A while back I wrote a poem to go with my book Emma’s Story. As part of promoting the book I turned the poem into a slideshow and shared it on instagram (I even paid a few Euro to promote it). I’m quite happy with how it came out so I wanted to share it here too:
The poem tells of the events of the story from an outside perspective and from the angle we expect that kind of story to be told. Then, towards the end, it turns around and says that the story’s really told from a completely different point of view.
When I originally wrote the story, I didn’t want it to be a subversion of the traditional fairytale. I didn’t even think about it, and it wasn’t until after the second draft that I realised I had. That’s probably just as well. If I had actively tried to subvert the trope the story would have been very different. Most likely it would have been worse too.
Now it’s really just a story about a young woman facing a difficult decision, and not about a supporting character in someone else’s adventure.
However, from a certain point of view the story really is about the fair maiden that the hero wants to win the heart of. Only, it’s not really told as such, and if anyone tried to call Emma a fair maiden to her face she’d probably punch them…
In other news, I’m not getting rich, and I won’t be able to quit my day job anytime soon, but I have sold a few copies. It’s not enough to make back what I paid in advertising, but it’s more than enough to be encouraging.
I’m happy with how I’m doing, and I’ll do better next time.
I’m featured on their list of New Releases for the weekend (even though the book isn’t actually free). My book is the second one in the list so it’s in a good spot for visitors to the site. Check it out, and have a look at the other new releases as well. The link to purchase the book is on that page (so I’m not including it here).
Now, about that release…
The release was, I’m somewhat surprised to say, not that big of a deal. I expected I’d be a lot more nervous and that I’d be freaking out and refreshing the sales dashboard every thirty seconds to see if someone made a purchase. It didn’t happen like that at all.
Instead, everything just progressed much as expected. The book became available, and the pre-orders showed up as being delivered on the dashboard, and then two more sales showed up towards the end of the day.
It wasn’t quite an anti-climax, because this was what I’d reasonably expected. Sure, I’d hoped for miracles, but I haven’t really put in enough work for any of those to happen. Instead, everything just worked the way it was supposed to.
However, what turned out to be really nerve wracking was sending out my first ever newsletter. Through the free book giveaway I took part in during January I’d amassed a small number of subscribers, and now that my book was released I had to tell them about it.
That was scary.
I’ve never done anything like that before, and not only did I have to worry about promoting my work to strangers I’d never met, I also had to figure out how to make a newsletter.
Fortunately it wasn’t very complicated once I set my mind to it, but it took some tinkering before I got it right. Last I checked, no one had unsubscribed from the list, so I can’t have messed up that badly.
According to the mailer-report someone even clicked one of the links in the mail. :D
A few years back I made a book that’s a collection of Valentine’s Day cards I’d created. I’ve not marketed it at all, and while it’s for sale it’s not something I ever expect to make any profit on. It’s purely a personal project that I’ve made available to the rest of the world in the hope someone might find it and enjoy it (info page here).
It makes for a great gift once in a while – someone I know gave a copy to a friend for a wedding. Stuff like that.
The layout of the book is very simple, with a little bit of text and a whole lot of empty white space. I have a few copies for sale at Alchemy where I go for coffee regularly, and one of these copies is for customers to write and draw in.
I rarely see it happen. It’s been ages since I saw someone even just pick it up to look at. Still, over the years that copy has filled up with scribbles and drawings and notes from people stopping by at the cafe.
Sometimes I have a look through it myself just to see if something new has been added. I think pretty much every single page has had something drawn or written on it now.
And then, this very morning, when I step in to the cafe someone’s sitting there right next to the door drawing in my book. It’s a strange and wonderful feeling. I didn’t expect it at all, and it really made my morning.
I didn’t talk to the person, as I don’t want to ruin their moment, but I can’t help but glance over once in a while. I try not to, because I feel a bit like a creepy stalker when spying on people, but at the same time it’s difficult not to.
I hope they’re enjoying my book.
Also, as I’m previewing this post to make sure the writing is passable, I notice the person on the table next to mine has picked up one of the other copies of the book – one not for writing in. They flip through a few of the pages and then put it back.
To be honest, the book’s been done-ish for a while now, and the paperback version has been available for purchase for over a week. However, it’s not until last night that I uploaded the last and final version of the book, both for the ebook and paperback versions.
I sent out print copies of my book to friends, family, and beta readers. When my friend D got hers she tore into it with a vengeance, and she discovered plenty of things I’d missed. I thought my sister had caught it all when she sent me a list of well over forty different things she wanted me to consider.
Turns out that wasn’t all of it.
D identified an issue with my comma usage that both I and my sister had missed. She also located all instances where I’d got my commas wrong throughout the entire story. That’s a whole lot of work, and I’m both impressed and grateful.
I’d have been happy releasing the book in the state it was in, but now that I got these issues pointed out I went ahead and changed most of them. In a handful of places I kept the incorrect punctuation for artistic reasons.
There were other issues as well, but I won’t bore you with the details. The main point is that I’ve now fixed or considered all of the errors that were pointed out to me, and that I’ve uploaded the final version of the story.
