A Storm…

A storm is brewing on the edge of town,
Even from here I can feel you’re so down,
Like the clouds in the sky so full of rain
I know that you are eternally in pain.

I can’t express these words that I think,
I want to write but my pen has no ink.
I want to make all your problems ok,
But I still feel that you’re drifting away.

You opened my eyes to a place I suppressed,
The spot in my head that’s scattered and messed.
I understand all this pain that you feel,
It’s part of our lives, it’s so very real.

I know no words will bring any cheer,
I hope it helps just having me here.
To comfort you is what I’m here to do,
There’s unlimited space in my heart for you.

If only you could see yourself through my eyes,
Perhaps I could put an end to your cries.
But your scars of hatred within are so deep,
Will you continue forever to weep?

The thunder and lightning are ruling the sky,
Please, of please, I don’t want you to die.
Am I so selfish, keeping you here,
Did you even know that I hold you so dear?

The storm finally breaks and the clouds blow away,
You’ve done so well to survive this day.
But next time you feel that your soul must bleed,
I’ll be the guardian angel you need.

This was written for a friend who was very suicidal at the time. He made it through the storm.

(C) Amy-Alex Campbell

Bird

Legs in the air and feathers askew,
That’s what I see as I look at you.
Left on the pavement to rot all alone,
Departed to heaven, your soul has flown.

The ants have eaten and the beetles have too,
Your death has brought life to more than a few.
For life does go on in this world we call home,
The death of one means another may roam.

Poor little bird, why did you die?
Were you struck down as you tried to fly?
Your life was snatched so cruelly away,
Now your body remains to slowly decay.

Your bones will be scattered by cats in the night,
The wind will blow, make your feathers take flight.
Soon nothings left but a memory so sad,
Makes me wonder, is death really so bad?

Nobody misses the poor little bird,
Its passing has gone greatly unheard.
There is but one who’s shedding a tear,
And it rolls down my cheek, raising my fear.

Will I be forgotten when I die,
And will my memory fade into a lie.
Do we really go to heaven or hell,
Or just fall forever through a bottomless well.

I’ve come to learn from my poor feathered friend,
That one day our lives must come to an end.
No more suffering or physical pain,
For surely life is no more than a game.

Whether I win or whether I lose,
It all depends on the path I choose.
To win means I live for another day,
If I lose my soul gets buried away.

Written in 2010. Yes, this was the bird.

(C) Amy-Alex Campbell

A Call for Beta Readers!

I have been somewhat unsuccessful in recruiting beta readers on Facebook. I know there is an amazing community in the blogging world,

I have a brief description here – it’s not my official blurb, it’s more temporary until I perfect it.

The novel is 103k words, and I send in word .docx format.

Please let me know if you are keen to have a read 😁

The Lowest Realm

Life on an offshore oil rig is grueling hard work. For Nika the hard work, isolation and discipline is ideal.

On the eve of flying back to the mainland for a two week break, disaster strikes, and Nika is thrown into darkness.

When he awakes in a strange world, with no memory of his past, he finds himself in the presence of monks, who offer to help, on one condition. Nika must deliver an urgent message to the king, and in return, the mysterious monks will help him recall his memories and find a way home.

Instead, Nika is sent on a long journey with his new friend Freyne, and the spoilt Princess Iryna, to fulfill a prophecy that will restore balance to the world.

Nika must adjust to more than just a new world; as his body undergoes a transformation he does not understand, he must also deal with being hunted, forbidden love, mancery, and gods he’s never heard of.

Coming soon!

DIY in every sense of the word

The next conundrum I’m facing is using Adobe InDesign to set up my novel ready for print. Apart from Acrobat, the only Adobe program I’ve used is a very early version of photoshop about 20 years ago (omg I feel old).

Although I wrote this novel for myself and my love of writing, it would be remiss of me to say that money isn’t a motivator. I live in Sydney, life is expensive here. I don’t have a lot of it.

I have come to notice a lot of costs involved with self publishing, so I am endeavoring to do as many of the production jobs myself. So that brings me back to the title of today’s post. So how am I going to get this book published while spending as little on it as possible, without compromising the quality?

One of the perks of being a uni student means that I get some great discounts on software. RRP for Adobe InDesign subscription is $29.99 a month, and Creative Suite $71.99. As a student, I get Creative Suite for $21.99 a month. That’s a saving already, and I can cancel at any time.

ISBN is $44 for one, of $88 for 10. Since we need a separate ISBN for each different release (paperback, ebook, hardback), it makes sense to buy 10, especially at this stage as I am looking at a trilogy.

