Posts Tagged With: smashwords

Special Halloween Treat — New Free Short Story “The Dusk Bugs”!

As the title of this post indicates, I have a special Halloween treat for you — a free short story! This is my latest foray into the world of short fiction writing (the first being, of course, The Coin Collector), and I had a blast writing it. I also suffered several minor panic attacks and a near emotional collapse, but you’ll have to read the story to figure out why.

This short story is, of course …

dusk bugs cover 5

How delightfully campy is that cover? I had so much fun making it — it reminds me of a poster for an old B-movie thriller. Moving on …

The Dusk Bugs Summary

A pleasant evening stroll through the banana kingdom turns terrifying when our intrepid narrator is attacked by the most vicious and relentless of all predators — the dusk bugs.

If you read this story, your skin will crawl and your heart will pound in your chest — guaranteed. And I know this because the story is based off my own experiences walking through the banana kingdom (yes, it’s a real place) at dusk, and encountering the evil bugs that dwell there. Did I mention I hate bugs? Because I do. I hate them. SO. MUCH.

Right.

So CLICK THIS LINK to go download your very own copy of The Dusk Bugs. And once you’re done reading and laughing at my insanity, put on your costume, get out your candy, and have an awesome Halloween!

Unrelated media of the day:

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Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Book … In Chinese?

In her eternal attempts to be as adorable as possible, my mother phoned me up a few evenings ago practically bursting with excitement over her latest idea for marketing my book. And I’m happy to report that it is (possibly) a pretty good idea! So the idea is:

Hire my polyglot friend who speaks and writes Cantonese to translate my book, Imminent Danger, into Chinese … and then self-publish it to the Chinese market.

What do you guys think? Doable? Crazy? I know that Amazon KDP doesn’t currently have support for Chinese, but Smashwords does support Chinese, so … could it possibly work? Has anyone had any experience with translating and self-publishing an ebook? Share your wisdom with me!!!

To thank you in advance for your undoubtedly excellent advice, I present to you today’s …

Unrelated media of the day

Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

Free Short Story — “The Coin Collector”

I’m psyched to announce that after many hours of messing around with formatting and design and whatnot, my short story The Coin Collector is now available for FREE download from Smashwords! Click here to download it now!

Here’s the cover image again for your viewing delight:

the coin collector cover 1

And here’s an excerpt to get you irreparably hooked:

Pounding his fist against the dented metal door, Mr. Quimbly shouted, “Anyone in?”

“Just a moment, if you please,” a voice rumbled from inside.

After a few seconds, the door squeaked open of its own accord. A huge, gleaming claw attached to a scaly green appendage nearly the size of Mr. Quimbly’s entire body reached out toward him. Mr. Quimbly yelped, stumbling back and nearly dropping his file.

“Forgive my rudeness,” said the same deep voice, and the claw retracted back through the doorway. “I didn’t mean to startle you, little manling. Do come inside. I’ll put the kettle on.”

“I—I’d rather not, if it’s all the same to you,” said Mr. Quimbly, preparing to run.

“It isn’t, actually.”

The claw shot back out, hooked around Mr. Quimbly’s waist, and yanked him inside.

Mr. Quimbly landed on the floor of the dimly-lit warehouse with a thud and a groan. As he shakily retrieved his fallen spectacles and pushed himself to his knees, he noticed a glint of gold near his left hand. Picking it up, he realized it was a Spanish doubloon. How curious, he thought.

Then he looked up, and found himself staring at the scaly snout of a massive green dragon. The resplendent beast towered over Mr. Quimbly’s head, its horns brushing the ceiling. Its jagged viridian scales contrasted magnificently with the small mountain of gleaming gold coins on which it was nestled.

“Good heavens,” said Mr. Quimbly, dropping the doubloon. “You’re a dragon.”

Thanks to everyone who gave me valuable advice and insights on self-publishing and formatting and content and whatnot! If you feel like sharing my exciting self-publishing news with your respective friends/family/bloggers, I would obviously be incredibly appreciative. I would even bribe you with a free copy of the ebook, but … well, it’s already free. Cheers!

