Tuesday, 12 July 2011

How I chose what to publish and my first big mistake

I have written a number of novels and short stories over the years. The one which I have written most recently concerns the forgotten story of Edgar, who was proclaimed King of England immediately after the Battle of Hastings. Soon after he was forced to submit to William the Conqueror. The Normans wrote him out of history; for good reason. He led a series of rebellions against them. Despite his continual resistance William kept pardoning him. Obviously, he was a fascinating young man.

I had written 140,000 words of it and knew that there was at least as much again and that I would, inevitably, have to segment it into different novels. Then I saw that Macmillan were looking for novels of less than 90,000 words. I looked at the novel very carefully. There were a number of points when I could break the novel and I made my choice.

I sent it off to Macmillan. Then I heard about publishing on Kindle.

Now, one of my weaknesses is acting like a bull at the gate. I immediately read all the detail of how to publish on Kindle and prepared my novel. At this point I read some advice from an experienced writer. He said that it would be best to publish a draft to experiment with the process before 'going live' with the real thing. I would be able to preview it and iron out any mistakes and generally get a good feel for the process.

I immediately thought of a collection of short stories which I had written over the years. I dug them out, threw out a few and added a few more and decided to publish the draft.

I called it Pick and Mix and started the process of publishing. At this point, I experienced a big mistake. As it was being uploaded a message said that, while it was in the process I could click on a button and proceed to the next page. I did so and set out the price, $1.00, added all my details and waited to hear that I could look at the draft. Instead I read that my book had been published. I immediately felt sick.

'What's happened to the chance to preview?' I wailed to myself. With eyes half shut, I found my way back to the preview page (belatedly tempting me) and had a look. Sure enough, the formatting was not perfect. However, I would have a chance to rectify the errors when the book went live.

But, because of my impetuousness, and Amazon's invitation to go on to the next page without a preview, I was published. Hip hip hooray.

Tomorrow. The agonies of book covers and pricing.

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