File preparation

So in order to get this stuff all online, you’re going to need to get your files ready. I am at this point assuming that you have finished writing and done all of the editing passes until you are happy with the final result. Once you are, then it’s time to format the files.

Documents

First of all, you’re going to want to read this the Smashwords guide on this. It is invaluable, even if it is long. It’s also the most restrictive and, honestly, only Smashwords is quite this strict on their formatting guidelines, so keep that in mind. 

I tend to work out of .doc files.1 They are the easiest to manage and edit later, plus most places will take them and do your conversions for you.2 Since I don’t do a lot of custom formatting, it’s the easiest for me to work with.

And now for actually doing it. Since I write in Google Docs, I copy and paste all of my text into Word. From there, I open up the styles panel and then start murdering any style that isn’t Normal, Italic, Link, Center, Heading 1, or Heading 2. You can do this by selecting one of those custom styles3, and clicking on the little arrow to the right of it. There’s a Select All option to click. Once it’s all highlighted, you can then click on any of the other styles4 and it will change all of the styles at once.

A word of warning about this method, since I write a lot of books with telepathy. This doesn’t always preserve the italics and other formatting. So be careful.

Once you’ve limited the styles used in the text down to just those few styles, then you’re usually good to go. Although, there’s one more thing for me.

Front and Back Matter

I have two specific things I always add.

The first is a title page. It just has the name of the book, sometimes the name of the series, my name, the name of my imprint5 and the year of publication.

The second is a page with a small bio on me, and a list of links on how to get in touch, including Twitter, Facebook, and the Mailing List. No one, to my knowledge, has ever clicked on them, but I’m in the habit of this now.

Another common thing to add is a table of contents. I don’t personally recommend this in most cases, because the file will have an internal table of contents that will be more useful to your reader than the one at the front of the book.

Calibre and ePub

Now, every once in a while, you will need an ePub version. Of all the types, ePub will be the most versatile. Everything takes it,6 and this is the format it will be converted to7 so it’s handy to have.

If you don’t already have it, get Calibre. If you have formatted your book as per the above, it will convert those docs really nicely into any ebook format you want. It will also allow you to edit the files directly, but you’ll need to know some basic HTML8 in order to make it work.

Personally, I only use this for very specific instances, but we will get into those more a bit later.

Covers

I’m hoping you already have your cover done. You’ll want it in .jpg, since that’s what’s actually going to upload to all outlets.

For most, you will want a .jpg file of about 1563 x 2500 pixels for the cover. It changes by outlet, but 100% of places will at least accept a file of this size without any issue, though one I’ll be talking about will ask for larger.

  1. Multiple, but we’ll get into that with distribution []
  2. Looking at you PublishDrive. We’ll get to you. []
  3. Mine are always called Body Text something something something []
  4. Usually Normal []
  5. Scrap Paper Entertainment []
  6. Some will only take it []
  7. Except Amazon []
  8. And have a working knowledge of email HTML because it’s pretty similar with how much of a pain it is []

So, here’s what I’m doing

NaNoWriMo is over and I now have two more drafts! But now that the month is done, it’s time for me to start getting Hero Complex ready for publication, and working out just what I’ll be doing for next year.1 However, there have been a few people from the Vancouver region who have been curious about self publishing and were asking how they were to go about doing it.

Self publishing is my jam, so I have been having a few conversations about what my process is and the specifics of what I’m doing. And now I am going to go through it all over the next few weeks with you.

I’m not going to be going through things like how to write or edit your book. Those are very different processes that vary wildly between people, so I am not the one to go to in order to figure out what’s best for you. This series is just going to be how I personally go through the process of formatting and publishing my novels. But first, a small preamble to get us started.

Why am I doing self publishing?

People have a lot of different reasons for getting into it, so I can only speak for why I’m doing it. I ended up getting very quickly disillusioned with traditional publishing after going to a writer’s convention and actually talking to industry professionals and other authors. My assumptions about what I could get published were cast aside and my belief that interesting ideas would win out were largely proven to be untrue and that marketability and the ability to sell were much more important.

