My fiction publishing journey

In the realm of self-publishing, there lies an unbridled passion for storytelling, unencumbered by traditional gatekeepers. As an aspiring author, I embarked on a thrilling adventure to bring my fiction novel series, "Sentinel Unleashed" to life. Set in the fast-paced world of hackers and cyber warfare, Sentinel Unleashed delves deep into the realm of techno-thriller fiction.

Preview the Prologue and Chapter 1 on laterpress FREE.

Conceptualising the Sentinel Unleashed Series

The inception of Sentinel Unleashed emerged from my fascination with the ever-evolving world of technology and its potential ramifications. Drawing inspiration from real-life cybersecurity breaches and the constant battle between hackers and defenders, I weaved a narrative that combines heart-pounding action with intricate plotlines and complex characters.

Writing and Refining the Manuscript

The process of crafting Sentinel Unleashed was a labour of love, filled with countless hours of research, plotting, and character development. I immersed myself in the world of hackers first hand by participating in Bug Bounties (even earning a Hall of Fame for the Mozilla bounty program), delving into hacktivist motivations, nation state techniques, and the ethical dilemmas governments face reinforced by personal roles that required clearance as a way to cross reference with public information. This groundwork allowed me to create an authentic and gripping story that would captivate readers from the first page to the last.

To ensure the manuscript was polished to perfection, I enlisted the support of beta readers and professional editors. Their valuable feedback helped me fine-tune the pacing, tighten the plot, and ensure the narrative's consistency. Revisions and revisions were the cornerstone of refining the novel, making it ready for the next phase.

Self-publishing offers unparalleled freedom, but it also comes with a host of responsibilities. To navigate this terrain successfully, I chose to publish my series through various platforms, including e-books and print-on-demand services. Platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Find a way Voices (by Spotify) provided the tools and distribution channels necessary to reach a global audience.

More on Editing

A brief overview of my editing process:

1. Structural (or developmental) editing via Fictionary (give it a try! they're not sponsoring me in any way to say this)

Fictionary | Book Editing Software for Fiction Writers
Fictionary guides authors as they perform a story edit on their book. Learn story editing techniques that will improve your plot, characters and settings.

2. Fact-checking; what you might expect, the locations, timings, technical references, etc. were all as accurate as possible, also ensuring copyrights were not being infringed.

3. Line editing process took almost as long as everything prior combined, I had never done this before and wanted to try every step in the process as professionally as a paid editor would, therefore I myself took no shortcuts and used the Australian Style Manual 6th Edition, three total full read through passes, the first in a Word document, the second using A4 home printer and coloured pens, and third with a paperback proof copy highlighter and pencil.

4. Fine (or Final) copy edit; since KDP (Amazon author central) provides you 5 paperback proof prints, I had used 1 for editing, I'll keep 1 for sentimental reasons, I gave 3 out to my network in exchange for their critique. One person I was referred to so I simply asked them for a 1hr call and promised to send them the next 2 books when they're ready, no obligations to review them. All 3 were many hours of thorough feedback, I think they enjoyed it as much as I loved writing it!


Sometimes I get asked what kinds of errors I made along the way, for which my answer is many! I made many errors which I planned to treat as challenges and learned how to overcome each one - it's how I learned many technical things and felt it was a valuable skill to apply here too.

So here is a short list that combines errors I made with the solutions that worked for me;

  1. Get the idea down and expect it to be poorly written, the goal isn't to write the dialogue or storytelling coherently at first, the goal is always to capture the train of thought before it gets lost or changed in some way.
  2. When dialogue is first written make sure you include a lot of notes, anything related to the conversation, like if the character was shocked, smirking, using a sarcastic tone,, being serious and missing the point, where they were looking, what they were thinking but not saying. The golden rule for a fiction novel is to "tell, not explain,tot he reader" which means wherever possible the dialogue between characters tells the story, the text around the quotation marks are there to explain the unspoken details.
  3. Dialogue tags are useful for draft, but should only be published for non-spoken dialogue such as a recounting, overhearing / eavesdropping, an electronic chat, that sort of thing. The point is do not be afraid to draft dialogue tags but be prepared to rewrite them as you re-read and refine the story later or you will be doing an edit without the context. We all know context switching is a massive motivation killer!
  4. Share your ideas with people! Don't choose people that aren't interested in reading your genre, and don't bring ideas up in conversations with people who will spend more time asking you questions about semi-related things like the tools you use, the publishing process, tell you about the books they actually enjoyed. Choose people genuinely capable of talking about your ideas, characters, story arcs and stick to them. Do this when you're stuck, unsure, not feeling like something is working quite right but still feels exciting.
  5. Story arc! Do have them, have many small arcs that you feel might fit somewhere too. These smaller arcs give back story that many readers enjoy as much and even more sometimes. So keep them written down, use them when a major arc is moving too fast or you're finding you are stucck on a progression point. Smaller arcs that do not effect the maor arc are great for creativity and inspiration.
  6. The major story arc should be so massive, so much larger than the novel you are writing.  The major arc should have a beginning and an end, but you do not need to write a novel covering the entire arc. Create the major arc before writing any of your novel, establish hollow characters and learn how to introduce them. Sometimes the major arc ends with a pivotal character that wasn't known to the reader until half way through the story. Some stories start with a protagonist the reader belives is never going to leave / die / etc. but learn halfway thorugh they were removed in vein, or as a means to make it possible for the true protagonist to emerge. The point is, make the major arc so massive that when you have it planned out at a high level you know where your characters emerge and what roles they play.
  7. Choose a beginning of the novel somewhere close to the middle point of your major arc, so that you can tell a concise and more detailed story that has room to tell relevant back story for your characters as they are developing slowly in the minds of readers

Thank you for supporting me, and I look forward to taking you on an exhilarating ride through the Sentinel Unleashed series and beyond.

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Available on Amazon in eBook and paperback!

The Hackers is a gripping novel that explores the interconnected lives of Eli and Wren Fitzpatrick, two siblings deeply entrenched in the world of technology. Eli is an hacktivist fighting for environmental justice, while Wren is a skilled social engineer navigating the ethical boundaries of her craft.

As the epic journey begins, the boundaries between right and wrong blur as Wren navigates the complex world of cyber warfare. With her meticulous planning and attention to detail, Wren must confront her own personal demons while combating the ever-present dangers lurking in the digital realm.

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