This week is KiwiRPG Week! An excellent collective of Aotearoa based game designers, players and podcasters have teamed up to do some excellent things this week. If you’re interested in Tabletop RPGs and want to learn about my newest game, read on!
The biggest excitement for me is today I launched my new game: Trading Places
Before I get into that, a shout out. My game isn’t the only one launching today, the esteemed Simon Carryer has released a D&D fan edit called Pyramid of the Undying which you should also check out!
Trading Places is a journaling game. It’s an introspective game about ordinary and extraordinary lives, and I’m very proud of it.
It’s about swapping bodies, a la Freaky Friday or the brilliant book The Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. What if one day, you woke up in a body and a life that isn’t your own?
It’s run beautifully in playtests, with one game running full Hallmark Christmas movie, and another game going a lot more poetical and introspective about the nature of life. It’s a game which you can do a lot with, and I expect is only the first of many journaling games from me…
I updated my reading log journal, and ordered myself some copies. They arrived recently and I’m really stoked with how cute they look and how nice the quality is. These are print-on-demand from Amazon which means you can order them from Amazon yourself!
But let’s take a look inside…
There’s a 60 book reading challenge that you can use or not as you choose – it includes different formats of books as well as options that may put you out of your comfort reading zone. There are checkboxes so you can keep track of the ones you’ve done.
Then lots of review pages, with space for various details including dates started and read and why you chose this particular book.
The review pages are broken up with colouring pages every here and there so you can reward yourself for reading and updating the journal and have a little fun. Here’s one example:
Then the back half of the book is dot gridded pages so you can continue to review books, make lists of books to read, draw or do whatever you like, really.
So, why did I write another Young Adult novel after all this time?
Honestly, it was because teenagers asked for it. Not like, by spamming my socials or anything, but over the last 16 months or so I’ve been to a few book fairs (not as many as were planned, due to Covid and restrictions), but I’ve learned a bit. I’ve had a lot of varied teens look at the covers to my Witchy Fiction books and been really interested, but then a few of them have asked if there’s romance in them, and been disappointed when the answer was yes. This happened a handful of times, which isn’t a huge survey at all, but it showed that there was a gap in the market.
So I went ahead and wrote Onesies with the plan of including no romance at all. It’s also my first book with a non-binary solo main character. Arrow came to me at the end of Overdues and Occultism – a grumpy, emo teen who came into the library with their family.
The book was delightful to write. Arrow was firm in my mind as a person who loved fantasy and wanted something more, and the events of Monsters and Manuscripts opened up the perfect opportunity for their story.
This book is going to be available over a lot of ebook platforms, although just for the moment it’s only on Amazon, but watch out for it in the next few days.
Be careful what you wish for…
Arrow is fifteen, non-binary, and bored.
It’s one thing to read about magic, or watch ghost hunting shows. But Arrow yearns for something more. When they try out a prosperity spell from a magical library book, things start to go very very right.
Until they don’t.
Arrow’s good luck seems to be affecting a lot of the people around them. From A students suddenly failing quizzes to freak accidents, their good luck seems to be double-sided to say the least. Arrow’s best friend Ren knows not to mess with the unknown, but Arrow’s spell might just affect him all the same.
Arrow’s got to learn about how to wield their magic fast when the power they’ve drawn down proves to be beautiful, but dangerous as well. ***
Onesies and Ouijaboards is a young adult novella spinoff of the popular Mt Eden Witches series. There is no romance, but there are tarot cards, best friends, ghosts and bubble tea
Here’s my latest publication. It started as a patreon project, and now it’s a book!
It’s a little bit spooky It’s a little bit odd It’s a little bit silly Even when it’s not
I’ve found it very hard to articulate exactly what this book is – it’s a short story collection, but it’s in the format of a collection of clippings from a gossip magazine from another universe.
It includes gossip about the Royals, who are a family of homicidal fey. Personality quizzes, Horoscopes and letters to the psychic Agony Aunt Cressida Flittersocks. Plus special interest pieces about tweens manifesting superpowers and an expose about family portrait attacks as well as lots more.
In short, it’s what happens when I let my imagine run wild. There’s some horror, some comedy, some pure nonsense and something to make you think. I love it, personally, and I’m sure people who share my love for silliness will enjoy it as well.
Some of the questions to the agony aunts were submitted my users and friends and my dear friend Ellen was an invaluable sounding board throughout the project.
So, this is my step by step for self-publishing. It’s New Zealand based, because that’s what I have experience with. This is the stuff you can do up front, and will make the actually upload process very quick and streamlined when you get to it.
Get yourself an ISBN. In NZ you can get one for free from the National Library here. It’s free to issue but you will need to give them a copy of your book for legal deposit when it’s done, they’ll send the form, etc with the ISBN. Easy!
You’ll need cover art. There’s lots of options here, there are artists on Fiverr and on Facebook. Or you can check the credits on the books with awesome covers and find artists that way, or ask a fellow indie author who has covers you love for a referral. Many, many options. You’ll need to know going in if you’re publishing ebook only or paperback too, because there’ll often be an extra cost for a wraparound paperback cover.
Decide where to publish through. Most authors, myself included, go for Amazon. Amazon is a great choice because it has the widest audience and it has Kindle Unlimited, which is great for certain genre of books. Lots of romance readers are in KU and you get paid per page read, which can be quite lucrative.
You can also go ‘wide’ and publish with Kobo, Apple Books, etc. This is particularly easy if you use an online distributor. I use Draft2Digital for this because they upload books to library wholesalers, which gives me more options to sell. You can also do each website manually, but I like saving time, even if D2D take a little cut of sales.
Write your blurb aka the absolute worst part of the novel creation process. The best advice I’ve seen for this is to look around at blurbs in your genre, which sound interesting. Work out what it is about the blurb which sounds interesting and then do your own version. No copy pasting here, that’s gross and bad manners. Instead, look at what’s grabbing you. Look at what makes you interested, and then draw out the most interesting, hooky things about your book’s plot. I absolutely hate blurbs, but they do get easier with time.
Write your endmatter. It’s up to you what to put in the back of the book. Links to your author social media, links to other books or media you’ve got online, a hook for your next book. A preorder link for your next book, if you’re really onto it. A dedication and a little bio of yourself is nice, too.
Copyright page! Something I didn’t even think of until I was getting my manuscript formatted. You need to make a copyright page to go in the front. There are standard ones you can copy paste online and enter in your own information, dates and ISBN. Just google it!
Register with Payoneer or a similar third party banking/payment service. I like Payoneer because it’s super simple to use, they don’t take much of a fee, and they give you a US and a UK bank account number (among others!) This is great, because if you register on Amazon with a New Zealand bank account number, they won’t wire you any money until you’ve earned past a certain threshold. (I think $100USD). Giving them a US bank account cuts that threshold out, and you’ll get paid a lot faster. They also convert the currency for you when you get paid out.
Register on KDP – assuming you’re going with Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing requires a separate registration/activation from your regular Amazon account. They’ll ask you some tax questions, and you can register your shiny new US bank account number from payoneer with them. Then once they’ve processed your account you’ll get a shiny ‘add your book’ page:
If you’re relatively sure of how long it’ll take you to get everything ready, you could set up a preorder and share the link around. Preorders are great because they give your book a boost on release day. However, don’t set one if there’s any uncertainty about how long it’ll take you to do. You don’t need to upload a manuscript to do a preorder, just a blurb and ideally a cover image. Amazon will give you a countdown for when to upload your manuscript so it’s processed in time.
Okay, I think that’s enough steps for one blog post. Join me again soon for part two: the actual uploading of the thing, and what to do afterwards.