clhollandwriter: (marchin)
When it comes to distributing your book, Lulu and CreateSpace do things a little differently.

Lulu offers you the option to set up your book with private access (only you can find it when logged in), direct access (only people with the link can find it), or general access (anyone can find it). This is useful if, for example, you only want to print copies for family members and can set it to private or direct. It also lets you select their globalReach distribution option which offers the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Ingram as long as it meets their requirements with regards to formatting and having an ISBN. This appears to be an all or nothing deal, as it's either on or off. There doesn't seem to be any way to opt out of individual channels. I have the distribution options switched off, as it's redundant for Lulu to sell my book on Amazon when I can do so myself - especially when, as previously noted, I'll get a lot less in royalties.

CreateSpace offers different levels of distribution, and all are opt in. Standard distribution offers Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and the CreateSpace eStore, which can be individually selected. Expanded distribution offers the options of Booksters and Online Retailers, Libraries and Academic Institutions, and Createspace Direct. These can also be individually selected, but that's as far as you can drill down.

I will say at this point that I haven't sold any copies through Lulu, but that's hardly surprising since I don't have any distribution channels switched on. I mostly use it for proofs and copies for hand selling. I sell a small trickle through CreateSpace, and these all seem to come from the various iterations of Amazon. I'm not making enough to give up my day job, or even pay any bills, but it's always a nice boost when you find out someone's bought your book.

Once you've picked your channels it's just a matter of clicking through the rest of the process, as the two sites do things in a different order. The final option will be to approve a proof, which you can either do digitally by downloading the file, or by ordering a proof copy. After you say that you're happy to proceed the site will also proof your book to make sure it meets their requirements. They'll email once this is complete and your book is ready. And that's it: you've self-published a book.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Once your book is finished, it's time to upload your file.

Both CreateSpace and Lulu start will start you off with entering the details for your project (title, author) and selecting things like trim size. Once this is set up there are a couple of options to upload your file.

You can upload regular Word documents (doc, docx, rtf) and also PDFs. (Image files are also an option, but I'm assuming text here.) PDFs are generally more useful if your book contains a lot of images, tables, or special fonts, because they can be embedded and their location in the document is fixed and less likely to be messed up in a conversion. I have to admit, I've never done this so have no idea of the process. If your book is solely text, a Word document should work fine.

When you upload a Word document the site converts it into a PDF "print ready file". Be aware that if you didn't set your trim size when formatting your document, the site will resize it to fit what you chose when setting up the project. This will mess up your page count and table of contents, as well as the pages new chapters or stories start on. You can download and review the file, which I really recommend as it will allow you to pick up any errors that have crept through either when making the document or during  the conversion. If you're not happy, tweak the original document and upload again. Once you're happy you can proceed to publication.

Both sites will walk you through the process:the details; pricing; uploading the cover or using the on-site designer; uploading your file. It's easy enough if you follow the steps.

One of the steps is choosing your distribution channels, which I'll look at next time.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
If you're planning to sell your book, you'll need to choose a price to sell it at. This applies whether or not you intend to sell online or in person. The printer you choose will have a base cost at which they sell copies to you - this takes into account their printing costs and profits. It's also the amount of the total cost of the book they'll keep for each copy sold online.

For argument's sake, let's say your printer of choice sells you copies at $5.00. You can order as many books as you like for that cost (and you may get discounts for buying in bulk). You can take these books to a convention, or whatever, and hand sell them for whatever you like, and keep all the profit.

Let's say you decide to sell your book online for $10.00. Your printer will keep $5.00 of that and pay you the rest when you meet their payment threshold. This will vary by site, so it's worth checking out as if they have a high threshold it may be a while before you seen the money - if at all. However, if you take advantage of their distribution channels you may see even less of that $10 - because each of the distributors will want their own cut. For each copy of Conversations with Dragons I sell through Lulu I make $4.99. If I choose to use them to sell it through other retailers this drops to $0.40. This includes Amazon, so if you want to sell through Amazon I'd honestly recommend going through Createspace.

