Archive for February, 2013


The Free Rooster by Corinne Tippett at The Westchester Press

Getting closer to my goal of making a book from my blog at www.TheFreeRooster.com by using FastPencil.com.

I’ve just tried FastPencil.com as a solution for turning my blog into a book.
Previously, I tried Blurb.com, and Blog2Print.com, and I’m getting closer with FastPencil.com.

Fastpencil.com is a website offering to let authors produce their own book, or help them produce it with fee-based services. It is free to get started, and they offer an “import blog” function based either on the url feed of your blog, or on an uploaded xml file.

This is uber-cool because I can pull an xml download of my self-hosted wordpress blogs, or grab the published feed.

This means it can work with any blog that can be exported and downloaded. For instance, Blogger.com can be exported. Check your settings to find where to export your blog.

Back at FastPencil.com, once my xml file was uploaded, I had a variety of choices to make regarding book format, size, font, cover, description, and audience.

  • My 89 posts resulted in 296 pages.
  • I went with the suggested “elegance” format,
  • 6×9, both printed book and epub ebook.
  • I uploaded a cover image, and chose my cover colors – making them all simple.
  • Along the way, I had plenty of opportunities to preview the book. It was looking good!
The cover I could make through FastPencil.com is not great, but it’s good enough for this test. There was an option to upload a cover, but I have not yet spent my bizillion hours creating one.
  • I had a choice to keep the project private, viewable only to me.
  • Or, for free, available to the FastPencil.com marketplace – other FastPencil.com users.
  • Or, for $299 ($249 ebook only), available to retail markets like Amazon.com – which is not something I would choose because as a Do-It-Your Self Publisher, I know that I can do that myself for less. But there is always a balance between spending time and spending money.

Still hopeful for my color photo print book, I chose “color photos in the interior.”

The whopping $76 print book cost cured me quickly.

I re-set that checkbox and saw it would be $13.14. Shipping would be an additional $14. 42. This print book shows FastPencil.com as the publisher – even though I haven’t accepted their offer of a free ISBN. Their imprint is in the pdf of the print book, hmmm. So I put aside the FastPencil.com quest for a printed book of my blog. Having already given up on color photos, it simply isn’t an affordable option even though it looks good and was easy.

But… The ebook would be $9.99. Onward with the ebook!
It will be EPUB.

I purchased the ebook – checkout total was indeed $9.99, and included a PDF and EPUB.

I moved my shiny new ebook over to my Nook, and although it gave me an error message the first time I tried to open it, I tried again and there it was. An ebook!  There were a few small formatting issues, but it looks good. Especially since I didn’t do a lick of formatting.

I moved my sparkling new ebook over to my iPad and without any error message, it opened in iBooks and looks FANTASTIC!  seriously beautiful.

In summary, I highly recommend FastPencil.com for turning a blog into an ebook.

It was easy – despite a few minor bugs in their online process – and affordable. The pictures look beautiful, the formatting is clean. The EPUB format is widely useful.

Although I didn’t get a file I can convert to word and work with, I did get a file I could immediately distribute – perfect for mommy-bloggers, food-bloggers, travel-bloggers and more. I’m so pleased with FastPencil.com that I’ve signed on as an affiliate.

My quest is not yet over! Next I’ll look at a program that may give me the workable file I have been jonesing for, but in the meantime – Success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A single rock in the sand isn't such a big deal. But if the rock is a post that missed schedule, and the beach is my blog... it's not very zen.

A single rock in the sand isn’t such a big deal. But if the rock is a post that missed schedule, and the beach is my blog… it’s not very zen.

My best blogging coping mechanism for posting regularly about how to self publish a book was my ability to schedule blogs in advance.

I could write ahead of time, have them post at a designated time and date, and keep a nice regular flow of self publishing advice.

Until I discovered “Missed Schedule” in WordPress.

My posts started to miss schedule. At first, I thought it was because the time I’d chosen for the post was conflicting with the time I’d chosen for backup. But it turns out that there’s a complicated conflict regarding hosts and posts and pieces of toast.

Not pieces of toast, I just said that because it sounds good, and the real reason, which is that somebody turned off my cron, just sounds weird.

