Monday, 28 February 2011

Muse Monday – The Nis by Katherine Langrish

This week the unicorn is delighted to welcome fantasy author Katherine Langrish to tell you all about her own muse and her fabulous new book West of the Moon

Over to you, Kath…


Muses take different forms. Traditionally they were visualised (mostly by men?) as classically beautiful women. Robert Graves even wrote:

No Muse-poet grows conscious of the Muse except by experience of a woman in whom the Goddess is to some degree resident…

I don’t know what Graves’ lovers, such as the poet Laura Riding, actually made of this. Mostly, I wouldn’t externalise inspiration. Wherever it comes from – the back of the North Wind or the back of my head – it feels like oxygen or water or life-blood, something my work requires in order to live, rather than an embodied Other.

But on the other hand, I can characterise it as capricious: sometimes sprightly and helpful, sometimes stubborn and sulky. My host Katherine Roberts’ Reclusive Muse is a unicorn – glamorous and noble (Muse: and glittery!) My own muse, I realise, is well-meaning, touchy, proud: sometimes childish, sometimes wise: loving, loyal, but ultimately detached by reason of his long life, an observer by nature. He has crept into every book I’ve written so far. He is a nis. A house-hob. A brownie.

Before I met the Nis, I was struggling with the manuscript of my first book which I’d envisaged as a fantasy involving the Norse gods and goddesses, Odin and Freya and Thor. It simply wasn’t working. Then one day at a church bazaar (in France, believe it or not), I picked up a small brown book from a stall for a couple of francs. It was the 1850 edition of Thomas Keightley’s ‘Fairy Mythology’, and in it I found dozens of stories from Scandinavian folklore about trolls – and nisses. I fell in love with the Nis at once. He and his fellows, the trolls, took over the book. I got rid of the gods, and ‘Troll Fell’ (followed by its sequels ‘Troll Mill’ and ‘Troll Blood’) was born.


The three ‘Troll’ titles have just been republished in one volume as the trilogy ‘West of the Moon’, and you can meet the Nis there. Like the English brownies, he is a house or hearth spirit who will clean and tidy for you in return for a bowl of food. English brownies, boggarts and hearth hobs prefer cream: the Norwegian nis’s favourite food is a bowl of ‘groute’: barley porridge, with (this is very important) a large lump of butter.

And there are other differences. Of course English brownies and hearth hobs can be practical jokers, but on the whole, if their routine isn’t disturbed they are placid creatures. Nisses, it seems to me from the stories, are particularly volatile – playful, but easily upset. Like children they can fly into a tantrum yet quickly feel sorry. In one story, a nis who lives in a farmhouse is forever playing tricks on the maids, who in turn try to get their own back. One evening a drover comes to the house with a large ox. Seeing it in the stable, the nis ‘took a prodigious fancy to ride on it’, climbs up and teases the animal till it breaks loose and gallops about the yard, tearing his hat (all nisses wear a little red hat) and hurting his leg. The poor nis screams and howls, wakening the maids who run out and laugh at him. But on Sunday, when they dress in their best clothes to go to a dance, he gets even with them. He dirties their faces, so everyone now laughs at them.

In ‘West of the Moon’, the Nis is a constant companion to my hero, Peer – who nevertheless has to expend quite a lot of energy and tact to keep the little creature sweet. The Nis’s ‘voice’ came to me as a gift, and for each book of the trilogy I was afraid it might not come back, but it did… Here, having eaten the cold, unbuttered groute supplied by Peer’s miserly uncles, the Nis sets to work:

Now for the housework!” it said suddenly. “I has to do the housework, Peer Ulfsson. As long as they feeds me, I has to do the work. But I doesn’t have to do it well. See me!”

…the little Nis seized a broom bigger than itself and went leaping about the room like a grasshopper, sweeping up great clouds of dust. It cleared the dishes from the table and hid the bones under Uncle Baldur’s pillow. It polished the plates with one of Uncle Grim’s shirts, and shook the stale crumbs into his best boots. …Finally it put three wooden spoons and the frying pan tidily away under Uncle Grim’s straw mattress.

No Dobby, he.

The presence of this muse in my life was reaffirmed in my standalone medieval fantasy Dark Angels
(US title ‘The Shadow Hunt’) in which a gruff but good-hearted hearth hob absolutely insisted on appearing.