I use both Lulu and Createspace. The reason for this is it costs me a lot less in time and money to get copies from Lulu if I want to buy a proof, or copies to hand sell. However I've never sold a copy to a third party online through Lulu, and I have through Createspace/Amazon, so it's worth it for me to take the effort to do both. If you only plan to hand sell, or sell online, you might find it works better for you to just pick one.

Next time, uploading your file.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
The first question to answer regarding an ISBN is whether or not your book needs one. If you're publishing for friends and family, and don't intend to sell your book, then you almost certainly don't. If you're planning on buying and hand-selling copies, rather than making it available online, then you can also do without one - although this will make the book look less professional so it's worth considering.

If you intend to sell online via your printer, or use their retails channels, you will almost certainly need one. I can't remember if it's true of Createspace, but Lulu requires any book available for sale to have an ISBN. This leaves you with the choice of paying for your own, or using the free one the printer provides.

ISBNs can be expensive, depending on where you're based. At time of posting, a single ISBN costs around $125 in the US, although apparently Canadians can get them for free. The only advantage I can see you getting your own ISBN is it allows you to be listed as the publisher in the ISBN database (otherwise it's listed as Createspace, Lulu, etc). If you're not publishing your books as a small press this may not matter to you.

Each new edition of your book will need its own ISBN. This is the case whether you're updating the content, or publishing it on more than one POD site. If you plan on tweaking your content to keep up with a topic, it could get expensive if you're buying your own.

Once you have your ISBN it needs to go on the copyright page in your front matter.

Next: choosing your price.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
It would have made more sense for me to post this before the posts on the Table of Contents or Covers, as it will affect the page count of the book, but to be honest they're mostly of use if you're writing non-fiction in order to correctly cite references. Most people will never need them.

The first thing to decide is if you want to use endnotes (all your references at the end of the book) or footnotes (all your references at the bottom of the relevant page). Having tried footnotes when publishing Golems, Vampires and Wanderers: Essays in Gothic Fiction, I can honestly say that endnotes are easier.

With endnotes, the references are collected all together and can be treated as a separate chapter. The headers and page numbers are dealt with exactly the same. The only additional work is to check the numbering has carried across correctly, and the formatting is correct.

With footnotes, a change is made to the content of potentially every page. The extra text they add will bump the text at the bottom of the page onto the next one. This could have an impact on which page the next chapter starts on, so each chapter will need to be checked to make sure it still starts on the correct page. As with endnotes, check the numbering is correct. One thing I found was that sometimes the footnote would be on the incorrect page to the number in the text, usually the one after. If this happens the only remedy I found was to reformat the text to bump the number in it to the next page. Obviously this will leave you with some very noticeably odd formatting if you later change the font or trim size so it's best to make a note of these places so you can check them later.

Something else that sometimes happens with footnotes is an extra line can appear between them. I have no idea what causes this, and the only way I found to fix this was to manually tweak them until they look right. Footnotes will need to be carefully checked before committing the final file to print, so if your chosen printer offers a pdf print file for checking, take a close look at this as it's how your finished book will look.

Next, ISBNs.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
When you upload your manuscript, you'll also have to upload your cover, or design one using the site's templates (both Lulu and Createspace have these). There are various ways to approach this.

If you're designing the cover yourself, or paying for one to be designed, you'll need to find the dimensions of the book from your site of choice. You'll need to include the front and back covers, and the spine, all as a single piece. Then, when it gives the option, you simply upload your ready-prepared cover.

If you're not using a ready-made cover you'll still need an image to go on the front of your book. Lulu allows for abstract shapes to be used instead of uploading a picture, but that's not recommended as it can turn out very generic. It's also not recommended, unless you're a professional photographer or artist, to use your own photos or art as they can look amateurish. Of course this depends on what you want from your book. If it's for personal or family use then a meaningful photo might be just what you need.