I was very idealistic back then. Very.

Worse, after talking to a lot of other people who actually had books published, I found that some of these people were having to start from scratch to get their next books published, back t the conference to pitch to agents fresh despite already having a book published. Some were looking to expand into other genres, some had their books go out of print and were unable to get their rights back, and none of this was something I wanted to hear at the time.

And the final nail in the coffin for me, the main reason I wanted to go the traditional publishing route, was finding out that many of these smaller authors had to do their own marketing. As some of you may already be aware, I am absolute garbage at marketing.

In the end, I figured that I might as well just start publishing them myself. At least that way I could publish whatever I wanted on my own schedule, and I wouldn’t have to re-pitch every time I had a new project that targeted a slightly different demographic. I also wouldn’t have to rebrand myself every time I wanted to expand into new genres.

It’s a much more time-consuming route, to be sure, and takes up a lot more resources. I need to come up with my own cover art, need to find my own editor, and still have to do my own marketing, but in the end it’s been rewarding on its own. Even if only now, five years later, I’m only really starting to hammer down a process.

So, if you want to know what my process for getting a book published is, stay tuned. First up is file preparation.

  1. Probably the White Noise sequels and another Wonderland book []

Novel Chosen and City Without Heroes is out!

Thank you to everyone who voted in the novel poll this year! The race was close this year, but the victory by a single vote goes to Genetically Impaired!

And while I have you, City Without Heroes is out now!

Whitten was just what Indira hoped for. It was a city that had banned heroes and villains, which meant no more rebuilding her home after a disaster, no more texts from her mother about how her father had been kidnapped, and no more worrying that she might be forced to become a hero herself one day.

Indira soon finds out that the city holds a dangerous secret. Keeping superheroes and supervillains out of the city comes at a cost and, if she isn’t careful, she may disappear with the others.

Check it out!

So about that publishing schedule…

I am not publishing as much this year.

In previous years, I’ve boasted four and five releases in a year, but that time has come to an abrupt end. I’ve been very burnt out, more so than I realized. I’ve had a lot of major life changes, been dealing with some shifts in my career, started to actually deal with my anxiety, gotten myself to a much better place, and generally learned to give myself more of a break. But this has come at the cost of a rigorous publishing schedule that, honestly, I knew I couldn’t really keep up with.

Which means this year, it’s just going to be the one book. And I’m okay with that.

I’m starting to focus on some of those ideas that I’ve had for smaller, more manageable projects. I’ve been wanting to put out bonus content for the books, and to start putting out samples of some unreleased stuff that I’ve worked on and decided not to put out. And I’ve been thinking about all the interactive fiction projects I want to do and how to do them without burning myself out. I’m going to be releasing most of this stuff to Patreon, along with early copies of books as I finish them.1

As for the books, in an effort to make sure I don’t overload myself and burn myself out again, I’m going to be doing something a little different. Going forward, I’m going to be trying to release the ebook at the same time as the print copy.

For right now, you can preorder City Without Heroes, coming out on October 25th. The print book should also be ready for then!

  1. And then I can maybe afford some of the other stuff I want to make []

NaNoWriMo Poll 2017

It’s that time again, folks! As every year, I’m running a poll to decide what book I’m going to be writing for NaNoWriMo this year. I ended up writing a couple of the options for last year over the course of 2017, so there’s a few new options for this year to check out.

You may choose up to two book options. Poll closes midnight on October 24th, so get voting!

Looking Glass Saga: Beauty Sleep
With the end of middle school approaching, Alice is getting ready to deal with her bet with the Bandersnatch. She’s done everything she can, but when her roommate, Adrianna, falls into a deep sleep and no one can wake her up, Alice has to put the bet aside. She hopes the answer to waking her up lies somewhere in Wonderland, but time is running out and if she doesn’t find it Adrianna may never wake up.