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

I need your advice RE: self-publishing a short story

Greetings fellow blogotrons! In today’s post, I desperately need your advice. Intrigued yet? Read on!

As I mentioned in a recent post, my short story The Coin Collector (formerly The Numismatist) has failed to win a place in the Sword & Laser Anthology competition. Tragedy strikes again! Anyhoo, at the suggestion of the lovely Keri Peardon, I have decided to self-publish my short story on Smashwords. Huzzah!

First of all, I’m going to offer the short story for free — as a kind of sampler of my work, in the hopes that people will download the story on a whim, enjoy my writing style, and then seek out other works by me. This process will of course be aided by whatever I stick into the ebook at the end of the story — so, something along the lines of:

Enjoyed the story? Want to read more by Michelle? Check out her debut sci-fi/romance novel, Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It! 

Visit https://michelleproulx.com/ for details.

Or something to that effect. That’s what I was going to go with, anyway. Then the lovely Keri Peardon struck again, suggesting that I include an excerpt of Imminent Danger at the end of the short story. Her theory is that as long as I indicate the length of the short story in the ebook description, no one will be upset by a free preview at the end. I’m a bit worried, though, that people won’t read the description, and will just see “4000 words length” and get upset when the story ends about 2000 words before they thought it was going to. Then again, it’ll be a free download, so they really can’t complain, right?

Hmmm … what do you guys think about this? Let me know in the comments, or clicky clicky the poll:

 

I’ve also got a possible cover design I’ve been messing around with, which I will now share:

 

the coin collector cover 1

What do you guys think? I’m pretty pleased with it. The treasure chest image is from here: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/178312. It’s royalty free (woo!), but I will of course be crediting the photographer (“chancey”) in the front matter of the ebook.

 

SO! Please let me know your thoughts on:

A) Whether or not I should include an excerpt from Imminent Danger at the end of the short story

B) What you think of the cover design

Thanks oodles! Have a fab Tuesday!

 

Unrelated media of the day:

Categories: My Works, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

Book Review: The Friendship of Mortals by Audrey Driscoll

Next up in the awesome self-published authors series, I present to you my review of Audrey Driscoll’s The Friendship of Mortals. By the way, this book is currently FREE on Smashwords, so if it sounds intriguing, give ‘er the old download!

The Bookfriendshipofmortals

The Friendship of Mortals

The Genre

Literary Fiction / Sci-fi / Fantasy

The Author

Audrey Driscoll – a librarian and cataloguer, gardener and writer. She discovered the writings of H.P. Lovecraft many years ago, and after reading his story “Herbert West, Reanimator”, she began to wonder about Herbert – what motivated him to reanimate corpses? And thus the Herbert West trilogy began!

The Plot

Herbert West can revivify the dead – after a fashion. He persuades Miskatonic University librarian and aspiring alchemist Charles Milburn to help him, but risks their friendship for the sake of his experiments. When West prepares to cross the ultimate border, only Charles can save his life – if his conscience lets him.

The Review

The cover of this book does not do the story justice. This was one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking stories I have ever read. It’s told from the perspective of mild-mannered archivist Charles Millburn, but the real story revolves around the incredibly fascinating, mysterious Herbert West and his necromantic attempts. I absolutely loved this setup – Herbert West’s story became so much more intriguing when viewed through the eyes of another. This is definitely what the author intended when she wrote this gorgeous piece of literature, and I feel she pulled it off beautifully.

Herbert West alarmed, enchanted, and terrified me all at once. He is ruthless in his ambitions, confident that he will not be discovered, and willing to do whatever it takes to get his way. He should have been the villain of the piece but, perhaps because the story is told through his loyal follower Charles Millburn, I was instead sympathetic for him, and wanted him to succeed despite the fact that what he was doing was morally questionable at best.

The only complaint I can really make is that I felt the story dragged in places. The first half of the story was absolutely gripping, but once the characters separate and go their own ways for a bit, I wasn’t quite as enthralled – although once they get back together, the story picks up pace again.

