I finally got Talent posted on Amazon for sale. Here’s the link:

So what does it take to publish a book?

YMMV; but I design a set of scenes in very rough outline, more paragraph than actual outline. It’s basically a list of things a character might do during the course of the novel. For example, in Hands (to be written; part of chap 1 is written in draft), the hero does something fairly innocent and by the end of that scene, he’s had his hands lopped off by the baron’s executioner. Much adventure follows, and there will be several characters introduced; each of them will bring his own concerns and ideas to the story. This creates threads I’ll weave together, and I’ll tie most of them up by the end of the book. Some may continue to later books for resolution. Shorty, a minor character, was introduced in the epilogue to Wizard at Work; but he’s a major supporting character by the time Talent ends. And the thread that brought Shorty to the final scene was planted early, reinforced by another thread later. This is typical of how I write.

I begin after the outline with a blank page, type in Chapter One, and format that. After that, I’m off and running. Begin with the outline notes, see where the characters take me.

I have a guy who’s a cross between an editor and a copy-editor. I also have a consultant who advises me on military infantry matters and conflict scenes, fights and such. As soon as the first chapter is done, I send it off to PC and Jake.

Both reply quickly. But I sometimes don’t wait; I begin writing the next chapter before I get the suggestions back. I frequently write two books simultaneously; no writers block there; if I draw a blank on one, I just switch and start writing the other.

The book is beginning to take shape. I’ll start a book compilation using the title. I’ll format the front matter, the title page, copyright, and dedication (if there is one), then set up the interactive Table of Contents. After that, chapter one (after I decide to edit, or not, following the suggestions of my editor/consultant.

Finally the last chapter is written, I can type ‘The End’; if it’s not finalized, I’ll put ‘Continued in Book 2).

After that, I add end content. I frequently add an excerpt to generate interest in one of the other books or series.

Then it’s time for Books by the Author (that’s always a thrill, seeing five novels and a short story on that list!) and About the Author.

Then comes the work. Despite having been edited, the prose isn’t done. It’s time to do one final flying edit, looking for what was missed, editing for flow and continuity, sometimes even for widow-and-orphan control, removing those incidences where three or four sentences didn’t fit on the previous page so they went onto a following page. That’s not good, because it generates a blank page when you use a Kindle.

One final check for format: I run my Word prose through Calibre and convert it to MOBI, Amazon’s format. Take that, run it through Amazon’s free previewer to see how it looks. If it needs changing, back to the Word document. Make the changes, back to Calibre (deleting previous attemps) and reformat. Recheck through Kindle Previewer. If it looks OK, go to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publisher. There are others, Smashwords (difficult, supposedly) and D2D (easy). Each has advantages and disadvantages, for another column sometime in future. But Amazon has two pages of information to fill out, including uploading a cover photo (also another post), the MOBI version, and rights/pricing information.

Then wait. Amazon will publish in a few hours, and voila, you’re a novelist!

Easy, right? It’s a heck of a lot of work, but I love it. Note all that editing I’ve done? I put the best product up for publishing that I can, and I have no problem charging $4.99 for books under 100 000 words and $5.99 for longer novels.

Not everyone agrees; but as Kindle Unlimited takes over, price becomes less of an issue. And I think my books are worth rereading several times.

You would-be writers, get your noses to the grindstone and your fingers on the keyboard!

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