It sounds like it could explain much more than my blog missing schedules. I think this explains my entire position in today’s economy!

The good news is that there’s a plug-in for that! (missed schedule, not my position in society.)

But the trouble is, I already have too many plug-ins. If I load any more, it could slow my site down. So while I’m pleased there’s a plug-in, I’d be more pleased if the posts would simply post on time.

While I am chewing on the fact that a WordPress post can be “missed schedule”, I am going to the site each posting evening and manually publishing the missed ones. Grrrrrrrr.

Once it started to miss, it missed a lot.

Once it started to miss a lot, it missed them all.

Installing plug-in now….

 

 

 

 

General Hap Arnold met Col. C. J. Tippett

General Henry H. Arnold was Col. C. J. Tippett’s commanding officer, and pleased with Tip’s work with the CAA in Brazil, as well as his new special pen.

General Hap Arnold was also an aviation pioneer. He was one of America’s first pilots, literally. He learned to fly from the Wright brothers and was one of the first American military pilots. He was Chief of the Air Corps and then Commanding General of the US Army Air Forces – leading aviation before, through, and after World War II.

General Arnold was 58 years old on December 20th, 1944, when he wrote a letter to my grandfather, Mr. C. J. Tippett, of the CAA Mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

General Arnold was already one of Tip’s commanding officers, but since Tip was in a civilian post in Brazil at the time, he omitted Tip’s military salutation.

At the State Department’s request, Tip was using civil aviation to improve diplomatic relations between Brazil and America,  and General Arnold was pleased with Tip’s progress, and “… the way the Air Forces and the CAA are working together in Brazil… ”

General Arnold was also pleased with the novelty pen Tip had sent. He wrote: “I still haven’t tried using it under water, as I’m not quite sure of the best method to test this rather “unique” quality.”

How Tip came to be in a position to gift General Hap Arnold with a “Super Stratopen” is deep within the greater story of Col. C. J. Tippett’s aviation life.

Tip moved between his civilian and military roles with a flexibility that was ideally suited to this time in history – a time of political strategy and influence. His skills were useful to both the state department, and to the air force. Tip’s work in Brazil, which came to Hap Arnold’s attention in a series of Army Air Force memos, would lay the foundations for his future work in South America.

Tip would meet General Arnold again, within three years of receiving the letter, when the “The Chief” was facing a South American issue that only Tip could solve….

The book will soon be ready for release. Please contact me to be added to the release list!

 

Now Available in Kindle Format

Now Available in Kindle Format

How do I self publish my eBook?

I asked that question of the Googoracle and found that the technology and methods are changing so quickly that all of the how to instructions and advice were mostly, but not entirely, useful.

In a similar-but-not-the-same way that PC and Mac are different, Kindle and Everything Else is different.

I needed a .mobi file for making my book available on Kindle, through Amazon.com – and I made that myself using calibre and about twenty hours of web research.

I needed an .ePub file for making my book available on Barnes and Noble and Apple iBooks, and I tried to use Smashwords.com helpful program to do it from a MS Word file, but the navigation – always the navigation – wouldn’t work in a way I considered professional.

So I used Calibre again, and that previous twenty hours of web research, to create an .ePub file, and uploaded it to Smashwords.com – and through them, will see it manifest on B&N and Apple iBooks.

I could upload the .ePub file directly to B&N and Apple iBooks but if I use Smashwords.com, I don’t have to manage them all myself. And the royalty rates are in my favor.

The magic of all this is complicated by the ingredients we authors are using at the time we attempt to cast our eBook spell.

Depending on the author’s computer, operating system, update level, internet browser, skill level, document complexity, origination software, and book style – the process is either straightforward or convoluted. And I wizarded up a pond full of toads before I was able to create my shining pretty ebook.

But now it is done!  And with great fanfare, I am happy to announce that “Just A Couple Of Chickens” is available on Kindle, and on Smashwords, and at Barnes and Noble, and at the Apple iBook Store!

My next step as a self publisher is to go write about a dozen more books and put them out in all these different places as well!

 

Col C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA8

Col. C. J. Tippett flew the Sikorsky OA-8 on February 14th, 1939… on his 26th birthday!

