Welcome to Re: writing

 
 
While I'm drawing the site together, I'm leaving this text here to direct you to the first post in my series of articles dealing with the process of indie publishing via Amazon: 'So, I hear you want to publish a Kindle Edition ebook?'.
 
 

15 tips for novice writers, part 3

    15 bits of advice I wish I knew when I started writing. (Continued from part 2.) My review of Buffy Greentree’s The Five Day Writer’s Retreat set me to wondering what I could include in my own hypothetical writing guide. Part of me hates the idea of even offering this advice to other […]

15 tips for novice writers, part 2

    15 pieces of advice I wish I knew when I started writing. (Continued from part 1.) My review of Buffy Greentree’s The Five Day Writer’s Retreat set me to wondering what I could include in my own hypothetical writing guide. Part of me hates the idea of even offering this advice to other […]

15 tips for novice writers, part 1

    15 pieces of advice I wish I knew when I started writing. My review of Buffy Greentree’s The Five Day Writer’s Retreat set me to wondering what I could include in my own hypothetical writing guide. Part of me hates the idea of even offering this advice to other writers. However, if the […]

Review: The Five Day Writer’s Retreat

    The Five Day Writer’s Retreat by Buffy Greentree is a guide which promises to “rejuvenate your mind and sustain your passion” for writing. Will you stay the distance or disappear down the pub late on the second day? Every writer out there reads writing guides at some point in their journey, even if […]

Everything I know about indie publishing

    A lecture on ebook publishing I prepared for a tertiary seminar on publishing. It’s been a few months now since my last post, but this isn’t the kind of site where I promise to deliver three weekly updates, only to disappoint with the inevitable absences. Google Analytics tells me that people come here […]

Six things that terrify me as an adult, part 2

    How can writers work their adult fears into stories to help craft authentic horror narratives? (Continued from Part 1.) 4. Fundamentalism   It’s a disappointingly popular opinion that fundamentalism is the sole property of certain religions, so let’s knock that idea on the head right now. Fundamentalism is not equivalent to religion. Rather, […]

Six things that terrify me as an adult, part 1

    How can writers work their adult fears into stories to help craft authentic horror narratives?   If we follow on from the maxim ‘write what you know’ and you’re going to write horror stories, then you should write about things that scare you. Makes sense, right?   However, as I work on a […]

Five things I learned from my favourite horror films, part 2

    As writers, which successful elements from other horror narratives can we recognise and incorporate into our own works of fiction? (Continued from Part 1.)   Most of these are fairly old, but let’s issue a spoiler alert anyway. #3 The setting can be as important as any character   Killer Horizon (2008), recut […]

Five things I learned from my favourite horror films, part 1

    As writers, which successful elements from other horror narratives can we recognise and incorporate into our own works of fiction?   The theme of horror that I’ve covered over the past couple of articles continues, mainly because I’m neck deep in a young adult manuscript which features a couple of paranormal sequences. As […]

Five things that terrified me as a child

    I was working on two writing projects in the genre of children’s/young adult horror when I thought: what were the things which terrified me as a child?   #5: The dark Nyctophobia, or a fear of the dark, might be single biggest fear afflicting children. I would argue that it transcends the confines […]

Five thoughts about writing horror stories

    Horror narratives, like any genre, come with their own conventions. What is it that makes horror so frightening?   I’m currently working on two different projects for children and young adults which involve elements of the horror genre. It’s something I’m not entirely familiar with as a writer, although I grew up on […]

Amazon publishing checklist

    Kindle indie publishing, conclusion: use this checklist to work through the indie publishing process in a methodical manner.   A PDF version of this list is available here.   Mine tend to say things like ‘breakfast is in the fridge’ and ‘pants first, then shoes’     (source) Amazon publishing checklist Manuscript on Open Office Writer […]

Beyond Amazon

    Part 32: you’ve published on Amazon … what now? A collection of thoughts and ideas of where to go next.   You’ve done it. You’ve published your indie ebook on Amazon and started the long process of winding up the starter motor on your profile as an author. Or, perhaps you haven’t, and […]

15 thoughts from an Amazon indie publisher

    Part 31: a list of advice from a moderately successful and anonymous Amazon author.   Over a year ago, even before I’d thought about publishing an ebook myself, I stumbled across a thread about Amazon and ebooks on a literary forum. The writer talked it up as a moderately successful indie publisher, and […]

Making your own author website

    Part 30: quickly create your own author website via Blogger, Joomla or WordPress to act as a focal point for your writing and publishing.   Okay. By now you’ll have a number of pages on various websites and social media platforms (Amazon, Amazon Author Central, Goodreads and Facebook, at least). Your own author […]

