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Learning Experiences!

So the new novella has been out for three whole days now, and I have learned a few things, which I will inflict on you in case any of you have ever thought of self-publishing, or in case you already self-publish and want to point and laugh at someone else (or perhaps nod knowingly and reach for the bottle.)

Doing this right is hard.

I have burst into tears once, sulked twice, screamed multiple times, ran out of a coffee shop like my ass was on fire and my head was catching, and uploaded at least six versions to Smashwords.

We shall not number the hard drinks consumed, for yea verily, the path of the author is strewn with dying liver cells.

It may be easier with practice (I hope) or for some other people (I suspect) but seriously, every typo has filled me with burning shame before my ancestors, and I know for a fact some of my ancestors thought “wash” was spelled with an R.

Which leads me to the second point–oh my god, so many errors!

And I was GOOD! I hired a copyeditor and she is a very good copyeditor and caught hundreds of them before they could do more than squirm and hiss on the page! But two people going over something with a fine-toothed comb doesn’t cause perfection.

Now, I sort of suspected that, because hell, there are typos in the Dragonbreath books—the paperback version of Book One has two About the Author pages facing each other, and a whole print run of Digger 2 went out missing a page. So even meticulous professional publications go out with typos. I expected that.

I did not expect how mortified I would be by each one–oh god oh god everybody can see this they will see I am an unprofessional hack who didn’t care enough to go over it enough times to fix it oh god oh god the goblins deserve better than to have me for an author oh god-–and never mind that we DID go over it. (I take all the blame—a couple of the typos were even knock-ons from me having fixed other ones she caught in the final draft!)

This experience actually makes me cringe a bit because “typo-ridden” is so commonly thrown around as one of the big problems with much self-published work and I thought “Ha! I shall be better than this!” and then, oh god, like ten errors. Each one a small, mistyped dagger in my heart.

So, I’m probably less judgy now. That’s probably good. I guess. Or at least I have judged myself.

It’s like being Catholic AND an editor. God help us all.

I have also learned that if I do this again, the day it comes out is a total loss. No work will be done. It will be all putting out fires and tearing out hair. I will make a note of it.

Now, the good bits!

The nice thing about this is how nice everyone has been—y’all have been wonderful about reporting errors without going “Write it better next time, jackass!”

The other nice thing is that it’s fixable. I admit, I did not expect how many updates I’d have to do–I THINK I just sent out the last set, which had an exhaustive list of teeny changes—THANK YOU, DRAGONLADY!—but of course someone could turn up tomorrow and say “Yeah, so, that last update did something weird and Sings-to-Trees is now named “Craw-bob” and all the scenes with the trolls have been replaced with an ad for Liquid Plumber.” And that would be bad.

One nice thing—it earned out quickly and is now making money. (I had about $500 worth of expenses.) So in that regard, it’s a great success–we’re well over 300 copies, which is respectable for three days of self-publishing under a pen-name in a weird little niche market (and yes, I did just call you guys a weird little niche market, but I mean it in the nicest possible sense.) I have high hopes that it’ll crack a thousand. (And we were actually in the top 20 epic fantasy on Kindle for a bit there, so that was neat! Obviously George RR Martin was most of the other 19…)

That said, obviously I’m not throwing over Dragonbreath tomorrow–I mean, Book One is cruising towards the 200K mark at a good clip. Different worlds entirely.

However, it’s actually really gratifying to get this weird little story out there. (Heck, it’s just nice to write for grown-ups again—I am good at writing for kids, but I do occasionally want to start throwing corpses around.)* No, it’s not a huge sum of money (although a few thousand dollars and a long tail is absolutely nothing to sneeze at–a novella that pays the rent for two months and buys me occasional coffee is VERY SUCCESSFUL compared to a novella that lives on my hard-drive and moulders!) but finally I’ve inflicted the goblins on other people. And mostly people seem pleased with it. And that’s pretty cool.

So thank you all for being so patient with the typos and my flailing around like a panicked bird on a window-pane. I hope to do this again soon!

Like…err…next year or something.

Anyway, latest version available at:



and still hoping that it will hit iBooks/B&N/Kobo at some point. (If you can’t wait, Smashwords has many formats available, it’s just a matter of delivery to various devices.)


*Somewhere, my editor just twitched and isn’t sure why.

Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

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So far, I see six 5-star reviews on Amazon.com, one of which outs you and your DeviantArt page, and one of which compares you to PTerry and David Eddings (in successive sentences). The style was also compared to a Pixar movie. That's 6 5-star reviews out of 6 reviews total, btw.

I bought my copy yesterday after the double Chapter 2 issue was resolved. I don't know if that was version 2 or version 6, but assuming it wasn't the final version, do you know if there's a way to update my Kindle copy (or does that happen automagically)?

That is a fantastic question, and you know, I'm not sure? It says that users will be able to download the update, but it doesn't actually tell you HOW, and I don't think I've ever done it myself!

Before I go flailing through the bowels of the beast, do any sharp readers know the answer?

I was just looking for an answer to that, and I found that Amazon now has a feature called 'Automatic Book Update' which, well, proclaims to do exactly what it says ("Opt in for automatic book updates to receive new versions of your books when we have confirmed that improvements were made", in Your Kindle Account).

I also bought it and downloaded it yesterday, so I hope that this will do the trick to get me the newest version. Not that I mind the typos, though. It feels special to know that you swore at each one of them.

I am not 100% sure how the "confirmed improvements" work, I'll be honest--apparently they want you to e-mail them and they'll decide if it counts, but it takes up to FOUR WEEKS to decide? But that may just be for "sending out a new e-mail."

I expect this is one of those things we'll learn...

Yeah, I'm not seeing the 'update available' notice that tephralynn mentions downthread, but that might be Amazon being slow to confirm the update, some obscure option I've not opted in somewhere, or that it was already updated automatically.

I'm learning all sort of new things about Amazon, though!

If you go to Amazon and click the Manage Your Kindle link you should see that there is an update available and be able to redownload from there. Amazon may, or may not, email people when there is an update, depending on their settings.

This is excellent info, thank you! I bought mine yesterday or so and I'll make sure it's updated now.

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