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One Step Beyond

After a long quiet period, we’re delighted to announce the upcoming release of ‘One Step Beyond’, an anthology of short stories by members of the long-standing One Step Beyond writers’ group, including Liz Holliday, Jaine Fenn and Vaughan Stanger. All profits from the anthology will be donated to English PEN, the global charity promoting freedom of expression in the written form. The anthology will be available, as an e-book, on November 17th.

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New Edition of Downside Girls

Cover of Downside Girls by Jaine Fenn
Cover of Downside Girls by Jaine Fenn
Downside Girls by Jaine Fenn

Today sees the publication of the Tower of Chaos Press edition of ‘Downside Girls’ by Jaine Fenn, first published by Clarion.

The floating city of Khesh rests above the uninhabitable planet of Vellern. For the Topsiders life is about luxury and opulence, while for those of the Undertow day to day survival takes precedence. Khesh City is a democracy by assassination, where the Angels – deadly state-sponsored killers – remove those unworthy to hold office.

When Vanna Agriet accidentally spills her drink over an Angel it could spell death, but instead it leads to a rather peculiar friendship. The downsider Geal hopes for a better life topside, only to find herself embroiled in a ‘removal’ by the Angel Thiera. Downside, Isha’s brother Rakul brings a little black box home with him, and sets Isha on a journey that takes her to a meeting with the most powerful man in Khesh City. Larnia Mier, a talented topside musician and instructor, is injured after witnessing a removal first-hand. As her abilities diminish, new possibilities open up.

With a foreword by Alastair Reynolds (author of ‘Revelation Space’ and the recent ‘Blue Remembered Earth’, as well as ’On the Steel Breeze’), ‘Downside Girls’ is a standalone collection of interlinked stories by Jaine Fenn, that also shines new light on characters from ‘Principles of Angels’, Jaine’s first novel in the ‘Hidden Empire’ series. (‘Principles of Angels’, ‘Consorts of Heaven’, Guardians of Paradise’, ‘Bringer of Light’, and ‘Queen of Nowhere’).

Currently available from Smashwords, Amazon (UKUS, and around the world), and soon to be available from most other major ebook vendors.

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Thanks and Experiences

Thanks and Experiences

Today our first publication, The Ships of Aleph by Jaine Fenn went on sale :)[divider]

Cover of Ships of Aleph by Jaine Fenn
Ships of Aleph by Jaine Fenn

[divider]I wanted to thank a few of the people that have helped make this happen and talk about a few of the hurdles involved.

So thanks to:

  • Martin Reed for technical assistance and expertise above and beyond the call of duty. He helped with website, hosting, and also the production and polishing of the final ebooks. Without his assistance we would never have got this out in time for Eastercon.
  • Novacon for supporting us in turning their limited edition chapbook into this eBook release.
  • David Hardy for the wonderful cover art, both for the original chapbook, and the permission to also use it for this eBook edition. Our print of the original has pride of place on our wall at home 🙂
  • SmashWords for their excellent guides and easy to use website which took a lot of the stress out of the process.
  • Lots of people for their advice, but in particular [twitter_follow username=”ColinTate” count=”false” language=”en”]  and [twitter_follow username=”VaughanStanger” count=”false” language=”en”] .
  • Everyone who has helped raise our profile through their blogs, facebook, twitter or any other way.

So onto the process of getting here:

The first thing to say is don’t believe this can all be got together in a few weeks as we did. I assure you it can’t! There is a steep learning curve in getting where we are today. However I can certainly suggest a few things that will smooth the process that we’ve found along the way.

  • Go and read what SmashWords has to say about publishing, not just once but a few times and let it sink in.
  • If you don’t have access to a tame geek (thanks Martin), you might want to take advantage of SmahWords ebook generation tool. It does require carefully following their format guidelines, but it will save you loads of trouble in the long run.
  • There is an awful lot to read on the Kindle direct publishing website about what to do to get your ebook on Amazon. This stuff is not very easy to read, but is really important to understand. Do not sign up to any of their specialist schemes without fully understanding what you are agreeing to.
  • For all other major ebook retailers, iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble etc. SmashWords can do this for you as long as your ebook formatting is polished enough to pass muster.
  • If you don’t live in the US you will want to read up on SmashWords and Amazon about how to take advantage of any tax arrangements between your country and the US. If you don’t do this the IRS will withhold 30% tax from your sales. Since you’re going to have to declare earnings in your own country as well, you don’t want that. This process can and will take longer than you think. Again SmashWords makes it easier for you by allowing you to defer receiving any payments until you have this sorted. On Amazon you must have this sorted out before you can sell.
  • Make sure you have some kind of plan for marketing your book. Facebook and Twitter are a starting place, but you will need a strong following of friends to rely on this alone. Any bloggers who are willing to review your ebook are a very welcome, and its worth giving a few copies away free to enable this. But do not do this scatter gun, ask them first if they would be willing, then send them a copy if they agree. Maybe chat with them on Twitter and get to know them first. We’re still learning on this ourselves and welcome any input 🙂
  • It’s not necessary to start a small press to accomplish all this, as we have. But if you hope to also publish ebooks by other authors, or even just multiple pen names of your own material, it might make sense. We took the decision to set up this way with the aim of eventually helping others publish material as well.

So that’s all I’ve got time for as we’re getting ready for Dysprosium – The 66th Eastercon. Maybe we’ll see some of you there and if so we’ll be happy to share our experiences so far.