Read This And Win $1,000

Sorry, Charlie cover

There’s a particular type of sinking feeling you get when your Kickstarter project is 2/3 complete and underfunded. You don’t want to give up. Can’t, really. But you can see the water spilling over the bow as the women and children fill the lifeboats. It’s looking like I’m going to be on the not so wonderful side of that fully-funded statistic. Here is a snapshot of my sadness.

Kickstarter progress

See that plateau? That’s a horrible plateau. If it was a pool of water, you would not want to drink from its stagnant waters. If it was a ship headed to the New World, there would be a mutiny, the captain looking over the edge of his last diving board. If it was a rabbit, it would be a shaved rabbit, with the mange and a Scotty-Don’t haircut, no front teeth, spray-painted yellow and orange by vandals, curled up under a sopping wet newspaper inside a garbage can, slowly gnawing off one of its own front legs. You get the picture.

In one of my last posts, I laid out a few things I had done wrong concerning the project. But it’s too late to fix most of them. So I am going to go post crazy and stoop to the lowest form of selfish, spamtastic, advertising. A slutty form of SEO and guerilla-anti-reverse-subliminal-prodding. I’m not sure what else to do really. I’ve thought of publicity stunts. Like a bomb scare on The Bachelor. No good. I’ve thought of using phrases like California Earthquake gives rise to giant spiders. Don’t panic, I would never stoop that low. I want to shoot this to you straight, like Brandon Knight, and not irritate you like a sprained ankle. Nor would I capitalize on Prom fashion or Mother’s day this year. That would be petty. I just want to do something that cool like Justin Timberlake SNL Saturday Night Live. I want to be like Oz The Great and Powerful and do something beautiful like Danielle Fishel. Nor will I even mention North Korean nuclear threats imminent for fear of giving people a hangover 3 about the whole thing.

And I surely won’t filibuster you like Rand Paul or Google Trend you to death with statistics.

I’ll just say that you should go to Kickstarter immediately and pledge at least $20 to the Sorry, Charlie project. And that’s all I’ll say. Here is the link.

Sorry, Charlie on Kickstarter

 

 

The Pope. The Pope. The Pope. The Pope. The Pope. The Pope. The Pope.

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My Kickstarter project: Day 14

Sorry Charlie Cover

 

Well, it’s day 14 for my Kickstarter project for Sorry, Charlie. Seven backers have pledged a total of $160, which is 17% of my goal. And while I am very happy that anyone’s even looked at it, much less donated to the cause, the project is about $300 short from the midpoint goal.

 

Disheartening, but not overwhelming. I have a split personality when it comes to the backers. Part of me is very happy that only one name on the backer list is a friend. Why? Because that means that total strangers have looked at the project and decided it was cool enough to donate to. One person has even hit the $100 mark and gets to be a character in my next horror short called The Trolley. It’s a certain kind of validation when people who aren’t emotionally attached to you in some way decide to back something you’re doing. Sometimes friends and family feel like they have to smile and say nice things about what you’re doing even if it really sucks. Strangers however, will tell you it sucks.

 

The other part of me is a little irked, and for basically the same reason. Only one person I know has backed the project. One person. I’m not sure what that says, really. The people who normally feel obligated to put my stuff on their refrigerator door have inexplicably gone stealth on me.

 

I’ve listed some of my obstacles related to the project.

 

People don’t know – A lot of the people I talked to about my project had never heard of Kickstarter. This was weirder to me than it should have been. I made the mistake of thinking that just because I have known about Kickstarter for over a year now, that everyone else should know about it too. After all, I’m the guy who is usually last in line to pick up on Internet memes or the latest vernacular trends. I was still saying ‘Oh, snap’ up until about 6 months ago. So how could everyone else not have heard about Kickstarter? I think people were still trying to wrap their heads around the whole Kickstarter thing while I was droning on and on about the project. I have since opened with, “Have you heard of Kickstarter?” and progressed from there.