And a couple of years ago, Sotheby’s of New York emailed me. They had a picture for sale, an 18th century oil painting. The subject was uncertain, but they thought it might be a nis. Could I confirm?


Enchanted to discover I had become a world authority on nisses, I looked at the painting and was able to tell them it definitely was. The naked, William Blake-like figure, human sized, wasn’t quite my own idea of how a nis might actually look, but there he is sitting by the fire with his bowl of groute, his red hat and his broom, while two women recoil in some alarm from his glowing eyes.

My husband was rather thrilled too. He suggested we might try and bid for it, but as the reserve price was $15,000, cough, cough, I thought we’d better not. And you know what he did?

He went to a local sculptor, and asked her to make me this. So here is my muse, my little red-hatted Nis, sitting on our own hearth and – no doubt – keeping a sharp eye on all that we do.


Thank you, Kath! I certainly like to keep my eye on all that my author does. If you would like to follow Katherine’s "West of the Moon" blog tour, her next stop will be over at Scribble City Central tomorrow.
For more about her work, see Katherine Langrish’s website and be sure to visit her wonderful myth-and-fairytale blog Seven Miles of Steel Thistles.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

A Poem for the Weekend

I wrote the following poem last year in response to Roselle Angwin’s “Writing Your Self” column in Mslexia magazine. The exercise was to find an image to describe your writing self, and it seems appropriate to publish it here as an introduction to Katherine Langrish’s guest post coming on Monday.
(Muse challenge: how soon can you guess my author’s image?)

I belong on the Druid’s staff
eye of the night
commander of the tide

When I am whole
werewolves hunt
and men howl at the sky

Haloed by fire
I was there at Christ’s crucifixion
darkening the sun

Superpowers raced to reach me
one small step for man
blood for womankind

I look lonely
but Clangers live in my craters
and cows jump over me

Eclipsed by earth’s shadow
I orbit you
unseen in the day

I enchant the mists
where muses work magic
west of the moon.

See you on Monday...

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Kindle 8 – Formatting your Word file

If you followed last week’s steps, you’ll now have a Word document containing all the text for your book with most of the old formatting removed. Hopefully by now you’ll also have done some market research, so you’ll have an idea of what the first 10% of a Kindle book should look like. You may have come across a few samples that didn’t look very good, so you’ll know what you don’t want. You might even have a few ideas of your own at this stage – great! So how do you get there from here?

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The important thing to remember is that you, as an e-publisher, are not in control of how your e-book looks in the same way you would be in control of a paper book. You can force some things (see below), but your reader controls the font, text size and number of words on their screen. What you are aiming for is to present your work in a format the Kindle can recognize and display in a sensible fashion, no matter which option(s) your reader might select on the day.

This is actually good news, because print publishers put a lot of time and thought into the design of a paper book, but with e-books you don’t have to do all this. In fact, problems will most likely occur if you inherit a beautifully designed book and try to force it into a Kindle. Remember: when in doubt, simplest is best.

The good news is that Kindle will keep any bold, italic, or underlining you already have in your manuscript. It’s also fine with the copyright symbol ©. If you have any other weird symbols, I suggest you leave them in for now and try them – if they don’t work when you get around to testing your e-book, you can always take them out later before putting it "live". Even if you miss something in testing and spot it later on, you can change it easily enough. There is no expensive print run involved with an e-book, so you don't have to get it right first time.

Relax! Repeat after the unicorn: formatting is easy. Good, now you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and start adding some Kindle-friendly formatting to your words.

For paragraph formatting, you'll need to set up some styles. How many, and what you put in them, is up to you but I'd recommend keeping these to a minimum. In Spellfall I used four, though I could have got away with three:

NORMAL – as explained in last week’s post, this should be as simple as possible, and since you have already applied it to your whole file it will become your default style. Although Kindle does not recommend you use any text alignment or indentation, you can actually get away with some of this if you prefer (like me) to stay sane while working on your Word file. My “Normal” style has: Times New Roman, 12pt, flush left, line spacing single, first line indent 0.75cm. This all translates well enough. If you don’t specify a first line indent, Kindle will give your book a default indent, which adjusts nicely with text size. It will ignore any fonts you specify and use its own.