Overall, a gripping and fascinating insight into a brilliant and disturbed mind (Herbert West, not the author!). I would definitely recommend this to any fan of H.P. Lovecraft, fans of sci-fi/fantasy, and anyone who just enjoys excellently written literature.

The Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Click here to visit Audrey Driscoll’s blog.

Click here to check out the book (currently free to download!)

Unrelated video of the day:

Thor 2: The Dark World trailer came out today! Words cannot convey my excitement for this movie.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments

Guest Post: Formatting An E-Book Is Not Rocket Science

Today’s guest post comes from Misha Burnett, fellow WordPress blogger and author of the sci-fi/urban fantasy novel Catskinner’s Book. Take it away, Mr. Burnett!

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Formatting an e-book is not rocket science. Seriously, it isn’t. You may have heard that e-book conversion is a highly technical process requiring specialized software and trained professionals, and if it is done wrong your years of work on your book will be absolutely ruined.

Well, odds are you heard that from someone who wants to sell you an e-book conversion package starting at the low, low, price of 199$ (plus extra charges if your book contains specialized elements such as words). People who make money from e-book conversion aren’t going to tell you that it’s a simple process that most people can learn in an afternoon.

I will tell you that. In fact, I am telling you precisely that.

E-book conversion is a simple process that most people can learn in an afternoon.

What’s more, you have absolutely nothing to lose by attempting to do it yourself. All of the software that I recommend is free. Make sure that you make a clean backup copy of your manuscript before you try anything, and then, no matter what happens, you’re not risking the book itself. Even if you decide that you don’t want to keep messing with it and pay someone else to do the conversion, all you’ve spent is time. (Unfortunately, your wasted time will not be refunded.)

Okay, let’s get started. I’m assuming that you have a clean, proofed and edited copy of the manuscript that you want to convert? Good. Now the very first step is to make a new copy of it—that’s what you play with. If you totally mess it up, it’s no big deal, just delete it and make another copy and start over. Never experiment with the original copy of your manuscript. (Yeah, that sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget.)

Next, let’s get some software. I have collected links to some of the more important ones on my E-Reader Apps Page, because I live to serve. Calibre is the most important one, but I also advise getting the desktop apps for Kindle and Nook in order to see how it will look on different devices. (You’ll also want to see your book on any handheld devices you own—yes, you can do that, too.)

I also recommend getting Open Office, because it does everything that MSOffice does and it’s free. Furthermore, because MicroSoft has some serious control issues, people who write open source applications find it easier to start with .odt files rather than the propitiatory .doc format.

I am not going to tell you how to use these programs. All of them have plentiful documentation, and they explain how to work them much better than I could. What I will do is encourage you to try things out. Calibre has a huge number of buttons and switches to fiddle with, so much so that it looks a little intimidating, but the basic concept is simple.

Convert the file in Calibre, load the converted file into your e-reader and e-reader apps, read through it and see how it looks. Make notes on what you think could be changed, then look up how to make those changes in the documentation.

Then do it again. It’s a lot like the editing process—wait, actually it is an editing process. Unlike the strictly mechanical process that a text converter like the one Smashwords uses, Calibre allows you a great deal of input into the process. Take some time figuring out what looks good to you, what makes your text easy and fun to read, because that’s the bottom line, making sure that none of the mechanical issues get between you and your readers.

Yes, it’s time consuming, and it can be frustrating. It took me a number of tries to get the table of contents, for example, to work right. There was, in fact, no small amount of cussing involved.

However, when I was done, not only did I save myself money, I had a product that I could feel proud of, and I knew how it was done. When it came time to format sample chapters from my new book for Kindle, Nook, and pdf for my beta readers, it took no time at all.

Granted, I have a lot of experience playing with different computer programs and tweaking them to get the results I want. You may decide that it’s worth it to you, personally, to pay to have your book converted.