There are plenty of stock image sites that you can choose an image from, and download for a small fee. Don't be tempted to just pick one from the internet, as this is copyright infringement and exactly the same as if someone decided to use your work in their book without credit or permission. The stock image sites have licence agreements for their images, and you need to choose the licence that best suits your purpose. This isn't as difficult as it sounds as these are usually laid out fairly clearly and sites often have a FAQ explaining which rights you're buying. There's usually a limit on the number of copies of the book you can sell, but if you ever sell that many you'll be able to afford to hire someone to create a cover for your exclusive use so it's not really an issue.

There's a great deal of debate about covers in self-publishing circles. It's true that bought covers look more professional, and with a stock image you run the risk of someone else using the image, or it being a little generic for your work. I have anecdotal evidence from a friend in self-publishing that her books with bought covers sell more than those without. In this instance cash may well beget cash. Some of us simply can't afford to shell out for someone else to design a cover for a book that may never earn it back. There's no shame in that. There's also nothing to stop you going back and reissuing books with a new cover if you suddenly come into money.

Whatever you choose, all that matters is that you're happpy with your cover before you print the book.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Once you've got all your text in place, it's time to go back to the beginning. The table of contents is something you do only when the rest of the manuscript is finalised, because otherwise the page numbers could be inaccurate.

Firstly, put your cursor wherever you want the table to go. Then go to the Insert menu of Word and select Index and Tables. On the box that pops up there should be a tab for the Table of Contents. Select this.

It will give you several options. Insert page numbers? Well obviously. It will also give you the option to right-align them, which will make the table easier to read. The Tab Leader option will let you decide if you want a line of dots, or a line, or nothing at all, between the end of the title and the number. I opted for nothing as this is what you often see in traditionally published books. The format option lets you change the look of it.  Show Levels is only useful if you have different levels of headings - say a title and then different sections within your chapter, as this will let you pull out the different subheadings as well. For a standard book of short stories you only need one heading.

In Word 2000 there's an options button, which may be lurking somewhere else in more modern versions, but this is where you tell it which information to pull out. Check the box for building the table of contents from styles. Then go down the list. Remember the style of the table of contents we set up earlier? Select that as 1 (and any subheading styles as 2, 3, etc). Click OK, and you have a table of contents.

Next, you'll need a cover.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)

Headers, footers, and page numbers

Just like a traditionally published book, yours will need page numbers - especially if you're planning for a table of contents. These can be at the top or bottom of the page, in the middle or on the outside edge. This is purely a matter of personal preference, so I'd recommend taking a look at the books on your shelves that are similar to yours to see what looks best to you.

Page numbers are added in the Insert menu in Word. Remember to uncheck the box for inserting the page number on the first page, as the title page doesn't need one. It is still page 1 though - numbering should be continuous throughout and include all the pages, even the blank ones. There is an option in page number setting called Continue from Previous Section (or similar) which should be checked.

A word of warning - if you're putting them on the outside of the page, remember that your pages are the wrong way round. You need to select Outside on the options, and if your version of Word has a little icon to show you where the number will appear you'll see them on the outside of the pages. However, when you go back into the manuscript they'll be on the inside because your pages are back to front. This is nothing to worry about.

Next you need to insert headers or footers if you have them. Most books, certainly fiction books, have headers rather than footers so I'm going to assume this is true of your book. The advice is the same either way.

Remember those section breaks we set up earlier? This is where they become important, because they allow you to have different headers throughout the book. Your title, dedication, and contents pages don't need headers or page numbers, but we'll leave them to the end.


If you want the headers on odd and even pages to be different (for example to have your name on one and the book title on the other) you'll need to set this in the Page Setup section (where you changed the margins etc). In the layout is the option to select Different Odd and Even, so check this if you want them different. Don't forget to apply this to the whole manuscript.

Once you've done this (or not) , go back to the manuscript and move to the first section of text that's actually a part of the writing. Double click in the top or bottom margin, or use the view menu to open the headers and footers. It will also give you a little pop-up bar with options. The first thing to do is hover over the options and turn off the one called "Same as Previous". Make sure your page numbers are where they should be, and enter the text for your header. I usually make this one font size smaller than my main text.