CENTRED – You’ll probably also want some way of positioning your headings and other text, such as the contents list, in the centre of the Kindle screen. To do this for Spellfall, I set up a style called “Centred”, which I based on “Normal” but with the alignment set to centre. (Word 2000: Format Style, New, base “Normal”) Go through your file and apply this style to anything you want positioned in the middle of the page.

HEADING (the one I could have done without) – I based this on "Centred" with text size set to 14pt and using bold. I applied this to all my chapter headings. If you haven't got too many headings, you could do this by hand rather than using a separate style.

SPACED – Here’s how you get those blank “lines” I mentioned last week. I based this style on “Normal” with a trailing space set at 10pt. (Word 2000:Format Style New, base “Normal”, paragraph spacing after: 10pt). Note that this trick means your space will look smaller if the reader increases the text size on their Kindle, so you may need to experiment a bit at testing stage to get it looking right in all views. I used “Spaced” on my copyright page and to separate my reviews.
Muse tip: If you want to keep lines together using this style, then use a line break rather than a paragraph break (SHIFT ENTER instead of ENTER) - this shows up in your file as a little bent arrow at the end of the line.

I then went through my file by hand, forcing the first line of each section and chapter to 0cm (no indent), because I can’t quite shake off paper book formats. But you don’t have to do this. If you don’t, Kindle will give you another default indent for the first line of a section.

This is the only text formatting I used in "Spellfall". If you want anything else, you’ll need to experiment. Other things are certainly possible on Kindle – I am only telling you what worked for me, and might be a good place to start if you are a beginner... which I am assuming you are, otherwise you'd be busy Kindling your own books right now instead of reading what the unicorn has to say about it! And the unicorn says walk before you can run. The more formatting you put in at this stage the more chance there is of things going wrong later.

Images
So far I’ve been ignoring pictures, but at this stage you may want to add a few, or you might have some in your file already. Don't worry - the Kindle won’t crash if it sees one. Each image should be saved as a .jpg, and you’ll need to INSERT it into your file (Word 2000: Insert picture) not copy and paste.

You'll also need to check that it is fixed in line with your text (right click on the picture and check its properties) rather than floating about your file. Muse Tip: To test this, try dragging the image with your mouse. If it stays where it is, that's fine. If not, then go to properties and fix it – because if it floats in your file, you can be pretty sure it’ll float on Kindle!

The general advice from the forums is to keep the width of your images to 600 pixels or less. (Kindle has a zoom feature which kicks in for most images, so the reader can view them at full screen size.) A size of 600 x 800 pixels will nicely fill the Kindle screen on its portrait view. It’s probably best to centre any images, but that’s up to you – use your “Centred” style if you want to do this.

I will be discussing cover images in a separate post, but if you have got one already then you can resize this to 600 x 800 pixels and insert it at the beginning of your file, followed by a page break. Covers much smaller than this will not work, since resizing a small image will only make it blurry. (Muse note: if you want to use your old print edition cover, you will need to secure permission from your publisher.)

Hopefully you will now be a bit happier with the look of your Word file. If there’s anything else you want to do to it at this stage, go right ahead and experiment. Just be aware that the Muse will not guarantee results for all those little extras you felt inspired to put in along the way. I'd advise making some notes of what you did in case something doesn't work in testing and you have to return to this stage. Then save your work in a separate file, in case you want to start over.

By now you should have a Word file complete with images and (hopefully) kindle-friendly formatting. But it's not ready for Kindle just yet. So next time, we’ll add some hyperlinks to turn your good looking e-book into a working e-book.

Next week, the unicorn is taking a short break from Kindle to bring you a guest post from fantasy author Katherine Langrish’s muse, the enigmatic Nis… who will be dropping by as part of her blog tour to tell you all about her PAPER book “West of the Moon” (and if you don't know what a Nis is yet, then you know where to come next week!)

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Kindle 7 – Back to basics: unformatting your manuscript.

You should by now have all the text you need for your e-book in some kind of word processed file on your computer, and be fairly happy that it is of a publishable standard. If it’s a previously unpublished project, it will probably still look like the manuscript you would send to your publisher. If it’s a backlist title and extracted from a scan or a pdf file, it will have been formatted by your publisher for the paper book and will look much more like the real thing. The bad news is that neither of these formats is likely to translate well to Kindle.

The first thing you need to do to make your Word file easy for Kindle to digest is remove all the old formatting.

WHAT?! I hear you say.

