Pulling the Trigger –
After adding elements, changing some plot points, and editing over and over; I finally pulled the trigger to publish. One of my personal challenges as a writer is falling into the cycle of re-writing stories. Even stuff that I posted years ago still calls out for me to fix a typo or write a better analogy. To combat that, I have committed to publishing one of the stories per week. Since I have six or seven stories in the series completed, I should be set for the next month or so.
The Pricing Puzzle –
Pricing for the story is $.99. I chose not to include this in the Kindle Select program. Pricing is one of the most puzzling aspects of the business. I see shorter stories than this going for higher prices, and much longer works going for less. To add extra perceived value, I have included a bonus section, the first story in the series, The Ghost in Roppongi Station, as an added chapter. Amazon’s rules about not using previously published work (the Ghost story was used as a newsletter signup bonus) prevent me from selling that story as a stand alone.
So current pricing is $.99. I plan on bundling several stories together later and publishing them at a higher price. Once some sales data is available, I can adjust the pricing according to that feedback.
Blurb Babble, Cover Creation, and Title Trouble –
You’d think that the hardest part is getting the story told, right? Of course, plotting, pacing, and dialog are important. I think I ‘m pretty good at that. But there are other elements to the mix.
Writing a good blurb is like refining the entire story down into a Haiku sized paragraph. It requires a different set of talents than plotting, pacing, or characterization. After I had spent over an hour trying to come up with the perfect blurb, I fell back to the trick that helped me the most. I decided that I would write the blurb in five minutes and use it no matter how bad it was. Here’s the blurb I came up with:
A chance encounter with the ghost of a Japanese schoolgirl introduced Scott to the world of Tokyo Supernatural.
Now he has drawn the attention of a much more powerful and dangerous enemy, Jorōgumo, the spider goddess. She hungers for Scott’s magic and his flesh.
Jorōgumo forces a young Kitsune, nicknamed Kitty-Sue by Scott, into enticing Scott to enter her web of silk and magic.
Will Scott become another meal for the spider goddess? Or will help from an unexpected source enable him to break the silken strands of the trap?
Will Scott escape the trap only to be ensnared in another web woven of Kitsune magic and sex?
Read now to find out!!
Yes, as promised, there are monsters, hookers, sexy fox spirits, and even a magic sword included in this story.
It’s not Shakespear, but it’s done.
Cover creation is another aspect of bookselling. Some writers consider it one of the most important elements. If your book doesn’t capture the attention of the buyer, no one will read the content.
I have no knack for graphic arts. Oh, I have Photoshop, a subscription to depositphotos, and a fast computer; but I don’t have the talent. I could spend days making and tweaking a mediocre cover, or I could buy one. I think my time is better spent writing instead of refining my graphics skills.
It’s possible to spend $300.00 to $500.00 for a cover. It’s also possible to spend $5.00 for a cover on Fiverr. I have done both.
The $300.00 cover, for a romance novel I edited, was beautiful; the work of an extremely talented designer. But I will never make the money back on that cover. In the case of the Kitsune story, $300.00 for a short story just doesn’t make business sense.
The $5.00 covers have been major disappointments. The problem with Fiverr artists is that the rights to the images used are not clear. I have had Fiverr artists assure me that any image found on the Internet is free to use. Since I depend on copyright to protect my work, I need to show the same respect for the work of other artists.
I have found a happy medium with Cover Crafters . The covers run about $50.00; the images are legally purchased, and the quality is great.
For the titles, this is another area that requires a different talent. Not the Haikuesque creating of the perfect blurb. More like compressing an entire story into one short sentence. Once I determined that I wanted to concentrate on the relationship between Scott and Kitty-Sue, I knew that the word Kitsune had to be included. Kitsune are known to grow extra tails as they gain knowledge and power. I briefly considered using “Kitsune Tails” as the title. But that was just too cute. I had my VA come up with several options, and we chose “A Kitsune ‘Tale'”. Still cute, but descriptive.
Some of the problems I ran into had to do with the layout of the ebook. I use Scrivener ( for compiling my ebooks on a Windows machine. I like Scrivener, but the learning curve is steep. Getting it to do exactly what I want is tough. Also, using the Windows version means that many of excellent tutorials available online for the Mac version are not usable for my version. Still, with enough testing, I was able to get a compiled version of the story up on Amazon.
I even got the graphic elements, a tree for the Akiko the Ghost Girl story and a fox for the Kitty-Sue story, to insert nicely into the ebook.
Once the ebook was uploaded to Amazon, I noticed another problem. The “Look Inside” feature only includes the Title Page, Dedication, TOC, and the first graphic. It shows none of the story. That’s something that has to be fixed for an updated edition.
One of the greatest bonuses of the self-publishing revolution is that the creator can actually go back and make changes to already published material. This is a very liberating idea. Up until recently, a typo or mistake in a book was forever. A tiny fraction of books were updated and corrected, mostly textbooks and reference materials. Now, any errors that creep into the editing and creation process can be fixed and an updated copy uploaded to Amazon. Even though he might never go back to the older stories, the knowledge that it’s possible helps to quell the perfectionist demon all creators have.
Tools I Use –
Some of the tools I used to create and promote the ebook were: