#36 Finding out all about self-publishing

M J Dees

Like a lot of people, I always considered self-publishing to be tantamount to vanity publishing.  However, the more I learn about self-publishing, the more I realise that many authors are choosing it over the traditional route because it gives them much more control over how their work is promoted.

I’ve been glued to You Tube this week watching the Self Publishing Formula podcasts which have interesting discussions about all aspects of the self-publishing process.

Having just re-written the ending to my first novel,  I have still sent it off to agents in the UK, Australia, Canada and the USA but I have also been giving much more serious thought to the process of self-publishing.

I’m already promoting myself as an author through my own Facebook profile and page, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google + and of course this blog. The next step is to set up a mailing list which I…

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#21 checking emails

M J Dees

Once the first five chapters, synopsis and cover letter have been sent to the agent there is the prolonged period of waiting for the response. Despite the fact that the website clearly states: allow ten to twelve weeks for a response, the vigilance for incoming emails and the obsessive scouring of the spam folder begin in earnest late into week one.

One consoles oneself with the thought that the longer the deliberation the more positive the response in the hope that the agent is taking their time because they are seriously considering the submission. Of course this is not necessarily the case but it is the thing that keeps me going while I wait.

And while I wait I check my emails. In all my e-mail accounts just on the off chance I gave a different e-mail to the one I know I gave. And while I’m checking my e-mail…

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#20 Take to the streets in protest

M J Dees

About three million Brazilians reportedly took to the streets today to protest against the government and corruption.

Today I was looking after my daughter so I didn’t go in person but last year the protest I attended not only provided an excellent distraction from a day of writing but it actually provided me with material for my first novel ‘Living with Saci’.

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#45 Preparing a book for launch

living with saci pre launch ad

I’m now about 5,000 words behind schedule on the word count for my fourth novel because I have been a bit consumed with preparing the launch of the first.

The first thing I did was load the manuscript up to draft2digital.com to be formatted for ebook versions and to create a PDF which I could use to load up to createspace.com to create the paperback version.

Having done this, I could tell my cover designer how many pages the book was going to be so that she could create the artwork for the cover at exactly the correct proportions.

Having gone through it twice more with Grammarly, I uploaded the manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing but found I had problems with margins. In an attempt to solve this, I uploaded the manuscript to createspace.com instead but the same error messages appeared. I concluded that the errors weren’t really going to affect the finished book and so submitted it for review which came back all clear.

Having submitted the book to draft2digital and to Amazon, the book became available for pre-sales on Amazon US, UK, Brasil, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, India, Australia, and a whole host of non-Amazon online booksellers.

I set up a range of Facebook ads to appear in the week up to the launch, the day before the launch and for the launch day itself and adverts to appear on Amazon pages. I also bought a book promotion on freebooksy.

Now all this is scheduled I’ve got no real excuse for not going back to writing the fourth novel.




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#44 Stuck in Zurich choosing a book cover


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One of the advantages of being married to someone who works for an airline is cheap flights. The only drawback of these cheap flights is having to fly standby. The problem with standby is that, if the flight is full, then you go nowhere.

We had planned to travel on a day when the flight from Zurich to Sao Paulo was underbooked so all was going well until a technical fault on another flight meant that the transferred passengers filled up our flight and we were stuck in Zurich for another night…and another night.

Zurich is not the worst place to be stuck in, there is plenty to see in the city, but I was really meant to be selecting a cover for LIVING WITH SACI. I had received the three options above which I was meant to be testing on social media.

If you want to help me choose the front cover design, you can express your preference here.

On the third attempt I managed to get on a flight but then had to get an uber straight to work. Going to bed now. Night night.

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#43 Plan the next novel



Although the first novel hasn’t been published yet (August 1st 2017 is the tentative release date) I am close to finishing the first rough draft of the third novel and so thoughts inevitably turn to the fourth which I will start writing from next week.

The first novel I just started writing with no idea of what was going to happen in the story. The protagonist changed from being a man to a woman fairly early in and the chapters were reordered substantially during the edit.

With the second and third novels I started with an idea and started writing so that I didn’t know how the novels would finish until I was quite close to writing the end. The advantage of this method is that if I am interested in finding out how the story is going to end then the chances are that the readers are also going to be interested in finding out what happens to the characters. I find that as I am writing I don’t know what decision the character’s are going to make until they make them.

The disadvantage to this approach is in the structure of the story because it is much harder to create a good narrative arc with this method.

The next novel I intend to write is based on a true story so I have to be much more careful to plan our the narrative arc beforehand to ensure that the story is pleasurable to read and maintains the tension until the end.

Today I planned out a rough plan of 34 chapters which were based on a screenplay I wrote about the same story over six years ago.

I intend to use this rough plan as a guide when I begin writing the story which I hope to finish by Christmas.

It will be interesting to see whether this method shows dividends when it comes to the structural edit.

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#42 Preparing the first novel to be published


I’m rapidly approaching my first self-imposed deadline for the completion of my third novel so the first task of the day is to complete my self-imposed word count for that which is a painful process. I only hope that when I read the thing back in a couple of months that it doesn’t read as badly as writing it feels right now.

Once the word count is out of the way I can then move on to task two for the day which is preparing my first novel for its launch for which I have self-imposed a deadline of August 1st.  Having received some really good feedback from readers I’ve just finished making all the changes I can bear to make and have decided that enough is enough and I am going to release it onto the unsuspecting public.

To be honest, at this stage I’m not really bothered about how well it is received I just want to get rid of it and move on to the second novel.

I sent the final text to the person who is going to design the cover for me and the plan is that she is going to create three alternatives which I will test via social media before deciding on the final version.

While that process is taking place I decided that I would prepare the text for formatting so, to get an idea of the kind of things to include in the end matter I downloaded a free Mark Dawson short story from Amazon to see how he did it. They say never reinvent the wheel so I have appropriated his ideas for my own book before loading the text up to draft2digital which is an online formatting service.

The process was so unbelievably easy that I now have all this spare time left over to write this blog. Basically, my ebook is ready, all I need to do is drop in the front cover and it’s ready to go.

I have already set up Amazon and Draft2digital accounts and have completed the US tax interviews so everything is ready to go.

Once the cover ideas are ready I will need to send them out to social media and once the final design is chosen then I will need to create some ads to promote the book but it is undoubtedly true that the hardest thing to do is to write the book in the first place.

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