 

People don’t care – Some people have been very helpful. They let me post my bookmarks on their boards or set them on the counters next to the checkout. And there are some people like the lady at the library closest to our home. I go in and the lady at the front hands me over to another very professional-sounding, smiling face. I think, ‘awesome.’ I explain my project. She smiles and says to follow her. We move to the back of the library. I follow her into a small office in the back. There is no light in this office and I find myself looking around at my dark surroundings with slight apprehension as I move through the office. She opens another door at the back of the office and there is a corridor. There is no light here either, so she takes out her cell phone and uses the flashlight thingy on it. I start to speak, but before I can she reassures me, “Right this way.” She is still smiling. I follow. The hallway has no windows and as we turn a corner, I notice the ceiling is getting lower and lower as we move along. I am becoming uncomfortable. We turn another corner and there is a set of stairs leading down into darkness. I stop. I say, “I’m really in a hurry. I have to get my lunch’s haircut appointment,” which doesn’t make any sense, but I was nervous. She replies, still smiling, “Don’t be silly. Right this way,” and continues down the stairs. I turn around to leave, but then realize that the only light is headed down the stairs with her and the hallway behind me is getting darker. I move forward down the stairs. We descend two flights in silence. I am afraid to say anything. When we arrive at the bottom, we both have to push through some heavy, hanging plastic. Maybe they are renovating or something. We walk for a distance that seems like to me should take us directly underneath the grocery store that is across the street outside. As I am about to speak up again, we stop. “Right here, sweetie,” she says and hands me a sledgehammer, her light shining bright against a concrete wall. I am hesitant, but have no other alternative. I pick it up and begin swinging; closing my eyes each time the iron connects with the concrete, little specks of shrapnel filling the dark corridor. In a few minutes, there is a small hole in the blocks. She motions for me to stick my head inside the hole, which I finally do. She leans the phone in and points it down. At the very bottom of the hole, next to the overturned, exoskeleton of a roach, is a small tin container that holds a few pens with business names on them and a couple of library sanctioned bookmarks. She smiles and says, “You can place your bookmarks here.” I slide my arm down into the hole and drop a couple of my bookmarks in the tin. I am sweaty from the manual labor. My face covered in a white dust. I resemble the ghost of a miner. I am ready to go now, but she points at the hole in the wall and says, “Well, cover it up.” Okay, this isn’t exactly how it happened. But this lady and a few others directed me to put my bookmarks in places that no one would ever, ever see. So really, what’s the difference? Some people just don’t care, and there’s really nothing you can do about that.

 

People are afraid – One guy handed me two bucks while I was out proselytizing the Gospel of Sorry, Charlie. He didn’t like online transactions. Don’t get me wrong. I’m very thankful for those two dollars. But he represents another layer of possible donations that are buried under a fear of financial transactions over the Internet. My mom said the same thing when I told her. “So, I have to do it online? I have to put all my card and financial information online?” Well, yes. I’m sure the people at Kickstarter don’t want thousands of checks mailed to them each day. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder, even in this day and age of tech savvy consumers, if the whole process of having to set up a Kickstarter account and link it to your Amazon account has put a lot of people off. Older people who might give, but who aren’t really sure how all that Internet stuff works. And then there’s a lot of younger people who would drop you a dime, but don’t have an online account. But what would be a feasible alternative? I’m not sure there is one.

 

I don’t have a website for my book . . . yet – I know. Very stupid. Should have done that before I even launched my book. Agreed. But I didn’t have a lot of time, and honestly, if I would have waited until my site was up to launch my book, or this Kickstarter campaign, I would have never done either. Sometimes you wait yourself out of ever doing anything. I felt like I had to do something, or the moment would slip away and never happen. So I did. But having a website is very important for a number of reasons. I’m still working on it.

 

I don’t have a social base built up – From everything I’ve read, this was the number one thing that propelled a lot of projects far beyond their original goal. They already had a relationship with readers, fans, or clients. Some had thousands on mailing lists or following their blogs. When I started the Sorry, Charlie Kickstarter project, I had around 30 followers for my blog. And I’ve never been one of those people with 500 friends on Facebook. More like 30. And Twitter? An embarrassing 5. I know how to grow these numbers on Facebook and WordPress, and I’m doing that daily, although it may be way too late to help this project. But I still have no idea how to get followers on Twitter. None. And I’m long-winded. How would I condense this short story of an article into 140 characters? I guess I could link to it. For my 5 followers.