After all that careful double-spacing and indenting of paragraphs, and adding your name and page numbers to the manuscript in case your editor drops it? After your copy-editor painstakingly formatted the pages so there were no widowed or orphaned words left at the bottom or top of the printed page? After carefully choosing the font and the text size and the spacing for your paper book?

Yes, after all that. And I bet you carefully formatted your front and back matter too, even though I told you not to worry too much. Remember my post on reading Kindle books, and how the reader can choose the way the words look on the screen? ANY formatting you do will interfere with this, and only a few things translate well to the Kindle. So first you need to take out all the stuff that won’t work. And since finding all the bad formatting and taking this out by hand can be fiddly, it’s often easier to go back to basics.

Muse note: From now on, I'll assume you are working in Microsoft Word. Katherine built her e-book of Spellfall from Word 2000, but if you have a later version of Word, or use another form of word processing software, then you should be able to do all the same things with it. If you have a choice of software at this stage, the rumour on the e-streets is that Word 2003 is best for achieving a straightforward conversion.

So now I want you to take a deep breath and do the following…

Turn on Word’s show/hide feature so that you can see all your paragraph marks and any other hidden stuff in your Word file. Paragraph marks look like backward P’s. Spaces show up as dots. Tabs show as little black arrows... hopefully you won’t have used these to position your text on the page, but don’t panic if you have because now at least you can see the things.
(Word 2000: Tools Options View “Formatting Marks” and select ALL.)

Remove all headers, footers, and page numbers. (Word 2000: View “Header and Footer” / Insert “page numbers”)

Take the text out of any tables (and delete the empty tables).

Select the whole manuscript and return it to “normal” style. (In Word, the style shows up on the left of the formatting toolbar next to the font and size.)
Now check to make sure your “normal” style is as simple as possible. You’re looking for default font, default text size, English language, single spacing, no widow/orphan control, no text alignment, nothing else remotely fancy. This will probably get rid of all your paragraph indents, too, but don’t panic! We’ll sort them out next week.
(Word 2000: Format “Style” and select normal from the list).

Then go carefully through your manuscript and remove any tabs (Muse tip: do a find/replace for ^t).

While you’re at it, keep an eye out for extra spaces that have crept in while you were typing – typically before the paragraph returns – and take these out, too. Kindle does unexpected things with extra white space.

For the same reason, remove surplus blank lines (the ones with just paragraph returns on them). If you want a break in your text, it's best to separate sections of text using something that avoids blank lines altogether, perhaps a little image or * or ~ or a combination of these ~~*~~. If you really want a white space between lines that is not a page break, I’ll tell you how to add this next week. As a rule, do not use “enter” for adding blank lines. One or two should not mess things up too badly, but any more than four in a row and you are in trouble because these will be interpreted by Kindle as a blank page.

At the end of each chapter or section, if you haven’t done so already, add a hard page break. (With the show feature turned on, this shows up helpfully in Word 2000 as a dotted line labelled “page break”).

At this stage, your book will be a lot cleaner formatting wise, but will look a bit of a mess in Word, and you might feel as if you’ve just taken five steps backwards. Don’t worry, because in effect you have done exactly that. The Muse is trying to take you to the start of the Kindle road as painlessly as possible, without sending you bashing your way across country and through the HTML undergrowth to get there.

Save your cleaned up text in a new file called kindlebase.doc(or similar), in case you mess things up later and want to return to this stage. We’ll work on formatting this file for Kindle next week.

In the meantime, you might like to read up on formatting tricks for e-books in the Smashwords Style Guide, which is available for free download. This is not aimed specifically at Kindle books, but most of the same principles apply. It also has helpful screen shots showing you where to find all the things I’ve mentioned above among Word’s menus.

Muse Note: Smashwords is a website which will take your Word file and build you a basic e-book in all known formats, including Kindle. If this sounds too good to be true, it is, because by trying to create all e-formats it ends up master of none. Smashwords also do not provide an option for digital rights management. But I mention it here as an alternative route to e-publication if you're happy with a basic looking e-book and/or don't like the idea of being tied exclusively to amazon.

Next Week: Kindle formatting tricks.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Writing Wednesday challenge - Horse Histories.

This challenge was suggested by Hannah Atman of the Conchita Espinosa Academy in Miami, after she read my book I am the Great Horse and was inspired to do her own project about Alexander the Great – thank you, Hannah!