Managing social media, part 2

    Part 29: determine which social media platforms are the right ones for you to showcase your writing and ebooks.   Social media platforms are not identical. Some are busier than others, and some will be a better fit for your style of promotion. Frighteningly, these are about half of the platforms you could […]

Managing social media, part 1

    Part 28: use social media platforms to effectively gather and retain fans, followers and friends who are interested in your writing.   In terms of results versus distraction, social media is a two edged sword for writers, and how well it works for you will largely depend on the skill with which you […]

How to get ebook reviews, part 2

    Part 27: a review of ebook review sources for indie publishers and emerging authors. (We have to go deeper.)   This article rates the usefulness of commonly mentioned ebook review sources and four Google shortcuts which might get your ebooks in the hands of trusted reviewers a lot quicker than by traditional searching […]

How to get ebook reviews, part 1

    Part 26: to sell ebooks, you need reviews, which is not as simple as it sounds.   Good reviews are vital for the indie publisher. The consensus is that Amazon shoppers will not buy items, including ebooks, which lack reviews. I know from my own online shopping habits that I’ll seek out items […]

30 ways to win first year university or freshman college year, part 2

    (Continued from part 1.)   Note to overseas readers: what we call ‘first year’ is known by various names around the world like ‘freshman’ and ‘fresher’ year. When I say ‘lectures’, I mean a big hall filled with people who have minimal or no interaction with the lecturer. A ‘tutorial’ or ‘tute’ is […]

30 ways to win first year university or freshman college year, part 1

    I spent seven years on three campuses collecting four qualifications (I kinda got hooked on the whole process), and a couple of years ago someone asked me what I wished I’d known when I started. This is a version of the list I wrote for them, updated for my little sister, who is […]

Cheques, US bank account or Payoneer?

    Part 25: learn how overseas authors and publishers can access their Amazon royalty payments fast and with reduced fees and charges.   Unfortunately for authors from many countries, including Australia, the only option to accept royalties collected by Amazon is to be paid via international cheque, in US currency. Every time your royalties […]

Royalties, US taxation and the EIN

    Part 24: learn how to prevent the IRS from claiming a quarter of your Amazon royalties in 6 easy steps.   The bad news is that there is a base withholding rate of taxation for overseas authors publishing and being paid through a US entity such as Amazon. For Australians based in Australia, […]

Amazon Author Central

    Part 23: use Amazon Author Central to enhance the appearance and functionality of your ebook’s webpage.   Amazon Author Central is an optional service allowing authors to add content to their book’s webpage. When I say ‘optional’, I mean (like keywords) the mandatory kind of optional. You’re mad if you don’t take the […]

Uploading to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, part 2

    Part 22: decide on your book’s category, keywords, level of copy protection (DRM) and price.   You can nominate two categories (compulsory) and up to seven keywords (optional) to help customers find your ebook. Categories and keywords require careful planning     (source) Categories and keywords There are a few factors to consider here:   1. […]

Uploading to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, part 1

    Part 21: upload your MOBI ebook to Amazon and write the marketing copy which will help to sell it.   Compared to the rest of the publishing process, uploading to Amazon is a fairly soothing experience. It’s the one area where an author’s hand is held rather firmly by Amazon, so instead of […]

Cataloguing in publication (CiP)

    Part 20: learn how to submit your ebook to cataloguing in publication databases.   This article deals specifically with Australian publishing matters. If you are a reader from the United States, a similar scheme is run by the National Library of Congress. Agencies in the United Kingdom and Canada also record CiP details. […]

Generating a Kindle-compliant ebook with KindleGen

    Part 19: combine your ebook cover, HTML, OPF and NCX files to make a MOBI ebook suitable for Amazon.   By the end of this article, you should have an Amazon-compliant MOBI book file which you can read in Kindle Previewer, or on your Kindle – and, of course, upload to Amazon. Now, […]

The ISBN and ASIN

    Part 18: should you assign an ISBN to your Kindle ebook?   An ISBN is a 13 digit number which uniquely identifies books and book-like products around the world. An earlier version of the ISBN had only 10 digits, but these are now obsolescent and can be upgraded to the new format. Each […]

Cover design, part 2

    Part 17: if you decide to design your own ebook cover, here is some information that will save you hours of work.   In the last article, I tried to dissuade you from designing your own book cover, even though that’s precisely what I did. So. Which cover is right for you?     (source) No, […]

