How I wrote my book

A book that features nothing inappropriate at all…

Want to write a book? Want to know what it’s like trying to self publish? Well I just finished my second one so here’s my thoughts on the whole thing…

Step 1. Write a book.

Simple right. Well actually it is if you’re self publishing because you can publish a big old steaming bag of dog poo if you so wish. That is the beauty of it. I did mine in Microsoft word. I wrote words, I added pictures, I buggered around with fonts and layouts. Voila, book done.

Now, there are all sorts of programmes you can use if youre really wanting to go to town with planning and building your creation, such as Scrivener. For a small fee it will let you plan and detail your work to the most detailed degree – allowing you all the

This time round I decided to write a children’s book so I created 12 tales that revolve around animals in Africa and a waterhole and some such. I grew up in South Africa so that was part of the inspiration. Some of it also came from my blog where I did a load of animal stories a few years ago. Mostly it is a mish mash of all of that.

Step 2. Find an artist

I originally contacted someone from the blogging world to see if they fancied collaborating and doing the artwork because I loved her stuff and thought it would be a great fit – but unfortunately, we managed to both get confused over the whole matter and I thought she didn’t want to do it when she did and then I ended up going with someone else.  I still want to work with her, but for this project I ended up going to Fiverr.

I found a fabulous artist on there, Naya Kirichenko, and she was just getting started and I loved some of her stuff and sent her a synopsis and said what do you think? She was keen and gave me a price and we were good to go.  I sent her money, and in about a month or so she sent me 13 full pictures and some other wee bits and pieces. And I bloody loved them! She was just a pleasure to work with and nailed the brief perfectly. In fact, I’m still not sure my writing is up to the quality of her art…

You want to know what I paid right? I think it was about £25 a picture.  Seriously cheap – though I didn’t know this at the time. Oh and I own the copyright to them all – definitely something you need to ensure you consider. Are you buying the work, are you collaborating and sharing profit, will they get (or even want) credit, etc. Fiverr really helps you work through this though as it helps you put together the contract of sale – and all the money goes through them also.

So by now I reckon I had sunk about £350 into the project.

Step 3. Buy your fonts because you couldn’t embed them.

Not all fonts are free to use as you see fit. Some are, but many are actually owned by people so if you want to use them in publicly published work sometimes you need to own rights to them. I used one that I ended up having to buy because I could not embed it in my word document when I wanted to prepare the document for upload to the printing service. I used LULU and Amazon KDP to create my books, and both needed the fonts embedding.

Okay, so I could find dubious ways around this, which involved just stealing the font off of the web, but I decided against it. Cost me about £60 as I recall.

Step 4. Get an editor when you hadn’t even thought about that.

One day I put a post on my blog saying I was working on the book and I was contacted by M from Her Writing Haven who offered her services as an editor,. Until now I thought I was doing okay and didn’t need one,. Turns out I could not have been more wrong.  M was wanting to set herself up in the world of editing and so I gratefully accepted the offer to do it for gratis, and sent the manuscript.  A few days later I received my first revision.

Turns out I really have no idea when it comes to punctuation and had I sent out what I thought was close to my finished version it really would have been a shoddy bag of words indeed. A few revisions later we were both happy that it was what it needed to be and I was good to progress! Without her help it would certainly not have been the book I am rather proud of…Thanks M!

 I learned so much during this process and know now the value of the editor. Find one! Seriously…it can make such a difference! There are quite a few I’ve seen during my time on WordPress, and a number of the indie publishing houses will provide a service too. Cage Dunn, River at Potters Grove and Tara at Raw Earth ink spring immediately to mind.

Step 5. Spend what seems to be months tweaking the layout.

Oh sweet baby Jesus this was painful.  Days and days and days of buggering around with margins, covers, layouts – all to get it to look spot on when you upload it. This nearly nmade me give up and I actually ended up taking 4 days off work to dedicate to it. I probably pent most of that tweaking and uploading to get it spot on. Oh and I then paid £16 a month for the ADOBE suite to really be able to do what I wanted with my PDF and cover because it was so hard. I shit you not, this bit was a mare!

So now I’m somewhere close to £400 to create this thing.

Save your word file with fonts embedded, save it as a pdf, check PDF text boxes, save it as a press ready PDF, upload it, view it, scream with frustration as the uploader doesn’t quite like your layout or picture DPI or spine spacing or some other such fuckery then do it over and over until you lose the will to live!

Breathe…

I got there eventually and now I am not sure what all the fuss was about. Or maybe I just pressed publish and no longer gave a monkeys toss about it. You decide.

Oh wait, I had to do this on LULU (because I wanted a hardback copy and at the time KDP didn’t do hardback), for KDP paper back, hardback and then a whole other process to create the Ebook. Did I not mention that? No ? Well you do .  Treat each version like a completely different product and scream into the void four different time.  Repeatedly.

