Do you have a dream to publish your book? Perhaps you think about having a large following of readers, being famous, or getting good money. But none of that is important if you don’t love the process. The true reward of creating, is having a creation. The real payoff, the thing that matters the most, is holding your published book in your hands.
I’ve have written many things throughout my childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. Books hundreds of pages long written in notebooks with pencil. Multiple award-winning fanfics. My dream, however, was to officially publish a book.
It felt significant to have the book fully written, edited, and finalized. The process of publishing the first time was overwhelming. It had to be formatted a certain way and data set up specifically in the KDP system. It took me days to figure it out with a great deal of stress (I am very practiced at it now!).
But when that book finally came in, and I could hold it in my hand, I was blown away. Dorian and I stared at it, flipped through it, and set it in a place of prominence. We had worked together to create something, and now we had brought a new story into the world!
How does it feel to publish your book? It feels like the achievement that it is. That all your years of hard work were worth it. Your story is now yours to read as you please. While having other readers and making money are good results, they pale in comparison to simply the act of creating. That is something that can never be taken away.
We discuss the three main strategies to use when you need to write a fight scene.
Adventure, fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, horror . . . while all these genres are different, you can expect to find fight scenes in them. Scenes where characters are pitted against other characters, against creatures, or against monsters and fighting for their survival. It could involve weapons, magic, or hand-to-hand combat. Even genres such as drama or romance might have more action-oriented scenes involving escapes, chases, or trying to hide from danger.
As writers, our job is to convey the tension of these fight scenes to the readers. But that is often easier said than done. I am one of those writers that struggle with fight scenes. I take a very long time writing them, and they often go through way more revisions than any other aspect of my work.
In this post I’ll talk about the three main strategies I use to craft a good fight scene in hopes they will help you, as well!
Vary Your Sentence Lengths
When you write fight scenes in your book, readers must be drawn into the intensity of the moment. A good way to do this is to write short, focused sentences. For example:
“She lunged forward. She turned into a kick. Her foot slammed into his spine.”
These are great to keep up an action pace, but no one wants to read an entire fight scene written like that. A good rule is to keep a balance of your sentence lengths. Work in multiple short, action-focused sentences with longer, more descriptive ones. This will give your reader a time to pause and visualize the fight before drawing them back into the quick action. For example, a follow-up might be:
“The force of her kick knocked him from his feet. He was sent sliding across the dirt and the mud, staining his jeans.”
Study Wrestling Fights
Remember that all good fights need to be character-driven. What the character wants should be clear. Someone who wants to escape won’t spend a lot of time going toe-to-toe with their opponents. And with each move your character makes, it’s an opportunity to show their personality.
I recommend studying the way wrestling fights are conducted, such as the ones on WWE or AEW. These fights are structured in such a way that they tell a story. Every character as their own unique move set and unique purpose to be in the fight.
There is also a good give-and-take in the way wrestling fights are staged. Especially for big paid live shows. They will work in shock and awe moments, there will be times when you think the hero character is being defeated only for them to mount a comeback. In short, they push the narrative forward. Watch these for inspiration on structuring your fight scenes.
Use a Randomizer
When I write fight scenes, I will know my high points. But how do I connect them? How do I fill in this space to transition from one big moment to another?
Sometimes, I use what I refer to as my “randomizer”. I use a self-created spreadsheet filled with various fight moves or actions. These can include parry, trip, punch to the face, lose balance, overhead strike, etc. I will then roll either with a dice or with an online roller. The number it lands on is the next move in the fight. Of course, I must then translate it narratively. But that turns it into a fun challenge.
For example, let’s say I’m in the middle of my fight with two characters facing off. They are fighting on a roof. I roll and get a 5. I look at my spreadsheet. The 5 slot says “lose balance”. So I write:
“He swung wild and hard, aiming his sword for her throat. She quickly spun out of the way and his attack went wide. Losing his balance, he tumbled toward the edge of the roof.”
