The Dark that Dwells Beneath Te Aro
I was about 7 years old when my teacher got fed up with my horsing around in class when we were supposed to be practicing writing. I don't recall her name, but she definately started something when dragging me out of the classroom to the school library, sitting me down at a small lonesome desk with several sheets of lined paper and a pencil. "You write until I come back!", and she proceeds to shut the door behind her. So, I put my head down and begin to write what I recall was 22 pages of a knight facing off against a dragon until the teacher returned an hour or so later.
I felt proud of myself, I think the teacher was also, or maybe she enjoyed the peace and quiet.
Since then, most of my writing has been in video game magazines, software development proposals or contracts. There was definately an itch to learn to write a novel or short story at some stage.
With most of my projects, some inspiration generally sparks a thought which can snowball into a sense of purpose. I participated in a text adventure with our online friends during COVID lockdowns, and the Game Keeper had curated a completely unique setting using the Choasium Call of Cthuluh rules. Instead of playing on a table top, we simply played out the adventure online, in text over our Discord, and it worked out surprisingly well.
It was such a great experience, I had an idea to write out that adventure from my own characters perspective.
Learning to publish a book
For this project I didn't set out to write something to make money from it. I wanted to write a story and learn how to write something that could potentially be published.
I didn't really have a well established or thought out process for writing a book, so I simply just started by opening a word processor on my computer and began from the start. I knew I didn't want to focus on spelling and grammar, like my "blogs" I just write what I think, and do my best to tidy it up later, I think you get a more personable reading experience. One of my friends (hi Russ) has always insisted he review my emails, documentation, and proposals, and he said I am getting better, which is what counts in my book. In any case, spelling and grammer can be fixed later in the process.
Kindle Direct Publishing
It didn't take me long to learn about Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. Amazons publishing platform is by far the cheapest and most accessible platform I could find. It also has guideance on how to write a manuscript, though I didn't take one source on that, I surfed the googlesphere for "Novel Manuscript example" and "Novel Manuscript templates". There is plenty of information out there.
An interesting thing about KDP is, while you start with a Kindle or e-book release, there are options for printing (on demand) paper and hardback copies as well, the latter becoming available after 6 months once you have set up paperback copies. There is no need to hold any inventory.
A thing to note with KDP. If you are intending to make money, know they withhold the revenue until it reaches a threshold of $100 of your countries currency, and depending on your book it may take some time before this threshold is met.
The writing process
It was 2 months in and I had a bulk of the 79 page story done. Spending 2 hours a day, and couple of weekends here and there I could spend a bit longer writing. I would find myself writing the fun parts first, the more interesting scenes in my mind, then going back and forth between pages joining up the scenes and events as I write them.
I had several locations in mind the protagonists ends up, until the big ending, so I was simply peicing the journey together, filling in dialogue and events on the way.
Grammar and structure
English is hard, I also feel like punctuation can be subjective at times. But, the best tool you have is your users, or readers in my case sharing my work with others offered some great feedback, and the great thing about the KDP platform is that you can fix mistakes at anytime and any new book printed comes with those fixes, and your e-book updates automatically when you upload a new manuscript file.
For the first months of release, I first printed a proof copy, read it over a few times, fixed a few issues, then I printed a few paperback author copies, sent some friends and workmates a copy of the manuscript for constructive critisim. People tend to respond posititvely about the story and the book, and provided some edits here and there.
Now I have a hardcover available, it may still have one or two incorrect spellings "heals" vs "heels" (thanks Barb), so far readers have enjoyed what matters, the story.
Dont be afraid to just start
You can buy The Dark that Dwells Beneath Te Aro on Amazon. Please consider leaving a review on amazon, it will help toward my next follow up novel currently in progress.