Headers are usually on the outside of the page, so remember to position them on the inside of the view in Word - on the same side as your page numbers if you don't have those centred.

When you're finished, move on to the next section. As before, turn off Same as Previous and edit it to how you want. Go through the manuscript and do this, removing auto-filled headers and page numbers from the sections where you don't want them. Because you've turned off Same as Previous you should be able to change the headers and page numbers in any section without it affecting any of the others. Once you're finished go back to the beginning and remove the page numbers from the front matter of your book. The reason to do this last is because if you do it before you turn off Same as Previous it would delete them from the whole manuscript.

The next step, tedious but necessary, is to skim through your headers, footers, and page numbers to make sure nothing's gone wrong. If the content of a header doesn't look right, or there is or isn't a page number in the right place, it might be that there's a page or section break in the wrong place. The view where you amend headers and footers will tell you which section you're in.

If the page numbers are woefully wrong, as mine were after I added and removed some breaks (95, 97, 94, 96, anyone?) take them out and start again with them. Don't be tempted to edit manually as this may cause further problems later.

Once everything's fixed, check it again.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)

Setting up new chapters and stories

The easiest way to see how your manuscript is set up is to set the zoom to about 75% so that you end up with two pages alongside each other. However, these will be back to front to how they appear in your manuscript - right on the left, left on the right - because Word will line them up with odd pages on the left and even pages on the right. In a published book the first page is on the right hand size because the first even page is, essentially, inside the front cover.

Working with the manuscript as is isn't as difficult as it sounds. The purpose of putting the pages alongside each other is purely so you can see where to insert page and section breaks. If you want you can insert a blank page at the beginning of the document as its own section, which will at least make everything look as if it's in the right place. But you'll need to take it out before you do your table of content, and reverse left and right in my posts, so I really wouldn't recommend it.

If you look at a traditionally published book you'll see that new stories and chapters begin on the right hand page, even if this means having a blank page on the left. This is a convention you'll need to follow if you want your self-published book to appear professional. If you're printing only for friends and family you may not be bothered by this, in which case feel free to start new chapters on the next page.

If you're starting new chapters/stories on the right hand page, this means that they need to start on the left in the Word document. All you need to do here is insert a page or section break, or two, to get the new text in the right place.

Whether you choose a page or section break depends on if you want your headers or footers the same throughout the main body of text. If you want them the same, choose a page break. If they're different (for example to put the title of individual stories their own title as header) you need a section break. More on that in my next post.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)

Choosing a font and setting up styles

Font is another thing that will impact the size of your book but, like margins, don't be tempted to make it as small as possible. Nothing will make it look self-published and amateur like squashed-up text in an obvious attempt to save page count.

As with margins, some POD imprints will have specific fonts they like or don't like. Lulu specifies that if you plan to upload a Word document for them to convert, you must you one of the following: Arial; Book Antiqua; Bookman Old Style; Century, Courier; Garamond; Palatino; Tahoma; Times New Roman; Verdana; Symbols. (If you're uploading your own PDF you can use any font you like as long as you've embedded it. This isn't something I'm going to go into here as it's not a process I've used myself.)

Once you know what your options are, pick the font you like best. Some of them take up more space than others, even at the same size, so it really is a matter of personal preference. Something that looks similar to a traditionally published book is probably the best choice. You may want to use a different font for titles or specific items within your text.

This article from desktoppub is a good guide as to how to choose a font sized based on your target audience. Generally 10-12 point is a good choice, going larger for an older or younger audience.

Now you have your font choices, it's time to set up styles. This is done via the Format menu in Word. You can set up a style to be a particular font and size, with or without underlining, bold, or italic, and even choose how you want it to be justified. For a short story collection you will probably need a minimum of three styles: for titles, headings, and subheadings you don't want to appear in the table of contents (e.g. the heading for the table of contents), for those you do (use a separate style for subheadings than the chapter headings), and for your main body of text. Your needs may vary depending on the book you're publishing, so set up as many styles as you need.

