Tag Archives: Indies-Unlimited

Spotlight on #Indie, Chris James

Six months ago I published Repulse: Europe at War 2062-2064, and those of you who know me well, also know what I saw when I looked at that word “Repulse” on the cover, and therefore why its modest success is just a mite ironic. Altogether, this little book has managed to get itself over 3,000 […]

via Repulse: Six months of #Gratitude — Chris James’s blog

Chris James is an Indies Unlimited buddy from way back, and he’s also a very good sci-fi writer, but that isn’t the reason I reblogged his post today. I did it to give the rest of us a good news story with a dash of hope.

Self-publishing can lead to success, Chris is proof of that, but it rarely happens ‘overnight’. Behind every ‘Repulse’, you will find years of patient effort during which the only thing that keeps you going is pig-headed obstinacy.

The moral of ‘Repulse’ is that success is possible, if you have the intestinable fortitude to keep slogging away at it. Please read Chris’ post and take heart.

much love,

Meeks

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#Howto use #Twitter – a tutorial for absolute beginners

Just read this excellent tutorial on Indies Unlimited and thought I’d share. Honestly, I wish I’d seen it when I first started out on Twitter. In it you will find everything you need to know to get started :

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2015/12/23/how-to-use-twitter-for-the-complete-newbie/comment-page-1/#comment-3488092908471486080

If you’ve heard about Twitter but never had the courage to give it a try, now’s the time to do it.

cheers

Meeks


Publishing – is the Big Five cabal really so…inept?

My most recent article on the writing game just went up on Indies Unlimited:

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2015/09/22/is-big-five-publishing-positioning-themselves-for-large-ebook-profits/#comments

I intended it to spark a discussion, and its happening. Come join the fun. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

p.s. sorry for the flurry of posts. I’ve had a bit of a rest and my brain has woken up again. 😀


Canva for ebook covers

Never heard of Canva? Don’t worry, neither had I until this morning. Canva is a [free-ish] online graphics program? facility? that allows us cash-strapped writers to design our own ebook covers. It also allows us to do a lot of other things, but I only needed an ebook cover so that’s what I played with.

After doing the 2 minute tutorial, I spent about an hour playing with the graphics and, I have to say, I am very impressed. The image below is a draft of the cover I came up with for Innerscape:

innerscape cover draft

The cross hatching is part of the watermark [along with the name CANVA in the middle of the image]. The reason for the watermark is that I chose 2 non-free images for the cover – the landscape and the picture frame. Each image costs $1 – yes, that was not a typo, just one solitary dollar – for both personal and commercial use. So all up, my costs would have been $2.

I was very tempted to just pay my money and be done with it, but they have a special deal whereby you can buy 11 images for ten dollars, and I thought ‘oh, parts 3 & 4, and 5 & 6….’.

-cough-

Anyway, a bit about the design. The final, ‘real’ cover will have a different graphic on it, but for the moment I like the idea of mirror images and worlds within worlds and the visual tension of seeing the title as a not-so-subtle price tag. Paradise is only for the rich, after all.

Of course that could all be a bit of BS – there is a reason why I’m a writer not a graphics designer. -sigh-

Once you are ready to download your newly created image/cover, you are given the option of either paying for any non-free images you have used, or downloading a draft. I haven’t tried the paid option but assume it is the same as the draft one – you get to choose between downloading a 70 DPI resolution image or a 300 DPI pdf file.

DPI stands for dots per inch so 70 DPI would give you a reasonable resolution [as in my cover image] but nothing great. The good thing about it is that it doesn’t chew up your bandwidth. My image weighs in at about 75 kb, which is next to nothing. When I downloaded the 300 DPI pdf however, it took quite a while to download and was HUGE. Well over a megabyte of data.

I would use the 300 DPI for actual print covers but not for ebook covers. Finding the right balance for the cover image will require a bit of trial and error so that it looks good but doesn’t take half an hour to download.

Oh and one last thing. I converted the 300 DPI pdf file to a more reasonably sized jpg file but discovered that my version of the software didn’t include the fonts used by CANVA. My app substituted similar fonts but you can see that they do not look quite right. Next time I’ll either use fonts that I know I have, or I won’t mess with the image. 🙂

And for those who might like to play with CANVA themselves, here’s the link to a great Indies Unlimited tutorial on how to use it.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2015/05/11/canva-for-free-ebook-covers-and-more/

Comments? Please feel free to let rip. I haven’t paid for anything so you’re not going to hurt my feelings or my wallet. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


You’ll never see toast the same way again!

Okay, people, I know two posts about writing in as many days is probably a bit much, but this one is so funny!

