The Novella is Done!

It took way longer than I had planned, but the prequel novella, The Worth of a World, is finally done!

I sent out emails to my subscribers today, letting them know how they can download a free e-copy.  It’s not yet available on Amazon, as we’re still working on the cover (it’s just a simple temporary cover for now), but it’s free as an incentive for people to sign up for my email list (note: that is separate from blog followers).

For this blog post, I’m going to describe the various tools I’ve used to get here, for those of you interested in the mechanics behind self-publishing.  First, I used Scapple Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 3.05.11 PMto map out  the plot before I started writing anything.  Scapple is a mind-mapping tool that’s great for “doodling” up anything, including the progression of a story.

Scapple is made by Literature and Latte, who also make the amazing Scrivener, the most incredible writing tool ever.  Someday I’ll do a whole blog post on how helpful this tool is to writing.  I would never be able to write a novel just using Word.

Once the book is all written in Scrivener, that tool also has a compile function to generate an e-book format as well as PDF for the print-on-demand paperback version.  Once it generated the e-book file (.mobi), I used Amazon’s Kindle Previewer to see how it will look in an e-book reader.

Next step: uploading the book to a site where my subscribers can get it.  BookFunnel is the choice of most independent authors.  It’s cheap ($20/year for beginning authors) and helps. the end users get the file installed on their various e-readers.  I don’t want to think about how many people would be asking me to help them figure this out. Eventually, I can use BookFunnel to promote the book and gain email subscribers, but for now I’m just using it to deliver the book to subscribers I gain through this website or the Call-to-Action at the end of Star Riders.

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Finally, I need to let the subscribers know where to get it.  I use MailChimp for my email list.  It’s free for lists of less than 1,000 (I currently have 53, two of which are me).  They changed up their pricing methods lately, and a lot of people left them for MailerLite, but for now, I’ll stick with them.  I may change it up once I go big 😉

Screen Shot 2019-08-30 at 3.08.21 PMIn MailChimp, I set up a “campaign” to send to all the email subscribers telling them about the book and giving them the link to BookFunnel.  Then I updated the signup form so that new subscribers will also get the link.  Then I can sit back and watch MailChimp’s report showing how many people have opened the email, and how many clicked on the link.

What’s next?  I plan to:

  1. Publish on Amazon, both e-book and paperback
  2. Run a sale on Amazon of Star Riders (probably $1.99) to gain some readers and hope that they are enticed to join the email list in order to get the prequel.
  3. Run other promotions of The Worth of a World to get people to consider buying Star Riders.
  4. Go back to working on the sequel.

So what do you think?  Any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment!

Review of “Three Laws Lethal”

David Walton is a sci-fi author who inspired me in those years before I really got serious about writing my own novels.  He’s a fellow Lockheed Martin engineer, and I first learned of him through the company’s e-newsletter.  It was a revelation: you can be a published author and an engineer?  Who knew? Continue reading “Review of “Three Laws Lethal””