Then, once that was done and the paperback version had cleared the review, I uploaded it again because of a typography error on one of the first pages.
That’s the last of it though. This time I really believe I won’t be making any more changes to the book. I may change the category keywords or the blurb, but that’s another matter.
The final (!) version of the book can be found on Amazon here (US) and here (UK)
The free book giveaway I’m taking part in ends today. There’s a total of 35 books taking part and you can download them for free from this page. Some of the downloads are previews, like mine, while others are complete stories. There are even a few story collections.
Go ahead, get it while it’s still there.
EDIT: Looks like the creator of the giveaway forgot to set an expiration date so it’s still going. I’m taking my book down on Sunday the 28th though.
If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, my book is called Emma’s Story and it’s the one with the trees and snow on the cover (see below). It’s not the full story though, just the first four chapters. I’m hoping it will be enough for readers (that’s You) to get a feel for my writing style and to get an idea of what the story is about.
The style is probably a little bit out of the ordinary, and not everyone will like it. The narration switches back and forth between two different kinds of voice. There’s a close third person voice written in past tense, and there’s a distant omniscient voice written in present tense.
If that doesn’t make sense to you, download the free preview and check it out. You’ll either love it or hate it.
Obviously I want you to like it, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. In that way, I’m kind of happy I was able to give the book away like this. It’s an opportunity to show off the story to potential readers without them having to make a commitment to buying it.
Imagine you buy a book you think sounds interesting and then the style it’s written in just doesn’t work for you at all. One of my beta readers told me the style felt condescending to them, and they’re probably not the only one. Other beta readers really enjoyed it though, so I kept the style the way it is.
If you already checked out the preview, or if you’re curious about it after just reading about the different styles. Let me know in the comments.
Emma wants what all young anfylk women want, a burrow in the village and a family to fill it with life – and she could have it. Her best friend Torkel has proposed. He’s the only one for her and he’s first in line for the only available burrow in their small hillside village.
It should be easy, but it’s not. Torkel is a dreamer and a scoundrel. A self-styled huntsman and adventurer, with no real grasp of what it means to be a father and a husband.
But time is ticking, and the longer the burrow lies empty the weaker the village’s spirit gets. When an angry bear comes down from the mountains to terrorize their forest the villagers are unable to ward it off on their own.
To seek aid, Emma must travel farther than she’s ever been on her own before. A journey in search of the help her village needs, and the answers her heart desires.
While she’s gone, Torkel has his own ideas for how to impress Emma and make her like him enough to be his wife, completely missing the point. There’s a reason she has a hard time making up her mind…
Okay, so that’s a bit of a chunky blurb, but it does sum up the essence of the story in an honest way without giving away too much.
I’ll talk about it, but first a soundtrack, in case you’re not already listening to something:
Like I wrote about in my two previous posts I got the final cover image for my book. I spent the remainder of the day tinkering with the layout of the print version, and then, at two in the morning, I accidentally published it – two weeks earlier than planed (link).
In all honesty, it was a little bit overwhelming.
I didn’t expect the print book to go live right away, and I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. In a few years, or maybe even months, I’ll look back upon it and laugh, but right when it happened it was really rather stressful. All kinds of questions I hadn’t thought about and didn’t have answers for rushed through my head.
Was this good or bad? Did I do something wrong? What happens now? How is the print quality? What if I made some horrible mistake and have to make changes? On top of that there was that weird mix of panic and joy, worry and pride that comes with creating something of your own and putting it out for the world to see.
It’s a cool feeling, but it’s scary.
I’ve had some time to calm down and think things over and collect myself now. I also have the next week off from work to chill and do some writing. I really need to get back into actually writing and not just worry about publishing and marketing.
Yes, it would be cool if it sold really well and I got rich from it.
No, I don’t realistically expect that to happen.
Yes, I have completely unrealistic expectations
No, I’m not going to stop dreaming.
However, I’m going to be aware that my expectations are way out of whack and I’m going to be ready for the disappointment when things don’t go as well as I hope. It’s part of life. I can’t let my setbacks put me down, and I can’t rein in my dreams.
I also took off work today and tomorrow. I’m feeling a bit under the weather – not enough to call in sick, but I really want some peace and quiet for a bit. I’ll try and tap out some words today, have a drink and some snacks and try to just enjoy the process of making shit up.
Then tomorrow I’ll try and get serious about the writing again. I’m close to finishing the second draft of part two in my Lost Dogs series. The current chapter needs a near complete rewrite, and will require a few changes to part one as well as some changes to earlier chapters in this part, but I believe the story as a whole will benefit from it.
After that, the next one and a half chapters will probably just need a little bit of editing and then that draft is done.
Also, time to start playing around with cover images for the first book. I really have a hard time figuring out what to go for there. It’s about a werewolf wrestler in a great city just where the desert meets the sea.
I guess I’ll just have a cup of coffee instead.
Also, I got the proof copy of the book today. Three of my friends already got theirs on Thursday. The colours are slightly washed out, but overall I’m happy with the book. It feels good to hold, and the pages are easy to read.
