For Self-Publishers

I recently started using a publishing service from Draft2Digital. You can find it here:

I’m sure a squillion of you already know about this service but I thought I would send this out in case anyone hasn’t discovered it yet.

Up to now I’ve put all my eggs in the Amazon basket, for the obvious reason that it is the biggest market place for self-publishers. However, it isn’t the only place, and I realised that I was just being lazy by taking this approach.

I looked at services like Smashwords and Lulu and Bookbaby and others, but the Draft2Digital proposition was the one that seemed to make most sense for me. That isn’t to suggest that the other offerings are inferior in any way, just that the offering from Draft2Digital was most appropriate for my circumstances.

The reasons I chose Draft2Digital are:

  • Their low cost. Not only is there no up-front charge of any kind, their fee model is one based on units sold through them. In other words you only pay when you earn. Plus, their fees are just 10% of the cover price of your book, which is lower than Amazon and (I believe) lower than all the other publishing services.
  • No contractual malarkey. The author keeps the rights to their work and can walk away at any time.
  • The process is a piece of cake. You just provide a Word or RTF file with chapter headings to them and they take it and format it into a book structure. The process generates a title page and a contents page and a few other things like a dedication page and ‘about the author’ and ‘also by’. It even provides links back to your website if you have one.
  • There are a range of pre-cooked formats to choose from. There are suggested formats for specific genres or types (fiction/non fiction) but you can pick and choose whatever you want.
  • You need to provide a cover image, but you can do that yourself with Photoshop or Sketchbook or whatever if, as a startup author like me, you need to keep costs down. This is something you need to decide for yourself, though. I made my own covers, but I’m certain something more professional looking would help my sales.
  • Once you’ve got your book in place and published, their sister service, (the book discovery service Books2Read) provides a handy little thing called a Universal Book Link for each book. This is a single link that will lead the potential reader to whatever their preferred store is – Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, whatever – where a version of your book will be waiting to be ordered. You can just plonk this one UBL on your website and it will take potential buyers to whatever site they prefer to use. If you want to see what a UBL looks like, click here to go to one for ‘A Midwinter Night Scream‘, a book of mine.
  • Price promotions are easy. Pick a price, a date range, and make it so. No funny business with preconditions or constraints.
  • There are links to partner organisations that provide services like cover design, editing, marketing and even Audiobooks. These are additional cost services, though, which I guess is fair enough. I’ve not used any of the additional cost services, so I can’t say anything about them yet.

The only thing I’m not too sure about in this proposition is in the area of marketing. The price promotions are okay, but there doesn’t yet seem to be a way of publicising or promoting your book in any meaningful way (other than through the MonkeyPaw or Creative Works partner organisations, or the Books2Read service.) The blurb on the Draft2Digital web site says that new features and support for authors are being introduced in the future, and I’m sure they will. Maybe some form of enhanced marketing support will be one of these – although, on reflection, I’m not sure what I should expect here.

Anyway – you will gather that I am a fan of this service. It’s worth saying that I didn’t ask for or receive any payment or recompense of any kind for this post. I just like the Draft2Digital setup, and I think most self-publishers will too.

There, by Ricky A. Kay

This story made the long list for the Sheffield Author’s Short Story Competition 2019. If you’d like to have a read, you can find it on the Portfolio page, or just click here.

Congratulations to Jess Said for her winning entry, Bullet, which I’m sure will be published somewhere on the Sheffield Author’s website in the near future. Congratulations too to the other long-listers for making it through. There was some good work in there last night.


The name Bolsonaro, revile it, despise it.

We must find some way to curtail and chastise him.

He must be a bought man, there’s no other reason,

So follow the money, and charge him with treason.

For killing the planet, for frying its lungs

The man must be taking the biggest of bungs.

He’s claiming a freedom, but freedom from what?

Freedom to take from all those who have not.

The Amazon creatures, the amazing tribes,

Whose homes he is burning for some fat, dirty bribes.

When his reign is over one thing is for sure,

He’ll have a new home on the Cote D’Azur.

And back in his homeland, amidst all the ashes

The people should find out just where all his cash is.

They should bring it all back, and bring him along, too,

And then build him a home where the wild birds once flew.

They should settle him down in a place he likes well

So he can watch his own country, as it turns to hell.