 

Blogging more – I have been visiting other blogs and trying to increase my followers. It is very time consuming. And I don’t want to do what I call spam-following or spam-liking. You visit 1000 pages a day and like everything or follow everything, all in hopes that people will do the same for you. You might get 5,000 followers that way, but none of them will be interested in what you are saying. It’s a meaningless swap of ‘I’ll pretend to like you if you pretend to like me.’ Each blogger never again reading what the other puts out. I’m very particular about who I follow and why. If I follow you, I am generally interested in what you are doing. And finding blogs out there that are generally interesting takes surfing time. I’m doing better, but I have to allocate more time to connecting with other relevant blogs and people.

 

Niche blogging – My blog is a mix of rants, poetry, updates on my writing, projects, short fiction, and more rants. What it is not is a single resource for all things writing. I’m going to start doing more how to’s and exercises gleaned from books on writing. Exercises and resources. Things that can hopefully inspire action in other writers. And I may change the theme of my WordPress blog. Something with a menu that will clearly separate poetry from book promotion.

 

Bookmarks – I did design some bookmarks. My book cover is at the top, followed by where you can buy the book, and ending with a note to check out my Kickstarter project and the QR code that can take them to the Kickstarter project page. It looks decent. I’ve given away 250. I don’t know if it’s helped at all. Maybe. Maybe not. I probably need to give away more like 2,000. But color copies cost money. And the heavy-weight, gloss paper cost money too. With the slight margin I’ve given myself on the project, I’m liable to go in the hole as it is the next time I spend $30 on guerilla marketing. I could have also listed some of the rewards for different pledge levels on the back of the bookmarks. People like rewards.

 

Social – I did the initial spamming of friends, family, and acquaintances. And promised not to bother them again. I will though. I put a link at the end of my email signature that links to my project page. And I have started contacting online bloggers who review books and have thousands of hits on their blogs.

 

In summary, I am doing things post-launch to get the project rolling, but I was not as nearly prepared as I thought I was going into it. Even for the small projects category. Wish me luck and check out the project if you have a second.

 

Sorry, Charlie on Kickstarter

 

 

Sorry, Charlie: My first Kickstarter project

Sorry, Charlie cover

 

Sorry, Charlie on Kickstarter

 

A year ago, I almost pulled the trigger on a T-shirt project for Kickstarter. Almost. I got the first 15 or so shirts printed, wrote the text for my project down, and had everything going except the video. Then life happened.

 

I did, during that time, find out that it’s not impossible to self-publish your own book. I self-published Sorry, Charlie on Amazon, made it available for paperback through Createspace, and then placed it on bn.com for the Nook. So I dropped the ball on one thing, but picked it up on the other. I am also looking into getting an accountant to handle all the money I made last year from Sorry, Charlie. $41. That’s my age, by the way, which if there is any correlation there, by the time I’m 80, I’ll be doubling my take. Sweet. But the point is, it made me happy and I proved to myself that I could do something.

 

Of course, after I published it I realized that about 1000 people a day can do the same thing. I didn’t have a marketing campaign, and so the book got buried under a mountain of digital siblings. After writing the first 100 or so pages of my next novel, The Village, I have launched my first Kickstarter campaign. It’s still not the T-shirts. It’s a follow up to my novella Sorry, Charlie.

 

I had originally self-edited (never do this). And was creating my own book cover (never do this). Then I had two friends chip in who knew what they were doing. Jerson Campos created an awesome book cover and Bonnie Roberts edited the book. Huge, huge difference in the final product. Get people who do this for a living to perform these two services. Even if you are good at editing, you’re too close to your literary neonate. People don’t look at their newborns and say, “Wow, now that is an ugly baby!” Find people who will tell you that you have an ugly baby.

 

My very first Kickstarter project is to help these guys. One of them did their thing for free, and the other one did theirs for close to free. You know how it is when friends ask you for crap. You feel guilty charging them what you need to. This will hopefully put a little change in their pockets.

 

When this project is over, I’m going to launch the T-shirt project. Then a simpler one to spread a little love. Then one for my next novel The Village, so I can pay these guys up front next time.

