The Hollow Bunnies are coming

The eBook versions are now available. The Kindle book had some typos so there’s an updated version in the works. It’s uploaded and should be available soon. The one on Smashwords is the up to date version, and the print book had all the corrections in place before submission. I can fix errors in eBooks just by uploading a new interior but once it’s printed, it’s fixed. So the print book was the one that had to be right first time.

The print version has to be reviewed before release. That’s simply to check it will print correctly. Hopefully it will be done by tomorrow. It’s a little shorter (and therefore a little cheaper) than the first one.

Okay, I think I can take a couple of days off now and then go for some easy ones – as in, ones I don’t have to write anything for.

Now it’s time for a rest. And a drink…

Done!

The second Underdog Anthology is ready to roll. I expect to load it up tomorrow, once I’m certain the formatting is all correct. Here’s a contents list –

Foreword

Mark Ellott 
Myffanwy and the Egg
Easter 1916
Morning Cloud and the Spanish Angels
Gridlock
Death and the Life Heareafter

Stephen W. Duffy     
Changed Upon the Blue Guitar
Doth Close Behind Him Tread

Roo B Doo
Morning Run
The Inchoate Egg

Justin Sunshine
The Journey Chosen

H K Hillman
The Night of the Hollow Bunnies

Afterword

 

153 pages this time. All the stories are Easter themed, with the usual mix of genres. Just the one story from me, although it does occupy 20 pages of the book and features Dr. Dume, one of the Blackthorn family and Romulus Crowe. It was a tough one to write, they all had their own ideas about where the story should go.

The order is simply the order in which the stories arrived. I’m last because I was the one holding things up – that story was torn from my very soul, word by word.

Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell is finished. Next up is a biography of a Dutch artist and a novel. The biography shouldn’t take too much time. You can’t really edit a true story.

The next Underdog Anthology will be Halloween, and this year it will be ready on time. I’m getting the hang of this…

 

Normal service will resume soon.

Teaser time 🙂

 

The contents page for the second Underdog Anthology, ‘Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell’…

 

Mark Ellott
Myffanwy and the Egg
Easter 1916
Morning Cloud and the Spanish Angels
Gridlock
Death and the Life Heareafter

Stephen W. Duffy
Changed upon the Blue Guitar
Doth Close Behind Him Tread

Roo B Doo
Morning Run
The Inchoate Egg

Justin Sunshine
The Journey Chosen

H K Hillman
The Night of the Hollow Bunnies

 

A couple of last minute entries in there but they don’t need much editing. I’ll have full access to my office (and email) again on Thursday and that will be the Big Push to the finish line. Not as dramatic as it sounds, really. I have most of the book in format and assembled, I just need to get the authors to quickly check for blunders in formatting. The book will be out in time to get it for Easter.

Father is recovering well, and will soon be back to his normal determined curmudgeonly self. They leave on Thursday so he has no time to rebuild dry stone walls outside or try to paint the 10-foot-high walls in the other rooms. I already decorated the room they’re in so he wouldn’t be tempted.

He did a fantastic job on the greenhouse, and if he’d still been fifty I think the house would have had a full internal remodelling job by now.

Anyway, the book. No more Easter stories please, there’s no time to fit in any more. Start thiking up Halloween shorts. If there are enough summer themed ideas I’d do a summer anthology but I might not be in it. Summer horror is a tough one.

Since I have email restrictions while I have visitors, I’ll put some minor contact points here.

Stephen, I need an ‘about the author’ bit from you. It can be a couple of lines or a full page and it doesn’t have to be true 😉

Justin, I’ve edited your story (didn’t need much work, as usual) and the edited version along with the author contract will come back to you by the weekend.

Roobee, likewise, your second story will be edited within 24 hours and the author contract is heading your way.

I think I have to set up a backup office in one of the other rooms. It’s nice to be visited but being separated from the main machine is restrictive. I need to set up a mirror machine.

Still, I got most of the book work done before the visit so it’s not a big deal.

Okay, better get back to it.

