Category Archives: Publishing

Now in print!

Front cover of print edition.

Front cover of print edition.

I’ve had the e-book edition of my novel, Of Fish and Swimming Swords, available for Kindle and Smashwords for two years. Now, I have a print edition.

You can order a print copy from CreateSpace. Use the discount code XMXXKGKU to get 25% off.

The print cover is different from the digital, but I still tried to put together a cover that was somewhat connected to the novel. The digital cover reflects the role of fours and a virtual world tree. In the case of the print edition, the artifacts resemble meshing gears, cycles enmeshed with cycles, and discarded materials half buried in the sand, similar to the layers of conspiracy in the story feeding off of each other and only half emerging from the text.

The next step is to match up the print and digital editions on Amazon so that you can get a copy of the digital edition when you buy a copy of the print through Amazon’s Kindle Matchbook program.

Trying out Project Wonderful

I’ve added a Project Wonderful ad to the sidebar. I’m not doing this to make any kind of significant money. Most sites with my traffic might get a penny a day in advertising if they’re lucky. I’m doing an experiment to see how Project Wonderful works, both as a publisher and as an advertiser. Advertising will come later. I have a few projects I’m working on that I’ll advertise as they mature.

There are two main reasons I’m trying Project Wonderful: funds are usable, and the system is more community oriented than other advertising networks that I’ve looked at. 

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The Publisher's Dilemma

If you haven’t been reading A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, you should. As with any blog, read it with a critical mind, but Konrath does address a lot of good points about publishing and the effect that e-books are having on the industry.

I’ve been reading The Innovator’s Dilemma recently. I’m about two-thirds of the way through, but I’m feeling resonance with literature as well as the academic world of digital humanities. For this blog post, I want to address how I see it playing in the publishing world. If you haven’t yet, read “At Home With the Sixes,” a post on Konrath’s blog. He covers some of the same ideas, but in a humorous story.

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Available: Of Fish and Swimming Swords

Cover: Of Fish and Swimming Swords

I bit the bullet and pushed my novel out to the Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords stores. Feel free to download a copy and write a review! It’s only $2.99, but if you want it for less, comment here sometime in the next week (before August 4th, 2011) with a link to your blog and I’ll send you a coupon for Smashwords. The only thing I’ll ask in return is that you write a substantive and constructive review on your blog.

It will be two or three weeks before the novel is available in the iBookstore or other stores fed by Smashwords.  I’ll post when I see the novel show up in these other stores.

From the blurb:

In a world built around fours, where the trinity of the United States government has been replaced by the Cardinalities of the Muses, Barbara finds a hidden symbol in yet another investigation and suspects foul play. But who can she trust? As she and her family dive into the mystery and horror, they find that they are battling forces that reach to the very core of the world they believe in.

Follow the family of four as they unravel the mystery and discover more about each other.

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Creating a Book Cover

I’ll say right off that I don’t know how to create a great book cover.  What I want to explore in this post is my thinking behind the evolving cover for my first novel, Of Fish and Swimming Swords.

When self-publishing, you have to provide covers for each of the formats you’re publishing.  If an electronic edition, you’ll need the equivalent of a front cover.  If going with a POD edition, you’ll need the front, spine, and back of the cover.  Usually, you want the electronic cover to be a version of the POD cover.  For my covers, I’m using Inkscape for vector drawing and the GIMP for final composition and effects.  Both are free, open source applications that have versions for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and most UNIX/Linux distributions.

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Typesetting a Book with LaTeX

The other day, I talked about building an e-book for Kindle and Nook.  Today, I want to add a few things to the Makefile we created so that we can produce a PDF.  The end result will be that every time you want to create a PDF of the book, you will only need to type ‘make pdf’.

If you’re one a Mac, you’ll want to install MacTeX.  If you’re on Linux/UNIX, you’ll want to install the package that contains pdflatex.  We’ll be using LaTeX to typeset our book.

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Building a Book for Kindle and Nook

I’m thinking about self-publishing my novel, Of Fish and Swimming Swords, on Kindle and other ebook readers.  Today, I want to talk a little about the process I’m using to build the book as I do final edits and formatting.

The easiest way to build a book for Kindle and have a good chance that it will look like what you want is to create a MobiPocket file.  Amazon makes available all of the tools you need to create one of these files.  I use a Mac, so if you use either a Mac or a Linux/UNIX system, you should be okay.  I’m not sure how things work on Windows.

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Thinking About Self Publishing

Draft eBook Cover

My first novel is a queer, science fiction piece that I wrote for my thesis.  I’ve had it with a publisher for almost two years now and I haven’t heard anything back other than that the editor liked what he saw.  Given how short the shelf life is for paper books, I’ve been thinking about self publishing the novel electronically instead of waiting for a publisher to go through the year or two process from acceptance to market, only to have the book off the market in a few weeks.  I may add a POD version if I make enough from the ebook to pay for the small ($39) setup fee that Amazon/CreateSpace charges for improved royalties.

Joe Konrath is a big proponent of self-publishing.  Some of his posts read like a late night infomercial, but they are still helpful in getting a sense of what’s happening in the market.  A good balance is the Writer Beware section of the SFWA website.

So why would I choose to do self-publishing if I’ve been through an MA program in creative writing, I know that self-publishing doesn’t give me professional credit, and that it’s probably a matter of time before I either get my novel accepted or I give up and write a new novel?  If I can’t find an editor who thinks my novel is worth a few thousand dollars investment, then what makes me think my novel is good enough to sell for $0.99 or $2.99?  Isn’t this dangerously close to vanity publishing?

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