 

I did my prep work. I watched other people come and go on Kickstarter. I watched what the successful ones did and I watched what the unsuccessful ones did. I read Don Steinberg’s The Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Crowdfunding Success Stories. I read the guidelines and helpful hints from the Kickstarter site itself. I took special care with my rewards. I wrote my story down. I shot my video. About 70 or so takes, I think. I upgraded to Amazon payments for business and verified all my information. I put in pictures of Bonnie and Jerson so backers could see the people they’re helping. Then I did what I believe to be the most important thing so far.

 

I got feedback. I used the preview link and let other people scour the project. I ended up taking out something that might not have come off as humorous as I had intended if you didn’t know me to begin with. I replaced it with something a little more gracious sounding. I changed a couple of rewards so they clearly stated that they included the rewards from smaller donation levels. I removed a comment referring to something that no longer existed in the video. Again, I stepped back and let people look at my wretched little newborn.

 

Then I clicked the Submit button and stared at the screen for a day and a half until Kickstarter approved it. Then I published it. Put my fragile ego, I mean infant project, out there with its eggshell crust for everyone to see. I’m hoping that they love him and hug him and call him George.

 

I published it on February 20, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. and got my first backer that night at exactly 1:20 a.m. Not that I was staring at the screen for 8 hours and 28 minutes straight. That would be creepy.

 

I’m going to go blink now.

 

 

 

Publishing My First Novella to Amazon

Sorry, Charlie cover

Day 135 . . .

. . . or something like that. I’m not keeping exact count anymore. Kind of like when you get a new car and you’re all like, hey don’t bring that bottled water in here, it could spill. And then a couple months later, you’re licking the chocolate from a candy bar wrapper before chunking it in the floorboard.

 

That’s what publishing has been like for me, anyway. I was manic at first. Someone I don’t know must buy it. I must get a hundred or so downloads a week for it to be even mildly successful. And I have to have at least 30 or 40 five star reviews. My e-book no longer has that new book smell, that 0 to 60 feel, that ego boosting kick from parking it in the driveway for the first time. (Confession: I’ve never bought a new car and probably never will. I have no pride in knowing I’m paying someone else a shitload of interest over a five year period just so I can stroke my fragile ego. Four years old with decent mileage for me.)  I’m not saying Sorry, Charlie is a yard car just yet. I’m saying that reality is sinking in.

 

So what’s the status quo? It’s about to hit month 5, and I have sold, at the most, about 10 or so per month. During a KDP Select promotion, I gave away almost a thousand. I received two good reviews. This month, I sold nothing on Amazon.com and the only blokes who saved me from a literary skunk were the UK site. They bought one. Thanks blokes.

 

So I’m trailing off to nothingness. How do I handle this? What’s the plan of action? Do I go networking crazy or hatch some more marketing schemes for a 115 page novella?

 

No. I’m going to write. Write. Write. Write.

 

One thing I’ve learned about readers is that they feel more comfortable when a writer has a stash of books to choose from. It makes sense, psychologically. Here’s a guy with five or ten books behind him. He must be a writer for real. And if I like his works, there’s more to choose from. It’s a comfort level thing that doesn’t get much attention because I think it all happens in our subconscious in about a tenth of a millisecond. So, I need to put another out there. Together, the two books can support each other, an online symbiosis. Then a third, a fourth, and so on . . .

 

Another thing I’ve learned is that although self-publishing is fun and rewarding, as is with most DIY projects, it’s also very tough. Not the getting-the-book-out-there part, anybody can do that, and a lot of people are. It’s what comes next that’s hard. Getting seen. There’s only so many things you can do to get noticed in a flooded market. That’s when having the big guns are helpful. Publishers already have a set process, a network, and a tried and true workflow. I don’t. So one of the next few books I put out needs to be a book worthy of the big guns. The more I write, the better each one gets. At least, I hope so.  And so furthers my chances of getting noticed.

 

And then there’s the books themselves. I don’t write life-changing works of art. Not yet, anyway. And I haven’t put in my 10,000 hours yet either. I believe that when I do, that when anybody does, they will reap the rewards. So my goal then, as it has always been, has remained virtually unchanged by all this.

 

Write a lot and get better with each iteration.

 

That simple.

 

 

Publishing My First Novella to Amazon – Day 52

Sorry, Charlie cover

 

Day 52.