The Hollow Bunnies

The second anthology has passed the first hurdle. It’s over 100 pages which is the minimum to make it worth putting out in print. Print On Demand means there’s no back stock to worry about but the unit price depends on the number of pages. That’s why Hugo Stone’s ‘Cultish’ is expensive in print. It’s quite a tome.

There’s a base price too, so go much below 100 pages and the price stops dropping. Basically it means if it’s below 100 pages of 6×9 inches (trade paperback) then it’s not going to be cost effective in print. It can still work as an eBook because, naturally, there are no print costs. Even Hugo’s massive tract of depravity can be reasonably priced as an eBook.

Tales the Hollow Bunnies Tell has passed that hurdle and will be in print and eBook in time for Easter. The stories are edited and formatted (only one author prevents it from coming out right now and I have to hold my hand up to that one). The front cover is ready and looks like this –

Yes, Roobeedoo helped with the editing again. She’s on her way to being a permanent member of staff, even though we’ve never met.

There might be some adjustment to the cover lettering. Otherwise it’s done. The back cover is not done but photos of pastoral scenes are not hard to come by around here. I’ll take a camera out tomorrow if the weather permits. I do have a particularly creepy driveway…

There is still time to send in another Easter-themed story. I plan to finalise this around the 27-28th of March and I’m on target to make it. Easter is later than usual this year so I have a little leeway but for once, I intend to actually meet a deadline.

Author contracts and then payments will go out soon. If I don’t have an ‘About the Author’ bit from you I’ll be asking for one – and if you want to update yours, you can do that too.

As usual, if you want payment in books rather than cash I can do that. Postage is ‘free’ which means I pay it, not you, but it’s a legitimate business expense so it’s tax deductible. If I get to the point where I’m sending a ton of books every month I might ask for postage but it’s small stuff so far.

I won’t have a final unit price on the book until I have it completely assembled and ready for print but I expect it to be roughly the same as the last one. If so you can take £10 per story or two books per story or any combination of those. It might change so don’t hold me to this – I might yet get a novella sent in that makes it a real biggie!

Although I think a story that’s over 100 pages in itself would be a separate book, with a separate contract.

Anyway, I have been looking into the process of marketing using my management manuals featuring someone called Dilbert.. There seems to be a lot of drinking involved.

So far, so good.

Writing day

Longrider’s novel is done. All editing, formatting and cover work is finished. I sent it back to him at three minutes to March for a final once-over and then it’s publishing time. Yeah, I missed the end of February deadline but not by much and I’ve left time to get the second anthology ready for Easter.

There are enough stories to make this one worth doing so the second anthology is a ‘go’. Could do with a few more authors – there are only four of us so far – but then Easter is a tough topic. Still, we have nine stories so far and some are long ones. It’ll be big enough to be worthwhile.

For the Longrider fans – yes, Morning Cloud is in it again.

And I’m bringing back my favourite demons, Foras and Bifrons, for this one too. I’m also working on a Dume tale that might or might not make it in time. If so, that would be ten stories.

There’s still time to think up a quick story or two. This one will pay at £10 per story plus a copy of the book, or all in copies of the book if you prefer. I can’t keep up the pay rate I had for the first one or I’ll go bust.

I have also started working on a cover. This is at the draft stage, all might change although I do quite like that title. I’ve gone for pastoral and cute, as you see. Well it is Easter…

cover2smallNo last minute rush this time. I’ll work up an intro and all the fiddly bits well in advance. It all comes with practice. Four books done under the Leg Iron Books banner and I’m finding out where the bottlenecks are. Mostly, it’s me  😦

I have always has this tendency to try to do everything myself. To the extent that I spurn instruction books until I get past the first few disasters. It’s been labelled ‘male pride’ in the past but it’s not that. It simply does not occur to me to ask for help. There is also an element of perfectionism bordering on the OCD. There were only ever two technicians who could work with me and that’s because they were just as picky as me. I didn’t have to check every detail of their work.

Not one PhD, M.Sc. or any other student ever failed when I was supervising. Some ended up utterly despising me but they all got their qualifications. There are some who will never speak to me again but they passed and that was what really mattered.

Okay, my one man show means everything gets done exactly as I want it done but sometimes – as with the rhubarb incident I’m never going to be allowed to forget and several others that have, to my relief, been forgotten – I have attempted a two man job on my own. I always succeed but rarely without some kind of minor injury.

