Ever had a plan where all was going swimmingly – then your brain goes skew-wiff and you end up somewhere totally different? Well, being a not-very-impulsive and practical Capricornian sort, my brain usually shrivels at that sort of reprobate behaviour – however, last week I was about to do the final correction edit of the novella – when I had an idea. Or a brainfart, or whatever…
If, as I expect, you’ve studied all my other blog posts closely and taken notes, you might remember my first proper bash at writing anything was years ago where I wrote an anthology of connected stories that went nowhere other than the slush piles? That one I went through at the beginning of this year and found it was mostly pants anyway?
Anyway, after I reread it all with my slightly older head on, two stories survived the quality control: the story that evolved into Club Medusa (the upcoming book) – and another called Me and Joey by David – a short story about a scary imaginary friend. To be honest they were the two I was most fond of back in the day and MaJbD actually got positive comments from a couple of literary agents. One from New York. Not sure if that makes any difference but it sounds cool when you’re telling people.
Back to the brainfart. Club Med isn’t exactly a doorstep of a book, but it still takes an age to trawl through it with any level of care. Me and Joey was an expanded short story already sitting at a well edited level – and being a standalone, it didn’t really have a home. So, because Kindle let you do it, why not give this a quick run through, find a cool pre-made cover and just publish it at Halloween? Easy, right?
Well, strangely, it actually was pretty easy. I decided to find a decent premade cover – which I did (though I had to look through hundreds before I found the one that jumped out at me – mind you, I think its pretty awesome dont you think?) – and I had to re-edit a bit – as spending a fortune on having a short story pro-edited wasn’t part of any budget of mine. Plus, like every other writer, I reckon Im good at editing myself. Well, not bad. Okay, acceptable. Alright, average…
So – couple of days work – about £16.00 spent on licensing the cover with a few back and forth emails to the cover designer to get the text right – and it was all ready to go.
I then entered the dark world of Kindle… Only to find out that despite lots of discouraging advice and warnings online – it was actually really easy to do – to start with.
Firstly, creating an account was dull but doable – obviously there are a lot of bank details etc to be put in – uploading the cover was easy.
Uploading the text was a bit trickier as you really need to get it formatted properly – but as this was a short story (about 17 pages on kindle) there wasn’t much to worry about – a bit of faffing with word and a quick google on how to do it right and it was done. Interestingly Fiverr has a lot of people who will take money off you for doing this – I’d say do it yourself with the help of google and youtube unless you have zero computer knowledge or confidence. Even then, give it a go first – it’s not that hard.
Got it up live just before 31st October – so officially a Halloween launch.
Fired out emails, facebook and twitter fanfares – got a few replies and a couple of folk bought the book. Overall not a lot of sales during the first few days but enough to say Ive now made some money from writing.
Over the next few days things started to unlock on Kindle – plus I signed it up for KDP – which appears to make it exclusive to Kindle (you can change this whenever you want with some notice) and get more royalties and worldwide exposure in return for exclusivity.
Couple of days later there were some very positive reviews up – even some from people I dont actually know! Turns out there are a whole bunch of marketing things I could have done beforehand to make it more effective but hey ho, maybe next time.
Also, you know when you look at a book on amazon and it suggests others like it? Well, your book wont get any of that unless its got 25 or more 4 or 5 star reviews. Who would have thought?
And also, (part 2) you get the option to make your book available as a paperback via Kindle – but this only works if your book is 24 or more pages long. Thats Joey oot the windae then…
So – I’d say if youve never done this before, find a sacrificial tale or short story and put it out there first – Ive learned a lot from actually doing it – and although I havent made much, I havent lost anything either. Back to the novella next week if I can ever get my tax returns finished.
Right, Im off to blow all my royalties on a large flat white at Costa’s so I can think about how I’m going to do it all next time…