Cloned Evil: First Steps
Fredrika and Beatrice know their mother is in prison and they need to get her out, but Auntie Jezebel insists that they are too young. They haven’t even been alive a year yet, and there is still too much they have to learn. If they are very good and finish all their studies, however, she might let them join her in the breakout. Unfortunately, Auntie Jezebel is hearing nothing but trouble from the one daycare she could find that would take them.

Thornbrooke 
It seemed like perfect timing. Bree was accepted into an accelerated program to accomplish her dreams of becoming a doctor, and her mother took a long standing offer to relocate to Iverson. Though they are both hoping for the best, the city is a hotspot for superhero activity, and it’s very hard not to get caught up in it all. Making it even harder for Bree is the parting gift from her friends: A secret identity of her own.

Genetically Impaired
They were looking for a test subject. It was fortunate that one drove right in and died on their floor. Seeing this as an opportunity, they took it upon themselves to see if they could reanimate the corpse. The young man didn’t have a name, so they called him Damon and decided to keep him, whether he wanted to stay or not. After all, they had many more things they wanted to try with their newly reanimated cadaver.

NaNoWriMo 2017

  • Genetically Impaired (39%, 26 Votes)
  • Thornbrooke (38%, 25 Votes)
  • Looking Glass Saga: Beauty Sleep (32%, 21 Votes)
  • Cloned Evil: First Steps (18%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 66

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Updates Galore!

Wow it’s been a while. A whole six months without even a new book out. It’s like I’m trying to take it easy this year or something.1 But, since it’s been so long, some updates are due. Let’s get into them!

Wattpad!

I’ve been working on the rewrite of City Without Heroes over on Wattpad. I put out a chapter a week on Sundays2 of the rewritten version. It has not been edited yet, so some changes may still be made between this version and the eventual published version, so check it out!

Smashwords!

Since apparently Smashwords changed how they do taxes3 I am starting to put my books up on Smashwords as well! If you had issues with Amazon, now is your chance to get a copy of anything I’ve ever written! Or it will be, just as soon as I get all these books in there.

Going wider!

I’m looking at possibly distributing a little differently though not Smashwords as well4 but have hit a bit of a snag. I signed up for Pronoun, but have yet to receive a confirmation email from them.5 And apparently Draft2Digital has all the ISBNs still stored in the system from back in the day, so I’m having trouble relisting books. Stay tuned we will see what happens!

Print books!

Return to Wonderland is in print! I currently also have a stack of proof copies for the rest of the series sitting on my desk and they will be ready soon. Jabberwocky’s Book and Borrowed, Not Lost will be out in the next couple months.

Upcoming books!

City Without Heroes and Hero Complex will be out by the end of the summer. The rewrite for both books is complete and they are both in editing, so I’m hoping to have the ebooks and the print versions of them out by the end of August. The print books may be a bit ambitious, though.6

The Game!

I’m going to be working on the game again soon as well! I have plans to completely rewrite the little I’ve already done, and then build it out so that it will hopefully be playable in a year. Or, at the very least, I’ll have a couple playable stories to show you guys while I work on the programming.

And that’s just about everything in terms of updates. I want to try and keep a better record of my progress of all of this stuff moving forward, though if there’s anything else you’d like to see from me, let me know!

  1. I am trying. It may not be as successful as I like to think it is… []
  2. Tomorrow! []
  3. As did everyone else, when did this happen? []
  4. Smashwords requires a note saying specifically that it is from Smashwords, which I am not a fan of having in other stores []
  5. I’ve also tried a password reset and checked my spam mail. They just will not email me. []
  6. There’s bonus shorts in the print books, and I do not know how to format bonus content yet. We’ll see. []

Adventures in Travel

I just got back from a pretty amazing trip,1 but as much fun as I had getting away from the snow, I’m not going to go into the vacation stories. No, see, something you should probably know is that I have interesting2 travel luck. And this trip had something very specific that caused a lot of trouble.

United Airlines.

