On one of my recent posts I mentioned that my Writers’ group – Vision Writers’, were producing an anthology. Well, I am happy to announce that ’18’ is here! Woohoo, I hear you all shouting. And believe me, I am just as excited as you are. The anthology celebrates 18 years of Brisbane based writers’ group – Vision Writers’. The group has a number of published members, including our founders Marian De Pierres and Rowena Corey Daniels. Vision Writers’ has a variety of characters from all walks of life, and as a member of the group you’re sure to get honest and invaluable feedback on any stories you submit for critique. I have learned a great deal from this fantastic Medley of Sci fi, Fantasy and Horror Authors. 18 Showcases the talents of some of our current authors with thirteen stories to lose yourselves in. The anthology covers tales of Wizards, Dragon’s, Spirits, Mobsters and much more. These stories will take you to new worlds; worlds of fantasy and worlds of horror. Thanks to all who helped put this anthology together: Trahern, Belinda, Talitha, Meghann, and all the other writers involved. 18 is available as an E book for free on various sites, check out my ‘Publications’ page for details.
So, enjoy and once you’ve sated your reading appetite, please post a review or let me know what you think via comment on this blog post.
Picture by Shannon Hauser
Hello out there in the busy, electronic minefield of the internet. Most of you have been following my blog for some time now, others not so long. For those long-term followers, you would know I have slacked off here and there to focus on my writing. For the newbies… That’s just how I roll. Anyway, I am thinking of putting some more time and energy into my blog. I find I have a little spare time on my hands while my work is being reviewed by my newly acquired editor. That’s where you come in. See, I’d like to know what you want to see more of on my blog. What sort of posts you have enjoyed? What would you like to see less of? Or are you happy for me to keep doing what I’m doing?
Your feedback on these things would be greatly appreciated and could help me to improve my blog. So please, let me know your thoughts.
How does this work? I love to read fantasy, give me wizards, give me elves, give me goblins, trolls, magic and medieval weapons. Link it all together with a good story and I’m in for the read. But, more and more I’m finding that when I write, I turn to horror. Why? I don’t know. I really don’t enjoy reading horror (unless it’s mixed with fantasy of course). So why am I writing it? It truly baffles me, but for some reason I enjoy writing horror. The first book I wrote was fantasy, and while I enjoyed writing some parts, I struggled through the rest. I’ve yet to release it into the world for all to read. In fact, I still haven’t had it edited. It seems there is always something else I have to do first. But, I have since written a couple of short horror stories, one I have already released and the other is coming out soon. So why do I struggle with fantasy and not horror? Is it because I like fantasy so much that I’m anxious mine might not be good enough? I’m not sure, but I know that after all the time and effort I’ve put into it, I need to get my arse into gear and get my fantasy out there.
Does anyone else have this problem or it is just me?
Establishing a Kindle Direct Publishing Account:-
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is the site I use to self-publish on Amazon. If you go to KDP.amazon.com, there is a short information video you can watch about KDP. To get an account, you just need to hit the sign up button on the above noted page and fill in the details. Once your account is set up, all you need to do to publish a book is click on ‘Create new title’ and input the appropriate details for your book. This will include the title, uploading your prepared book content and cover, confirming your publishing rights and setting the pricing and royalty information. Then you can either ‘save draft’ or ‘save and publish’. It can take up to 48 hours for your book to become available, but the first book I published was up in around 30 minutes. It is also possible to amend your uploaded content at any time after publishing, but this takes a short time to update on the site.
I would like to note that there is a previewer tool you can use to preview your book before you publish and I recommend you use it. It seems to work well and I have not had issues with it. The ‘Look Inside’ previewer available to customers on the sale page, is a different thing all together. This ‘Look Inside’ viewer does not seem to read all HTML/CSS code and can show your book content quite differently from the way it appears in the publishing previewer. In my experience, the formatting inside my e-books has worked fine on the publishing previewer and all devices I have tested it on, but in the ‘Look Inside’ Previewer – the tool buyers use to check out your book before they purchase – I have had formatting issues. My problems has been where I have formatted images to a smaller size, the ‘Look Inside’ previewer appears to have ignored the code that reduced the images and blown them up to their full size again. I have resorted to removing the images from the first 10% of my book because the ‘Look Inside’ feature only shows the first 10% of the content. Not the desired option, but a temporary work-around until I can work out how to fix this issue. Other authors have noted that the text formatting in their books has changed in the ‘Look Inside’ viewer, but I have not experienced this problem myself. My advice is to check the ‘Look Inside’ preview of your book after it becomes available on Amazon, and if there is a problem, try to fix it or come up with a work around. Otherwise it may cost you a sale.
