Self Publishing

Posts about self-publishing. Obviously.

50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading — Chasing Nonconformity Nominated!

If you’ve been following my assorted social medias, you might have heard that some wonderful individual nominated my second book, Chasing Nonconformity, for the 50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading 2016 list!

Now, I have no idea if getting on this list actually means anything — more readers, more publicity, more sales, etc. But I’m in this race now, and darn it if I don’t want to win! Voting ends on July 1, so it’s time for a flood of last-minute ballots to swing my victory!

Therefore, if you have the chance, please pop over to this link and vote for Chasing Nonconformityhttp://www.readfree.ly/vote-50-self-published-books-worth-reading-2016-science-fiction/

Thank you in advance if you vote! I would offer to share the spoils of my success, but as previously mentioned, I’m not sure there are any spoils to actually be had. Nevertheless, onwards!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: Self Publishing | 16 Comments

Imminent Danger series FREE this weekend!

In honor of my four-year blogging anniversary, both Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It and its sequel, Chasing Nonconformity, are free to download today and tomorrow! Here’s the fun little promo banner I whipped up …

ID and CN FREE

If you have a spare second, please consider sharing the banner (and links) on the social media site of your choice. And, of course, download the books if you haven’t read them! I can’t promise they’ll change your world, but I can promise they’ll give you a few solid hours of entertainment — and what’s life without a little fun?

Here are the aforementioned links:

Imminent Danger
http://bookShow.me/B00S4B9U62

Chasing Nonconformity
http://bookShow.me/B016BZGR72

Note: For any authors wondering about those URLs, they’re from BookShow.me, which is a website that generates a universal link that will direct you to the Amazon site of your choice (so you don’t have to provide links for .com, .ca, .co.uk, etc.) Pretty cool, eh?

Anyway, read, enjoy, share if you feel so inclined, and above all, have a fantastic weekend and stay awesome!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: | 32 Comments

A. Renfro’s “The Dead of Winter” Free Today!

Fellow self-pubbed author Anthony Renfro is giving away his short story for free today. Check it out!

DOW2

A short story about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.

THE OPENING

Eric surveyed the road ahead and behind him. The world was filled with death. The highway was littered with silent, rusting cars sitting on rotting tires, waiting on drivers who were never going to drive them again. Ripped apart, torn open and partially eaten corpses littered the ground in various forms of decay. The corpses ranged from children to elderly adults. The zombies had done a number on them when they went into their “feeding frenzy.” The bodies that weren’t on the ground or pulled from their cars were still seated, and most of them still strapped into their seat belts, like they were still driving to whatever destination they had been going to before the world fell into death’s harsh embrace.

Eric breathed in deep and felt the cold air settle into his lungs. Bitter winter winds whipped at his face and tore at his clothes, trying to get inside the protective layers. Flakes of snow fell from the sky, nothing more than flurries.

“It’s something,” Eric replied, looking down at the white and grey cat in its carrier. He then put his eyes back on the man sitting with his back against a car.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CR9BLB8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01CR9BLB8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B01CR9BLB8?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01CR9BLB8

(Note: a couple of his other stories are also free, so check those out as well if you’re a zombie fan!)

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Take Bad Reviews with a Dash of Salt

A few weeks back, I mentioned something called the “Immerse or Die” report — which is basically where this guy gets on his treadmill and starts reading a book. If he finds three glaring errors that pull him out of the story, he stops reading and marks the book as failed. If he makes it all the way to the end of his 40 minute treadmill run, the book passes. Simple enough, right?

I was a bit hesitant about sending in Imminent Danger, since A) harsh criticism makes me sad, and B) the reader is a 50 year old man, and thus not exactly my target audience. But then I thought “what the hell” and sent it in anyway.

Which was an … interesting decision. Spoiler alert: Imminent Danger did not survive the Immerse or Die report. You can read the report for yourself here.