In my book Bucephalas tells the story of Alexander the Great's conquests with many squeals and “flat ears” and whinnies to his favourite mare. He’s a big horse with a big head and so he wrote a big story of 500 pages! But what if other famous horses from history were to tell their stories, too?

The Muse has come up with a list for you. Your challenge is to choose one of these historical characters, find out what you can about him or her (Muse tip: try a search on the internet), then write a short story or poem from the point of view of their horse. History doesn’t tell us the names of all the horses, so you might need to invent these. Others are more myth or legend than history, which might appeal if you have a unicorn for a muse like Katherine.

HORSE(S) – HISTORICAL CHARACTER

Black Bess – Dick Turpin
Incitatus – Emperor Caligula
chariot horses – Queen Boudicca
Comanche – General Custer
Brown Beauty – Paul Revere
Arabian mare – Ishmael
Xanthus and Balius – Achilles

Have fun! If you like the result, you can share your work on this blog by emailing it to the Muse.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Kindle 6 - Front and back matter

If your manuscript survived the Muse’s horn last week and you’re still keen to turn it into an e-book, you now have a bit more writing to do.

Before you groan, I don’t mean more work on the actual story. You’ve told me that’s finished and has been edited and proof read, so the Muse will believe you. At this stage (if you're anything like my author) you’ll be totally bored of your own story, have forgotten why you ever wanted to write the book in the first place, know each full stop and comma intimately, and just want to see the back of the thing. That's a good sign – and it proves your author work has been properly done. Normally this is where your publisher will take over, at least until the book comes out and you need to do some publicity – by which time you’ll hopefully be refreshed and ready to talk about the book with some of your original passion.

But now you’re a publisher too, remember. So you need to put on your publisher’s hat (preferably one with a glittery feather in it) and add some pages at the beginning of your story, and maybe some at the end, to make it into a real book. If you don’t know where to start, then take a look at a paper book as a guide.

Suggested front pages:
Title page – including your name and the book title.
Copyright page – with your name and the date, any previous publication credits, and other legal things such as permissions for using other people’s copyrighted material. Take care! You cannot, for example, use song lyrics without clearing (and probably paying for) permission. Same applies to copyrighted pictures.
Review page – if anybody has read your book and said something nice about it, you might want to quote them here (possible exception if it’s your mum).
About the Author page – a short piece about you.
Contents page – list of chapters or stories in your book, including front and back matter. To avoid a boring list of numbers, why not name your chapters? This will also give your potential reader a good idea of what they're missing when they download the free sample.

Suggested back pages:
Other books by - a list of your other published books.
Links - your website, etc.
Teaser chapter - for your next book, particularly if it is part of the same series.

If you have a backlist title then it might already have some of this material, but you’ll need to update it for your e-book. You can’t use your previous publisher’s layout, anyway, because that remains their property – you only own the copyright in the words of your story. So if you have managed to get hold of the print pdf file from your publisher (or have scanned in your old paper book), then at this stage you should extract your story and convert it back into a Word file. If you don't have any conversion software, try www.freepdfconvert.com

Don’t worry too much about the formatting at this stage. Just put in the extra text you want to include, with page breaks where appropriate, and I’ll show you how to make it look pretty on Kindle next week.

Also worth thinking about when adding front and back matter is the finished length of your book, because when people download the free sample from amazon to their Kindle they’ll usually see the first 10%. This will obviously include all your front material. So if your book is very short, your potential reader might not get to read much of your wonderful text, particularly if you have put in ten pages of reviews beforehand (I’ve seen it done!) or several large pictures. My author recently downloaded the sample of A Simples Life, which has so many images that it cut off halfway through the contents page – not terribly useful! If this is the case with your book, you might want to consider moving some of your front matter to the back. Think of the first 10% as an advert for your book, the teaser that will make people want to buy.

A quick word about images. It’s possible your book contains pictures as well as words. Fine. If they are already in your Word document, just leave them where they are for now. Otherwise keep them somewhere handy on your computer, and I’ll deal with them in a later post. We’ll concentrate on getting the words looking right first. Pictures in general are no problem, but remember the Kindle displays colour images as greyscale, so if you are thinking of having some new illustrations then these will work best in black and white.