Once your styles are set up, use the styles option to format your text. This is done in a similar way to changing the font or text size, in that you select the text to be changed and then click on the style. However, this makes all the changes at once, which makes formatting much quicker than having to change, for example, the font size and formatting options separately. It will also come in handy later when setting up a table of contents.

Next time, setting up new chapters and stories.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Better late than never - here's the next of my POD posts.

Page Size and Margins

Assuming that you've got your front matter set up and your manuscript ready, you then need to start formatting your document. The first thing to do, if you haven't already, is set your document to the size your chosen for your trim size. In Word this is in the Page Setup options under Paper Size. Select the size, and make sure you select the option to apply it to the whole document. For some reason, at least in the version of Word I'm using, this is not the default.

The next thing to set is your margins. These will have an impact on the thickness, and therefore cost, of your book, but don't be tempted to set them as narrow as possible. Your readers need somewhere to put their fingers and thumbs when they hold the book open. Traditionally published books tend to have margins in the region of 3/4 to 1 inch. If you're not sure what to use, find some books of a similar trim size to yours and measure their margins. This will give you an idea of how your book will look.

The POD printer you've chosen may also have their own specified minimum, so poke around on the site and find this out before you decide. For example, Lulu has a handy guide to formatting if you want to have your book available for retail, which specifies that margins must be at least half an inch and the top and bottom, and left and right, must match.

Once you know what your margins are set them in the Page Setup options, and remember to select this for the whole document as well.

Next time, choosing a font and setting up styles.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I was going to do a post (or possibly several) on formatting next, but it occurred to me that the front matter needs to go in your manuscript first. This is the information you usually see in traditionally published books: title page, dedication, copyright page, and contents page.

The title page is exactly that, a page with the title and author's name a couple of lines below, both centred, and that's all it needs. Insert a page break, and on the next page (the back of the title page) goes the copyright information, which should look something like this:

Copyright © YEAR by A.N. Author

Cover image © Source / Artist (this is needed if you use a stock image for your cover)

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law.

Printed by lulu.com (or whoever you choose)

First Edition (or second, or third...)

ISBN:
(ISBN number, if you have one)


Needless to say, I'm not a lawyer and nor do I play one in a movie. Check out your copyright boilerplate before you put it in the book.

Insert another page break. This page is where you put the dedication if you have one. You might want to check if that extra page will push up the cost of the book. Centre it so it looks  tidy, then insert two page breaks. Two might seem odd, but the page after the dedication needs to be blank so the contents page starts on the right-hand (recto) page. If you don't have a dedication page, the contents page goes here instead (if you have one, which if you're writing a novel you might not). Allow a page for this, it can be changed later if needs be.

Insert one more page break, then after this a section break. This will give you another blank page after the contents page, then the
text of your manuscript. You may not have a dedication or contents page at all, but the break just before your text starts must be a section break. This will matter when it comes to inserting page numbers and headers or footers later.

And now that everything's in place, we can get onto formatting.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
I recently started working on getting a POD collection together and one of the first things you have to decide, assuming you have a shiny polished manuscript, is the trim size of your book. This is literally how tall and wide it is (not how thick, although it affects that), and so how big you need to make your pages in your word processor.

Two popular POD providers, Lulu and Createspace, offer very different trim sizes. Lulu offers three categories: "Value", none of which are available if you want to offer your books through retail outlets; "Standard", which vary; and "Premium" which mostly aren't but do offer a variety of odd sizes as well as calendars and colour options for interiors. In the process of looking at this, I've just discovered that the options on offer depend on which store you've set as your default. In the UK store the standard category gets you A5, pocketbook, A4, and square. The US store, on the other hand, offers US trade paperback and US letter sizes and square. On the UK store the measurements are in centimetres and in the US store they're in inches, so it helps to know what size you want and how it translates across.

In addition, if you change store during the creation of your book or revision of your book you might get a size you weren't expecting. I formatted an A5 book, but somewhere in the process I switched to the US store to take advantage of the exchange rate, so what I ended up with was a US trade paperback which is slightly wider and shorter. This is something that Lulu needs to make more obvious, I feel. I'm waiting for a copy to arrive, so I'll let you know how it turns out since everything will have been resized.