Now I roll again. I get a 13. The 13 slot says “parry“. I write:
“As he struggled to regain his footing, he made a quick strike at her. Hoping to land a blow as he passed. But she deftly parried, remaining unharmed.”
Are there any tricks you use when writing a fight? Let us know below!
If you are a new or experienced author on Amazon’s KDP, you might wonder if you are pricing your book competitively. Will it make you enough money? Is it overpriced? Is it underpriced? It is attractive to consumers? And why is there a 35% or a 70% royalty option? Who doesn’t want to make more money? We’ll talk about each of these points below to help you price your book!
Is My Book Overpriced?
You spend a great deal of time and effort on your book. You know you should earn income appropriate to your efforts. However, are you pricing your book to high? Readers often consider price when choosing which book to purchase, and not everyone has the extra money to buy whatever they choose.
A good way to determine if your book is priced too high is to survey similar books in your genre. When you open your book’s sale page on Amazon, you can scroll down to see similar titles other people have bought. Look at the prices of these. Is yours the most expensive of the list? Visit your local bookstore and browse your genre, checking each price. If your book is always on the highest end, you may have overpriced it.
Is My Book Underpriced?
If you price your book extremely cheap, everyone will rush to buy it. After all, who doesn’t want a good deal? Well, this isn’t necessarily the case. Actually, you could be “shooting yourself in the foot”, as it were, by pricing your book too cheaply.
Consumers often attribute the quality of an item to its price. While everyone wants a good deal, if people think something is surprisingly cheap, too cheap, they may assume it is a low-quality item. Therefore, they may assume your book is not good and that is why it’s so cheap. When pricing your book, don’t make the cost so low that one questions how good it is. Also, your efforts deserve a good price. Don’t undersell yourself!
Who Wouldn’t Want a 70% Royalty?
When publishing an ebook specifically on KDP, it gives you the option to choose a royalty plan. You can choose between 35% or 70%. This seems confusing. Who wouldn’t want more money per book sale?
First thing to know is that not all books qualify for a 70% royalty. Your ebook cannot be priced higher than $9.99, or lower than $2.99, to qualify. You must also have this book enrolled in KDP Select. Enrolling in this free program allows your book to be part of Kindle Unlimited (subscribed readers can read your book for “free” and you get paid per page read), your book is allowed to be lent between readers for 14 days, and you can run discounts or free promotions of your book.
Be aware that even if you choose 70%, this may not apply to certain international markets. Honestly unless you are a worldwide-known author, there is no reason to not take advantage of the perks you get from choosing the 70% royalty plan. It gives you better outreach to potential readers.
We hope this has been educational! Happy publishing!
We look at the pros and cons of places to promote your book.
Where to promote your book? That is a question on every indie author’s mind. You did all this work, but how do you get people to actually see what you’ve written? There are many marketers out there that claim to be able to make your “sales soar”, but many of them are only scams. Here is our list of where to promote your book, as well as what to look out for.
This one is not the quick-success guarantee many people make it out to be. Unless you’re someone that likes to stir up a lot of drama, you’re likely not going to build a huge following online. Cultivating a social media presence to promote your book will be a long-term, daily effort. And books aren’t exactly the type of quick entertainment content that reads well on things like Instagram and the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Pros: Access to a large audience, able to post multiple times a day, able to capitalize on trending hashtags to get noticed, free
Cons: Slow to build followers, book marketing isn’t a “quick laugh”, posts can easily read like ads
Be aware of: You can pay for ad campaigns that let you reach a lot of people.
Be wary of: People pretending to be influencers that just want a quick sell promising they can get your book out to thousands of people.
Book Review & Reader Websites
There are many websites out there run by a single individual or group that will review books, post about their favorites, and allow you to promote your book on their site. Some of these are good, some not so much. It is a good way to get your book in front of people that are currently looking for something new to read. The problem is that a lot of these people tend to be “free book collectors” that are just waiting for a free sale period to stock up. They don’t always turn around on reviews and revenue for you.