So here’s where we get to the “take bad reviews with a dash of salt” part. Obviously, I was bummed out. In an ideal world, everyone would love my book. Not going to happen, of course, but it’s a nice dream. So I was feeling pretty down on myself as I started to read his review.

Then I finished reading the review, and I wasn’t down on myself anymore. In his review, he pinpoints three details in the first chapter that made him stop reading the book. Damn, right? Those must have been some pretty massive, glaring flaws. Except they’re not. Here are the earth-shattering problems he found:

  • fellow high school classmates” is redundant (as in, classmates implies “fellow”, so both words weren’t necessary)
  • high schools start at 9am, not 8am
  • Eris is facing the trees, and then gets dragged in backward (did she turn around at some point? it’s not stated)

Points #1 and #3 are actually really helpful, because he’s absolutely right, and those two things (redundant language and keeping track of where my characters are) are things I will look out for in future books/editing. Point #2, however, is just plain wrong. According to the US National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school start time is 8am. Here’s the link if you don’t believe me. But I digress.

Basically, he stopped reading the book because of A) a wording choice, and B) a mix-up in which direction Eris was facing. Which is fine. I, personally, tend to stop reading books due to larger issues, like the plot not making sense, or glaring spelling issues, or an unlikable main character … but hey, different people are different!

So, all in all, I’m content with my decision to submit Imminent Danger to the Immerse or Die Report. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Did his review frustrate me? Absolutely. Will I be reading his books, or visiting his site again? Definitely not. We obviously have completely opposite views on what makes a story good.

At the end of the day, the only thing you can really do when you get a bad review is read it thoroughly and:

  1. Pick out the legitimate criticisms and learn from them, and
  2. Ignore the rest

Now I just have to keep telling myself that!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

More excellent book dedications …

I Am, by Matthew Hubbard

The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

How To Add Headers To Your Book

Scenario: You’ve recently self-published your first ebook, it’s doing awesome, and fans are clamoring for a print copy. You’re eager to oblige them, so you start formatting the book for print. But you just can’t figure out how to get those damn headers to cooperate with you!

Never fear, friend. I’ve got your back.

Note: I’m using Microsoft Word. These steps won’t make sense if you’re using a different program. Ye have been warned.

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Step 1: Double click in the Header area of the page 

header1

Now the Header box opens! Huzzah!

header2

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Step 2: Get yo Header settings in order, son!

The Header & Footer Tools tab should appear once you’ve opened up the Header area. Click the Design tab and make sure the following boxes are checked:

  • Different First Page
  • Different Odd & Even Pages
  • Show Document Text

header3

Reasoning:

  • Different First Page > This allows you to make the first page in each section have a different header than the rest of the section. The point here is to avoid having a header on the first page of the chapter, as it looks cluttered. (See this post for details)
  • Different Odd & Even Pages > This lets you have your book name on the left page, and your author name on the right page (or vice versa!)
  • Show Document Text > This one’s just for practicality. If it’s not clicked, your document text vanishes. Which is silly, so keep the box checked.

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Step 3: Set up your sections

So Word has this tricky little function called “section breaks”. To get to it, hit the Page Layout tab and click “Breaks”. At the end of each chapter, click “Next Page” to start a new section on the next page.

header4

How can you tell if inserting the section break worked? On the Home tab, there’s a little backwards “P” button. Click it, and Word will show you all the formatting in the document. Like so …

header5

So you need a different section for every chapter, along with a different section for all the stuff that comes at the start of your book (title page, front matter text, table of contents, etc.), and a different section for all the stuff that comes at the end of your book (acknowledgments, about the author, etc.)

Seriously, you need each chapter to be a different section. I’m not screwing around here. Do it. There are no shortcuts. Just make it happen.

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Step 4: Let’s start at the top …

For the start of your book (title page, etc.), you don’t want any headers or page numbers. So leave the Header blank.

Easy, right?