Here’s a teensy weensy sample talking about the concept of ‘the Chosen One’, and how much of a cliche it is. Author S.E. Zbasnik, muses on what might happen if the all powerful ‘they’ picked the wrong chosen one. They might find that:

‘The true savior of the Lumtkins was actually a sentient piece of bread, but no one thought to armor up toast.’

Read the full article here. I’m going back to laugh some more. 😀

Meeks


#PublishingFoul – Scammy Publishers beware!

Back when I first stuck a toe into the stormy waters of Indie publishing, Indies Unlimited saved me from the ‘sharks’ just waiting below the surface. Now, Indies Unlimited is mounting a month long campaign to warn newbie authors of the dangers, and to provide options to those who have already been bitten.

Indie heavy-weights David Gaughran and the Passive Voice are lending their not inconsiderable support to get the message out as far and as fast as they can. The following is an excerpt from the first shot of the campaign:

“Help us spread the word! Vanity presses have slick websites that feature reassuring words and soft-focus photos. They have tons of cash for online ads and preferential placement in search results. All we have is word of mouth. But we have a lot of mouths, and we’re pretty darned loud. Please share our posts far and wide with the hashtag #PublishingFoul.”

#PublishingFoul is where you will find all tweets relating to the campaign.

This post is me doing my little bit. You can do your bit by visiting Indies Unlimited here. You can also come join the debate on the Passive Voice here.

cheers

Meeks


Soft selling in the digital age

soft sell pic

Photo by K.S. Brooks

If you get the chance, please hop over to Indies Unlimited to read my article on ‘soft’ selling in the digital age.

My thoughts on this stem from how I like to be treated as a reader, so I’d be really interested in knowing how other readers [and writers!] feel about it.

You can find the link here.

cheers

Meeks

I’ve turned comments off so please go to Indies Unlimited to join the discussion!


Flash fiction by Joan Childs – a review

I’m no expert on flash fiction, and I certainly never thought I’d ‘review’ a story only 200 words long, but this story really got to me. Not only is it like a prose Haiku – perfect and complete in a tiny package – it also bears a message of love that transcends form. Decide for yourselves:

No Costume Needed
by Joan Childs

Like you, I was born of a dying star. Like you, I was once made of star stuff. Seven billion billion billion atoms of it.

Now I exist in the space between the stars. I see you without my eyes. I touch you without my hands. I love you without my heart.

Except for tonight. All Hallows’ Eve. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium, along with a smattering of other stuff: they all bind to my soul for one night and I walk with you once again. I am part of the cosmos, but just for tonight, I am part of the cosmopolitan.

I have forgotten the formula of how to be flesh, so please bear with me. I have forgotten how to layer skin over muscle. I may have gotten it inside out. I have forgotten the placement of organs and limbs, the texture of hair. I will do my best.

Do not be afraid.

You laugh with your friends.”Trick or Treat!” But I know you feel me near. You look around and beneath your laugh you long for affection, not confections.

You see me. My eyelids are missing, I think, but I can see you. My hand is a few fingers short, but I can touch you. My bloody heart is bulging through my chest, but I love you.

You hold out your hand. With a child’s innocence you see the soul through the stuff of stars.

“Hello Grandpa. I’ve missed you.”

* * *

No Costume Required takes the tired old themes of zombies and All Hallows, and turns them inside out. Or perhaps returns them to their original intent. But purpose is not the point; love and longing are. This story literally made me cry.

The author is Joan Childs and the venue is Indies Unlimited.

cheers

Meeks


Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction – time to vote again. :)

Indies Unlimited has a great bunch of flash fiction stories for you to vote on this week – so please do! And no, you do NOT have to vote for mine, I never do so why should you? -grin-

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2014/06/18/vote-for-the-next-flash-fiction-champ-2/

Just click on the link above to go to the voting page. If you haven’t read all the stories, there’s a link on the page that will take you to the stories themselves.

cheers

Meeks


Flash fiction picture prompt for Father’s Day

bowtie pic promptIn Australia, Father’s Day falls on the first Sunday of September, so we are still a long way from celebrating.

Wrong dates aside, when I saw this picture prompt over at Indies Unlimited, it reminded me of the bow ties my Dad used to love. He’d wear them with black, or sometimes white tails when he went out busking with his violin. He was something of an icon in Melbourne. 🙂

Anyway, one thought led to another, and after weeks of utilitarian thinking [mostly about work and finances], I suddenly felt a creative tickle coming on. The result is a 246 word flash fiction story about ties and Dads.

You can find the story here :

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2014/06/14/flash-fiction-challenge-a-gift-for-dad/

…along with other great stories by fellow Indie writers.

The Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Competition is open to everybody, so if you have a creative itch to scratch come join us. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


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