Everything you need to know to set up a KDP account can be found at:- kdp.amazon.com
Setting up an EIN:-
An EIN is an Employer Identification Number, which is a U.S. Tax ID number. If you have a business and are eligible, you can get an EIN. You need one to have a business account in the U.S. or if you employ people in a business trading in the U.S. among other reasons. As a Non-U.S. person an EIN will reduce the amount of witholding tax you pay on U.S. sales. You do not need an EIN if you are an individual/sole proprietor, you can still apply for the lower witholding tax under a tax treaty Australia has with the United States.
To obtain an EIN you can complete an online application or you can phone the Inland Revenue Service (IRS). As I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I set mine up, I chose to phone the IRS. I didn’t find the person I spoke to particularly helpful and probably would have found it just as easy to do online, but I’ve had friends that have contacted them for this same purpose and said they were very helpful. So, I guess the service is dependent on the person you deal with.
If you are considering obtaining an EIN, I think the first thing you need to do is work out if you actually need one. I suggest you do some research online first. I set mine up on advice from another author, but having gone through the process and then publishing on Amazon and Create Space, I don’t think I actually need it. I am an individual/sole proprietor and can use my Australian TFN to gain the reduced tax rate under the treaty.
If you do decide you need one, you can obtain can get it via phone by contacting a local office (if you live in the U.S.) or there is an International Call Centre for those outside the U.S. If you are ringing internationally, you need to be aware of the time difference when you call, and I suggest you look online to confirm the time difference from your location.
All the info you need can be found at:- www.irs.gov. The site can be a little confusing, but you can find the international number under the ‘Help & Resources’ tab by scrolling down to the ‘contact us’ section.
Disclaimer: This is only my understanding of an EIN. As there are many intricacies to tax law and everyone’s circumstances are different, I recommend you seek independent advice from a qualified tax agent or the IRS before you apply for your own EIN.
Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story, as indicated by its title, is a book for writers who want to learn about novel structure.
The Bad Stuff: There really isn’t anything I found that was bad about this book, other than the experienced writer will probably know the information within the pages
The Good Stuff: If you want to learn more about story structure, this is the book for you. I was familiar with the content, but it served as a refresher for me. It is written in plain language and explains the key components around structure. I was actually surprized by the amount of content in this book and I recommend it if structure is something you wish to improve on.
Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story is well written, easy to read and takes a very comprehensive look the elements of structure. I am giving this one 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.
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Setting up an ABN :-
If you are an Australian looking to become a Self-Published author, an ABN may be of use to you, depending on how you plan to operate your business. An ABN is an Australian Business Number. It is a unique 11 digit number that identifies your business to the government and the community.
Not everyone is entitled to an ABN, nor is it mandatory to have one to operate a business in Australia, but there are benefits. For example, if you do not quote an ABN on invoices, it is a legal requirement for other businesses dealing with you to withhold 47% tax on any payments they make to you. You can claim the excess tax paid in your tax return at the end of the year, but this slows down your cashflow.
If you only plan to sell on Amazon, I doubt you will need an ABN. As a self-publishing author, I intend to earn an income from the books I publish. I intend to sell my books both on Amazon, and through whichever other avenues I can. This could mean I need to provide invoices for my sales. Another thing I have considered is that potentially, I could offer publishing services to other authors in future. For these reasons I have established an ABN. It’s up to you to determine if you need an ABN and are entitled to one.