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Step 5: The first chapter

In the Header & Footer Tools tab, there’s a tricky little button called “Link to Previous”. For your first chapter, this needs to not be active. You don’t want to link your Chapter 1 header to the first section, because the first section is blank. That means your Chapter 1 header is also going to be blank. Which you don’t want. So make sure it’s not active!

header6

Important! You need to deactivate “Link to Previous” for both the even and odd page header. Otherwise one will stay linked to the previous section, and therefore remain blank. Conversely, if you type something in a linked header, it will change all the text for both this section and the previous section. Which you don’t want.

Next up, you need to actually enter text into your header. Woo! Starting on the second page (remember that we don’t want a header on the first page of the chapter), type in either your author name or your book title (depending on which side you want each one). For the sake of this example, let’s say type in your author name.

header7Now pop over to the next page and add in your book title. If you did this right, your name and title should appear on alternating pages throughout the rest of the chapter, but should not show up on the first page.

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Step 6: Time to set up the rest of the chapters!

The rest of the book is really easy. In each chapter, enable the “Link to Previous” button on both the even and odd page. This should copy over the header text from the previous section (i.e. your name and title) and apply them to this section. Do that for every chapter, and boom! Header success!

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Step 7: If you have non-story stuff at the end of the book …

If you have a section at the end of the book that you don’t want to have a header, just click your way into the Header in that section and disable the “Link to Previous” button. Then go into the odd and even headers and delete the text. Make sure you disable “Link to Previous” — otherwise you might delete the headers for the rest of the document.

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But Michelle, what if I want a different header for every single chapter?

No problem! Just make sure “Link to Previous” is disabled. Then you can type whatever the heck you want in the headers for each section.

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That’s it, folks! If you have any header formatting questions or issues, comment below and we’ll work it out. Word is a frustrating and enigmatic program, and will do random s*** to screw with your document, so you might run into problems that aren’t addressed here. For example, right now my Word likes to add a black line to the header when I delete text. Fun! So if you have any problems, let me know.

Happy Friday, and stay awesome!

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Unrelated media of the day:

Courtesy of Imgur …

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

Chasing Nonconformity Is Approaching!

What do George R.R. Martin and I have in common?

We both take obscenely long amounts of time to finish our books.

But while Winds of Winter is still nowhere near being finished, I’m psyched to announce that Chasing Nonconformity is at the final proofreading stages, and should be published in a matter of weeks!

Feel free to throw your baby in the air in celebration. If you don’t have a baby, acquire one. This is not the time for half-measures. This is the time for VICTORY!

So here’s the official update: The sequel is done. My mother/editor is currently proofreading it for the second (and last) time. Yes, she gets two rounds of proofreading. Then I proofread it. Once that’s done … publication time!

We’ll start off with the ebook, and then proceed to the print book once I get the print cover from Ravven. Speaking of which — if you’re interested in grabbing a signed copy of the print book, shoot me off an email at michellishelli@gmail.com. I’ll write a post about that when the print book actually goes live, but basically it will be ~$10 for the book + shipping. And obviously I’ll throw in assorted swag. What is life without swag? No life I want to live, I can tell you that.

That’s all for now! Thanks for checking in, and have a fabulous weekend.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Inspirational T-shirts spotted in Asia:

Find more here: http://imgur.com/gallery/gLaWg

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

Slowly but surely, we’re getting there (with the sequel)!

August has dawned sunny and hot, and work on Chasing Nonconformity proceeds slowly but surely.

All the beta reader feedback is in and has been incorporated into the manuscript. The book is currently with my editor/manager/mother Linda Schneidereit, who’s doing a final read-through of the story in case she wants to make any last-minute suggestions. She really, really likes to make last-minute suggestions. We’re putting her on a 10-step program. (Just kidding, mom, you know I appreciate you!!!)

Once she gets done that, I give it one more read-through, then format it for print and ship a proof copy to myself. Read it through one more time, make any necessary changes … and voila! Published sequel ready to go!