However, I think that it’s a good idea for authors to get a feel for the process and to understand how it’s done and what can be done. That way, if you do decide to pay for a service you know exactly what you are paying for, and what it’s worth to you. To be honest, I have seen “professionally” formatted books that have glaring mechanical errors—extra spaces, broken lines, bad links in tables of contents. I’ve seen e-books put out by major publishing houses that were all but unreadable. So I would also advise anyone who uses an e-book conversion service to make sure you have the chance to examine the file before it goes live, and don’t pay for it until it is done right.

Got questions? Feel free to hop on over to my blog and drop me a line. I may not know the answer, but I might be able to point you in the right direction.

 

Semi-related media of the day (courtesy of Misha Burnett!):

ARI

Categories: Guest Post | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Free Copy of Keri Peardon’s novel “Acceptance”

As you may recall from one of my past book reviews, I read and loved a book called Acceptance by fellow WordPress author Keri Peardon.

It’s on Smashwords for free until midnight tonight (Dec 18th), so use the link below to head to Keri’s site and get the free coupon code:

Free Copy of My Book.

Unrelated video of the day:

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Update on My Self-Publishing Adventure

Let’s start off by getting the exciting news out of the way. Ready?

I finished editing my book!

So that’s, ya know, pretty good.

Just kidding. I’m ridiculously excited to be finished. No more late night editing sessions. No more second-guessing myself about what I should cut and what I should keep. No more rousing arguments with my mother over the whimsicality of the word “whirled”. Ahhhhhh …

I’m pretty psyched, not going to lie. So, what next?

I’ve sent the newly revised and shortened manuscript of Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It out to my quickest reader friends. They’ll devour it over the course of a week, and give me back their impressions. Now, hypothetically the book should be flawless, so really what I’m looking for is a confirmation that the book isn’t too fast-paced now that it’s much shorter. I don’t think it is, but again, that’s what the readers are for.

Once they finish reviewing the manuscript, I’ll sent it back to my Editorial Consultant at iUniverse. I was on the phone with her today, and she’s advised me that I should get a Return Evaluation. The Return Evaluation costs $249, although she mentioned that she will be able to underwrite the cost for me, so that’s great. Remember my post about getting my Editorial Evaluation back? A “Return Evaluation” is basically the same thing. It’s even done by the same editor.

Now, here’s where things get tricky. So when I got my first Editorial Evaluation back, they advised, A) shortening the manuscript, and B) getting a copy-edit. A Return Evaluation gives the editor another chance to advise me about how to improve the book. The shortening thing is taken care of, and assuming he/she doesn’t find any new, glaring flaws, I should be good, content-wise.

That leaves the copy-edit recommendation. You see, I now have a second chance to convince this editor that my book doesn’t need an expensive copy-edit. How do I do that? By visiting The Chicago Manual of Style Online website, and signing up for their free 30 day trial, I can access their full style guide for a month. That means I can try to bring my manuscript up to the American Publisher’s Standard before re-submitting it to the editors at iUniverse, all without spending a dime.

The edits shouldn’t be extensive. I figure it will be mostly along the lines of capitalizing certain words, sticking punctuation outside of quotation marks, etc. So the plan is to spend a few days trying to copy-edit on my own (a difficult task, since as the author I’m already way too close to the material). But I’ll give it my best shot, because $2000 for a copy-edit is a lot of money, and I don’t want to spend it unless I have to.

Some of you might be wondering at this point, why pay for a copy-edit at all? Why are you even using iUniverse? Why not self-publish independently through Smashwords?

Here’s my reasoning. I already paid for the iUniverse publishing package waaaaay back in May. It’s a done deal, so no point second-guessing. Therefore, I’ve decided that, for this book, and this book alone, I’m going to go the full iUniverse publishing route. That means doing the Return Evaluation if they say so, getting a Copy-Edit if they say so, etc. Everyone I’ve talked to at iUniverse has been really great so far, and they seem very enthusiastic about helping me, so I’m 67.8% confident they’ll do right by me.

When I get the finished product in my hands, I’ll look back and judge if paying whatever the total amount comes out to was worth it or not. If it was worth it, then I’ll probably work with iUniverse again. If not, then I’ll scrap iUniverse and self-publish everything myself from now on. Call it me being foolhardy, naive, and gullible. Call it a learning experience. Whatever you want to call it, that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it!