Some of you have heard the story of my getting stranded on the East Coast a few years ago because of them. I was never going to fly with them again, but the folks I was traveling with insisted it would be fine this time around. And there was a plan! I would head down to Portland, meet up with one of my friends, and we’d meet up with another one at the layover in Chicago. It should be fine.

Except the flight was delayed by an hour. And the layover was an hour. But we were assured that we would make that connecting flight and got our seats bumped up so that we could get off the plane quicker and make that transfer. United said everything would be all good. We figured it would be fine.

We touched down in Chicago and immediately got in touch with our friend on the other plane. As we were taxi-ing around before stopping so we could get off, we found out that they had already given our seats away. We finally stopped and tried to get off as quickly as we could. Us and about four other people ran to the next gate to try and still make the flight.

We watched the plane leave.

Customer service was pretty miserable. While we were landing, there were customers with another flight with a short transfer who had been assured that the plane was waiting for them3 and we were told when we were ushered to the long line of United customers now stranded in Chicago from other flights that they never held flights.  I realize customer service front line folks have no control over anything, but it would certainly help if they weren’t all so damn smug about us getting stranded and missing flights after we’d been assured we would make them. Or if they didn’t all go for their breaks at the same damn time which meant that all of us who could have been put on other flights to make our trips missed those options.

And so we were routed through Houston. Three hours of flight, followed by three hours of sleep4 and we eventually made it onto a flight to Orlando. A day late, a day of parks missed, United unwilling to do a damn thing about the trouble. They offered food vouchers that don’t even work on their planes.

It’s a better ending than the last time, but I’m hoping this is the absolute last time ever with United. They may not have stranded me this time, but it’s clear that they are still absolutely terrible.

  1. DISNEY WORLD AND UNIVERSAL []
  2. terrible []
  3. I think they were heading to Denver? []
  4. With another couple hours somewhere in there of trying to figure out where our luggage was []

Looking Back, Looking Forward

So long, 2016! It was a less than wonderful year by all accounts, though some good did come of it. I did manage to finish off Tales from the Twisted Eden Sector, my first series! And I got a place, which is also exciting. On the less awesome side, I also burned right the hell out and did not accomplish even half of the things I wanted to in the name of actually taking it easy for once.

But with the old year done, it’s time to make a lot of new promises for the new year and come up with a ridiculous list of things I want to do that will completely negate the lack of things I feel I did last year. So here’s a quick rundown of what I’m planning for this year.

New Drafts

Aside from the two books for NaNoWriMo this year,1 I’ve already started working on the White Noise sequels. There will be two more in the series as far as I’ve planned, and you’ll get a chance to see your favourite dumbasses continuing to make excellent life decisions.

Publishing!

I have a two part series coming out at some point this year: City Without Heroes and Hero Complex. There will also be the next installment of the Looking Glass Saga, the title of which I cannot settle on at the moment.

Wattpad

I have a couple things I want to try out, but I’m not sure how they’ll work out. As such, I’m going to start using Wattpad to test the waters with a few story ideas and concepts I’ve been toying with, just to see how they end up doing. Follow me now and check them out as they come out!

Oh, and I may put out the first pass rewrite of City Without Heroes on there too.

Print Books

I’m going to be working on getting a lot of my books formatted for print in the new year, since it seems that people really like having a physical copy. I’ll be announcing those as I get them done, so keep an eye out!

Games

You know all the stuff I’d done so far on the game project? I’m scrapping it and starting from scratch. Watch that Facebook page for updates on how that’s going, though the goal for the year is to get the basics of it done. It shouldn’t be playable until next year at some point.

Taking it Easy

One thing 2016 taught me is that I’ve been working too hard to do everything, so I am going to try not to overexert myself so much this year and learn to give myself a break sometimes. Read more. Work less. Maybe get a cat. We’ll see how this goes.
Here’s hoping that the new year brings some good things for us all. Happy new year!

  1. Definitely going back to two books this year []

Syndicate: You Will be Mine

Have another deleted scene, this time from Syndicate. One of those things that I never found a place to put in is an explanation of just where Mark got those powers from. Because he did get them from somewhere.