And just a note on the E Book. I hate it.  I get it has to be optimised for readers, but it loses all the beauty of the physical copy. It reads and looks different too as the fonts are limited and there are not many layout options. I priced it hoping no one would buy it to be honest.

Step 6 Tell people about it and make no money at all.

So ‘Im telling you lot, and Mrs Afterwards put it on Facebook and I told a few friends.  But that is about it. I did consider traditional publishing, but that is another long road I am not prepared to go down yet. I wrote this for me and my kids and for the future grandkids maybe, not to make money.

How much money do I make I bet you’re wondering right?

Well I put them all for sale at cost with a slight rounding up so for paperbacks I think I make about £0.16p and for the hardback I think I make £0.01p.  Seriously. You split profits 60/40 with Amazon so that’s ok., But then all printing costs come out of your cut. So yes, I literally get pennies for each book – but its not about the £. Unless you buy the E Book, I make about £5 on that as there is no printing cost – but as I said, it looks like old pants and just isn’t the product I really wanted it to be.

Really, It’s about creating my own thing and I bloody loved doing it, despite the frustration!

So would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. You might want to try the likes of Potters Press or Raw Earth though if you can affordd it as they will take a lot of the frustration out it. I like to think im pretty computer literate but art time I felt like I had only just discovered fire…

Anyway, it is there forever and ever now, and I made that. Out of nothing! And now Mrs Afterwards is proud of something I did – unlike the filthy limerick book which just brought shame on the family.

Oh and I still intend to do an audio book of it too. Maybe next month. 😊

You can find it on Amazon USA here

And you can find it on Amazon UK here

Or you can buy it on LULU here – and I think this is the nicer version though it cost a bit more with postage…and it is only hard cover on there.

My Second Book…

Bugger, I seem to have written a second book

Quick recap for you… I have written before about why I started my blog.  For those who missed it one of the main reasons was due to a friend who’s wife (now ex), an aspiring writer and a vile human being, insisting that anyone that self publishes does so as an act of vanity which is probably why she had never been published and for the most part refused to work.  I proceeded to take up writing and publish a book of limericks – which I dedicated to her – just to spite her. Anyway, I have now pretty much finished a second one.  This one is much less filthy, has no mention of boobs or prostitutes or weird penis’ and is actually a children’s story book.  Still got some general fiddling and editing to do and need to get it all put on Amazon but hey-ho, there you go.  I won’t be dedicating this one to here either.  She’s had her turn. Oh and if youre looking for an amazing artist look up Naya Kirichenko, who did the art, damn she’s good and such fun to work with.
More to follow on this! My fist book can be found at the links below Paperback in the UK is here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1916089011 And in the US here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1916089011 UK E-Book is here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07QF58TYM The US E-Book is here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QF58TYM

1000 Posts

Well I never…1000 posts.

Well I never, this is post number 1000, and I’m not really sure where to start really.

I don’t think I will linger on why I started, I think I wrote about that somewhen once here if you’re interested, and it seems like 5 minutes since I wrote my 100th post so to get to a thousand is pretty fab.

As a writing journey it has been so much more rewarding and so much more fun than I could ever have imagined. Some days I find myself bursting with limericks an others its flash fiction but barely a day goes by that I don’t have something I want to put down on paper.

Fitting it all into a busy work and family life is never easy, and some days it takes a real effort and a lack of sleep to get written what I want to share. Last month I penned a 35000 word story to M’s fabulous prompts yet so far this month time seems to have escaped me a little and all I have managed is a barrage of limericks and haiku. There have also been loads of poems, posts about my life, pictures of where I live and a few on dieting even. Whatever it is I have loved writing every one and they all thrill me equally.

The biggest surprise for me throughout though has been the people. You lot. I think I wrote about it here but I cannot stress enough how important I have found the support of anyone and everyone who for whatever reason has chosen to follow or read me. I cant name you all but you know who you are. Thank you. Throw in all the wonderful people I have been able to follow (and I wish I had time to read and follow more than I do) and it all adds up to a most pleasant surprise indeed.

So what next then I ask myself? I am.not the most introspective of types so mostly I will just keep muddling on.

Well I am going to do a couple of books this year I think. One on Limericks of course (given that I have written over 350 of them), and I intend to turn the In-Between thingy into a novella and who knows what else. This certainly feels very much like the beginning only so thanks for sticking with me so far I hope you enjoy what is to come.

Michael x

Toilet Paper Troubles

Read this before I am forced to delete it…

M has another month of fab prompts that you can see here

Today it is Toilet paper troubles.


 

I saw the prompt and my mind instantly went back to an event a few years ago now that you might like.  You also might not but it’s a true story either way.