 

For the month of March, I sold 4 copies and there was one borrowed. Borrowed means that someone got it on their Kindle and then loaned it to someone else for free. I still get a small cut of the Kindle Select money pot for that month. Of course, most of the buyers were people I know. That’s not a bad thing, mind you, it’s just that as an author, you kind of feel like it doesn’t really count until strangers buy the book. Anonymous, cloud-surfing people who happen upon your page through some mysterious search engine algorithm and like the first chapter enough to click the buy button.

 

From this, I made $13.22. I consider this a win. A small win, but a win nonetheless.

 

For April, I have sold 7 copies. If you ignore the blatantly obvious, miniscule figures, and use math to make it sound better, that’s a 75% increase. I think. I can never remember how to figure percent increases. Correct me if I’m wrong. You could also round the 7 to an 8 and say that it’s the start of a geometrical progression, meaning that come December of this year, I will have sold 2048 copies that month. That would be a . . . really big % increase. I would pull in over $5,000 that month. A really good Christmas-recovery check. By next year, millionaire. I prefer to stay positive.

 

For the month of April (so far), as part of a promotional tool for those of us enrolled in KDP Select, I have given away 535 copies on Amazon, 190 in the UK, 9 in Denmark, 1 in France, 2 in Spain, and none in Italy. That’s a total of 737 digital copies that I have given away. I think it’s really cool that someone in Denmark may be reading my book. I’m international, dude. And after giving away almost a 1000 copies, I finally got 1 feedback.

 

I realize that a lot of people, from what I’ve heard on the Internet, download a crap-load of freebies and don’t always read them. Or maybe they couldn’t get past chapter 2. Who knows? But I did learn something from the one feedback. The review title read ‘not bad.’ The pessimist in me notes that they didn’t say it was good, just not bad. Like it’s stuck in limbo somewhere in between. A kind of literary purgatory. The optimist in me noticed they said they really enjoyed it. It got 3 stars. I think I could have pulled out another star, but they didn’t like the price. Point taken.

 

It was $3.99. Before I put the original price on it, I thought to myself, what would I pay for it? Well, I’m a cheap guy. I probably wouldn’t pay over .99 for it. So then, why did I set it at 4 bucks? Because like all people, I have trouble coming to grips with reality. I know that since this is my first book and I am an unknown author, I can’t command a decent price. I know this. I just can’t accept this. That’s because the book is worth more to me than it is to the reader. I sliced my word-veins and bled all over the pages. Why in the world, my tender ego acclaimed, would someone not part with 4 bucks for such a work of art?

 

Also, anything set less than $2.99 on Amazon will only bring 35% commission instead of 70%. So the other reason for my pricey price is, well . . . greed. But I did take note and lowered it a dollar to $2.99. I can’t bring myself to go less. For now, anyway. But after my 90 days in Kindle Select is over, which should be at the end of May, I’m thinking it’s going to 99 cents. I’m coming to my senses, slowly. I know it would be better to sell a hundred at a buck and get some decent feedback than to sit stubbornly at 5 or 10 a month because of greed. I would make more money and have a much better chance of getting enough sales to edge my way into the top 100, even if only for a couple of days. It’s not that hard to do if you sell a bunch at one time.

 

But I do appreciate the feedback, whether it’s positive, like this one, or negative. The more the better. So, this Friday, April 27, 2012, I’m having another Promo where everyone can get the book for free! That’s a dollar cheaper than the .99! To me, it’s a path to feedback. So if you get it this weekend, and if you take the time to read it, I’ll go ahead and say thanks. And if you give me some feedback, I’ll give you double thanks, no matter what you said.

 

On another note, I finally got the proof of my print version from Createspace and accepted it. So now Sorry, Charlie is available on Amazon and Createspace in print form.  For some reason, it’s a little harder to find than the Kindle version. The Kindle version shows right away, but you have to search for the paperback version in the horror section to find the printed copy. Weird. You would think it would show right under the digital copy in search results. I’m still figuring this one out.

