The Beginning is in sight

I say the beginning is in sight, not the end. Because this book being published is not the end of the journey. It’s truly the beginning.

This week has been crazy at my day job; being in retail, we are starting to get busy with the leadup to school holidays next week, and then Christmas. I am out of routine with writing, and have hardly touched my manuscript for a week. I’m stuffed. I need a break.

My ms is with the editor until October 5th, I’m eager to see the results but also a bit nervous. My editor is really nice and helpful though, so I feel like I’m in good hands.

I received the feedback from another beta reader which was positive. The reader was confused by a few things, so hopefully the editor picks up on that.

This morning, I assigned the title to ISBN, so in a few days my book should be searchable. This means I can then add it to Goodreads and set up my author profile on the platform.

And finally, I had been seeing a lot of talk about NaNoWriMo, and had no idea what this was. NaNoWriMo stands for National No el Writing Month, and takes place during November. The goal is to write a novel on 50k words during the month. So we’ll see if I can’s smash out at least half of The Darkest Realm in that time 😀

I’m aiming for the book launch to be on November 9th. I chose this date as my MC’s birthday, because it’s the same day as my eldest axolotl, Chernobyl.

As it turns out, the birthday of my friend whose name I used for the character, also has his birthday on that date! I had only been told this 17 years ago, so I was freaked out when Gregg mentioned it.

The other freaky thing: I made a random sinple name for the wife of one of my characters. It turned out that I used the real name of his real wife! I didn’t realise this til I saw him tag her in something on FB.

No wonder I’m so tired, my subconscious has been working relentlessly behind the scenes!!

I’m almost there…just a few minor things to do and I’ll finally be published!


Right now I feel like I am in limbo- stuck between two places and can’t proceed.

I have done all I can on The Lowest Realm for the moment, I just need it professionally edited and I can then publish.

I have written a few paragraphs of book 2, The Darkest Realm, but it’s shit and I haven’t really planned anything as far as plot goes.

So as I stare at my iPad screen, I’m not feeling motivated to work on my WIP. Instead, I’m allowing myself to become sidetracked by social media, especially Twitter.

Yes. I’m now a Twitter twat. I’ve found the writing community on the platform is amazing. In just over a week I’ve gained over 600 followers.

I guess for now, I need to focus on getting that map done, so I can do some basic planning . I can’t leave Nika and Freyne sailing on the Scruffy Mongrel forever….

A trip away

I managed to score the weekend off work, so hubs and I drove a few hours north to visit a friend on the coast.

Currently, my novel is in the hands of beta readers, so I haven’t done much writing for the past week or two. But I have set up the book in InDesign, and have organised a cover. All that’s left is proofreading.

Last night, I received fantastic feedback from one of the beta readers, who couldn’t put the book down. She was up until 1:30am and her coffee went cold three times. I’m very chuffed 😁

This little trip has helped to recharge my batteries and re-inspire my writing. Just a few more weeks until I finish up Uni for the year, then I can delve into book two.

All images (c) Amy-Alex Campbell


If you need a friend and are feeling alone,
Want to cut deep, right to the bone.
Put it away, it doesn’t have to be,
I’ll be there, just come to me.

Perhaps you’re feeling like a worthless flea,
Like your life has no meaning, you’ve no place to be.
There is one angel who will always be there,
Don’t give up, I really do care.

Home life is crazy and you just want to die,
Day by day, you break down and cry.
Blow your nose and dry your tears,
Just come to me, I’ll ease your fears.

Nothing in life is going to plan,
Feel like a failure, a lesser man.
Do not despair, that isn’t true,
I’ll be there to comfort you.

I’ll be an angel and watch over you,
Cheer you on with whatever you do.
You are amazing, can you not see,
Just how much your friendship means to me.

This one was for one of my gamer friends who was dealing with some deep issues. I helped to keep him from self harming just by listening.

(C) Amy-Alex Campbell

Small update

After literally hours of scrolling through book covers, I have finally found one that I love and suits the story. I found that a lot of the cheap premade covers use the same stock images from the free sites, and books often share the same image even though it looks different.

I don’t mean any disrespect to the designers out there, nor the writers that use them (and let’s face it, some do look amazing), but these covers were not for me. I wanted to stand out without paying too much for a custom job.

The cover I found looks more like traditional old school fantasy, and gave me the same feel as the books I used to find and read in the library. This designer, Warren, is so different from all the rest; I’m thinking about buying 2 more just so I don’t miss out for the next books!

I should hear from him on Friday for the next steps, but it will cost me $69 + $25 to swap one image (spoiler alert: there are no dragons in this book).

Here is a teaser of the cover:

I love this dragon, but it has to go.

Apart from the cover, I have purchased a block of ISBNs, and I have sent out my manuscript to 2 beta readers, plus I swapped my first chapter with another writer.

So after the betas, I just have to make any changes that they pick up, then send it off to the editor. I’m aiming to have this done in time for Christmas – it will be a great present for my friends and family haha!

I’m still open to more beta readers – hit me up!

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


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.