What week is it?

Is it Wear your Best to Work week? I’m all for that kind of thing. I mean, we live in a fantastic age where we have incredible choice for what to wear, so why not bust that suit out and wear it with pride? But no, no, it’s not that week.

Is it Stay in Bed week? Unfortunately no. While I would welcome the change of pace, I’m sure the economy wouldn’t enjoy workers dropping tools, wheels, keyboards and pens to take a kip.

Is it Put your Phone Away Week? I wish, I wish, I wish it was. You know how much fun it is when you can talk to someone without a black rectangle covering their face?

Alright, alright. I’ll let you in on the gag. It is, in fact –

Read an Ebook Week - Banner sized for Facebook
Smashwords Read An E-Book Week!

And to celebrate, they’ve got a bazillion titles up on discounts. 25%? Yup. 50%? You bet. 75%? Even so.

100%??? There sure are! In fact, if you head to my profile page:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JeremyTyrrell

You’ll find all of my books for… free. That’s right, gratis. Go nuts. Get the entire set of Adaptation (Just get the compendium, it’s easier). Go on. What’s that? You want an octopus detective? OK, go get Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef and, while you’re there, get Tedrick Gritswell Makes Waves.

Not your thing? Grab Atlas, Broken or the Bullet. Or if you’re into Paranormology, grab all five books and shove them in your cart. Electrons come free, baby, so go nuts.

Then, when you’re done, go and visit some other authors and give them some love. And then… and then… and then read them! That’s part of the whole ‘Read an E-Book’ week deal. If you enjoy them, great! If not, that’s fine too. Oh, and if you don’t mind, please come back and leave a review when you’re done.

If reading really ain’t your thing, might I suggest you listen to the audiobook versions? It’s kinda sorta still almost and E-book, right? It still counts. It’s just that you’re reading with your ears. Yeah. Let’s run with that.

What are you still doing here? Go and read a book!

Read an E-Book week goes until March 7, so get in while you can.

The Quality of the Merchandise

Forgot to mention yesterday about the quality of the print of the books that arrived.

I’ll start with Tedrick. I got Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef and Tedrick Gritswell Makes Waves delivered so I can give a final check to the quality of the print. I have to say, I’m impressed. The stock used was a cream paper, nice and easy on the eyeballs, with a good sized font and proper looking margins.

I’m always concerned with the gutter, to make sure that when the book is opened, the words don’t get lost somewhere down in the spine. The guidelines of the KDP template help out there a lot and they point out, quite clearly, if words are going to be squished in the gutter.

The margins, too, are spacious and roomy, enough for fingers to hold without getting in the way. Where the print falls down, in my opinion, is on the cover. I’ve noticed a distinct difference with the brightness of the colours on the monitor versus those on print. The books seem to have their colours muted somewhat, like the ‘volume got turned down’.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the same image, it’s not altered at all, but the realisation into the physical world leaves a little something back in the digital world. I’m sure there’s a term for this.

The Adaptation book is a whopper. It’s printed on white paper with 9.5 point font, 0.5 points below the recommended minimum. That was the absolute largest I could use without blowing the pages out past the maximum of 800. I also used a custom font that squished the words up a fraction more. Each chapter title also uses a custom font to match the title cover.

This was a bit annoying because it means embedding the font into the final PDF. If I didn’t do that, the font would default to something else, and I’d gain an extra few pages and push past the limit. Embedded the font ain’t so bad – it makes the PDF larger, of course, but that makes it longer upload.

The cover came out better than I expected. The charcoal of the carbon-fibre comes up good against the cyan and orange. The back holds a likeness of yours truly in a little circle. The print quality is nice and the matt cover has a definite feel to it.

The only thing that annoys me is the slim margins and small font size. I would have preferred to go to, say, a thousand pages with a thicker margin and 11 point font but, unfortunately, the Laws of Physics only extend so far.

The Horizon

After each release, I get deflated. Steam whistles out of my joints, my brain shimmies to a halt, my fingers become indecisive. Floff! That’s me for stint. Don’t worry, I’m not slacking off or anything. There’s always more to do. It becomes a matter of prioritising based on necessity.

Then, after a week or two of recuperation, my eyes lift up from where I am and start looking at where I’m going. I have to make a decision for the future. I have to look to the horizon and plan where I’m going.

I have to answer that burning question, “What’s next, Jez?

Do I continue with the Paranormology series? Do I resurrect some of my older works and bring them up to speed? Well, both of those prospects are tempting, but I’ve decided to give that funky cephalopod a bit of love.