 

Again, if you have something you want to put out there, do it. It’s not that hard. If I can do it, anyone can. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

Publishing My First Novella to Amazon – Day 14

Five Stars

Wikipage

Day 14

Okay. So it’s been an even two weeks since I hit the publish button on my book. I gently placed my anonymous, digital book into the Kindle virtual world, armed it with some vague keywords for SEO purposes, stretched a pretty cover over it to make it more desirable, and donned it with a descriptive introduction that should touch the fancy of like minds, warped that is, who might find the courage and the $3.99 to click the ‘Buy’ button on Amazon. Then I blogged about it to my immense number of followers (11). Then I went to Bookdailey.com and set up a first-chapter free read. Then I used Facebook and word of mouth to elucidate the masses as to the location, at the end of the Amazon rainbow, of their waiting treasure.

I now have 4 sales.

This is tantamount to bedding your dream woman and then, right before the Big Bang, having her thump the shit out of your balls. It’s like Paul Harvey never telling you the rest of the story. It’s like the series finale of Lost. It’s like December 22, 2012. It’s very anticlimactic, you see.

The thing is, I understand that none of this is an overnight thing. I know that it takes time and that readers and publishers want more than one little novella from an author.  I am also aware that the Internet is a big place and I really know nothing about how to properly market anything. I am standing at the edge of the Atlantic, no boat, and casting my cane pole into the oncoming waves, a tiny sliver of soft Muenster cheese pressed on a barbless hook. Not to mention the fact that the book isn’t exactly an award winning novel. But then again, it wasn’t supposed to be. It was initially a 40 page scribble in my notebook. Something emergent and ephemeral that began to coalesce and demand a clarity of its own. So I obliged. But if I know this, then why does an average of two sales a week bother me?

If you’re a writer, you don’t need me to answer that. If you’re not a writer, I can tell you it’s because idealism will always trump reality. You might say though, hey, Dude, you published a book and not many people have done that. Traditionally, this might have been true, but with the advent of self-publishing becoming one-click-easy, it’s not. Anyone can scribble anything down and hit the ‘Publish’ button. There are millions of books out there, but only a small percentage worth reading. Is Sorry, Charlie one of those books? Who knows?

For every song, story, or play, there will always be someone that experiences it and thinks it was wonderful. That may be one person, or 10,000,000. And I think that is the one thing that is hanging like a grey cloud over my literary ego – lack of feedback.

If I only had 30 sells this year, but 25 of those gave positive feedback, that would in some way validate the process. Of course, even if I got 25 negative feedback, I know I would continue to write without pause. But with no feedback at all, I know nothing. It’s very dentist’s office. I am waiting in the lobby of my own tortured mind and listening to shrill screams against the background of metal grinding raw on teeth. Somewhere out there, someone is reading my attempt at dime store horror – and judging it with every word.

So, I have been working feverishly on getting out a more accessible printed version of the book. More availability, quicker feedback. That’s my reasoning. And I had no idea about some of the things that would come into play. I will share a few of them with you.

One was page size. Would the reader want a smaller 8×5 or a larger 9×6. I ended up going with 9×6 because it was standard, which I understand opens doors to more markets, and gave the book a little bit of mass for its smaller page count. Go larger and your book may not fit on some shelves. Most of what I read relayed that 9×6 was a good choice.

Another was font. I know that it makes a huge difference on readability. Ever opened a book and put it down because of the font? Or maybe you didn’t even consciously make the decision, you just knew something wasn’t right when you started reading it. If the words are too close to each other, your reading voice runs everything together. Too far apart and the line starts to stretch and pull at your attention span and the connections and meaningful associations between the words attenuates with each sentence. And then there’s leading and kerning. How far away from each other should the letters be? And the line spacing? Turns out that you can, and may need to, set the line spacing in points and not use the basic Microsoft line spacing. For mine, I chose the font the best way I knew how. I researched online to find out the most common and easy-to-read fonts, and then I picked out four to choose from. Then I set the font different on each page. I also set each individual font to a different size for each page. I printed the pages out and let my family number the ones they liked the best. They picked Mongolian Baiti at 11 point, so that’s what I went with.

There were common, first-time publishing mistakes of which sites warned. Starting a chapter on the left side of a page, for instance. Or having a line by itself at the end of a page. Or not justifying the text. There was header numbering that wasn’t supposed to be on blank pages or chapter pages. A lot of little things that you see and never think about. Unless they’re off. Then your mind realizes that something is not right, and even if you don’t know what it is, you may shy away from the book.