Once you’ve added all the front and back matter you think you need, then you’re ready to start formatting your book to make it Kindle friendly. I suggest you use the rest of this week to check copyrights, canvass people for reviews if you haven’t got any yet, and brush up your author page. First impressions count, so you’ll want that 10% sample to look as good as you can possibly make it.

In the interests of market research, the Muse also suggests you download a few free samples from the Kindle store to see what sort of thing other publishers put at the front and back of their e-books. You can get the sample of my e-book “Spellfall” here. You’ll probably notice mine, and most of the other samples, have underlined hyperlinks on the contents page. Take note of what they do, but don’t worry about them yet because I’ll show you an easy way to put these in later. Most samples will also include a cover image, and some will "open" in unexpected places. Again, don’t worry, because all will be explained later! (You can check where you are in the sample by looking at the progress bar across the bottom of your Kindle – if it seems to open halfway through, then just backpage to see what is included at the beginning).

Have fun, and I’ll see you next week!

Muse tip: If you haven’t got an actual Kindle, you can download free Kindle software from amazon for your computer, ipad, blackberry, etc. and read your samples on that.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Kindle 5 – Are you SURE you want to self publish?

I know I promised to get on to formatting this time. But last week catdownunder asked if publishing your own e-book means people will think you aren’t good enough for a “real” publisher. It’s an important question, so the Muse has ordered me to answer it before we go any further. One does not argue with a unicorn. His horn might glitter but it is also sharp.

So, at the risk of sounding like your computer when you try to delete a file… are you SURE you want to continue? Because it’s not too late to change your mind.

If you’ve got a backlist title which has already been professionally edited and proof read, and the rights are now definitely yours, then great – carry right on! There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t republish your backlist book in e-format, except for the fact it might not sell many copies, and this may wound your author pride a bit (before you realize what an amazing job your publisher must have done to sell as many copies as they did the first time around).

But if you have a previously unpublished manuscript, then you may need to pause at this stage to check your motives and make sure the book – and you – are really ready to publish.

Why? Well, you don’t want to make a total idiot of yourself by publishing something full of grammar and spelling errors do you? That’s hardly going to attract an agent or a publisher, or many readers for that matter, no matter how wonderful your story. You might think you can sort this kind of thing out yourself using the spell and grammar checker in your word processing program, but you’ll be amazed how many errors slip through! In the interests of market research, I’ve been checking out some of the free self-published books on my Kindle, and most of them do themselves no favours. (Muse: that might be why their authors are giving them away?)

But even authors with excellent spelling and decent grammar need some kind of outside editing to help them focus their story, particularly if they are new to writing, and quite often when they’re old hands. I’m not saying you need to empty your savings account and employ a professional editor (though this is of course the ideal situation). But your manuscript should at least have been critiqued and read by somebody other than you and your mum. If you’ve worked on it during a writing course, for example, or swapped it with writing buddy you trust, then it might be ready. Might. Remember why you’re doing this. How confident are you that your book is not only in a publishable state, but good enough not to make a fool of itself (and therefore you) alongside the more professional books in the market?

Since judging your own work is notoriously difficult, another test is to ask yourself a few questions:

Is your manuscript being self-published because you’ve been sending it round to publishers for years and failed to sell it anywhere else? (Muse: warning bells should be ringing!)

Are you self-publishing your book because you’ve been told by several editors and agents it is good, and yet they don’t see enough of a market for it or they don’t know where to put it on their list. (Muse: you might decide to self-publish to test the market – though you’ll probably sell it eventually if you keep sending it out.)

Are you here because you have a project that no publisher will touch because it’s too personal/specialist to make them a profit? (Muse: this could be a valid reason for self publishing, though you might consider doing your book as a small print run or pamphlet aimed at a specific market, rather than an e-book).

Are you an established author with an experimental project that would not really work in paper format but might work in e-format? (Muse: could be interesting if you have the time to devote to publicity, though you'll need to decide where it fits with your other work, and how your fans might react.)

There might be other reasons you want to self-publish in e-format. For example, publishers always say that short stories don't sell, and so it might be appropriate for a published author of novels to self-publish a collection of their short fiction as an e-book. I am enjoying reading short stories on my Kindle and think they fit the format quite well, so I wish there were more of them.

If your muse has strong views on self publishing, please leave a comment below. And next week I promise we'll make a start on formatting your book for Kindle.

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