Pros: Targeted audience, good visibility
Cons: Sometimes can cost money, no guarantee of any actual sale
Be aware of: Some websites offer packages to promote and review your book. On the right site, this can give you great outreach.
Be wary of: Just because a lot of people are signed up for their newsletter doesn’t mean they have good engagement.
Most indie authors choose to publish on Amazon’s KDP because of the ease of it (most of the time, haha). Amazon may market their advertising as an easy way to get sales, but it is a lot more complicated than that. If you go into it without knowing anything about their system, you can quickly get overwhelmed. Make sure you do some research first so you understand what you are filling out. I recommend reading this. While these ads can get your book many, many views, it’s not always a good ROI. Where you market it, what keywords you use, who you target, and when you run your ad can result in lots of sales, or no sales at all.
Pros: Marketed directly to people shopping for a book, easy click to buy the book
Cons: Not user friendly, costs lots of money for a good campaign
Be aware of: The more you invest in your ad, the more outreach you will get.
Be wary of: Books with few reviews, bad reviews, or uninteresting descriptions might not perform well and you will be out the money.
It doesn’t matter if you are an aspiring or experienced writer, when it’s time to choose a book title it can feel overwhelming. You want it to catch a reader’s attention, you want it to convey the theme of the book, and you want it to feel unique to the story you are telling. It can all be overwhelming! We outlined three simple strategies below to help you in naming your book. These are strategies we put into place when we choose book titles for our Thread of Souls series.
The Aesthetic Title
You may want to choose a title that focuses on the specific aesthetic of your story. Is your story dark and moody? Is it romantic and epic? Is it violent and strategic? If you have an idea of the vibes of your story, you can begin to create a short list of words related to them. Try not to fall into the stereotypical trap of young adult novels with edgy names, but instead choose words that relay the moods and themes of your work.
For example, if you book is romantic, you might want to include a color of passion in the title, like red or purple. Or aesthetics associated with romance such as flowers, fire, silk, the night, or chocolate.
Animals are also good metaphors for themes in your book. Foxes are associated with being cunning, owls for wisdom, dogs for loyalty, elephants for sturdiness, or spiders for laying traps.
Consider other symbols and what they mean. A full moon is often associated with power. Storms are often associated with troubling times. Rain for rebirth, a garden for life, an apple for temptation, and so on.
Here are some real-life examples: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White, and Midnight Beauties by Megan Shepherd.
The Prominent Name Title
You may choose your book title based on something prominent within the story itself. This could be a character, a location, or an item of note. This brings the focus onto something instrumental to your story’s plotline.
Some examples of stories named after characters: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare, The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde, and Pendragon by D.J. MacHale.
Some examples of stories named after locations within: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and Out of Africa by Karen Blixen.
Some examples of stories named after an item within: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll, and The Singing Sword by Jack Whyte.
The Fairytale Setting Title
Sometimes you might want to cement the grand scale of the story you are telling. This is especially helpful if you are telling a book trilogy or series. This allows you to be flexible with subtitles, as well! When going for this type of book title, choose a synonym for “story” and then something else from the list above, such as a character name. We’ve got some great examples below!
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, and A Song of Ice and Fire from George R. R. Martin.
How We Chose the Thread of Souls Names
“Thread of Souls” relates to everything that is published within our fantasy world. It not only goes with our theme of multiple character POV’s and how they influence each other, but also of the prominent goddess of death in the stories and her theme of threads. Readers familiar with Greek mythology will easily recognize the allusion to the Fates.
The eight-book series we are currently on is dubbed the “Spider Octology”. This is not only because of a prominent god feature and the number of books in the series, but also is thematic since spiders are associated with laying traps.
Here is a breakdown of the subtitles of the four books published so far:
Book 1 – Phantom Five. This is named after the adventuring group the Phantom Five created across the story.
Book 2 – Ash & Thunder. Not only is this title a bit aesthetic for the chaos and violence in the book, but it also directly relates to two major battles that take place within.
Book 3 – Path of the Spiders. Many secrets are uncovered in this book regarding Taliesin’s missing spiders.
