And the Winners are…

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Hello Readers, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who entered my Crimson Guild Give-away contest. I have had a fantastic response to this, which is really quite humbling, so thank you all for participating.

As a thank you to all my readers and everyone who entered, if you head over to books2read.com/u/mgKpjv you should be able to grab a free e-copy of the anthology ’18’ from any of the links to the listed stores.

Now, lets get down to business. The give-away has closed and all entries are in. The draw has been completed the old fashioned way – all entrants having their names placed in a box, which was given a good shake, and 10 winners were selected from the box at random.

And the winners are:-

  1. Josh Beckerman
  2. Nikki Hite
  3. Kalyhan Jahmid
  4. Karen Richardson
  5. Stephanie Lundgren
  6. Amanda Beth Steele
  7. Eric Bartram
  8. Nicholle Lynn Stucke
  9. Anthony Miller
  10. Jeremiah Griffith

Congratulations to the winners, I will be contacting you all by e-mail shortly to find out what format you would like your e-book in. I hope you enjoy reading your new copy of The Crimson Guild.

Check it out! I got an Author Interview :)

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Surprise! I managed to score myself an author interview over at Book Reader Magazine. If you want to check it out, you can find it here: http://bookreadermagazine.com/featured-author-allan-walsh/

 

Another Milestone Reached – Getting my Book into a Store.

Hello Readers,

I have some exciting news to share. I have reached another milestone on my writing journey. I now have a book on the shelves of a real life, bricks and mortar, bookstore. Yay! The Crimson Guild is now available in Little Gnome Book Shop, Wynnum. Here is a picture of me showing Little Gnome one of my books before it goes onto the shelf.

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So, for all you readers that savour the smell of a new book and the feel of those pages on your fingers as you flick to the next page. If you want a nice new print copy of The Crimson Guild, head down to Little Gnome.

And for those authors out there wanting to know how I went about achieving this milestone, well it was surprisingly easy. These are the steps I took:

  1. Little Gnome was referred to me by a friend (but you could easily search for independent book stores).
  2. I checked out the website, where there were contact details and an enquiry form.
  3. I went down to Wynnum to grab a coffee and check out the store.
  4. I liked what I saw, so I emailed Bel, the owner of the store and sent her a PDF copy of my book.
  5. Bel responded to say Little Gnome would be interested in stocking my book, providing/advising of the forms I needed to complete.
  6. I completed the forms and e-mailed back to ask when she would like me to deliver the books.
  7. I visited the store, dropped off my books and the paperwork and grabbed a photo with Little Gnome. Easy!

From what I hear, there are a number of stores out there that support indie authors, all you have to do is approach them and find out if they are interested in stocking your book. If they are, they will let you know their requirements.

Happy reading.

Book Review – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1)The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Review – The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson is a story of hope. Vin is a Skaa. A slave girl who has learnt to trust nobody. Oppressed, beaten and betrayed, her life feels worthless, until she meets Kelsier, then everything begins to change.

The Bad Stuff: Okay, I’m going to be quite critical here in a nit-picking way, because I am actively looking for something to say on the bad stuff. Honestly, for me, it came down to two things. Firstly, in the beginning, there was a lot of white boarding in meetings. This took me out of the fantasy world and dropped me into the reality of my day job. There was also some word repetition with sentences ending in the same word or the same word being used several times in a paragraph. On the whole, these things were not a big issue for me, like I said… I’m nit-picking here!

The Good Stuff: I loved this book. There is an ‘Allomantic’ magic system like I have never seen before (maybe it’s been done before, but this is the first time I have seen it). Personally, I love martial arts and I love the Matrix. The Mistborn in The Final Empire remind of both, they’re like magical Ninja’s with Matrix type abilities. Who doesn’t love a magical Ninja! Kelsier and Vin are both strong characters you will love, both with their own tear jerking stories. The Inquisitors are an original and ominous foe and the Lord Ruler is as much a god as he is made out to be. The characters work well with their individual traits and the world is well constructed with class distinctions, and a believable economy built off the backs off the Skaa.
This is a great fantasy novel and I look forward to reading the rest of Brandon’s books. If they are all as good as this one, I’m in for a very enjoyable time.
This one gets a mist swirling, steel burning 5 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

More From Japan.