Hello, Mister Putin

Hello Mister Putin. 
How the hell are you?
Are happy with your work today?
Are you pleased at what you do?
Have you murdered any democrats
With other people's hands?
Have you slaughtered any innocents
In other people's lands?
It's funny how the world sits back
And lets you do these things.
Oh, but of course, you've paid them off. 
How do you pay off kings?
And while we're here, how do you sleep?
Does guilt not play a part
In any little thing you do
I guess you need a heart.
We see you going walkabout
And there among the proles
Were people who might vote you out,
But you will kill them all.
We see that you have many men
Around you all the time
Caligula had much the same
You share at least some crimes.
How can you not see history?
The book of times gone by
Where will be writ in future years,
'he lied and lied and lied'.
You laugh and say, 'It's my time now,
The strong man makes the truth.'  
That lie was told some years ago
When Hitler was a youth.
It's funny how you scummy men
All fear democracy
The way that drunken Junker does,
Bashar and Kim and Xi.
You put the ballot box on view,
And so the people vote
Exactly how you tell them to,
Although the scars don't show.
It would be really funny if
The voters said just leave
But that will never happen now
Your rule is to deceive.
You've broken it, the way of life
That Athens gave to us
The way where we all had a say
Has gone without a fuss.
What frightens me the most of all
Was told by Eric Blair.
In 1948 he wrote
That tale of present years.
He said that truth becomes the lie
That war becomes the peace
When everything is doublethink
And no-one disagrees.

My Eyeshite

WordPress spellchecker is sometimes a challenge. It helpfully autocorrected the word ‘chores’ to ‘chorea’ in the post ‘She’ll Have to Shoot Me’, which made the poem sound like I was resisting being asked to fidget uncontrollably. That’s the problem with writing posts on an iPhone SE, especially with eyes like mine. It’s a great little phone, but the screen is just too small for me to properly check what I’ve done. I can see a buzzard 3 miles away, but I can’t read anything nearer than the length of my arm…

Sorry about that, folks. You’ve got to laugh, though.

For My Followers And Friends

“It began with a drink. He died because of a drink

He was almost sure of that. But the others, the other dead people, he didn’t know how they came to be there. Not all of them, anyway.

He wasn’t even sure where there was.

And the ones that didn’t want to be dead, and the ones that wanted to be dead forever, and the ones that looked after the dead, the ones that greeted them and mothered them, he wasn’t sure about them at all.

He was sure about some things, though.

He was sure that two people had died because of him.

And he was sure he couldn’t live without them.”

That is the Prologue from my book A Midwinter Night Scream. If you’ve been enjoying the posts on the rickyakay blog, I’m pretty certain that you’ll enjoy the book. One kind Amazon reader has already given it a 5 star review, as has an equally kind Goodreads reviewer. Have a look and let me know what you think. You can find it on Amazon, ASIN: B07VGMKHTL, or click here.

A Midwinter Night Scream

I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy finishing a book. It’s done now, and you can get A Midwinter Night Scream on Amazon at

I’m really rather pleased with it.

The book is a sort of love story, or the story of one man’s love and life and death, though not necessarily in that order.

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

What do you do when everyone you ever loved is dead? Neil’s answer is to drown the pain in drink. When even that doesn’t work, he decides to end it all and join his loved ones. But on his way home he stumbles and falls. He is picked up by a Greeter, who leads him into the Underside, a place where the dead appear to live before they Fall and complete the eternal cycle. The Greeter is Deirdre, a tall, dark, beautiful woman with a secret. She leads him to the Mothers, the guardians of the Underside, who tell Neil he must search the Underside to find his own lost soul. He encounters friends and foes who are neither one or the other, and Revenants, dead people who want to live again, and Necromancers, who want to stay dead forever. He sees a familiar face, and another face that is also familiar, though he has never seen it before. And he begins to see that the only way he will find his soul is through his loved ones. But they are only in the Underside because of him…

I hope you like it. If you do, please post a review on Amazon. And tell your friends. In fact, tell everyone!

About These Posts

These posts are a mixture of poems, prose, haikus – all kinds of formats. Read them at random, as that’s how I write them. If you like them, you should have a look at the stories and tasters on the Portfolio page. If you like the stories, you might want to head over to the Books page. The stories in the books are quite different, from the posts and from each other.

There is more to come.

I think I’m finding my feet. Let me know what you think.