It’s easy to apply for an ABN, you simply complete an online form that will test your entitlement. If you are entitled, you complete the rest of the details on the form and receive your ABN on completion. You can apply or find out more about ABN’s at:- abr.gov.au
Disclaimer – This is my understanding of an ABN only. I recommend you seek independent advice from a qualified tax agent or the tax office before you apply for your own ABN.
Yes, it’s been a while since I checked in with you all. I haven’t been blogging much because I’ve been focusing on my craft. Not just the writing side of things, but the publishing side too. I’m still attending my writer’s group meetings. I have pulled back on my social media and blogging. I’ve spent more time writing and I have been doing some leg work on self publishing. So, what does that mean? Well, let me give you a run down:
- I have set myself up with an ABN, an Australian Business Number.
- I have set myself up with an EIN, an Employee Identification Number, which is a U.S. Tax ID number. This allows me to sell books in the U.S. via Amazon, without having to pay a high rate of withholding tax.
- I have established a Kindle Direct Publishing Account
- I have set up an Author page on Amazon’s Author Central
- I have taught myself, through reading, how to format my stories in HTML, convert them to e-books and publish on Amazon.
- I have taken a story I previously published through one of my writers’ groups (I retained all rights to this story), and I have formatted it in HTML.
- I have searched numerous Pre-Made book cover sights and purchased a suitable cover
- I have converted the HTML file to a MOBI file
- I have written a blurb for the book (a short synopsis)
- I have uploaded the file to Amazon
- I have linked the e-book to my author profile on Author Central
- I have linked the e-book to my author profile on GoodReads
- I have created a spread sheet to store the publication data
- I have updated my publications page on this blog site
- And I have written this blog post
After all this hard work, I have managed to produce my first ‘Indie’ Publication that is written, formatted and published by myself, in the form of a short story titled – Low Life.
For the writers out there who follow my blog, I intend to go through each of the above steps in more detail over the coming weeks. So, if you are on their own journey and looking for some info on what’s involved with setting up, etc… keep an eye out for these posts. For the readers that follow my blog and would like a stand alone short story, Low Life is now available here. Before purchasing, please take note that the story is available for free in the anthology ’18’ on some sites. The details can be found under the ‘publications’ page on this blog; however, any purchased copies of the stand alone version will be gratefully appreciated.
Bleach, Vol. 4: Quincy Archer Hates You by Tite Kubo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bleach Vol 4 brings us a spiritualist come TV show host who thinks he knows what he’s doing, we take a twist at the end when Quincy Archer enters the story to shake things up.
The Bad Stuff: Again, I have nothing of value to say here, Bleach isn’t the world’s most popular Manga for nothing.
The Good Stuff: In most cases it’s the characters that make a story, and the characters in bleach shine. I love the way Tite adds humour to this tale through their different personalities.
Another 4 out of 5 Golden bookmarks for this enjoyable series.
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Bleach, Vol. 3: Memories in the Rain by Tite Kubo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bleach Vol 3 takes Ichigo to the cemetery for the anniversary of his mothers death. If he’s gonna find a hollow anywhere, my guess is it will be at the cemetery!
The Bad Stuff: I really struggle with finding the bad stuff in this series, so I’m just gonna skip this bit.
The Good Stuff: More Manga, how good is that! Tite does it again, but the plot thickens in this volume as Ichigo meets the Hollow that could have killed his mother. Another hilarious instalment, the teddy bear cracks me up.
Vol 3 moves the series forward revealing more about Ichigo and his abilities, 2 down and 18 volumes to go. Another 4 out of 5 Golden bookmarks for this installment.
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Bleach, Vol. 2: Goodbye Parakeet, Good Night My Sister by Tite Kubo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Bleach Vol 2 continues the story of Ichigo Kurosaki, a Soul Reaper, hunting evil spirits called ‘Hollows’ that eat the souls of humans who have psychic energy.
The Bad Stuff: Hmmm… I think there was a crease in one of the pages.
The Good Stuff: Manga, Manga, Manga, what’s not to like? And Tite Kubo gives us some of the best Manga you can read. As with volume 1, I loved the illustration and the wit, the characters provide some good banter that makes you laugh. Everything you would expect from a Manga title.
Vol 2 builds on the series, only 19 left to go. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 Golden bookmarks.
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