Monthly Archives: August 2015

I’m an Author

Last night I published Betrayal, the first book of my Supremacy trilogy, through CreateSpace and this morning I published it through KDP.


The Kindle version should be available within about 12 hours of me publishing, which will be around 11:30 tonight. CreateSpace said the paperback version should be on Amazon within the next three to five business days. As there’s a weekend coming up, I didn’t expect to see it there before Monday. But when I checked at around 13:30 today, it’s already there. Hopefully the Kindle version will be quick as well, although I gather it can take a while for them to be matched up on Amazon.

It’s a strange feeling seeing something I’ve created up on Amazon, almost like I can’t quite believe it.

I set the paperback price at £8.75 / $10.99 / 10.50 and the Kindle price at £2.99 / $3.99 (prices for other territories will be converted from the US price)

When you look at the price of published science fiction paperbacks I find there is no way I can match the price traditionally published authors can achieve. The overheads of Amazon’s print on demand service makes it impossible to sell for such low prices, in fact they won’t even let you sell as cheaply as them.

I’ve spent the last two weeks trying to work out how to convince the Kindle Online Previewer to open my book at Chapter One. Whatever I did, it had the idea of opening it at some point in the table of contents or on the copyright page.

There was no problem using the Kindle Previewer on my laptop. That was the annoying thing. Whatever I tried, I couldn’t force the start reading location to Chapter One in the online Previewer. I could move it around within the table of contents and even into the copyright page, but not to Chapter One.

I did a lot of research on the web and found a lot of people have the same issue and there doesn’t appear to be a definitive fix to the problem. It all goes wrong once KDP put the separately uploaded cover image onto the book.

I wrote the book in OpenOffice and then converted it to html which I input to SIGIL to convert it to an epub document. This gave me quite a bit of control over the look of the book.

I never expected to have to do html editing to get the book ready for Kindle. Anyway it allowed me to see exactly what commands were going to be used to format the book. It was quite fun to play around with it and see how it works. Seriously, it allowed me to tidy up the messy html generated by OpenOffice.

The whole point of using SIGIL was to allow me to set up an NCX table of contents which would display the chapters in the ‘goto’ guide on a Kindle. This worked ok.

For anyone technical out there, I set the start reading location to Chapter One using a guide entry in the content.opf file, but this was either getting changed or was being overridden by the KDP build process. The html table of contents (defining the contents as seen as part of the book) couldn’t be easily edited in SIGIL without it complaining, so I resorted to unpacking the epub file and using an html editor on it. But all I succeeded in doing was more moving around of the start reading location (but not to the correct point). So I gave up on that approach.

What was obvious, however, was that editing the html that made up the html table of contents file had an effect on the start reading location, which was why I persevered.

Anyway, after a couple of weeks of banging my head against a brick wall I decided if the start reading location doesn’t want to be Chapter One, I’d try making it something else. I set it to the title page and after uploading it to KDP, it didn’t move somewhere else, so I’m going with that.

While I was writing this I noticed the Kindle version had become available on Amazon. At the moment the paperback and the Kindle versions are separate entries but hopefully, soon, Amazon will tie them up into a single entry.

The book description is:

Book One of the Supremacy Trilogy
After thousands of years the Earth-based Supremacy controls a vast galactic empire where the only permitted life-form is human.
For fighter pilot Brad Johnson, injured after crash-landing on an alien world teeming with seemingly dangerous plant and animal life, it is the start of a transformational journey.
Nursed back to health by the enemy, he is forced to question the ethics and motives of those he serves.
And when rescue comes, it is from an unexpected direction.

Not sure if this gives enough information away, but I don’t want to include any spoilers in it.

Anyway, it’s up there on Amazon now for anyone to have a look, and maybe buy a copy. I need to have a think about how to publicise it a bit now, beyond the blog and facebook and twitter.

Just as I was about to publish this post, it’s been pointed out to me that on where I specified a price of $3.99, it’s actually there for $4.66. Not sure what’s happening there. I’ll have to investigate.

What I’ve been up to

There’s been quite a delay in the publishing process. When the new cover design appeared on the CreateSpace project page for the book, the title was too high. It was right on the edge. It needed to be shifted down a bit. I’ve now received the updated cover art and have uploaded it, along with the final(?) version of the text. I’ve sent that off to be reviewed so hopefully I will be ordering another proof copy by the end of tomorrow.

In the meantime I’ve been doing some work on Book 2 and editing a short story. I’m hoping to put a collection of short stories out by the end of the year. It’s been nice to get the brain back into coming up with new stuff instead of re-arranging something that’s been written for over a year now. It was strange, it took a long time to get back into the swing of it after so long spent proof reading and correcting.

I’ve also been doing some reading. Last year when I was shifting lots of stuff in my mum and dad’s loft I came across a box containing some of my old paperbacks. I was pleased to find that most of my collection of Edmund Cooper books was amongst them, though I seem to have lost a few of them somewhere. They now occupy the shelf above my desk, just above my laptop, along with some Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Fred Hoyle and AE Van Vogt, amongst others.

I’ve started re-reading them and am enjoying them again, although they all seem a bit dated now (both in terms of their technology and attitudes). For anyone interested in Edmund Cooper there is very good web site ( detailing his bibliography. I have most of his novels and short stories. At the moment I’m reading his novel Transit (published in 1964), and his collection of short stories, Voices in the Dark (published in 1956). I have my dad to thank for getting me into Edmund Cooper. Several of the books on my shelf are his old copies (Voices in the Dark, I hasten to add is one of them, being published the year before I was born). I’ve had to buy Kindle versions of some of the older ones because they’re beginning to fall apart.

Recently I was looking through a stack of old sci-fi books at my mum and dad’s deciding on which to rescue. Unfortunately some of the older books have been ruined by wood-worm. I was flicking through one book thinking it looked as if someone had been throwing darts as it, but on closer inspection the holes went through three books, and there was no mistake about it when the things decided to move up and down and across the page, taking out lots of words at a time. What a shame. I binned them. Tomorrow I’m going to check out some more to see if they’re worth hanging on to.