Book 4- Asunder. The story begins with many of our heroes split apart, and thus the group has been torn asunder.
We hope this has been helpful to you! We’d love to hear how you came up with the names for your stories below!
Hello again! Got some exciting news for the start of this month!
The fifth book for our Thread of Souls series is in progress! The very first chapter was actually finished on Friday! It’s been a few weeks of finalizing the outline and creating a timeline for the book’s writing, editing, prepping, and release. We’re so excited to start this journey! This is a book big for us since we are starting the second half of the Spider Octology. As the months progress, we will definitely share more about the book with art, excerpts, and a title release.
Finally, finally, hardcovers for Thread of Souls are a thing! The hardcover for Phantom Fivejust released. We got the proof in and are very happy with the results, it’s definitely a beautiful book! You can expect the hardcovers for Ash & Thunder, Path of the Spiders, and Asunder to all go live this month.
Talia draws all the art for Thread of Souls, giving life to this world through cultural concepts, character designs, weapon designs, and more. We also plan to release a graphic novel in the future, and right now we’re both working hard on getting everything set up for that. If you like Talia’s art, she is offering commissions! Check out her DeviantArt page to learn more.
This September we are celebrating “Read a New Book Month”! You can also totally celebrate in December, since that is also designated as a new book month. For us, September is the doorstep of our favorite season of the year, and it has us looking to settle down, find some new books, and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Choose Your Weapon
When looking for a new book, there are many avenues available! A big chain like Barnes & Noble has plenty to choose from, or you might want to go to a local bookshop and find some hidden gems. Going online to stores like Amazon enables you to support indie authors who might not be able to get their books into larger stores. Or if you find yourself pressed for time to sit down and read, audiobooks are another option! Don’t overlook your local library if you don’t want to spend money.
We are lovers of high fantasy, and that tends to be 80% of what we read. But we also enjoy some spooky stories, some urban fantasy, and some nonfiction books. Stick with what you like, or it might be fun to branch out and try something new! If you are uncertain about spending money on a book you are not sure you’ll like, you can find ebooks for relatively cheap, especially from indie authors. Some sites like Amazon also let authors do a temporary free promotion of their book, so you can try one without any cost! Keep in mind the authors do not make any money from this, so you can tell they truly want to share their work if they do free promotions.
We’ve definitely written plenty of posts talking about some of our favorite books. If you are looking for some inspiration, feel free to check these out!
We look back at a fun and imaginative trilogy that forever impacted my love of reading.
The Bartimaeus Trilogy is a witty, engaging, and all-around fun read by author Jonathan Stroud. The books consist of The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye, and Ptolemy’s Gate. I read these books when I was in high school, and to say that they impacted my life would be a severe understatement. Let’s dive into what they are about to see if they will be a great read for you, as well!
The Bartimaeus Trilogy follows three major characters. The talkative and clever djinni Bartimaeus, the ambitious and quiet magician Nathaniel, and the brave and strong-willed rebel Kitty. The chapters vary from each of their POV’s, making it easy to dive right into their heads and hearts. The trilogy takes us on a fantastical world of an alternative London. One where the rich and powerful magicians control others through the summoning and enslavement of spirits such as djinn, imps, powerful afreet, and more. But the people of London won’t stand for this control and domination much longer. What follows is a tale of systems of power, of corruption, of freedom, and what is means to be “human”.
One of the best parts about these books is how you get three stories rolled into one due to the varying POV’s. You get the world of backstabbing political corruption with Nathaniel. You get the world of secret rebellions and spies with Kitty. And you get the magical world of spirits and power through Bartimaeus.
I immediately fell in love with these books when I first discovered them in my old school’s library. Often I would fall asleep reading because I couldn’t put it down. To date not only is this the first book series I have fully read twice over, but I have actually read it three times and will happily continue to read for the rest of my life. The characters are complex and deep, the struggles everyone goes through are heartfelt, and even in this fantasy London there is a ring of truth to the dynamics that are explored.