Just a quick post with some photos from Disneyland Tokyo. Here they are:-

Back in Australia now and need to catch up on my writing stuff, but look what was waiting for me when I got home today:

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So for those that have put in your orders, let me know when you would like to collect your copy.

Enjoying some time out in Japan.

Hello Readers,

I haven’t been online much lately because I’m on holiday in Japan and it has been pretty full on. I’ve been to Shinjuku, Harajuku, Kyoto and now Tokyo Bay. This is a crazy place that never seems to close down, it just keeps going day and night. The city is a modern, chaotic metropolis with people, traffic and colour everywhere, but then there are these beautiful traditional shrines, temples and parks alongside in this wonderful juxtaposition that is Japan.

The plan is to hit Disneyland tomorrow, so that will be a first for me and should be a fun experience. I’ll try to get a few photos, but here a few of my travels so far.
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That’s all for now, but I have a feeling that some of the wonder of Japan will creep into my writing in the future, only time will tell.

Giveaway – 10 Copies of The Crimson Guild to give away.

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Hello Readers,

To celebrate the release of Blood Rage, I have decided to run a giveaway. That’s right, 10 lucky readers can win an e-copy of my fantasy novella ‘The Crimson guild’. If you’re interested in entering the draw, click on this link to the campaign.

Good luck!

New Release – Blood Rage, a Fantasy Novel by Allan Walsh.

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Hello Readers,

It’s finally here! Blood Rage has been in development for a long time. The writing process is not a quick one, with the first draft being written a few years ago now. Then came the feedback, the editing, the re-writing. What we call polishing in the writing world; polishing the story to make it shine. Well, I hope it is sparkling for you all, because I have buffed it over and over to get it gleaming.

Blood Rage is now available from Amazon and soon to be released on many other platforms. Though if you are purchasing a copy, I would recommend you take a look at the boxed set first, it is a great value deal containing:

Trio Mockup*
*Please note the 3D render image does not represent the actual dimensions of the books

Blood and Fear – a short story that is exclusive to the boxed set,
The Crimson Guild – a novella,
Blood Rage – a novel,

Happy reading.

Time For Another Update? I Think So.

Image by Jcrakow

Image by Jcrakow

Hello Readers,

Alright, what can I say? The Crimson Guild was released in March has been out for around 4 weeks now. I did have a little hiccup with the print copy though. When I received the proof, the margins were a little out, so the words fell too close to the spine and needed to be adjusted slightly. That has all been fixed up now and the new proof looks fantastic! So I have approved it and the print copy is now available. I have also been doing a little promo work on Facebook to let people know about. If any of you have read it and enjoyed it, it would be awesome if you’d leave a review, rate it or let people know about on social media.

The month of April seems to have jumped out of the shadows, shouting boo at me. And it’s taken me by surprise! It seems like only last week we were celebrating Christmas, where does the time go? I plan to release Blood Rage this month, so I better get a move on. Luckily, the e-copy is all ready to go and I’ll probably get it out in the next couple of days, as I’m off to Japan this month for a short break (I will try and get some interesting photos to share with you all when I get back). Once Blood Rage is released, I also intend to release a boxed set which will contain The Crimson Guild, Blood Rage, and a little bonus – Blood and Fear. Blood and Fear is a short story that preludes the other two books and will be exclusive to the boxed set. Unfortunately, I cannot easily create a print copy in a boxed set, so it will only be available on e-copy at this time. If you are planning on purchasing The Crimson Guild and Blood Rage on e-copy, I would wait for the boxed set, as it is going to be great value. It will be cheaper than buying both books separately and you will get the exclusive bonus of Blood and Fear.

In between the promo work I’m doing, my day job,  and time spent critiquing at my writers’ groups, I have also been trying to read and write. I’m currently reading Brandon Sanderson’s – Mistborn and I am really enjoying it. I’ve also started a short fantasy story and I’m about 1500 words in. I’m enjoying that too, it is a little different from the Blood Rage Series as this one has elves in. In addition to this I have a few other unfinished projects, mostly short stories, and when I have finished them I think I will wrap them all up in a collection.

