March Update – Iron Tribune and Kickstarter

Kickstarter Preview/Ideas and an Update on Iron Tribune


Hi all,

As I sit here in my office relaxing as my beta readers dismantle Iron Tribune (Hopefully for the best!), I’m also planning Steel Praetorian. So far, I’ve planned out the first four chapters. Chapter one will be included in Iron Tribune, but I won’t even let my beta readers see that 🙂

Here’s my estimated timeline for Iron Tribune to be published.

  • End of March – Beta Readers return Iron Tribune
  • April 20th – Iron Tribune goes to the editor(!)
  • May 1st – Kickstarter campaign for additional illustrations begins. Kickstarter ends by mid-late May
  • (Sometime in May, based on how long editing takes, formatting should begin)
  • Sometime in June, send out all rewards, post Iron Tribune to Amazon, Etc

Here’s what I’m thinking for Kickstarter Funding Levels

  • $1 – Big Thank You + Name in Acknowledgements
  • $10 – Digital Copy of Iron Tribune and one of my two novellas
  • $20 – Digital Copy of all novels + novellas
  • $30 – Signed Print Copy of Iron Tribune (Plus all the above)
  • $50 – Signed Print Copies of all three novels
  • $100 – Create a Character (Create a character in Steel Praetorian, including how he/she dies)

I think the funding goal would be $500. What do you all think of this? I suppose I could bump it up a bit to include shipping, or I could have ‘rest of the world’ backers up their shipping as well. Totally would like some feedback please!

Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More

Five great tips for self-publishing support staff – editors, illustrators, small publishers, etc. Keep your sanity while keeping your clients happy and coming back for more!


By Daniel Ottalini

You want to have all your bases and operations covered!
You want to have all your bases and operations covered!

Hi all, this is a companion piece to my earlier article on how to make sure that your freelancers/self-publishing helpers do their best for you. But what about the flip side? What can you, as a freelance/small business editor, cover artist, etc., do to make sure that you give your customers what they want, keep them coming back, but also make money and keep your dignity in the process? Continue reading “Five Ways to Keep Your Self-Publishing Clients Happy & Coming Back for More”

Four Ways to Know if Your Self-Publishing Contractors are Good for You

For my Self-Published friends – we’ve all had some horror stories! Here’s four ways to find, pick, and work with the best self-publishing support staff people around!


By Daniel Ottalini

What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.
What happens when a freelancer and an author work together.

Hi all! There’s been a lot of press recently about small publishers and self-publisher

support staff – ie formatters, editors, cover artists, designers, small publishers, other freelancers, etc – leaving their hard-working clients in the dust and disappearing with authors’ hard earned money. In lieu of that, I thought long and hard about some ways that authors can tell if who they’re working with is the real deal, or a real stinker. Continue reading “Four Ways to Know if Your Self-Publishing Contractors are Good for You”

Learning from My Self Publishing Experience in Five Steps

How to learn from my Self Publishing Experience in just five steps. (part one!)


Colonial artillery crew during the American Re...

‘If at first you don’t succeed, find a bigger gun.’

Hello everyone! For this weekend’s post, I’d like to talk a bit about what I learned about self-publishing in the last few days, weeks, and months. I’ve broken it down into five steps to spare you hours of reading (Just kidding!). So, here goes.

1.) You are not alone – Writing can be a very solitary pursuit. After all, it used to be done in the quiet comfort of a nice, book-lined study by a gentleman using a quill, some parchment, and a boatload of ink and blotting sand. I’m not sure if the current upgrade to person & computer is better or worse.

The point is, you only write in isolation if that is what you choose. There are a myriad of resources out there for aspiring writers. From Goodreads groups to writing circles, to author blogs (like this one!) self-publishing websites, and so on and so forth. The biggest key is you can’t be embarrassed by the fact that you are writing. We were all novices at some point (Or still are).

2. Beta Read before you Copy Edit – Yes, you need to have your friends, co-workers, or random volunteers read your novel before you send it to the copy editor. This is one thing I did not do, and I kick myself in the head for it all the time. Fortunately, I had an awesome editor who was able to catch those mistakes – even very basic ones – a la ‘whose name goes where after a title?’.

