or characters.

This one was a bit of a Frankenstein publishing attempt. Initially, this was to be part of a collection having previously been published elsewhere, but I’ve had a change of heart. Think of this as an experiment in so many things, setting up my Amazon Author account, pricing, audience targeting, and most importantly of all making sure I’ve got all my formatting/publishing t’s dotted and my i’s crossed. If this is successful and doesn’t devolve into tears, I should be prepared for the much bigger conversion soon to come.

Wish me luck.

Pre-Publishing Checklist

So, you’ve finished your first manuscript. How do we get it out there to a world of potential fans?

Here are your answers in seven, no 11, no 14, no 16 easy (?) steps. Keep in mind that everyone has a different process, and no process is right for everyone.

  1. Finish 1st Draft
  2. Clean / Tidy (2nd Draft)
  3. Concept Editor Goes Here
  4. Get the manuscript to Beta Readers
  5. Collate feedback from Beta Readers
  6. Cry. Make friends with a bottle of spirits
  7. Re-Write using Beta feedback (3rd Draft)
  8. Get the manuscript back to Beta readers
  9. Scream when the feedback suggests you change things back to how they were
  10. Procrastinate terribly. (Bonus points for starting a new manuscript)
  11. Re-Write using Beta feedback (4th Draft)
  12. Clean / Tidy (5th Draft)
  13. Line/Copy Editor Goes Here
  14. Check format (size, font, the page settings). Add front and back material, the cover blurb, and placeholder artwork.
  15. Send Final Draft to ARC team/reviewers
  16. Create/Purchase the cover
  17. Publish

Just joking… kind of.

All those bold bits above, I’m going to do a post on those explaining what I mean. At least I will at some point.