That’s right! Tedrick Gritswell is getting another book. And why not? He’s a hero. He has an assist-kick to help him. He has escaped the clutches of the Abyss. He’s only just getting started!

This time around I won’t be using KDP. I found it too restrictive, too cumbersome. I didn’t really enjoy the advantages touted and, frankly, I prefer Smashwords.

Of course, I’ll want to get a jump on the front cover as early as possible, but I’m not sure how that’s going to look yet. I’ve only got the skeleton of the story sketched out, and I’m still changing that around to suit.

In a nutshell, it’s more octopus fun for me.

Man, I hoped that worked…

I moved from wordpress.com to wordpress.org over the last few weeks. The transition wasn’t all that hairy, just took a while. What with all the other duties I must perform, I hardly had two minutes to rub together. There was the dump of the content, the files and settings, and the domain names and setting up the server.

In the end, though, it’s done. It means I’m paying my way but I’ll have more freedom over how the page looks and what plugins I get to use. On that note, if you are having trouble viewing jeztyr.com or jtyrrell.com, please drop me a line and let me know.

Also, I’ve tried my best to maintain the followers, but if you’ve dropped off somehow, I’ll do my best to sort it out.

Cool, Jez, so what’s cracking?

Admin time is over. Now it’s back to getting the books out and other fun stuff. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, the next release is “Portsmouth Avenue Ghost”, number five in the Paranormology series. I’ve finished the first draft and I’m looking to take to it with a razor.

After this, I’m tossing up whether to do a sequel to Tedrick Gritswell, or dust off some of my older projects and breathe some life into them

Speaking of Tedrick, my incarceration with Amazon is almost over, so I’m going to ditch the exclusivity crap and release Tedrick on Smashwords – and subsequently all the other book vendors.

One thing at a time, eh?

Portsmouth is looking to be released early to mid November. I’ll settle on an official date as soon as I can.

All Profits go to Bart’s Ration Challenge

Bartek Sobieszczuk, or ‘Bart’ to those in the know, is taking part in a fundraiser to live off only rations for a week in order to raise money for Syrian refugees.

I got to thinking about how I could help out. I’m not rolling in dough, no sir, and a lot of my spare change has gone his way but that’s not quite enough. Well, Bart has helped me to help him help others.

I’ve agreed to two things:

  1. Any and all profits from any and all sales of Tedrick Gritswell from today (Tuesday, 20th of June) to Saturday (24th of June) will go straight to Bart’s fund.
  2. On Friday I will do as he is doing and subsist solely off 600g of rice for the day. I think I also get to have a tea-bag. Maybe.

It’s not much, I know, but it means that I can at least contribute something more than a fistful of dollars and, as he put it, “They (you guys) get a great read and contribute to a worthy charity at the same time!”

Sounds about right to me.

Of course, if you wanted to donate directly, go right ahead:

https://actforpeace.rationchallenge.org.au/fundraisers/barteksobieszczuk

BartSobies

That’s the link for his fundraising efforts. It’ll tell you more about it than I can. Go and give it a visit.

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What’s got 2 eyes, 7 legs…?

And is set to splash its way all across your e-reader? Tedrick!

That’s right, everyone’s favourite octopus detective is due for release tomorrow, 1st of June!

TedrickGritswellMicro

OMG! I’ll be holding my own little celebration, but I can’t celebrate for too long, no sir. There are too many things to do. I’m still getting AMS to play ball, and then there’s the hardcopy to finalise, and distributions. Man, it almost makes me wish I had multiple limbs! Sorry, Ted, I know you’re still smarting about your missing arm.

You can find Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef at the Amazon store here, for the price of a cup of coffee. And once I’ve passed the required number of days, I’ll publish to Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Kobo and Google Play. Or you can download the mobi or pdf and import that into your reader – I’ve heard that works.

Thanks for sticking with me on this ride. I’ll continue with the hardcopy KDP journey in a day or two, once I’ve shaken off the darkwater hangover.Mini Jeztyr Logo

That Octopus is on his way!

I told you I’d do it! Tedrick Gritswell of Borobo Reef is up for pre-release.

What does that mean for you?

It means you can pre-order it so that, on 1st of June, 2017, it gets automatically added to your library and you get the honour of being the first spud to read it! It also means you can rest easy knowing that I’m going to use the next few weeks to spruce up the book, get the formatting down, all of that.

Here’s the link:

What does it mean for me?

