Saturday, August 20, 2011

The SPJA, week two

SPJA = Self Publishing Journey Acronym.

Week two

Week two was a busy one. I decided to read Hal Spacejock and fix any little rough patches. I hadn't read it since 2003 and let's just say it took a while. I smoothed a few rough patches, broke a few long scenes into smaller ones, and inserted some new gags & puns. It's over 80,000 words, which doesn't sound much compared to a fantasy door stop but is plenty when you're weighing up every sentence.

There was also the small matter of transferring data to my Spacejock Handbook (another Freemind file, this one packed with place names, items, characters, products and companies from the four books. It's a very useful approach for series writers, and my editor suggested it a couple of years back after she'd had to contend with commsets, comm-sets, comsets and communication devices - many of them in the same book.)

When the final polishing was done I used the new proofing export from yWriter5 and loaded the resulting whole-of-novel RTF into OpenOffice for spelling and grammar checking. Afterwards I saved the RTF and imported the scene content back into yWriter.

I added a neat trick to yWriter recently: you can tag a scene as 'html', and the contents will be exported to the ebook file as-is, without any further processing. This allows me to set up the title page, copyright, series list and so on using manual html codes (centering, bold, italics, font sizes ... even inline images)

The resulting HTML file I converted with Calibre, the open source ebook library software. This generates a mobi file suitable for uploading to Amazon. No steps in between - you just click export in yWriter, convert the file with Calibre, that's it.

I uploaded Hal Spacejock using the Kindle Digital Publishing dashboard, entered the correct ISBN, added the cover and then set the price. (I won't be discussing ebook pricing now. There's plenty out there on the subject.)

Within an hour the dashboard showed the book's ASIN, and I could use that to bring up an embryonic ebook page on In my todo-list I had a section called 'do this when you have the amazon ebook page link', and I went through performing all the steps - adding the link to my website, mainly. Once the amazon page was fully active I shared it on Google+ and Facebook, and updated my sig on various writing & reading forums.

The final part of week one involved sending Hal Junior out for a little more feedback. I'm too close to it to spot flaws, and this is where you need someone else to give you the bad news. I still have to do a 'humour draft', which is where I apply a laughter polish to the whole book, refining the jokes so they're maximised. I never do this stage until the text is done, because I don't like to waste time being funny if I'm going to cut the whole chapter a week later. Let me tell you, writing comedy is really hard work.

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


PaulineDesigns said...

LOL, I love this "...because I don't like to waste time being funny if I'm going to cut the whole chapter a week later." Cracked me up!

Simon Haynes said...

I'm a lazy slacker of a writer. Very dedicated and committed, and usually a perfectionist too, but you won't find me doing something twice when I can do it once properly!