Createspace, being default American, seems to only offer the one platter of sizes regardless of where you are.

While deciding your trim size, you may want to consider the cost of the book. Both Createspace and Lulu have a handy gadget that calculates this for you - just enter the number of pages and size and they'll provide you with a cost.

Sticking with the US store for now (since it's easier to compare costs), Lulu offers a 169 page US trade paperback (6"x9") for $3.43, and Createspace for $2.89. Lulu doesn't really offer any other options for a standard novel or short story collection, at least if you want to sell it through retailers (and you might not - more on that later). Createspace does, and this is why trim size matters. The same document formatted for 5"x8" is 227 pages and costs $3.58 on Createspace.

At first glance, Createspace would seem to be the better option, but it isn't if you live outside the US.
While on Lulu you can pick your store on Createspace there isn't that option for authors, only for customers shopping on Amazon when the book is already available. If you want a hardcopy to proof, or "member copies" (i.e. not at retail price) they will only print and ship from the US. That single copy you want for proofing? It'll cost $4.88 in shipping and take up to 31 days to arrive. If you want it any sooner it's $7.99 to get that down to eight days, and $14.38 to have it in two business days. Lulu, on the other hand, offer their cheapest option at $5.10 and that's for shipping one to three days after printing. For reference, I ordered my copy on Sunday and it shipped on Tuesday.

Other POD printers are available, these just happen to be the two I've used. The best thing to do going in is to thoroughly investigate the sizes available and relative costs. Keep a copy of your manuscript open to play with the page sizes and get a rough estimate of the page count - but bear in mind this may change with the formatting.

More on formatting in my next POD post.


Cross posted from Conversations with Dragons.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
By which I mean picking the order of stories to go in a collection, rather than in the sense of putting your affairs in order.

I decided a little while ago to do a POD print collection of my published works so far, because I'd like to get them out there and publishers don't often take collections. The stories themselves have all already been edited by the market that published them, but there will still be things to fix, and I'll need to standardise the spelling and grammar.

The first thing I needed to do was pick the order of the stories, which isn't as simple as it sounds. It took three days when I was expecting it to take a lunch hour, two at most. Most of my published stories are flash, so there are a lot of them. Plus I've done some genre-straddling too, which runs the risk of things getting a bit disjointed. I did some Google-fu, and came up with this article, which was very helpful.

A lot of the suggestions are, of necessity, contradictory - what works for one collection won't for another, and it's a set of guidelines rather than a description of the One True Way. What I took to heart was putting the novella ("The Reflection of Memory") at the end, which I was leaning towards anyway, and starting with something upbeat.

This is when I realised I don't really do upbeat. A lot of my stories have a dark thread so I ended up going with "In Search of Camanac" as it's somewhat hopeful. It's also the first story of mine that saw print, so it seemed like a good way to start.

Another suggestion was to decide on a structure and then order the stories according to that logic. Since I had the novella at the end, and a short story at the beginning, I went with the hourglass shape: short stories, slightly shorter stories, flash, short stories (starting with the shortest) and then the novella.

The next part, picking the order of the stories within that structure, was a lot harder than it looked. It took three days. Because I've written across several genres, speculative and mainstream fiction, I needed to somehow link the stories. First I wrote a list of the titles, and any themes that applied to them, then flagged any that seemed to be natural partners, like the fairy tales, historical fantasies, and clockwork-themed. Then I wrote a list of numbers that corresponded to the number of stories I had and filled in the set points - beginning and end, and the two that sat nicely lengthwise between flash and the longer shorts.

To organise the short stories I did what can best be described as a wibbly-wobbly Venn diagram, where I wrote down the title and drew bubbles around them to link them by theme. It became really obvious then that I had a problem in the shape of "Dark Ghosts and Flamingos", which is best described as a space opera with aliens and hookers. None of my other short stories are science fictional, and I couldn't put it with the flash sci fi without violating my otherwise carefully ordered structure. Likewise, "Mr Bad Man" links nicely with "Reflection" in terms of theme, but being real-world set sticks out like a sore thumb amongst my largely secondary-world fantasy. At one point I actually considered cutting one or both of them.