Anyway, that’s it from me. I hope you are all well and enjoying what you’re reading.

Take care.

A Writer’s Journey – How I Self-Published a Book (Part 2).

Google and I became even closer pals over the next weeks. Once again I searched the depths of its archives, reading up on how to create a print copy. And once again, I cut through all the guff, the filler, the extra wordage that filled out the articles and stripped them down to a bullet point set of instructions that I would understand. I formatted ‘Low Life’ for print and sourced a pre-made cover for cost efficiency. The site I got this from provided an e-book cover only. I needed a print cover too. Fortunately I had come across instructions on how to do this when I was searching for how to format a print copy. I created a print cover with the same artwork, and released it on CreateSpace as a short story in its own right. Now I was prepared for the new anthology.

Darkness in Shadows 3D render

My contribution towards the new anthology was ‘Darkness in Shadows’. The story was edited through the group which applied a polish and made it shine. I referred back to my bullet point instructions and sharpened my skills by formatting the short story for e-book and Print. With the formatting complete, I sourced a pre-made cover and released it as a stand alone short story just as I had with ‘Low Life’. Once again, everything worked.

I had started to think that releasing short stories and purchasing covers for each, is not a cost effective idea. I could write a heap of short stories and put them into my own anthology with 1 cover. But when I thought about it more, I came up with a marketing plan. I don’t know if it is a good plan or not, I’m still in the process of trying it. I decided I would release each short as a stand alone, I would not market them until I had enough to complete a boxed set (I’m still working on this too). Each time I release one, I do a cover reveal. I will do a quick post about the release and I will try to get my name out there on numerous books. Then I turned my attentions back to the anthology – ‘Darkest Depths’.

While formatting ‘Darkest Depths’, I found oDarkest Depths 3D Coverut that there are some differences between the formatting of a short story and an anthology, but the fundamentals are the same. I adapted, made a few small changes and completed the formatting. The book was then released through Vision Writers’.

With my projects behind me, I turned back to my Novel ‘Blood Rage’. I was now ready to publish and I wanted to do it right. After my anthology experience, I decided to get an editor. Fortunately, I had one of the editors in the writers’ group lined up and negotiated a deal. I circulated ‘Blood Rage’ for beta reading and the feedback that came back suggested there was enough content for 3 books. By now it had been years since I first started my book. At some point you have to move it on or you will be working on it forever. But I took the feedback on board and split the story into 3. However, to minimize the prospect of waiting another year or two turning the book into 3 novels, I split it into a short story, a novella and a novel and sent them to my editor.

Trio Mockup.pngWhen ‘Blood and Fear’, ‘The Crimson Guild’ and ‘Blood Rage’ came back from my editor, there was a heap of editing for me to do. But it was worth it. I got stuck in and after about a month of going through the edits, I had a polished story. Honestly, if you decide to self-publish, at a bare minimum, spend the money getting your work edited, it makes a huge difference. With the editing done, I had to source covers. I had been looking for months, since before I had sent the work for the editing process and I had come up empty handed. I had a budget I was trying to stick to, and it wasn’t cutting the mustard. So I pushed my budget upwards, searched even more sites for pre-mades, and found an artist that had just what I wanted. And not only would I get an ebook cover, but I would also get a print cover and 3D renders for each book. One problem with 3D renders, is that they can be deceptive. Take a look at mine for the ‘Blood Rage’ series above. It looks like all 3 books are novels roughly the same size, but they are not. ‘Blood and Fear’ is a short story less than 30 pages long, but the render uses a template that makes it appear like it is more. You can get different sized templates, but this is the one that came with my purchased covers – this one looks great, but it does not accurately represent my book. This shouldn’t be a problem for most readers as the description on Amazon tells them what they are getting, but I try to make it clear when I have a short story to avoid confusion.

I claimed the covers with a deposit and went to work formatting for print. I chose to format the print copies first because the cover artist needs to know how many pages in a book in order to create the correct spine width. The page number in the original document will rarely correlate to the page number in your formatted book. This is because it depends on the size of book you produce and what font type/size you choose, etc… After I knocked up the print copies, I completed my electronic copies and have now published ‘The Crimson Guild’ in ebook. I have ordered a proof copy of the print version to ensure the formatting and cover print colours are okay, before I give the go ahead to release.

