Publication: “Unearthing History” in “Over the Rainbow” Anthology

“Unearthing History”, my short story, has been published in Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins. My work will appear along side stories by authors such as Fiona Patton and Karin Lowachee.

This anthology aimed to “play with traditional fairy tale tropes in unconventional ways” and “explore new family dynamics and relationships, fairy tales that explore different bodies, and fairy tales that push boundaries into the strange and otherworldly.”

I’m proud to be included in a diverse anthology that aims to be unconventional and challenge the status quo.

“Unearthing History” was set in Toronto, where some humans are descended from mythical creatures. Others have supernatural abilities. How does society manage to maintain order with fantasy abound? The short story, with its fantastical roots, is bound to earthly issues that impact people of colour.

The setting was specifically in North York, Toronto. It’s an area with great differences in wealth among residents. The richest part, known as Bridle Path, was where my main characters Cindy and Rochelle attended the party.

Cindy, the main character, is descended from the sanzuwu (aka. three-legged crow). I used Google maps to describe what she sees as she flies across the city.

Rochelle, the second main character, is a vodou priestess. Despite what you may have seen in media, vodou is a religion centered around healing. The ideas of zombie and wax dolls are misconceptions. Readings I would recommend to learn about Haiti and vodou are:

  • Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn
  • Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture: Invisible Powers
  • A Skin for Dancing In: Possession, Witchcraft and Voodoo in Film
  • Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915- 1940

The Self-Publishing Journey (Part 3)

After the work has been published, there are just a few more things to consider.

Step 11: Contributing to the Legal Deposit

Since I registered as a publisher with Library and Archives Canada, I’m expected to send my novella (hardcover and eBook editions) to the Legal Deposit. The appropriate form also needs to be sent. Incompatible will be preserved for future generations to access.

The LAC record is available to view. Here’s the WorldCat record.


Step 12: Creating the eBook

Formatting the eBook is a little bit different compared to the hardcopy. Check out Kindle’s eBook formatting instructions. Looks at other eBooks and see how they’re set up. A few things to keep in mind when you’re creating your file:

  • Don’t include header or footer material (i.e. the page number, author, title)
  • Create a table of contents
  • Page margins are even; you don’t have to worry about physical binding. Edit the gutter to 0″
  • Font’s bigger (12-16 size)
  • Front cover is mandatory, a back cover is optional
  • Remove review comments from your document
  • The author bio can just be the last page

Step ??: Filing your taxes

This step could occur anytime, depending on the time of year.

Keep receipts of everything. If you paid an editor or cover designer, you can include that on your taxes. If you made money on your book, report that in your taxes.

Step ??: Marketing

You should have some kind of marketing plan before your work is published. There are many ways to promote a work. You can participate in literary events/readings, for example. Who’s your target audience? There are various indie author events out there.

Tell all your friends/family/coworkers about it.

Setup an online presence as an author. This can include creating a Facebook fanpage, twitter, Goodreads, etc. Kindle has KDP Select, which can help you with advertising on Amazon.

The SELF-e program provides you with an opportunity to have your eBook reviewed by Library Journal and available for library patrons to read throughout North American library branches.

Marketing will depend, ultimately, on what you want to do.

Final Thoughts

The writing, editing, and publishing process taught me a lot about myself and who I am as a writer. Planning and self-discipline are the most important things for self-publishing. The lessons learned will assist me with future endeavours. I will definitely be self-publishing more in the future!

The Self-Publishing Journey (Part 2)

Self-publishing (part 1)

Step 5: Get an ISBN

Through Kindle, you can be assigned an ISBN automatically. I chose to get one from Library and Archives Canada because I want my works registered as a part of Canadian literature.

Once you get account details from LAC you can login to your publisher’s account here. Logged in, you can get an ISBN for your work within a few minutes.

See below my tutorial on how to get an ISBN.

Step 6: Get the Barcode

Kindle generated a barcode for me; I didn’t have to go out and purchase one.

Kindle has a designated area where the barcode will be pasted on the back of your cover. You can see a preview of where the barcode is once you upload your cover.

