5/2020 Writing update

This month just seemed to fly by, for some reason. And this writing update will be a bit unusual as May 2020 was the first month when I moved into early stages of launch preparation.

My main goal for May was research for cover design and finalizing my idea for it, but I did a few more things. Now, let’s look at them one by one.

Cover research

My early stages was looking at the first 10 ‘pages’ in Amazon’s charts for the specific sub-genres of fantasy to get an idea what the covers look like.

I saw this won’t be as easy as soon as I was on page two. The reason was that fantasy charts have many top spots occupied by traditionally-published big books such as Game of Thrones and its sequels, the Wheel of time series, and Tolkien’s books.

And trad-published books tend to have really boring covers (the Kindle US edition of Wheel of time series has one of the blandest covers there, one like another just in different color). But I got some rough idea from looking at the self-published books on the top, which told me my idea shouldn’t be a miss. I also had a look at the books I’ve read and the books on my TBR list (within the genre).

It also led me to think about the covers of books 2 and 3 because I’ll need to assure some similarity so they’re recognized as a part of series when the time comes.

Early market research

As I was browsing the charts, I also paid attention to something else: Kindle Unlimited participation and, to some degree, price. The divide is prety obvious between trad-pub books ($10+ and no KU for obvious reasons) and self-published books (most often $3-$5, series enders at +1$, possibly additional +$1 for longer books).

As for KU participation, it seemed prevalent in my ‘target’ subgenres which is a double-edged blade: it means there’s a large enough group of fantasy readers using KU but also possibly a strong entry barrier get past ‘house number’ rankings (slang term for 4-5 digit numbers in my place) – fantasy is a busy genre, after all, with good supply of books. Making an impact will be a tough uphill climb.

By the way, I’m considering pricing my book at $4.04 after the launch period, because why not make a 404 joke, right?

Joke not found, moving on.

Formatting research

I also had some early look at formatting, though this will probably get its own post at some point. I’ll go the DYI route though not sure what exact way. At this point, I’m considering three options: Kindle Create, Calibre only, and manual HTML+Calibre. I downloaded KC and had a look at its interface and functions, and I found a guide for HTML formatting – and made some early tries to refresh my rusty HTML knowledge.

I’m also trying to gather opinions on formatting so feel free to share yours in the comments.

Branding ideas

I also had some ideas regarding branding, as scary as that thing sounds (even worse than marketing). I’m not ready to share anything on this part other than that I’m considering a specific signature element for the series.


I made small changes to the current draft, mostly for clarity. I also started thinking about the blurb for #2 – at least what I’d like to highlight from the story as the skeleton won’t change.

Book two edit ideas

I also considered some ideas for edits to be done in book two when I get to draft it – some of them aren’t new and I’m thinking about the specifics, some are quite rough considerations regarding some characters and their exact role in the story.


In a bit of spare time, I started to work on the glossary – so far, I have early descriptions for most custom creatures, the main characters and factions, and a few locations. There’s more to do but most will be reusable in the sequels with minimal (if any) changes.

Well, that’s the round-up of my May research. I’ll welcome your tips on the matter at hand so if you know about a guide to any of those topics or have your experience to share, please do so in the comments.

5 thoughts on “5/2020 Writing update

  1. I don’t know much about the whole marketing science with publishing. I’ve tried reading up on it, and it’s confusing and overwhelming. I can write, design beautiful maps, and even draw my characters—but when it comes to marketing, I fall flat. A part of me just wants to create and design, leaving the marketing to someone else like an agent.

    I hope your book does well, Tomas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Marketing IS the scariest thing about publishing, at least for me. As much as I fear it, I do my best to understand it, with a kind of ‘know your enemy’ mindset. Time (and firsthand experience) will tell…

      Liked by 1 person

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