If you wait until after the copy edit, then you face not only reshuffling parts of your story, but also then having to copy edit the parts you moved around and rewrote. Lesson Learned – Find some friends, order pizza (or promise them a published copy of the book!) and have them read it. Give them nice big pens and have them mention everything – something doesn’t sound right, wasn’t so and so injured last chapter? How is he now running? Even if you choose not to follow or fix what they discover, at least you know, and can make the fixes later if you chose so.

3. Plan Ahead – Before you publish, have a plan. Where are you going to publish? Just on Amazon? Will you go KDP Select? Or will you spread out and use Smashwords and Barnes & Noble? Do you want a paperback copy? Will you hire out the formatting? The cover art? Or will you go it alone? All are valid options that have their own pros and cons. Me, I value my time and sanity, so I’m willing to shell out money to have someone do that complicated part for me.

Also, something else that may also help – setting up an independent checking/savings account for your book profits/payments. It keeps things separate from your other money, and since you’ll need a direct deposit account available for most sites, I believe it’s a good investment.

EDIT: PART TWO IS POSTED HERE! READ ON FELLOW ROMANS!

Also, be sure to check out the winners’ of the Book Blog Signed Paperback Giveaway. I’ve already had one person contact me about the novel. If the other two winners don’t respond by the end of the week, I’ll have to draw from the pot again!

Thoughts on the Formatting Process

What to expect when you are formatting! Plus a call for Beta Readers


Greetings all!

I’m trying to get into the habit of posting twice a week – Saturdays and Tuesdays. During the summer I’ll be able to post a lot more! I’ve got an update on Brass Legionnaire for everyone and I’ll talk a bit about my experience with the formatting process.

Just as a side note, I know that many people do their own formatting. For me, it was a simple look at the payoff versus work balance. As a full-time teacher, I don’t have much weekday time to pump out a solid amount of formatting, nor do I have time to check and double check. As everyone knows – you only make a first impression once – so when I was looking at cover art, I was fortunate enough to find a team that did my cover, illustrations, and formatting. Simplifies my list of outside consultants immensely. And I’m paying a flat rate, not an hourly fee.

As many people may know, Brass Legionnaire has been finished edit-wise for sometime. The illustrations/maps have just been completed as well, and now all that is needed is for the book to be properly formatted into ebook/smashwords/amazon style and print style. I’ve seen the first proofs for each one, and because they required minimal changes (More just a ‘what goes where’ type thing), and they are almost finished. So what have I learned from the process already?

1. If you’ve got acknowledgements, terminology, illustrations, etc, state exactly where you want them to go in the beginning. The Print and Ebook version will be a bit different, so think about how you want them to be. Here’s a checklist (not in any specific order)

  • Cover (You should already have this, silly!)
  • Table of contents
  • Maps/Prologue?
  • Copyright
  • Acknowledgements (Optional, but surely there is someone you’d like to thank for their efforts?)
  • Illustrations (optional!)
  • How you want your chapter breaks to be – new page? Paragraph break?
  • Terminology or epilogue? Sneak peak of your next book? What will you put at the end?
  • A ‘the end’ page
  • Don’t forget for a print book you’ll need a back cover blurb and perhaps a review or two to place on it!

2. Expect things to go a bit slowly. You want your work to be done well, correct? Which is why you didn’t pay for someone to do it in an hour. If you can do it in an hour, awesome! If you’re not quite so skilled, you can outsource it, but look around for the best deal.

3. Be confident in asking for something to be done. After all, it is your book. I myself accidentally sent my formatter (verb? noun?) off on a wild goose chase after mistakenly sending him two completely different instruction sets.

Whether finding a professional or doing it yourself, formatting your book takes time and effort, and is critical. People don’t want to have to fight your book in order to read it. You’ll lose readers and get negative reviews. Do it right the first time and you won’t have to worry about it again.

UPDATE #2 – I’m looking for a few beta readers for Copper Centurion, book two in the Brass Legionnaire series. If you are interested, shoot me a message here or on my twitter account. All I need is your email and a promise you will be honest with your criticism and not share my hard work with anyone (Need I say that?) I’d send you chapters as I finish them for your input on them, you’ll get mentioned in the acknowledgements of book two, and there might even be some cool swag in the deal for you. I’m looking for three to five people. Let me know if you are interested!

 

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