I could have reduced the font size a little and probably reduced the number of pages by a bit. The book would have been cheaper, but not by much, and it would have been thinner, which would have made it feel cheaper too. In short. I’m happy with how it turned out.
I won’t read it again though. I’ve read it too many times already!
The paperback version of Emma’s Story went live on Amazon (US, UK) just a few hours after the previous post. As promised, it’s time to share the cover image.
It’s painted by my friend Åsa, and she did an amazing job of it despite all of my contradictory suggestions and ideas.
In the end, this image fits two of the most important elements of the story: the bear looming ominously in the background, and Emma racing through the forest in her horse-drawn sled.
I’m trying to describe the feeling of looking at this image and I’m having a really hard time finding the words. It’s the cover image for my first book. I love it, but I’m also a little bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.
It’s finally happening. I published a book. It’s unreal.
I will probably have to sit down and have a proper think about it over the next few days and then write a better, more thought-out post about it later on.
Lastly I’d like to point out that the image in this post is the original one I uploaded for the print version. In the preview on the Amazon store page it looks a bit washed out, and it’s in lower resolution, but once it’s printed it should look more like this.
It’s so new I haven’t even received my proof copy yet.
Edit: I also added an entry for my book to goodreads.com, here.
No, I don’t have a link for where to buy it just yet, but it won’t be long – a few days at most. The reason for the delay is that before the book becomes available for purchase Amazon has to review and approve it, which can take up to 72 hours.
It’s on it’s way though. Soon…
So how did I publish my book by accident? Isn’t that something I should have put some thought into and planned carefully?
Yes, yes it is, and I have, mostly.
The eBook version of my book is currently up for pre-order and is still set to be released on the 2nd of February. I have a few promotions scheduled and they’re still going ahead as planned.
What I didn’t realise is that KDP (the publishing service) doesn’t provide any pre-order functionality for paperback versions.
Yesterday I got the final cover image for the book. I was really excited about it (I still am), and I spent the entire evening – and well into the night – setting up the book for print. This would be enough for a blog post on its own, as I made some interesting mistakes and learned a few things for the future.
The important thing is I got it done and at a little before two in the morning I had approved the preview of the print on demand version of the book. I sorted out the pricing for the various Amazon market places, and I clicked the Save & Publish button.
After that I just sat there staring at the screen.
It slowly dawned on me that I hadn’t set a date for the book to be available, and there hadn’t been anything about it being published at the same time as the eBook. A little bit of searching and a few questions to people in the know soon confirmed there really is no pre-order for paperbacks.
When I clicked that button it was the signal for Amazon to start the process of reviewing the book for publishing. Once they’ve checked that it fulfils all of their requirements the book will be available for purchase.
This wasn’t what I’d planned, but now that the ball is in motion I’ll roll with it (pun intended). Someone told me they release the paperback early and treat it as a soft-launch before their eBook goes live. They use it as a way to try and get some reviews in time for the main launch, and I think I’ll do the same.
Once the link to purchase the book is available I’ll tell my friends about it and badger them into reviewing it for me. Also, I’ll obviously share it here too.
But what about the cover image?
Yeah, it’s done. I’ve got it. It’s amazing. Even then, I’ll still wait until the paperback can be purchased to share it here. Just a little longer. A day or two. Until then, here’s a teaser image with a quote from the book using the back cover image as a background:
I’ve joined a group giveaway on instafreebie.com – you can download a free preview of Emma’s Story, and you can download other books for free as well. Some of the books in the giveaway are previews like mine, while others are complete stories (look for the “preview” keyword when claiming the book).
You can access the giveaway and browse all of the available titles here.
How does it work?
I tried it out earlier, and they way it works is you click on the book you want, fill out your e-mail and name and you get sent download instructions via mail. The mail contains a link to download the instafreebie app as well as your login and password.
Once you’ve installed the app on your phone/tablet you can log in and get the book sent straight to your device. Depending on what device you use you may have to download an app to read the story.
The book I got sent when I tried didn’t open in my phones default reader, but it was no hassle to find an app that could read ePub files.
Why give away free books?
The short answer is: promotion.
The somewhat longer answer is that it’s a good way for people to become aware of your stories. I’m giving away a preview of the first four chapters of my story, and at the end of the preview is a link to where the full book can be pre-ordered (hint, it’s here for US and here for UK).
Some people are giving away full books though. Why is that?
Most of these books are the first in a series, and the author hopes you’ll like it and buy the rest of them. I’d probably do the same if I had a series written and wanted to promote it.
In fact, once I get my series going I probably will.
It seems like a good way to get the story in front of readers who otherwise might not have found it. At the moment I’m almost completely unknown as an author. Only my friends and family and a few online acquaintances know I have a book coming out. This blog doesn’t have a huge following (but thank you for reading if you got this far), and while I have created a mailing list for a newsletter I don’t have any subscribers to it yet.
In this way though, by taking part in a group giveaway, I benefit from the promotional powers of the other authors taking part. It feels a little bit like freeloading on the effort of others, but hopefully I’ll be able to pay it back by helping other writers out in the same way in the future.