self publish

How to be a self published author online – in 5 slightly over simplified lessons


Acts of Life – new space opera adventure coming soon

I have a new page here, all about my new novel, Acts of Life which will be available mid June.  The big edits have now been completed and there are just a few bits and bobs to check before it can be formatted, ready for upload.  Meanwhile, my cover art genius, JL Stratton is working on the cover.  All will be revealed in time.

This is the novel I wrote in twenty days during NaNoWriMo, November 2012.

Click here to read about Acts of Life, starring Jake Elloway.

First of my brand new space opera series to be out soon

I’ve been away from blogging for a while (yeah I know you didn’t even notice I was gone) due to the demands of editing and formatting.

Now that The Lilean Chronicles series is complete, I have the first volume in a brand new space opera series coming out very shortly.  I’ve recently completed the final edits and spent several hours yesterday formatting for smashwords, KDP and then battled with the paperback formatting.  Formatting for paperback always gives me grey hairs but as I do more and more, I get to win the battle more quickly each time.

It’s those damn headers and footers; I  hate them and they hate me.

I’ve found out through trial and error that it’s all down to where you have section breaks and where you have page breaks.  I put all the front matter (title page, copyright notice, dedication) as one complete section with page breaks between the pages and a section break at the end.  Then I put all the chapters as a second complete section, with page breaks at the end of each chapter and a section break after THE END.  Any endpapers (coming soon etc) goes as a third seperate section.

Headers and footers are only required in the actual chapters.  You don’t have page numbers or the book title at the top of the page for instance, on the front matter or the end papers.  I’ve always found that Word keeps putting headers and footers on my front matter when I put it on the chapter section, but then when I remove them from the front matter, they also disappear from the chapters, ARGH..!

Then I happened to find out that the headers and footers have ‘same as previous’ on them by default, which means Word automatically makes them the same as the previous section.  So, if you want them in the chapters, Word will also put them in the previous section (the front matter) because it defaults to ‘same as previous’ all the time.

With me so far?

What you have to do is turn off the ‘same as previous’ thing and then it will just put the headers and footers in the current section.

You must also make sure that the page numbering is also set to start at number 1 (it defaults to 2 sometimes) and that you unclick ‘continue from last section’ and then click ‘number first page’.

It all sounds very complicated and it is, far too bloody complicated but I am determined to get this.  It only took me a couple of hours battling this time.  Hopefully when I release my NaNoWriMo novel in July, I’ll get it right first try.

Now that the formatting is done I just have to wait for my cover art guy to do his bit, although I just found out he has the flu so he may not be well enough to do this one.  I plan to publish within the next two weeks so if he isn’t well enough I’ll be doing it myself.  Thankfully he’s taught me so much over the last four books that I feel pretty confident I can do a front cover without a problem.  I’ve been doing digital fan art for ages and this particular cover is a simple design; just one complete photo with text for the title and author name.

I hope he’s recovered by July as my NaNoWriMo novel cover is quite a complicated one..!

Headers and Footers have a mind of their own

I’m not the most technically minded person in the universe and all things internet and pc based really try my patience.  Since I’ve had access to the internet, which is a few years now, I’ve learned so much and all of it by trial and error and google. I’ve not had any lessons in using computers or the internet so although I’m still a bit of a bonehead, I’m proud of my level of ability.

Since I started writing my novels I’ve had to learn all about self publishing and it’s been an uphill task all the way.  Thankfully, lulu and smashwords make it very easy to understand what to do to get your book published and out there.  I’m  now finding the amazon publishing platform much easier to understand and use now that I’ve gained a little experience.

Actually uploading the finished document is child’s play; it’s the formatting of the bloody thing that is so awkward.  Word is easy enough to use but it’s a bit lacking in explanations and instructions.  The problem I’ve battled with today is headers and footers.

Jeez I hate those things; they always give me trouble.  I always have problems with getting my page numbers to start at Chapter 1.  It always seems to insist on giving page numbers to the front matter too and I always end up tearing my hair out.  Today I finally worked out how to do it.

It’s all about breaks.  Page breaks and section breaks are the way you divide up your manuscript and it is essential you use them in a certain way to make sure your headers and footers do as they’re told.

For the front matter – title page, copyright page, dedication and so on, use a section break (next page) at the end of each page.  This will make each page of the front matter be treated as a separate section and any headers and footers will be only for that page.   For the chapters, use ordinary page breaks at the end of each chapter.  This will enable you to make sure that your headers and footers don’t continue from the previous section.

Then it’s just a case of doing each header and footer and making sure you delete any automatically  inputted text and making sure the ‘same as previous’ is switched off so that your front matter is clear of any headers and footers.

You can then input the headers and footers for the chapters and since you used page breaks, the whole body of the manuscript will be treated like one giant section and the whole thing will heave headers and footers in one go.

I know you probably all know this already, and really this blog is as much for a reminder for me when volume 4 of The Lilean Chronicles comes out, as it is for anyone else’s gain, but if it helps someone else then all to the good.

I’ve joined the Amazon fetish club

Since I’ve been writing I’ve learned many things, all of which have value somewhere, somehow.  Until now, I’ve published my books via lulu and smashwords and avoided Amazon.

The reason I’ve left Amazon alone is because I’m English and live in the UK and to publish via Createspace (Amazon’s paperback publishing platform) and Kindle (its e-book publishing platform) you need to have a USA tax code or they stiff you for 30% of all profits for their tax.  The complexity of getting such a code as always put me off, until I discovered the shortcut (which I explained in my previous blog here).

So now I have my EIN code I decided to join Amazon and get my books up there.

One of the things I’ve learned since I’ve been writing is that the book world seems to have a very strong Amazon fetish and unless your work is available there, you’re ignored or not taken as a ‘serious’ self pubber.  I don’t know why this should be but it is, so it’s a case of join up or be left behind.

I’ve spent the last fortnight reformatting all 3 volumes of The Lilean Chronicles for Amazon and finally tonight I got the last one uploaded.  Sometime tomorrow I’ll be able to post the links and stand up with the rest of the ‘real’ writers with my head held high and shriek