It gives me a chance to slow down and take stock. The work doesn’t stop, though, you should know that by now. I need to:

  1. Work on the cover (woot!) some more. That’s not the final iteration.
  2. Fix up some grammatical and spelling errors.
  3. Make a few last minute additions and subtractions.
  4. Rev up the marketing engine and concentrate on that properly.
  5. Get this into a hard-copy version el-pronto.

I’ll keep you posted about how it all goes, including how the KDP uploading went. In the meantime, I’m going to take a break, have some lunch, maybe even head to Bunnings for a walk-around.

Haven’t done that in a good while.

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Editing – Ugh… Do I have to?

Who ever said that writing was glamorous? Not me, I can assure you. I can think of many words to describe it. Glamorous doesn’t make the list.

The writing bit is fun. You know, making up the story and getting all the words on the paper and building up characters, scenes and plots. That’s a hoot, but not glamorous. It’s fun, sticky and sugary, like eating dessert for an entree.

The marketing – promotions, adverts and posts – that’s all boring but essential, like steamed vegetables.

The worst part, for me at least, is editing. I’ve already read the damn book. I’ve worked over little details, scrubbed whole bits out, rammed other bits in, smooshed it, smoothed it, worked at it and sat on it. Then, after a period of recovery, I get to do it all over again.

And that’s just the second draft.

Rinse, repeat. Third draft. Oh brother. Looking down at the plate, you’ve got something in the realm of cold porridge, mixed with a spoonful of unsoaked lentils.

Ugh. Editing. Spoon by spoon, it’s a slog to get through, especially the third draft. It’s where I have to concentrate not only on grammar and spelling, but flow, repetition and any major flaws that are sitting there. Did Barnes come before or after I fought the Unome? Was Belvedere oblivious to Sassam’s plot? How much did Wyra blab to Coraline?

Yes, these should have been taken up in the Second Draft. Doesn’t mean they were. Consider it the last chance to nut all of that out before the galley is produced. I’ve had some assistance to this end in the form of my father grabbing a red pen and for this I am very, very grateful.

Of course, since he stole the red pen, I’ve been forced to use the green for my own amendments. I can live with that. Want to hear the good news? It’s all done. The hard-copy side of things, that is. Now comes the second part of the editing task: working back over the printed pages and translating the scribbles and scrawls, side-annotations and asterisks over to the electronic version.

This the is down-hill part of the task. Doesn’t mean it’s any less unpalatable, just that it takes less time.

What’s the date today? May 1st. Cool. In that case, I have reached the decision to put this book up for pre-release May 4th on Amazon’s KDP (the Kindle Direct Publishing thing), for an official release June 1st. That’s from a Thursday to a Thursday.

I’ll try my best to document the process. I’ve got Smashwords and Lulu down, but the KDP is still a bit of a foreign concept.Mini Jeztyr Logo

Borobo Reef

I had planned to have finished the first draft of the next book by the 30th of March. To this end, I pulled out all the stops. I was writing day and night, lunch time, after dinner, before going to bed and even while sleeping.

All that hard work paid off – I did it! Not only did I hit my target, I managed to get it done days earlier than anticipated. That, like, never happens. And it’s got me worried.

Why worry?

You see, getting something done quickly is great, unless it’s done so hastily that stuff goes missing or gets overlooked or gets done sloppily.

I’m not really worried, not like that. It’s more that I’m going to stay on my toes during the second draft, keeping an eye out for anything glaringly obvious.

When’s that due? Glad you asked. 25th of April is the deadline for that. So I’m going at that hammer and tongs, right?
Wrong.

The Cover

Instead of going straight into the second draft, I’m going to let my reading / writing brain have a rest and get cracking on the cover. That’s right, rather than put the cover off until the end, I’m going to use the down time to do some creative drawing.

My Wacom pad has been lonely.

TedrickCombine.jpg

So I started with a sketch of an octopus, the protagonist of my story, a spud named Tedrick Gritswell. After some scruffy sketches, I used the watercolour to get some feel for how he would look, and once that got somewhere close to what I was after, I added a layer and dropped in a background.

Corel Painter has some neat features like layering, lighting and texturing so I mucked about with that so see what I could use. After all, my spud ain’t smooth, he’s got skin. Plus there’s shading to be done and depth of field and all of that.

At the time of writing, I’m still working on the coral cliffs in the background and getting some rocks and shells and other plants in there, along with cleaning up the water and adding some details, but here tis:Tedrick6.jpg

I’ll keep at it for the next few days while I chill out my brain, you know, maybe get out and make a petrol station for Joey like he’s been bugging me. Fresh air and exercise, that’s what I need.

If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Huh? Why is he missing an arm? I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until the book is out to find out.Mini Jeztyr Logo