And there’s the cover. I only needed a front cover for the web. Now I needed to do things like multiply the number of pages by a constant that’s based on the type of paper I’m using to get the spine width. And there’s making sure the pictures bleed off the page and don’t have some weird border around them. This is all DIY I might mention, just time consuming. You figure things out like – If you set your page numbering in the header and then create your section breaks immediately following your page breaks before chapters, and you’ve got the checkbox marked for allowing a different first page header, then the header will not show on the chapter pages. It’s all very trial and error, even with the help of the Internet. Picture someone changing a car tire with nothing but a small hammer and you’ve got the idea.

And let’s not forget what needs to go on the cover. There’s more than the title, subtitle, and author’s name. There’s the description, illustrator and publisher information, pricing, the barcode, back matter, and blurbs, of which I have none. Nor will newspapers even consider reading self-published materials, because again, there’s too many of us and they would be inundated.

So I think I avoided most of the bad mistakes, but we’ll see. And if I didn’t, it’s okay. I’m climbing the learning curve. I’m figuring out things that I never would have if I had a publisher doing all the work for me. It’s a more fulfilling and personal experience. And kind of fun. Kind of.

So while I wait for my extremely underpaid (underpaid meaning no pay at all) but very skilled illustrator to send the updated book cover, I cross my fingers and wait for that first set of five stars to show up underneath my book. Hopefully they will all be yellow.

 

 

Sorry, Charlie cover

Publishing My First Novella to Amazon – Day 4

Silly Monkey

Wikipage

I hit the publish button and then hit F5 (refresh). Wait 5 seconds. F5. Wait 5 seconds. F5. I know, of course, that it takes up to a day or so for Amazon to actually list it. But I just . . . hold on for a second . . . F5 . . . as I was saying, I have a patience problem. I finally give up and go to bed.

Upon awakening, I check again. Now the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) site shows the book in the ‘publishing’ stage. F5. F5. F5. Alas, it is time to leave. And my wife asks me when was the last time I used the bathroom. I look down at the chair in front of the computer and see a large wet spot. I have a problem. We go run errands.

When I return, I go sit in my wet spot. I have marked my chair. Mine. And lo and behold! KDP says my book is live! Live I tell you! Live! In my excitement, I go to hit F5, then realize that it’s unnecessary. I panic for no reason. I feel like Neo the first time he tried to jump the building. I find a ‘Reports’ link at the top and click it. Then I click the ‘Last 30 days report’ to see how wealthy I am. There are no results. Neo looks down, then falls to a squishy pavement. This is reality. This is actually what I expected. But I think I would’ve been better off mentally if they would have just lied to me. That’s the least they could have done. Just a panel that says you’ve already sold your first book. No one would need to know the dirty truth. F5. F5. F5.

I look out the window and see a flower bloom as if watching a time lapse video. I realize my arm is hurting. I’ve been continually hitting the F5 key again for 12 hours straight. The wet spot has spread to the surrounding floor. I have a crazy look in my eye. The dogs are whining when they are around me for no reason. I swim forth from a hazy shade of extreme refreshing and see that someone has borrowed my book! I smile and make strange monkey sounds. Dancing around the room, I pound my chest and bang on the door for my wife to let me out. I hear the key in the lock and then footsteps hurrying away, lest I take to throwing poop again.

When I awake, I am lying on the downstairs couch. I look up to see a huge spot on the ceiling where there is discoloration, probably from a leak somewhere above. It must be coming from the office. Strange. I look around to find that everything is nailed down. There is a tire hanging from a rope over the stairs. As I move to the windows and look out, I see my family through the newly installed bars. There is a note on the door. I read it twice before understanding it fully. Language is becoming harder to understand. But I see the word on the note – “Sale.”

Ooo – ooo – ooo – Ah – ah – ah! I swing from tire rope to stairs. I swing from stairs to office. Office big wet spot with squishy carpet. Mine. Mine. Mine. Magic screen show one sale. Right Turn Clyde! Me happy. Me happy. Throw poop. Throw poop. F5F5F5F5F5F5F5!

Ooo – ooo – ooo – Ah – ah – ah!