Jason just wanted to make a little quick cash and his prayers were very easily answered. This guy at the bar had already been abandoned by his friends one by one as he continued to obsess over a woman that had dumped him. From the sounds of it, she’d dumped him months ago, if not even longer.

He took a seat next to the drunk, looking far too young to be in here. Luckily, so long as he paid, no one cared. Better, he knew the man working the bar and knew that he’d look the other way. “Hey,” Jason said. “Mark, right?”

“Who’s asking?” Mark looked Jason over. “Aren’t you kinda young? I’m not buying you anything.”

“I get that a lot,” Jason said. “And I don’t need you to.”

Jason put his finger down on the bar and the shadows pooled under Mark’s drink. Mark turned back to it and watched as it fell into the wood of the bar, then looked at Jason as the drink resurfaced in front of him. Jason smiled and nodded, tipping the glass in his direction in thanks before taking a drink.

“How’d you do that?”

Surprise was good. Surprise meant that he’d never seen anything like it before. Even as wasted as he was, if he would know exactly what Jason was the instant he saw that trick.

“Trade secret,” Jason said. “But I might let you in on it if you really want.”

“Can you do anything else?”

“Plenty,” Jason said, letting the drink sink back down into the bar and returning it to Mark. “It’s not something you generally go around showing people, but I get a good feeling from you.” A feeling like you’re willing to blow a lot of cash to get back a girl who doesn’t give a shit about you. 

Mark said nothing staring down at his glass. He picked it up and felt the table, making sure there wasn’t a hole or dent, but there was nothing but smooth wood under his hands. He glanced around, but no one so much as glanced in their direction. This was going a little too well.

“How?” Mark asked.

Jason pooled a collection of shadows in front of him and reached down into the bar, pulling out a single purple pill before the shadows dispersed.

“It’s not cheap,” Jason warned him, the shadows pooling around Mark’s glass again and flickering up like a dark flame to lick the cool glass. “This shit comes at a price. But between you and me, it’s worth every cent.”

“And it’ll make me do this?”

“It’s a bit different for everyone. Some people get mine. Some people blow shit up. Sometimes you can control everyone around you. It all depends on you. No matter what you get, though, it makes you more powerful than you ever imagined.”

“How much?”

“Five thousand gets you one. That’ll get you some temporary skills. The second makes it permanent.”

Mark looked long and hard at the glass, now covered in thin black tendrils from Jason’s shadows. “You know a bank near here?” he asked.

syndicate

Timmy and the Fridges: A NaNoWriMo Story

Apparently a lot of people in my own region don’t even know this story, so it’s time to gather round to answer one of the questions of NaNoWriMo. What is with Timmy and those fridges?

The short version: It’s my fault.

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo has many avenues to connect with people during the month, and one of those is via the IRC Chat rooms. In these chat rooms, there is a bot named Timmy1 and the bot was originally created right here in the Vancouver region by a user who… I don’t know if they want to be named.2

I believe the year was 2012, and I wanted to be ambitious and decided that writing two books in a month was a good idea. I may have gone a touch loopy. It all started at a New West write in about mid-month during a lot of people’s two week slumps. I was just starting book number two and someone was having problems with their book, and I, being the helpful genius that I am, asked if they had tried throwing a fridge at it. This suggestion went over very well and we all ran with it. But I wasn’t done with it.

Two things you should know about me: I am very annoying when I get an idea in my head and I don’t know how to let a joke die. Ever.

This advice continued for the month, to the point where it is now if one of my own books as a recurring plot point throughout the series.3 For the month4 it was sort of an in joke within Vancouver, and it was added to Timmy so we could continue to throw fridges at each other.

And that is how I ended up making my mark on NaNoWriMo. You’re welcome.

  1. His full name is There Are Some Who Call Me Tim, if I’m remembering right []
  2. If you’re reading this, let me know []
  3. Different coloured fridges and everything. That’s how you know if a fridge is ripe! []
  4. What was left of it []