It was a lovely summers day and I remember being sat in the living room, as we English are prone to do when we have good weather, when my eldest could be heard laughing hysterically at the top of the stairs.  I’m talking out of control belly laugh.  He was about 7 at the time, and Tom my youngest about 4.

“What’s so funny Sam” I shout up the stairs and he can’t answer, simply pointing down the stairs and out into the garden.  I looked and was at first uncertain until I noticed Tom wandering around the garden with his trousers around his ankles trailing a good ten feet of soiled toilet paper behind him hanging from his bottom.

Obviously my first instinct was to grab my camera to get a good video and as Sam continued to howl hysterically I headed down the garden to capture the moment for posterity.

At this point my wife was alerted to something going on and I heard a cry of distress from the upstairs window an the thundering of feet down the stairs as sh and Sam hurried down the back steps and into the garden too.

“What the bloody hell is going on” she shouted *or something like that) “and why the hell are you filming it and not cleaning up.  Curiously that wasn’t a question that had crossed my mind.  Perhaps that just shows how different men and women are.

Before I know it a hasty investigation reveals that Sam had tossed Tom a loo roll when he said he needed to go (we only had one loo  in the house at the time which Sam was using) and told him to go in the garden.  Which Tom did.

“Get some carrier bags” she says to me “and put that bloody camera away.”

The look on her face suggested that she was not to be trifled with so I hurried into the house returning with bags to use to clean up the mess.  By this point Tom had pointed out where he had relieved himself and the wife took one of the bags to pick up his leavings. 

Probably should point out at this point that I have a quite terrible gag reflex and am prone to heaving and lurching at the sight of bodily fluids which would explain why I begin to gag, eyes watering, as she attempts to pick up the remains of Tom’s lunch. 

“Just help will you and pick up that toilet roll” she says pointing to the yards of soiled twin ply littering the garden.  I respond by gagging uncontrollably as I near it, which in turns sets off Sam who himself starts to gag.

“What is wrong with you people” she shouts as we both stand there gagging as she ties the bag full of Toms number two but this sight is simply too much for Sam who suddenly starts to projectile vomit across the garden.

“Oh god no “ she shouts panicked clutching a bag of the youngest’s poo as I crack up unable to do anything other that alternate between laughing and gagging, “Just help will you, god what are the neighbours going to think.”

At this point we were about to find out not what the neighbours thought but certainly what their dog thought as she trotted along and quite merrily began to eat Sam’s vomit.

It is all very much a blur from that point on but I know there was screaming and shouting and the dog looked most satisfied with whatever Sam had had for lunch and I eventually stopped gagging though it was too late to recover the position.

It wasn’t long after that we started planning to have the second bathroom put in.

 

 

 

A Sprinkle of Balderdash

M has another month of fab prompts that you can see here

Today it is A sprinkle of Balderdash.


For those of you who might have seen my blog in the last month you will have seen that I wrote a 30000 word story, day by day using M’s prompts. Given that my preferred medium of expression is the glorious 5 lines of a limerick, and the longest post I have ever done was about 500 words, I am not sure where the confidence came from but there you go.

Mostly it started out as waffle and balderdash but as the month went on I really rather enjoyed it and whilst it is not quite the 50000 words NANOWRIMO might ask of you it’s a start, so I thought I would share a few thoughts on the experience.

  • It was so important to make sure I wrote every day. I got behind after a weekend of enjoying the royal wedding and it was so hard to catch up so should I do it again I would ensure that time is put aside at all costs.
  • I discovered afterwards that there are two types of writers. Those that plan and the ‘pantsers’. ‘Pantsers’ are apparently people who make fly by the seat of their pants and plan very little. I think I lean more towards being a ‘pantser’.
  • Encouragement really matters. Those wonderful people amongst you who took time to read and comment, M for just doing the prompts, Dronsta who really helped with advice or people on Twitter who posted things on their own timelines which I found encouraging – it all really motivated me when I was struggling.
  • Editing can come later, this was pretty much a public first draft but getting the draft down became such a motivator. I can now revisit and do whatever I want with it but it is mine to play with at my leisure.
  • I had only ever written short flash fiction pieces before and the idea of writing 1000 words was massive daunting for me but day by day, line by line, I found that the stamina built pretty quickly and by the end I could churn out an unedited 2500 words in about an hour and a half.
  • When I completed it I wished I was a dog because It was such a thrill that I would happily have licked my own bollocks, and not just for hygiene reasons I tell you.
  • For a few days afterwards I have found it really hard to write. Oddly I found myself going through quite a few emotions having put so much into something over a short period. At times I felt stupid for doing it, others proud, and I really missed it which made doing anything else feel pointless. I did a bit of reading and this is apparently normal it seems.

So, if you’re wondering whether you can do it, absolutely you can just put some time aside, find people to support you and write, write, write…