ABN is free. It is required in Australia as being an author is considered a business.

Cover design will be tricky, as I am loudy when it comes to graphic design. I could pay $100-300 for one to be made on Fiverr. Or I could ask my ex who works in the industry. Or I can ask around my friends and see if they can make me one for $50-100. I want to have a lot of say in this step, and I have a vague idea of what I’d like.

I’m thinking I’d like a pencilled caricature of a cat that is in the story on the back of the front cover (in memory of one of my childhood cats). I have an artist friend who would probably love to do this for a reasonable price. There are also a few small embellishments that I’d like added, so I’ll need help there.

Apart from that, it looks like I’ll be learning InDesign. I have already figured out drop caps, making the document print ready, and figured out how to add my fonts. But that is as far as I’ve gotten, I have no idea how to add images yet.

One of the advantages of my degree in library science, is I know where to look for help. I found one of the inner libraries that is hosting InDesign classes. So I think I’m already feeling sick and need to have next Monday arvo off work….

Book layouts and covers are the two biggest expenses after professional editing. Editing will cost me approx $350 and includes proofreading buy this editor.

  • Editing $350
  • Book layout (InDesign) $22-66
  • Cover design $50-100
  • IngramSpark listing fee $49
  • Graphics help $25-50
  • ISBN $88

So I can get this done for roughly $600 or less. If I had to pay for people to do these for me, I’d be looking at around $1000 or more.

Why do I care so much about price if I’ll be making money from my book? Each dollar I spend, translates to more copies of the book I need to sell to break even and turn a profit. If I retail at $16.99, take out print costs and fees, I’m looking at approx $10 or less per book. So I need to sell 60 books before I start making money, compared to 100.

Remember that being an author means being a business. As much as we want to get our stories out there, we still need to be sensible and cost efficient.

Refound my spark

After last night’s sulking post, I put down my devices and went to bed. This morning I started fresh, and had a look at what other writers are doing.

Amazon is not for me. I looked into it, it isn’t very Aussie-friendly. If I wanted to order a proof or author copies, I can’t because Amazon doesn’t provide POD in Aus. The only way around this is ordering a retail copy.

At the recommendation of another Aussie writer, I had a look at IngramSpark. This company works closely with Amazon, but is separate. They offer global distribution, AND they have POD in Aus, UK and USA.

And so I have decided to self publish with IngramSpark. I can also publish the ebook on Amazon if I want to.

Today is my day off work, and I had plans with hubby to go out. At the last minute, he got called in to work, so our plans were cancelled. So instead, I took myself out….to the library!

I was THAT weirdo today….kneeling down in the fiction section, measuring books, and taking photos of maps and decorations I like. It also gave me ideas on writing my blurb, which I may re-attempt later.

The beauty of IngramSpark is the creative freedom I get – I can put as many maps in as I want, I can add in images, symbols, and all that cute stuff. I’m starting to get excited…

Things I liked…

These maps are more the traditional fantasy maps that I love. I may end up re-drawing my maps, because in my world, they don’t have computers…. I want my map to look like it would for my people.

I like the 3 line capitals at the start of each chapter, I think I’ll go with something like this. I also like the linebreak symbol in the second image, I may do something like this but with a symbol that I’ve embedded in the book.

With IngramSpark, I even get to pick what colour of paper I want. I’m thinking cream, because it gives the book that old feel, and smells better when it’s old and tattered 😂

I feel like I was shopping for ideas today, and I have walked away feeling extra inspired. Even the world map in the image above has given me ideas. Now to head home and get stuck into editing…..

The reality is setting in

Today I spent a bit of time looking up which publishers are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts. Here in Australia, there are a few publishers who do this, and I have already chosen two to submit with.

The sad reality I am facing, is the costs involved in editing and proofreading my work. At 102k words, most professional services in Australia charge anywhere between $2400 to $4000 and up. There is no way I can afford that.

I don’t want to be the one who whines on social media, poor me poor me. No way. But today it just hit me: I am so close to fulfilling my dream, and yet as I scrolled through websites after websites, I felt my dream slipping away.

All of a sudden, self publishing on Amazon is becoming more and more tempting .

I’m not one to sulk and feel sorry for myself though. I have tried my plan B, and looked up some cheaper options on Fiverr, though I have heard several writers warn against this.

I guess I just need to get my ass into gear and finish editing my draft, send it out to some beta readers, and see what feedback I get, before I worry about the editing stage.

I still live in hope that one day soon, I’ll see my book on the shelves of my local book store.