Cover design, part 1

    Part 16: decide if you have the skills to design your own ebook cover, or whether you should hire a designer.   Picture your own actions, the last time you entered a physical bookstore. Did you move through most of the store? Which section did you go to first? How long did you […]

Preparing the NCX file

    Part 15: use my example NCX template to add an NCX file to your own ebook.   Almost there! The NCX file controls the Kindle’s navigation through the chapters of your ebook. Without it, the ‘go to’ feature won’t allow readers to navigate directly to your table of contents. Instead, that option will […]

Preparing the HTML file, part 2

    Part 13: use my example Kindle HTML template to add code to your own ebook.   Okay. You’ve coded your manuscript’s body. Now, we’ll look at the head and table of contents. Perhaps the best way to learn this is by following an annotated example, and *reaches under the desk* here’s one I […]

Preparing the HTML file, part 1

    Part 12: add paragraph and heading tags to your ebook, and replace punctuation and symbols with HTML entity codes.   Notepad++ is a lightweight but robust text editor which is perfect for generating HTML files which are suitable for converting into Kindle ebooks. Preparing your ebook file 1. Open Notepad++, select your entire […]

Preparing the manuscript for coding

    Part 11: begin the conversion of your Word or Writer manuscript to an ebook in minutes, with regular expressions.   Word processors like Microsoft Word and Open Office Writer are a boon for writers, allowing quick and powerful formatting. For instance, if there’s something I know I’ll have to check after I’ve finished […]

Structuring ebooks

    Part 10: consider how you will structure the front and back matter of your ebook, and a word on copyright permission.   So, you’ve written, edited and proofed your book. You’ve downloaded the necessary programs to code and convert it. You’re all set to go, right?   Nope. Not yet. There is the […]

Understanding HTML

    Part 9: become familiar with basic ebook HTML such as tags, styles, attributes and sections.   HTML tells web browsers, and ebook readers, how to display content. The page you are reading this on is constructed via HTML elements which format and position the content. James Marshall has written a very gentle primer […]

Ebook formats

    Part 8: the pros and cons of ebook formats such as EPUB, MOBI and PDF.   If you ever want to make your head explode, check out Wikipedia’s list of ebook formats. Like most format wars, though, there are winners and losers and the good news for sanity is that most formats on […]

Ebook creation software

    Part 7: learn about the most popular ebook creation programs currently available.   As mentioned in the previous article, to hand-code an ebook you’ll need to download the following programs Notepad++ (free, open source), Kindle Previewer (free) and KindleGen (also free).   Notepad++ is where you’ll compile your ebook’s HTML, Kindle Previewer allows […]

Show me the money (that you’ll spend on indie publishing)

    Part 6: what are the potential costs involved with indie publishing?   The good news is that you can publish an Amazon ebook for no cost.* Nada. Zilcho. Except for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hours that you will sink into your new hobby of publishing, and which must really be called a […]

Pros and cons of indie publishing

    Part 5: what should you know about indie publishing before you decide to become an indie publisher?   If you want to be an indie publisher, prepare to fill a myriad of roles other than that of ‘writer’. Successful publishers, indie or otherwise, state again and again that it’s not the sort of […]

Traditional vs indie publishing

    Part 4: what is meant by vanity publishing, indie publishing, self publishing and traditional publishing, and why should you care?   Let’s face it: self publishing is a dirty term. It has a strong association with vanity publishing; that is, the people who will accept any rotten old manuscript and many thousands of […]

The case for ebooks

    Part 3: the pros and cons of ebooks, as compared to paper books.   One day, I’ll take my grandchildren up into the attic and show them a dusty metallic rectangle stamped with the tarnished logo of the now defunct Sony corporation.* “Kids,” I’ll say to them, “your old grandpa used to listen […]

Acronyms and handy links

    Part 2: learn the acronyms associated with Kindle publishing, and a list of handy links.   AZW: an ebook file format designated as .azw and sold by Amazon.   BISAC: the book industry standards and communications code categorises books by subject matter.   CiP: cataloguing in publication is an aggregation service performed by […]

An overview of Amazon publishing

    Part 1: decide if Kindle publishing is right for you, and a warning for technophobes.   At the end of 2012, I decided to publish my first children’s chapter book, Saving Davey Gravy, in a Kindle Edition. I’d spent a couple of months tinkering with this website and butchering Josh Stauffer’s Transchild theme, […]

So, I hear you want to publish a Kindle Edition ebook?

    This collection of articles will guide you through the process of converting a finished manuscript into an indie published Kindle Edition ebook of professional quality, from scratch, in 32 steps.   It’s written for novices by a novice, so you may not agree with some of what I have to say. I probably […]