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The Vanguard

So, at long last, I published “The Vanguard” this morning, on both Amazon and Smashwords.  It may take some hours or days for it to show up on various sites.






The only technical problem I had was trying to make an interactive table of contents.  It was easy enough to create one in Word, but Smashwords balked at it and said that I should do something else with bookmarks and hyperlinks, which I tried, but could not make work.  In the end, I just used a simple text TOC that simply lists the chapters and does not link anywhere.  Honestly, I never use this feature while reading fiction anyhow – I simply read the story in a linear fashion.  Very handy in digital magazines, however.

Oh, and once again, I have selected a beginning of chapter symbol that does not translate properly on older Kindles, even though I specifically selected it from a simplified character set.  It is a sort of “V” symbol, forget what it was called.  Greek, maybe.  Anyhow, I left it as is – not going to change it on 27 chapters, only to find that the replacement does not work either.  The old Kindle readers (of which I am one) can just assume that the question mark symbol denotes the mystery aspect of the book.

Yes, I am lazy.  Why do you ask?

Already has about forty page views on Smashwords, because some people cruise the Newly Published screen – in fact, the default Smashwords homepage.  One sample download.  I do expect a little more action on this title, as it is more mainstream than my past efforts.  Time will tell.

Was waiting for help on my cover, which never appeared, so I finally slapped something together that seems to work and which I hope does not look too cheap.

Decided to publish this under my own name.  My original plan was to use a pseudonym for my youth adventure stories – as a sort of branding – but as it happens, it is not really necessary.  Kristine Rusch, whose blog I read religiously and who happens to have over a half-dozen pen names of her own, wrote last week that it was not really necessary for an “indie” writer.

Indeed, Heinlein – who I am not – only used pen names to disguise the fact that he was writing half the stories in a single issue of Astounding or to sell off his few clunkers without harming his reputation.  Everything I read of his I read under his byline, even if it was originally published under a pen name.  There has never been much confusion of readers buying the “wrong kind” of story from him.  That is, nobody who bought his juveniles would buy Stranger in a Strange Land thinking it was appropriate for children.  It is only necessary that the blurb and the cover connote the type of content being sold.

If I was ever able to write full time, I might want to revisit the pen name issue.  As it is, publishing one or two a year, I need all the synergy I can muster.  This way, any young readers I manage to snag with what I hope will be several Vanguard and Life on the School Bus books can “graduate” to my more adult trope as their tastes change.

And don’t worry.  While I am quite capable of using innuendo and being suggestive, I do not believe I could comfortably write anything, even in adult titles, that would mortally offend most parents, unless it was to show a weapon being used for the express purpose of self defense.

Will probably get the links to Amazon and Smashwords loaded on this site once they have solidified, probably in a couple of days.

Then, back to work, I suppose.  This work, not the job I actually get paid for.  I am writing, very slowly, what will one day be the second or third of the Life on the School Bus series, but I won’t publish that until I have the first story ready to go – and would prefer to have at least three in the series.  Yes, The Vanguard is also in a series (I hope), but it is actually meant to be the first and it is far larger and stands up all by itself.

Meanwhile, I can start putting the polish on my mother’s favorite, Sky Yukon, and get that published.  This will be more involved than The Vanguard, which I only needed to reformat.  Sky Yukon is going to need some rewriting.  Not story or structure, just word choice and flow.  It is, I think, just a tiny bit stilted.  Just like Lifeboats, I wrote it in 1995 and I have learned a fair bit since then, though not always noticeably.  Should keep me busy well into the new year.

Categories: Publishing, Writing
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