Adorable image of the day:

Categories: iUniverse, Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Book Review: 2 Novellas by Keri M. Peardon

In this latest self-published book review, we turn our attention to fellow blogger Keri M. Peardon, who has written two delightful little novellas–The Last Golden Dragon, and The Widow.

The Novella

The Last Golden Dragon

The Genre

Fantasy/Romance

The Author

Keri Peardon graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA in 2001 with a B.A. in History and a strong background in creative writing. She is a life-long resident of Tennessee and is currently employed as a legal assistant to a private-practice attorney. In addition to writing, she is active in medieval re-enacting and does too many handicrafts.

The Plot

Aine, a young Irish peasant girl, is looking for the last golden dragon. Whilst wandering about the mountains, she meets a handsome man named Eammon, who offers to take her to the dragon’s lair.

The Review

I thought this was a quick, sweet little love story. And the ending was adorable! I had great fun following Aine into the dragon’s cave and experiencing the adventure with her. Eammon was delightfully enigmatic, and his banter with Aine was quite funny. My one issue with this novella is that I saw the big plot reveal coming from literally the first page. Maybe I’ve just read too many fantasy stories, so I knew what was going to happen long before it did. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed The Last Golden Dragon, and recommend it to anyone looking for a light, romantic read.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

The Novella

The Widow

The Genre

Romantic Drama

The Plot

Ever since her husband died, Carol has been cooped up in her house. Her best friend solves this problem by signing her up for creative writing classes at the local community college. After her first class, Carol runs into a handsome local artist named Daniel, who offers her both coffee and sympathy. They begin to meet every week after her writing class, and eventually Daniel asks Carol to model for his next painting.  She accepts, and he proves to be the perfect balm for her wounded heart.

The Review

I loved this story. Unlike most romances, this one actually had a legitimate plot that kept me flipping the virtual pages to find out what happened next. I loved the author’s descriptions of the painting/modelling scenes. I could easily imagine Carol there in Daniel’s studio, posing silently as he brought her to life on the canvas with each brush stroke. Their romance is gradual, believable, and just wonderful to read.

The Rating

5 stars out of 5

Congratulations to Keri for writing such awesome novellas! Head over to her Smashwords page for more information.

Random tip of the day:

Forgot to lock your car, and don’t want to walk back? Car too far away for the remote to work? Try pressing the remote against your skull and pushing the Lock key. It gives your remote extra range, and I have no idea why.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Another awesome free eBook about self-publishing …

You may recall that post I wrote about the “Free Marketing Tips” eBook. Well, today’s post is about the same author, Mark Coker, who started Smashwords and has written yet another eBook about self-publishing that has some very useful information for anyone who has ever, is currently, or will ever self-publish.

The eBook is called “Secrets to eBook publishing success”. Here’s a link to the download page. And it’s totally free, so if that isn’t reason enough to read it, then I don’t know what is!

There’s lots of useful info in there. I’ll share some here so you get the idea (note: these are quotes directly copied from the eBook):

  • 80% of your book’s success will be determined by the quality of your book. The other 20% is distribution, marketing, and luck.
  • A good author name is simple to remember, and simple to spell. Avoid cutesy spelling, because this can make it difficult for readers to find you.
  • Think of each book you release as a fish hook in the ocean. When you network them together with simple mentions and hyperlinks at the end, the fish hooks form a net. Each book becomes a subtle yet powerful advertisement for the others. Each gives you the opportunity to reach new readers.
  • (Giving your eBook away for) free works best if you have a deep backlist or if you write full-length series.
  • Ebooks are immortal. They never go out of print or lose distribution unless the author or publisher willingly decides to remove a book from distribution. Your sales can start off small then gradually build over time as readers start discovering and enjoying your books.
  • Your book is your most effective marketing tool. Write a book that touches the reader’s soul and the reader will market your book for you through online word-of-mouth and reviews.

There’s loads more information in there. Again, here’s the link to download the eBook.

Fun time!

Categories: Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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