So I’m still aiming for an end of August release date, although my plans were slightly discombobulated by mother’s trip out East to visit me. Which was awesome, actually — we did all the Nova Scotia touristy things, like see Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg, the Bay of Fundy, etc. But it did push the sequel stuff back by two weeks, so now we’re attempting to get our ducks back in order.

In conclusion, the timeline for Chasing Nonconformity‘s publication is slightly delayed but hopefully will happen by the end of August. If not, we’re talking early September. But I’m working my hardest on it, and I promise I’ll get it out to you guys as soon as humanly possible!

Stay awesome, and have an excellent Tuesday.

 

Unrelated media of the day:

A fun song for all you Castlevania / video game lovers out there.

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , | 15 Comments

Imminent Danger Sequel Update

Great news! Revisions for Chasing Nonconformity are coming along quite nicely. I’ve got all my beta reader feedback in, save for two folks who are sending it my way soon. And I’ve incorporated all the feedback I already have into the story. I’m now in the process of re-reading the book and making random edits here and there as I go.

Once I get the last two remaining beta reader comments back and get their suggestions worked in, I’ll send the novel off to my editor/manager/life coach/mother, who’ll read it through and make her own random edits. Then it comes back to me for another read through. And maybe a few more random edits. Definitely a few more random edits.

Next up, formatting time! The book goes into my Createspace book formatting document, where I add pretty chapter headers and put in page numbers and whatnot. Then I send off the page count to my graphic designer so she can whip me up the paperback version of the cover. Then I print off 2 copies of the book — one for mother, one for me — and we do more reading and editing.

Finally, once we’ve read and edited the proof copies to our hearts’ content, and I’ve gotten the fancy paperback cover from my designer, it’s publishing time! Ebook goes live, paperback goes live — victory!

So that’s the game plan. We’re looking at a mid to late August release date at the moment, depending on when I get that beta reader feedback in, and how long mother’s multiple read-throughs take. She’s busy with house renovations, so she’s low on free time, whereas I’m totally unemployed and have all the time in the world! Huzzah!

Have an awesome week, everyone, and thanks for reading the update!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

I have a weird feeling I already shared this one, but I never removed the bookmark, so maybe not. Either way, enjoy!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Cover Reveal! A Vampire at Christmas (Anthony Renfro)

Today I’m happy to help out fellow self-pubbed author Anthony Renfro with his cover reveal for A Vampire at Christmas. 

Here’s a brief synopsis:

A short story about a Vampire who uses his riches and immortal skills to bring joy to those in need during the Christmas Season.

And here’s an excerpt:

Talan Gawayn became a vampire in the 15th century on a cold, starry, full-moon night just after the first big snow of November. He was walking a less traveled path, on his way home from seeing his fiancé, whom he planned to marry the following spring, when three men stepped out of the shadows to rob him. He fought them at first, but they soon overpowered him, beat him ruthlessly, laughing as they did it, drunk and looking for someone to rob. They had found it in Talan who was so hopelessly in love he hadn’t seen them sneak up on him.

While he lay there in the snow dying from his injuries, one eye shut and swollen, the other able to see only a blurry vision, he thought he saw something, something moving quick and fast. The men who had beaten him were counting out their stolen money when this thing attacked them. It tore through their flesh, ripped out their throats savagely; and didn’t just drain the robbers of their precious blood, but this thing seemed to almost be bathing in it while it fed.

Talan tried to stay focused, tried to see what this thing was, but his will gave out and his good eye closed. He passed out into an injured slumber.

Weight.

Something heavy was straddling him …

And here’s the cover:

Vampire at Christmas - High Resolution (1)

Check it out here!

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KRCCTU0?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KRCCTU0?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00KRCCTU0?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00KRCCTU0?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Imminent Danger Free to Download this Weekend!

Hey peeps! Just popping in to let you know that Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It is free to download again this weekend. So if you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s your chance!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca

It’s actually available on all the Amazon sites — so if you’re not American/British/Canadian, hop over to your favorite Amazon site and search the book name. Happy reading!

Unrelated media of the day:

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/TJb3H0Y

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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