#45 Preparing a book for launch

M J Dees

living with saci pre launch ad

I’m now about 5,000 words behind schedule on the word count for my fourth novel because I have been a bit consumed with preparing the launch of the first.

The first thing I did was load the manuscript up to draft2digital.com to be formatted for ebook versions and to create a PDF which I could use to load up to createspace.com to create the paperback version.

Having done this, I could tell my cover designer how many pages the book was going to be so that she could create the artwork for the cover at exactly the correct proportions.

Having gone through it twice more with Grammarly, I uploaded the manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing but found I had problems with margins. In an attempt to solve this, I uploaded the manuscript to createspace.com instead but the same error messages appeared. I concluded that the errors weren’t really going to affect…

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#43 Plan the next novel

M J Dees


Although the first novel hasn’t been published yet (August 1st 2017 is the tentative release date) I am close to finishing the first rough draft of the third novel and so thoughts inevitably turn to the fourth which I will start writing from next week.

The first novel I just started writing with no idea of what was going to happen in the story. The protagonist changed from being a man to a woman fairly early in and the chapters were reordered substantially during the edit.

With the second and third novels I started with an idea and started writing so that I didn’t know how the novels would finish until I was quite close to writing the end. The advantage of this method is that if I am interested in finding out how the story is going to end then the chances are that the readers are also going…

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#42 Preparing the first novel to be published

M J Dees


I’m rapidly approaching my first self-imposed deadline for the completion of my third novel so the first task of the day is to complete my self-imposed word count for that which is a painful process. I only hope that when I read the thing back in a couple of months that it doesn’t read as badly as writing it feels right now.

Once the word count is out of the way I can then move on to task two for the day which is preparing my first novel for its launch for which I have self-imposed a deadline of August 1st.  Having received some really good feedback from readers I’ve just finished making all the changes I can bear to make and have decided that enough is enough and I am going to release it onto the unsuspecting public.

To be honest, at this stage I’m not really bothered about…

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#41 Watching the Eurovision Song Contest.

M J Dees


I’m on track with my daily word count and though I could dedicate my evening to more rewriting of that tricky first novel in order to meet my self imposed deadline of publishing it by the end of July, instead I think I’ll take time off to see a spectacle I anticipate almost as much as Christmas – the Eurovision Song Contest.

Brits love to deride the contest. Partly because the rest of Europe usually refuses to vote for us but also because we consider ourselves to be better at music than everyone else.

Well, we do have The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, Belle and Sebastian, Adele and Ken Dodd. Who has Europe got? Aha, ABBA, Falcao, the Goom Bay Dance Band? Quite a clear cut case I agree. But that does not diminish in the slightest the entertaining spectacle which the Eurovision provides.

Last year200 million people in…

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#40 More re-writing

M J Dees


I am fortunate enough to have a handful of people to whom I can send my manuscripts and receive useful feedback of the kind that would cost me a lot of money if I hired a structural editor.

The feedback has highlighted all the niggling doubts I had about the novel and if this handful of people has doubts about areas I myself have questioned then the chances of these being issues for readers when I publish the book is very high so they need to be fixed. The changes are fundamental enough for me to put the cover designs on hold as the very theme of the novel and therefore the title may change.

I was disappointed to discover that despite having gone through the manuscript twice with Grammarly, my readers still identified a number of grammatical errors. I don’t know whether this is because Grammarly hadn’t saved the changes…

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#39 Develop an addiction to candy crush saga

M J Dees


I have always, generally speaking, avoided video games. The reason for this is that once I start playing I usually can’t stop.

During my wife’s recent stay in hospital, she passed quite a lot of the time playing candy crush saga and when I got bored of rewriting my second novel I played a bit as well. It didn’t affect me much until the moment when the phone told me I was banned from playing candy crush for half an hour. As soon as so became aware of the possibility that I might not be allowed to play candy crush, this ignited a desire within me to play  the game which outweighed any other desire. I now wanted to play candy crush more than anything in the world and twenty nine minutes later I found myself counting down the seconds before my next go.

Every time I failed the clear…

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#38 Struggle with Facebook Ads and Mail Chimp lists

M J Dees

I’ve been so convinced by the conversations on the Self Publishing Formula podcasts that I decided to create some experiments of my own.

In he first experiment, I boosted one of my Facebook posts by paying R$3 (US$1) So that and extra 107 people saw the post on top of the 25 people who would have seen it ‘organically’.

Thid encouraged me to experiment more by creating a Facebook As offering one of my short stories for anyone who signed up to my email list. I paid R$35 (US $12) for this ad which was viewed by 1,489 people. I had specifically requested  people in the UK who had ‘liked’ The Girl on the Train, The Night Circus, To Kill a Mocking Bird and Me Before You. Of the people who saw my ad, two people clicked to request the short story, driving up the number of people on my…

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#35 Forget your charger and other IT related issues

M J Dees

I do most of my writing on my mobile phone, I also have a tablet which I can use if my phone runs out of battery. I write on Google Docs which means I can access my work on any device, as long as I have Internet access. Occasionally, I also write on a laptop. The latter is the best way to correct the thousands of grammar mistakes I make through Grammarly.

Recently, the hard disk drive on my laptop died and I had to buy another one and ask my brother in law to fix it. Which he did and it worked.  I find that Google Docs works for me until I need to rewrite then I download the file as a word doc and work on the laptop.

I usually charge my phone overnight and sometimes  also at work which gives me enough juice to write my prolific…

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#34 Googling

M J Dees

I have a recurring dream in which the CIA or MI6 burst into my flat and pin me to the ground because I am a suspect in some investigation on the basis of some weird combination of searches I have performed on the Internet.

They say write what you know but there inevitably comes a time when you want to write something about something you don’t know and on those occasions, the Internet comes in really handy.

Google saves a record of the searches you perform. You can find it here. Here are a few of my own favourites:

How to make a flying monkey costume
Silent night by chewbacca
Peppa alphabet
Post holocaust music
Max headroom

sex pistols christmas song

dick whittington

How to butcher a goat

How much did fish and chips cost in Hull in 1971

How to make soap

Escapes from high security mental hospitals.

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