Lately I have begun letting people help. Roo B Doo helped a lot on the editing of the first anthology but now she has a real job again, I am reluctant to ask her to help on the next one. It’s a lot of work and I can’t pay much. Hugo Stone (the author of ‘Cultish’) helped with the editing on Justin Sanebridge’s ‘The Goddess of Protruding Ears’ and without that help the book might still not be out yet.

It took me over half a century, but maybe I should consider letting other people help out once in a while.

Maybe next year.

Who let the underdogs out?

The first Underdog Anthology is now a real thing. Thirty-two stories by nine authors in 200 pages. It’s available on Amazon as a paperback, also as a Kindle eBook and there is a hardback copy available for those with far too much money.

Hold off on the hardback, it should appear on Amazon in the near future and then you probably won’t have postage on top.

There will be a range of eBook formats available soon. I’ll let you know when they’re ready.

I have cut the price to the bone on all formats. I can do that on anthologies because I pay up front for the use of the stories so there are no royalties. When I put out other people’s novels there will be a royalty factor to include and that will inevitably increase the price. On a hardback that increase could be huge.

For example, a 200 page hardback selling at £16 will get me less than 50p profit on Amazon. The rest is print costs and Amazon’s cut. If it’s a hardback novel and I’m paying 10% of cover price as royalties, the only way I can do it and not go bust is to price the book at £18. If you want 20% royalties the price goes to £20 per book and so on.

The hardback is an extreme example of course but the principle holds true for paperbacks too. The only way to cover author royalties is to increase the price per book.

Take the anthology paperback: 200 pages sells for £4.99 and again I make under 50p per book. To give, say, 20% royalties on a novel that size I would have to price it at at least £6.50, to give £1.30 to the author on each sale, around 60p to me and the rest goes to the printer and sales outlet. Naturally this all increases as the book size increases and if print costs rise in future, so does the price of the book.

Someone willing to shell out £4.99 for a book might think twice at £6.50. So pushing up the royalty per book really only stifles your sales. I might not be doing this to make myself rich but I can’t subsidise it. I can run at break-even or minimal profit but at a loss, I’ll soon have to stop.

The situation with eBooks is a touch more complex because they are subject to VAT. Worse, they are charged VAT at the rate prevalent in the country where they are sold. Fortunately, the sellers take care of all the VAT stuff but it means I’d be offering royalties on the base price (without VAT) not on the actual list price (with VAT). Otherwise, again, I’d be cranking up the price to cover the royalties and VAT and cranking up the price increases the VAT… it gets into a vicious circle.

People expect eBooks to be cheap. Pushing up the price virtually guarantees no sale.

Even so, I can go with about 40% of the before-VAT price as a royalty. That doesn’t leave me much profit but it still leaves me with a positive balance and at this stage that’s all I need. As long as nothing goes into the red in the first year, it’s good.

I’m still figuring out the business. Fortunately I started with a relatively simple project in terms of sales, even if it proved complex in terms of preparation. Novel preparation is much easier – one author, everything already in one format, easy. The complex part of novel publishing is financial.

I’ll get the hang of it. In time…

Underdog Anthology is imminent

The Amazon page is up and the Kindle version will probably be available first, followed shortly by the print version.

The Kindle will be £1.99 including VAT in the UK (yes, they charge VAT on eBooks now and it varies depending on which country you buy it in). The print version will be £4.99. I make pennies per copy but as I said at the start, this first one wasn’t the ‘make me rich’ one. It’s the ‘get known’ one so the cheaper the better.

I now have four novels in process, the first of these just needs a cover, the second already has a cover and just needs my final proofreading. Those two contracts will go out in the coming weeks.

Also there will be a second anthology next year and another for next Christmas so I’ll be looking for stories again. Can’t promise the same pay rate as last time, it was generous to get the ball rolling but future books will have to suffer the oppression of reality. I won’t make a profit in the first year but I’d like to in the second.

Next, I have to prepare the anthology for conversion into all the other eBook formats out there. As long as I set it up properly that won’t take more than a few days.

Novels are actually easier…