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Posts Tagged ‘CreateSpace’

Stack of BooksA follow-up to my earlier post about reformatting print-ready files for e-book readers

In case these two points didn’t register in that post, here they are again:

  • Take Your Time…
  • Check Your Work…

I spent many hours over the past couple of days struggling with the files for FC Books II-V. I took my own advice (see above) and carefully and deliberately went through each reformation step, file by file. Then I uploaded the reformatted files and downloaded the KDP-converted files (in MOBI format) Then I previewed each MOBI file, using the Kindle Previewer, taking care to preview each file in each of the possible devices, from Kindle DX to iPad.

What I found was that while everything was fine on Kindle hardware, something was throwing off all the formatting when the MOBI file was ported to the iOS hardware. On iPads and iPhones, all my careful font styles were dropped and the whole shebang popped up in Courier New monospaced font. Ick.

Luckily, I had one file that was working on iOS (FC:I) so it was just a matter of comparing that file to the other files and trying to find the one thing that was causing the KDP conversion software to have a hissy-fit. I don’t know exactly what it was or exactly why, and I won’t bore you with details too tedious to be suffered. Suffice it to say that I was able to create files that work on all devices.

However, I still have not released FC:II-V into the e-book wild. I’m taking even more time, and will upload them all to my Kindle account, so I can see them on a Kindle, an iPad, and an iPhone for myself.

But it brings home my admonitions: Take Your Time and always Check Your Work.

That is all.

k

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As promised, I’ve begun to release the Fallen Cloud Saga in e-book format. And, just as I decided on CreateSpace to be my “publisher,” I’ve decided on the Kindle for my e-book format. The reasons are basically the same as before: ease of use, platform reach of the product, and essential friendliness of the agreement. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) website is easy and reliable.

But I just can’t take my print-ready files and use them to build an e-book. Well, okay, I can, but I shouldn’t. Print-ready files are just that: print-ready, not e-book ready. To work best, e-books need to be reformatted; not much, just a little more here, a little less there, but they need it and it’s important to the reading experience.

Fortunately for those of us who are heading into the world of self-publishing, Amazon has given us a primer.

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Yesterday, several writers I know—professionally- and self-published both—went ballistic at the news: Simon & Schuster Join with Author Solutions to Create Archway Publishing

Why the furor? Why is this such a bad thing? Two reasons.

Reason #1: Conflict with Writer’s Rule #1

Writers Rule #1: Money flows toward the writer.

When you’re self-publishing, this is a hard rule to keep. Remember, though, that when you’re self-publishing, you’re wearing two hats: Writer and Publisher. Money flows toward the Writer, but the Publisher has some up-front costs. But how much up-front cost is too much? Most writers don’t know, are naifs in the wilderness of the writing/publishing ecosystem, and are in general insecure about the whole “business” side of their business. (more…)

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Well, that two week’s vacation went by in a blitz. It was very productive, with the last two books of the Fallen Cloud Saga hitting the streets, but boy, could I have used another week…or month.

Now that the hardcopies are available, I realize I have made a classic mistake. It’s all part-and-parcel of the difficulty in switching from my author hat to my publisher hat. The author in me just wants to get the book out there and get it into reader’s hands. The publisher (an admittedly weaker part of me) wants to get the best release, the best buzz, and the best notice which helps get the book into more readers’ hands.

So, this classic mistake is to rush “to print” at the detriment of any sort of planning and release strategy.

But all is not lost.

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Yesterday (okay, very early this morning) I submitted the final content for FC books IV and V to the CreateSpace “submission review” process. As I’ve mentioned before, this process finds a lot of formatting errors such as text beyond margins, low-DPI graphics, unembedded fonts, and so forth. It’s a good review process, and it encourages the author—through feedback, easy-to-follow help guides, and forum discussions—to submit the highest quality work to achieve the highest quality product.

Up ’til now, I’ve assumed this was a mechanical review process, but after the response I got today, I’m not so sure.

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Yesterday, the second proof for The Year the Cloud Fell (2nd Edition) arrived from CreateSpace, and it was easy to see that the revisions I made were warranted.

The smaller font size and the wider margins make all the difference in the “feel” of the text on the page. Bookman Old Style still has that open, hot-lead, typeset look in 11pt, and the extra white space to top and side actually make the smaller font look less cramped. It’s readable, it feels good in the hand, and it passes all my criteria for a quality product.

It’s ready.

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We have proof!

Yesterday, Brown delivered the proof for FC:I, and once again I was reminded of just how important a hardcopy proof is. For you out there who are thinking about self-publishing a hardcopy book, always get a physical proof copy of the book.

So, how was it?

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