If your book is created in multiple formats (i.e. print, ebook, etc.), you need to get separate ISBNs for each.

Step 7: Registering on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

You can sign up as a self-publisher here.

Once you sign up, you can add how you’ll receive payment and complete the tax interview.

Note: For Canadian self-publishers, you can prevent the IRS from taking 30% of your profits by using your SIN number as the Tax Identification Number (TIN) during your Tax Information Interview.

Step 8: The Cover

I used this article as a guide for writing author bios. For book blurbs, read other blurbs in your genre and get a sense of how they’re written. You can find blurbs in places like Amazon. Also browse Amazon when determining what kind of cover you want. Determine the physical length, width, and page length of your work; the designer needs to know.

Though you can create a cover yourself, I’d recommend hiring a professional to do it. You can find a freelancer through services such as Fiverr or Upwork. In terms of selecting a freelancer, check their turnaround time, portfolio, and packages they offer.

For a cover image, you can give the freelancer a picture, or you can select something within their database of stock images. You can also ask them for revisions until you’re happy with the end product.

I ordered through Fiverr. The process was straightforward, inexpensive, and took three business days to complete.


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Step 9: Formatting and Submitting

The manuscript itself has to be formatted as a proper book before submitting it into Kindle. Would recommend reading:

Note: After submitting your book, you may have to wait up to 3 days as Amazon reviews your work. Then your book will be public.

The Self-publishing Journey (Part 1)

I intend to self-publish a novella in 2018.

The tentative title is ‘Incompatible.’ It’s a historical romance.

I’ll be documenting my journey, while also providing tips on self-publishing.

Note: The information provided is applicable to Canadian authors.

Step 1: The First Edit

I printed out my draft and started editing.

Scheduling when I was supposed to finish each chapter was immensely helpful with staying on track. Refer to 2015 Guide to Self-Publishing, Revised Edition: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Self-Publishing‘s checklist (pg. 31) to help you plan the entire self-publishing process.

I also regularly attended writing groups to ensure that I worked frequently.

Step 2: Hire an Editor

You can find someone via Fiverr, UpWork, Editors Canada, personal connections, etc.

For tax/legal purposes, I used the contract template available at Editors Canada to formalize the terms with my editor.

Step 3: Get the ISBN

In Canada, the ISBN can be obtained for free via Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

You must create an ISBN Canada account. The publisher name, address, email and phone number you provide will become publicly available online. For privacy/business purposes, consider registering with a business name and/or getting a postal box. You can rent a postal box at Canada Post, UPS, or elsewhere.

Try and register with LAC as early as you can, because processing your account will take 1-2 weeks. You don’t need to have an officially registered business name to use it as your publisher’s name.

Once you get your login information, you can sign in and obtain an ISBN for your work. Note that the hardcopy and ebook version of your book will need their own ISBNs for keeping track of sales.

An ISBN can also be obtained via Amazon, if you publish with them, but I decided on registering my work through LAC.

You can also view my tutorial on how to sign up as a publisher:

Self-Publishing Journey (Part 2)

My NaNoWriMo Adventure (#NaNo2016)

Last month, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The objective was to write at least 50,000 words within a month. Although I didn’t win, I was still able to get a lot of writing done. It was also a great time to socialize with fellow local writers.

The Toronto Public Library has been involved by hosting write-ins and author spotlight events. You can learn more about NaNoWriMo and how the TPL is involved by reading this blog post.

NaNoWriMo is an incredibly productive, chaotic and fun experience; I encourage all writerly types to try it. One should also consider participating in Camp NaNo in April and July, where you set your own word count goal.

Short Story Publication

I’m happy to announce that my short story ‘Making the Myth’ has been published in Existere: A Journal of Arts & Literature (vol. 35, no. 2). You can obtain a copy of the issue by purchasing a subscription or visiting a bookstore that sells the journal.

Creative writing was and always will be my first passion. Seeing one’s work in a bookstore is surreal and a dream come true, to say the least. Below are photos of the issue.