So, lets take a look at the tools I used along the way and how I use them. The tools are:-

Y-Writer (Free Software)
MS Word (Purchased Software)
JEdit (Free Software)
Scribus (Free Software)
MS Paint (Was installed on my laptop when I purchased it)
Gimp (Free Software)
Calibre (Free Software)
Excel (Purchased Software)

I did not want to spend a lot of money initially, so I tried to keep everything as cheap as possible. I started off by purchasing the student version of Microsoft Office which came with Word and Excel. I soon found that Word was not really designed for writing books. Through extensive searching with my old mate Google, I found free programs that would do what I wanted, and I switched to Y-Writer, a free writing tool specifically built for writing books. For those of you that have heard the hype about Scrivener, Y-Writer is basically a no frills version of Scrivener, and having compared the 2, I personally prefer Y-Writer.

My method is to write in Y-Writer, where I can create chapters and scenes, character profiles and notes, move them around, etc… and then when I have finished, I save the document as an RTF file and open it in word. This is where I begin my formatting. I use words find and replace feature to ensure all my quotation marks, en dashes, em dashes, etc… are standardised. After completing as much of the formatting in word as I can, I copy and paste into JEdit and save as a HTML file. This is a program editor that I use to format for e-books and it is too detailed a process to go into in this blog post. It is important to note that how I create my books, is not the only way to do it. There are many ways to format an e-book, and with software these days, there may be easier and quicker ways to format a book that may be just as effective, or even better. I am no expert on the matter. It is up to you to find what works best for you.

When I have done my thing in JEdit, I need a cover before I can publish. I have created my own covers in using Paint and Gimp, and I have purchased e-book pre-mades (The front cover only) and created a wrap around print cover using Paint and Gimp. As mentioned above, I have also purchased a full set of e-covers, wrap around print, and 3D renders. Once I have my cover sorted it’s time to go to Calibre. In Calibre I ‘add book’ and load up my HTML file. Then I go and update the metadata, ensuring I add as much detail as I can, including the book cover, title, author name, star rating, ID’s tags, description, etc… and move on to convert book. Here I select the output file type, ie. EPUB or Mobi (I do not use AMW3 for Kindle because from what I have read, older readers do not work reliably with this file type). I complete a few other details and Bobs your uncle… I have an ebook file ready to load up to Amazon via my Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account. I also load my up to Draft to Digital for a wider level of distribution. When I started out, I found this post on e-book formatting very useful. When you get to the bottom of the post there are links to the subsequent posts that complete the series on this topic.

Next a create the Print version. The Print file is a little more complex initially, because you need to set up the parameters for your book and ensure you follow the guidelines of publisher. The main publishers are CreateSpace and Ingram Spark, but KDP have recently provided a service to create print books too.  I use Scribus to create my Print file. I set the size to 5″x8″ as this is my preferred book size and is one of the more common ones used. I will set it to double page and set up a series of master pages. Generally I will use 5. A right and left normal, right and left with header and footer and a right chapter start page. I add page numbers where required. Then I will generally add twice as many pages as my word document and set up my text styles, one for ‘Italic’ font, ‘Bold’ font, an ‘Indent’, a ‘Title’ style with a larger font, etc… I copy and paste my formatted word file into Scribus and then use the edit text option to format the print copy using the freshly created styles.

When the formatting is complete I convert the file to a PDF. I now know how many pages my book is and I pass this info onto my cover designer so they can get the spine width right, or I will create a wrap around cover myself in Scribus and convert it to a PDF when done (this is a bit tricky, but with a little patience it can be done). All that’s left now is to load it up into my CreateSpace account (or whichever service I choose to publish through).

The last piece of my puzzle is Excel – I use this to record my book details. The title, the edition, the formatting I have used (ie book size, etc…), where it is published, the ISBN/ASIN, price, tag line, description, call to action, author bio, any cover restrictions on use, etc… and any other details I need to capture for whatever purpose. I also use it to keep a record of my expenses and any income I generate for tax time.

And that is how I self-published my books.