The award-winning Bartimaeus Trilogy also has a fourth companion that is more of a prequel (though set hundreds of years prior to these events). It is titled the Ring of Solomon and is also a fantastic read. It features Bartimaeus, but not Nathaniel or Kitty.
A fun, D&D- inspired book that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
We were given a free copy of Loners, both ebook and audiobook format, in exchange for a fair review. Allopinions are our own. Loners is authored by DB Bray and Wahida Clark, and the audiobook is narrated by Walt Allen.
Loners is a book that knows its niche well. And that is Dungeons & Dragons fans. Any fans of fantasy in general will have their eye turned by this book, especially due to the great cover, but for D&D players it will truly shine. It’s fun, comical, grand, and has strokes of darker themes and moments without breaking too long from the lighter, fast-paced tone of the story.
The summary for Loners is:
Jari Rockjaw just wants a quiet life and a homestead to call his own. He has been a bounty hunter in Labrys for over one hundred years. And it’s getting old. Battle after battle, allies lost and gained, he now wants to smoke his pipe in the solitude far from the human cities he despises. An option to do so comes his way when the king of Ekepia asks for a favor. Jari is tasked with destroying the most evil dwarf ever to walk the world!
With Jari’s best mates at his side, they team up for one last mission . . . a mission that will be nearly impossible to pull off. But just like everything else in life….if the juice is worth the squeeze, YOU take the risk. The only question, Jari must ask himself is . . . Is retirement really worth dying for?
The characters that really shine in this work are Jari and Betha. Jari is pragmatic, kind, and easily likeable. Betha is a breath of fresh air in the world of fantasy as a female minotaur who does not get sexualized. It is really their friendship and dedication to one another that is the beating heart of the story.
Driven by a fast pace, we follow Jari, Betha, and their adventuring party across the lands. There are a variety of characters encountered, and it is nice to see dwarven characters included that aren’t automatically all miners or forgers. The world building when it comes to the minotaur culture is really great, and it feels as if you step into an undiscovered world altogether.
The narration on the audiobook is very pleasing to listen to. Walt Allen has a great tone that easily evokes imagery. At just over nine hours, it is not a long listen and is great for readers who want a fun summer read rather than those looking for a longer fantasy series.
Our review of fantasy novel Six of Crows by author Leigh Bardugo.
Six of Crows is a dark and gritty fantasy novel that offers a world of very little hope while also keeping you hopeful for its earnest, likeable characters. Set around a ragtag group of thieves attempting a heist that is considered impossible, it brings to mind Suicide Squad mixed with D&D in the best ways.
The fantasy world of Six of Crows is a unique one. It is not swords and sorcery and it is not urban fantasy. There are guns and there are daggers. There is magic set forward in a more scientific fashion. There is a map of the book’s own unique world that is diverse and deep and believable. There is a quite a lot of information given up front, and it can feel hard to quickly learn countries and their complex relationships as well as factions since it is never fully laid out. But the casual conversations about these places bring a nice life to them. Especially since all the characters have their own unique opinions.
Speaking of characters, Six of Crows offers a diverse group of very likeable characters each battling with their own pasts. In fact, their “secret backstories” is a major driving force of this book. The big past reveals can start to feel a bit routine since each character has their own dark secrets, but they do make you feel for each character very deeply. The book gets a bit close to the “female characters mother toxic men into good behavior” trope, but stops itself of crossing the line fully.
The writing is beautiful, lively, and keeps the plot moving forward. The descriptions are well-balanced. The fights have a good pace, although they are on the surprisingly gory side for a “teen read”. The author does a good job at pacing the plot so there are plenty of twists
The world of Six of Crows is dark and depressing. It is a world of back-stabbing, manipulation, and where hope can’t really grow. So if that is not your cup of tea, this story will weigh heavily on you. But there is humor to alleviate this weight, and each character has their own hope for a better future. Or at least a satisfyingly revenge.
All in all, Six of Crows is recommended for fantasy fans! It is fun, fast-paced, and offers a fully realized world. We give it a 9 on a d10.