I knew what to do a year ago


I spent my working time today gathering everything I have in the way of text for the short story, a prequel to Pride’s Children, that I’m getting ready to publish on Amazon.

And panicking.

When I did the ebook formatting for PC: PURGATORY, I spent so much time tweaking Scrivener’s Compile function, to get everything to look just right, that I worried I’d never get the details out of my head.

And yet here, a bit over a year later, I can’t remember ANY of it.

Somehow, wisely, I left breadcrumbs for myself

Because it is something I send to people who request it (after they read my post on structure), I took the trouble to clean up the Novel With Parts template that I use, which is just Scrivener’s template of the same name, but with many areas prefilled or suggested.

And with the same Compile setup that I used to produce the novel’s epub file.

But it is not a short story template (reminder to self: produce one), and a 167K novel needs more parts and sections than a 1.5k short story.

But it has been extraordinarily difficult to remember why those parts were there, how I figured out the headers and footers and front and back matter, and making the decisions to delete what I don’t need.

I am nervous because I’ve never published a short story on Amazon

and it is very short.

Even with some fill-in bits, it is very short. Even if I tell people right up front that it’s short, I have this feeling of impostor syndrome.

And yet, there are no words I would add to it. It is the right length for what it tells, and a critical bit to understand Andrew. It took months to get right, to make spare, to give both a flavor of his mind and an account of an important happening which has changed him.

It’s free on Wattpad and on my blog, but some people haven’t read it here (please do so if you like). And I will have the temerity to set its price at 0.99, which, by coincidence, is the amount I’m charging today for the whole of Pride’s Children: PURGATORY.

Pricing messes with my mind. Since I also do it differently from many indies, I can’t follow easy guidelines. I want the story on Amazon for anyone who would like their own copy in a Kindle file with a cover. This authoring thing is weird.

I’ll figure it out. The next short story will be easier. It isn’t brain surgery. It’s just a little story.

Too Late: coming soon. If it hadn’t been for the shenanigans in Washington, I’d be finished.

Will I ever feel as if I know what I’m doing?


8 thoughts on “I knew what to do a year ago

  1. Catana

    I have the same problem. Just because I figured out how to do something a while back, that doesn’t mean I’m going to remember how to do it again. And, like you, I’m planning to get a short story out there fairly soon. And worrying how Scrivener’s Compile will handle something with no chapters.


      1. Catana

        I’d love to eliminate the drama–just too much anxiety, and I don’t deal well with that. How to lower our self-expectations to something more realistic? Wish I knew.

        I originally planned to make notes on the Compile settings that actually worked, but I found that Scrivener keeps the settings. So unless I have to change something again, for some reason, I’m good to go. (fingers crossed)


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          My novel template came from the novel I published; I hope I can remember or use the settings more or less intact for the next novel in the trilogy.

          I’m starting from that same template to produce a short story – and then will keep that in a shorter form as the short story templace. It should work.

          And I don’t really know where the fear came from; possibly exhaustion in the real world, rather than any real problems.

          I think I’ve identified the main cause: fearing that if my story is too short, anyone who tries that first might decide I don’t give good value for money. I’ll just quarantine that fear, and keep going anyway.I CANNOT take care of everything!


        2. Catana

          I try to remember to include a word count in my descriptions. If people don’t know how to estimate pages, and Amazon does its usual job of screwing them up, it’s not my problem. I’m well settled into a state of “I don’t really care” that helps me avoid unnecessary angst. Goes along with not checking monthly sales to see what sold and how much I made. I put the darn things out there and let them make their own way. Or not, which is more usual.


        3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          ‘Short story’ is included right there in the title; I’ll put two things at the bottom of the description:
          ‘Over ten thousand people have read this story on Wattpad,’ and the word count. It’s my perennial. In gratitude to readers there, I will leave it forever free on Wattpad, so it won’t be able to go into Select, which is fine.

          On my blog announcement, I’ll remind people they can read the story for free on my blog if they like.

          If that doesn’t do it, you can’t possibly say I didn’t try.


  2. marianallen

    Yes. And no. Helpful, isn’t it? 😉

    You’ll make your tweaks, set up your short story template, leave yourself detailed instructions this time, and (maybe) feel better prepared to dive in next time. It feels WRONG, somehow, for creative types to have to be technical, but that’s the reality today. Technical and hucksterish, when all we want to do is write stories. Ah, well, there it is, though.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I don’t mind the tech parts in principle, just in practice. Which is silly, because you can keep doing it and then examining the results to modify what you’re doing – none of these things are chiseled in stone.

      I can make all the mistakes I need to without it showing in the final product.

      Part of it is that if I’m inefficient, I’m wasting today’s good writing time on stupidities, but it doesn’t help to ADD angst to the process.

      I’ll learn some day.



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