Publishing Challenge! Chapter 13

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay
Chapter 13

Publication Day!
Today sees the publication of another Wordsworth Collection.

Flash Fiction 2: Another Five Very Short Stories is exactly what it says it is. The book consists of 5 very short stories that are too short to publish as standalone Wordsworth Shorts. They’re all also available in Twee Tales More, but this is specifically 5 stories under 1,200 words each.

You can find all of my books on the BUY MY BOOKS tab on the blog, or you can go to

Last Thursday I prepared After the Storm for publication.

The very first thing I do when I’m planning my publishing schedule is have a look at the stories or novels or books I already have written. Then I’ll try and schedule publication at a topical or convenient time. The books go onto a publication schedule spreadsheet in date order so that I can quickly see:

  1. When something is due to be published, and
  2. Where there are gaps that need to be filled.

Gaps that need to be filled mean brand-new material, and those show me when I need to think ahead about what to write from scratch. This could be a short story or it could be a full-length novel, and anything in between. Naturally, I have to take more care when scheduling in new material that isn’t even written yet.

If I’m very busy, or if I think there may be delays or other issues, then I’ll plan a bunch of existing material to be published. This is twofold:

  1. It saves time, and
  2. It provides me with an inventory, a back catalogue, or, to coin a phrase I shamelessly nicked off Dean Wesley Smith, it ‘stocks my magic bakery’.

Once I know what’s being published when, and what number it’s been given in the publishing schedule, I play around with covers, looking for images that either reflect the title or reflect the story content or theme. I’ll do this for books or even stories I haven’t even started yet, which is helpful if I want something in the book to reflect the image(s) on the cover.

I’ll cover cover-creation in more detail another time, just as I’ll cover writing something from scratch.

When the time comes in my work schedule, the next thing I do is consult my publication schedule spreadsheet to see which book I’m publishing next. On this occasion, it’s Wordsworth Short #22, After the Storm.

I’ll create a directory on my laptop/memory stick/portable hard drive called ’22 After the Storm’. As I’ve already created the cover for this story, that’s already in there. In fact, that’s probably when I created the directory, so I had somewhere to put the cover.

As this is Wordsworth Short #22 (hence the number in the file directory), and since about #2 in fact, I clearly have a template I like that works well with the format. Therefore, the next thing I do is open this template, then I go and find the original version of the story.

This short story can be found in a parent directory entitled ‘all raw stories’ and the file will be called something like ‘USED TT2 TTM After the Storm 1500’. In fact, in this case, that’s exactly what it was called.

What do the abbreviations mean?

  • USED means that the story has been used.
  • TT2 means that the story was used in Twee Tales Too.
  • TTM means that the story was also used in Twee Tales More.
  • ‘After the Storm’ is the title of the story.
  • ‘1500’ is the approximate length.

This tells me several things without me even having to open it, starting of course with the length. And because it’s more than 1,200 words, then it gets a book of its own. It also tells me where the story has appeared, so that I can quickly add that to the front of the new book.

If this story had appeared in a magazine, such as My Weekly, then it would have MW in the title too: USED MW TT2 TTM After the Storm 1500. This shows me where the story was first published, so I get it in the right order on the copyright page.

So, I’ve found my file. The next thing I do is make a copy of the file and put it into the directory for 22 After The Storm, which is in the sub-directory of ‘Wordsworth Shorts’.

all raw stories → wordsworth shorts → 22 after the storm

I’ll open the file then go to the template, which is also in the Wordsworth Shorts directory along with a file containing all of my cover image credits. I change the title of the story in the template, the publishing history, the cover image credit and the ‘also by…’ to include this latest story. This means that the template is the latest version.

Next, I highlight the body of the text in the original file and I change the font and the line spacing here so it doesn’t clash with the formatting in the template document. I don’t save it, I just copy it from the original file then, and paste it into the template.

I’ll close the original file down without saving, and concentrate on the template, first of all going through and stylising the formatting. For example, if there are 3 asterisks in the original story (***) I’ll change them for 3 of these ~~~, and I’ll make sure there are no spaces before or after the ellipses…

Then I proofread the story on screen. It’s already been proof-read a load of times by me, but I still like to make sure. And anyway, when it’s only 1,500 words long, it’s not a big deal.

Once I’m happy with it, I save the template, so it has the most up to date information for next time, and I make a copy of the template, calling it ‘After the Storm’ and saving it in the 22 After the Storm directory.

I’ll then go into Draft2Digital to add a new book, uploading first the cover, then the file, and then adding any other details such as description, meta data, pricing, sales channels, etc. Again, I’ll cover the actual publishing process another time.

Once the book is in the publishing machine, I download the new Word file, which has now been magically formatted by Draft2Digital (‘after-the-storm word’), the epub file (‘after-the-storm epub’) and the mobi file (‘after-the-storm mobi’). This is so when I take the book to Smashwords, the formatting has already been done.

When the book has been published, I change the title on the original raw story file to ‘USED TT2 TTM WS22 After the Storm 1500’. The extra ‘WS22’ part tells me it’s now also been published as Wordsworth Short #22. If I’ve made a lot of changes to the original file, I’ll copy and paste the new text over too to save time next time I use this story.

This process doesn’t take long. It took longer this time because I wrote this up as I was doing it. It also takes longer when there are more stories to copy over, such as in the Wordsworth Shorts collections or the Flash Fiction collections.

Over to you…

Do you have any questions? How is your publishing challenge going?

Publishing Challenge: out in 2023