“I’m proud of you,” my husband says as we’re driving back from the Hunan Chinese place after I’d approved the paperback edition of my debut Boys Love novel Predestined.
(Little did I know Amazon would bork the whole thing and release the paperback a week and a half early, forcing us to move the launch date from the 12th to the 6th 🤦🏻♀️)
But like I was saying. I’m proud of you—it’s not something we’re used to hearing every day.
It’s something we’re used to hearing from a parent or grandparent as they gently pat us on the head. Usually followed by an endearment like honey or sweetheart. Or in my case—Seashabelle.
(I have no earthly clue why my dad’s entire extended family insisted on calling me this, as it has no relation to my chosen first name, my birth name, or my middle name. All I can say is—families are weird.)
But the older we get, the less we hear it.
We forget how nice it is to hear those four little words. Until—as adults—we can no longer remember the last time we heard anyone say, “I’m proud of you.”
And then when someone does, it’s like a shock to the system. Those 4 little words make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Reader. They make you feel like you can conquer the world.
Or at the very least, that you could write another book.
So I’m going to say it right now in case you needed to hear it today: I am proud of you, Reader.
I really am. Because you could be one of those people who says they’re going to write a story but never does. There are more never-will-be storytellers than there are stars in the sky.
But you’re not one of them. Know how I know?
Because just the simple act of opening this email and reading it means you’ve taken a big giant leap toward getting your story out into the world and beyond!
And to help you on your storytelling saga, I’ve put together this little list of tools. So no matter your stage in the journey, you’ll be a little less overwhelmed.
Kat’s Helpful List of Storyteller Tools
Some of these are free and some cost money, but these are the pro tools I use.
Fantasy Name Generator is a site that was originally for—you guessed it—generating fantasy names. But they’ve branched out into generating all kinds of things including story prompts.
Or you can always go with my favorite:
Beloved childhood story + What you’re watching on TV
If you remember, my Dark Fantasy Boys Love They Come At Night was born from that simple prompt and it’s been running for 40 weeks straight.
I know I’ve said it more than once, but just in case you missed it 😉 the story creation software I use each day to craft my stories—and these emails—is Scrivener by British company Literature & Latte.
If you use the link in this email you can get 4 weeks of Scrivener 👩🏻💻 free.
As I mentioned back in Quest 33 when I talked about self-edits, using an app like Grammarly will help you speed up the technical side of editing by catching all those remaining grammar or spelling errors.
Ebook & Print Formatting
A Mac-only program designed by 2 guys named Brad who used to work for Pixar Animation Studios. Vellum allows you to simultaneously layout both the print and eBook editions of a book in one file which is super convenient and time-saving. And Vellum outputs beautiful professional-looking books for print and all eBook platforms.
Since 2017 all of my books have been produced with this program including Predestined which just released on Wednesday.
You can try out Vellum for free, but it’s a bit pricey since it’s a professional program for Mac. The eBook-only version is $199, and the eBook and print edition is $249
You can create cover art via Canva or Procreate. I first saw Procreate in use at Fanime 2018, but didn’t start using it until the very beginning of 2022. Now I use it to make all the covers and graphics for my stories and website.
Barcode generation for print editions
Bookow is entirely free to use to generate barcodes and print cover templates. I recommend a $2 donation per barcode so they can remain in operation, since Bowker, the US ISBN distributor, charges an outrageous $25 for that same service.
Here are the main eBook and indie-friendly print platforms I use.
Apple iBooks (Apple confusingly has 2)
You upload your eBook content here.
Then you manage it and set the price and what territories it will be sold in here.
*Draft2Digital has access to Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, OverDrive, Baker & Taylor and more.
Picking your book’s categories/BISAC
Most of the above platforms require you to use BISAC to place your book in categories on their site. If you’d like to know what they are ahead of time, here is the website with them all nicely listed for you.
I hope this list helps take some of the anxiety out of your storytelling saga, Reader, and brings you a bit closer to the stars! Or at the very least one little step closer toward hitting publish.
Your cohort in storytelling,
PS 👉 As I mentioned above my debut Boys Love novel Predestined released yesterday! So here’s a little promo pitch:
After botching his first solo assignment, Valerian Frey is determined to prove he’s worthy of becoming a Valkyrie. Not an easy task when the fate of worlds rest on the scales of your heart.
Norse myth and high school dance teams collide in this queer small-town romance.
PSS 👉 Fun Fact: My author pal Susan Kaye Quinn who used to work as a legit NASA rocket scientist and over 100 other authors have their creative works on a digital time capsule on the freakin’ moon!
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The Saga Quest
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