Eventually I realised the problem was that I'd got fixated on having the same number of short stories at the beginning and the end of the book - but the end has the novella and so could stand to lose a story and still be balanced in terms of wordcount. I took out "A Celebration in Blue Silk", which was supposed to be my linking story between "Child of the Pact" and "Reflection" (which link without it anyway) and moved it to the beginning section. Revised, I ended up with "Dark Ghosts" sandwiched between "Blue Silk" and "A World in Clockwork" (all rebellion stories) and "Mr Bad Man" between "Clockwork" and "The Clay Men" (all stories about secrets, and the latter two set in the real world with a hint of magic).

Ordering the flash was much simpler, possibly because there are more of them to play with.  As they're all of a similar length, the only structure I had was to link thematically to the ones already in place. Plus I wanted "And a Cup of Good Cheer" somewhere near the middle, since it's my one and only Christmas story to date. Along the way I made some surprising connections I hadn't even noticed. I've got a structure that I think works well, and now I'm in the process of putting the stories into the manuscript.

This is taking longer than expected too.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Picture I have some free time at the moment, so I put together another ebook collection of previously published stories, Dark Ghosts and Flamingos and Other Stories. This one contains "A Celebration in Blue Silk", "Of Corn and Crows", "The Clay Men", and "Dark ghosts and Flamingos."

It's three fantasy (one dark historical), and a science fiction, so a bit of an odd mix, but I don't write enough science fiction to give it its own collection. Two of the flash stories are already in A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction, and the other ("This is the Way the World Begins") I don't have reprint rights back for yet.

At some point I'll do a print collection through Lulu, but that's a while off yet.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've been busy lately playing around with self-publishing when I should have been doing other things. I like to try new things, so I now have "Golems, Vampires and Wanderers: Essays in Gothic Fiction" up at Createspace/Amazon and Lulu. No marketing in place as yet, that's another thing on my "to learn" list. One thing at a time! I'll probably put up a more lengthy blog post on the experience next week.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've mostly been quiet lately, because for the last three weeks I've been getting down about 2500 words a week of some freelance work. It's nothing exciting (ghost-blogging) but it's a little bit of extra cash and experience.

This morning I finally managed to send off the first assignment for my proofreading course. It's way over when I meant to send it, but I got myself a bit confused over a couple of symbols which mean similar-but-different things ("less space" for removing some of the space, and "close up" for removing all the space). So I went through the unit again. There's a lot to learn.

Finally, now that the KDP Select has run out on "Golems, Vampires and Wanderers", it's available over at Smashwords.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's almost time for my e-Books to start migrating over to Smashwords, so I've redone the covers:
golems          memory          primary          clockwork
The main reason for it was to bring some sort of cohesion to the reprint fiction collections. I think these look better.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
Now that I've got your attention, shameless self-promotion first - I have a new e-book, "A World in Clockwork and Other Stories", up at Amazon today.



It's a collection of previously published works - the title story, "Mr Bad Man", "When the Harlequin Dances" and "In Search of Camanac".

And to celebrate, "A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction" is free today and tomorrow.


Yesterday, I sat down and did the first exercise of my proofreading course. It was fairly simple, only two symbols to work with (insert, and substitute), but I still made some fairly basic errors. Fortunately only one of those was something I missed. The rest were down to inexperience - forgetting to circle a marginal note, for example, and using a "close up" symbol when I didn't need to.

I really enjoyed it, even if all the mistakes in the text did make me want to grind my teeth - I kept having to remind myself they were the whole point. This weekend I intend to work my way up to the second exercise. There are four in each unit, and then a marked assignment. Lots of work, but so far enjoyable, and hopefully worth it in the end.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've collected together a selecton of flash stories and published them at Amazon: A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction.



I'm working on a short story collection next.



Cross-posted from Conversations With Dragons.

August 2017

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