Cloyce Joseph Tippett was born on February 14th, 1913.

Twenty-six years later, on February 14th, 1939, he was at Kelly Field, Texas, flying a Sikorsky OA-8, also known as a JRS-1 or S-43.

Flying at Kelly Field was an accomplishment Tip had been trying to achieve since he was 16, flying his own Jenny biplane in the fields of Port Clinton, Ohio.

The amphibious twin-engine Sikorsky “Clipper” was only one of the many aircraft Tip learned to fly, at Kelly Field, and afterwards. This was a passenger craft and could hold up to 25 people in addition to the crew. Tip was learning every aspect of aviation, including navigation and communications.

Amphibious aircraft enjoyed the extended landing and take-off options afforded by waterways, but there were techniques specific to using those waterways that Tip had to master. Calm water was one thing, but any chop or waves presented a unique set of problems.

The extraordinary detail of Tip’s life as an aviation pioneer, described in the soon-to-be-released book “When No-One Else Would Fly”, was made possible by the flight logs and other documents that Tip carefully preserved throughout his life and travels.

Tip’s birthday flight in 1939 at Kelly Field, Texas was recorded in his flight log, along with every other flight he took as he studied with the US Army Air Corps. His descriptions of those times are a delightful read, and the book is almost ready!

 

just a couple of chickens on kindle

Just A Couple Of Chickens is now available on Amazon Kindle… high five for Do It Your Self Publishing!

When I enter the phrase “self publish a book” into Google, I get pages of hits that are actually vanity presses: companies that I can pay to do the publishing for me.

I suppose that is one interpretation of self publishing, but it isn’t what I mean.

I mean “do it your SELF publishing”.

Of the growing number of authors who are self publishing, there are a smaller (but growing) number who are coming up to an intersection called Print Book or eBook. They are discovering that the same materials required for the print book will not automatically translate straight to an ebook.

Yes, a file has to be saved as a PDF for upload to a print-on-demand service for the print book, but very rarely is that same PDF file going to work as-is for an ebook. I’d say never, but I’m supposed to never say never.

I set out, three weeks ago, to produce a Kindle version of “Just A Couple Of Chickens”, which has been for sale on Amazon.com since December 2010.

At first, I was delighted to see that Createspace had a button on my book dashboard saying “Publish On Kindle,” along with a download button for two files: the cover and the interior of my book – for Kindle!

I hopped merrily along to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), with my files, and while the cover file worked well – the interior did not. Not not not. At. All.
And that was the file that Amazon offered me to use on Amazon – for my cooliorageous new ebook.

I learned that it is very easy to publish a messy looking ebook with no navigation, but it is not easy to publish a good looking ebook with standard navigation.

sigh.

For those of you who know something about ebooks, which I did not three weeks ago, you will understand my journey when I admit that my first question was “What is an NCX file?”

And for those of you who don’t know… get ready to climb that learning curve. Pack a lunch.

BUT!  I did it. Myself.

These bullet points were earned in metaphysical sweat and tears, and they are a beautiful thing for anyone interested in “do it your self publishing of a kindle ebook”:

  • You will make a separate file for your kindle ebook. It will not be the same file for the same book in the different ereader formats. 
  • KDP is publisher for Kindle, and many people use Smashwords as the publisher for everything else.
  • The technology behind this process, and therefore all of the how-to directions, are changing so fast that you will probably discover something new and buggy during your process. You must use The Force.
  • eBooks have no page numbers. You do not control the font. You are at risk of not controlling the page breaks. Navigation is important and you are better-off setting that up in MS Word, using styles, headings, and bookmarks.
  • I don’t know if the InDesign kindle plugin works or not because it only works on CS5 or later and I have an earlier version of Adobe Creative Suite.
  • The Word document must be super clean and simple – see the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker. Most Word documents are not super clean and simple.
  • KDP will let you upload a word docx but it will look crappy. Use  a Word doc – but unless you did something htmlantizing, you won’t have a nice looking Go To,
  • For that, I used Calibre because I’m on a Mac. 
  • If you are on a PC, good luck using mobipocket – I couldn’t resolve Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8. And I really tried.
  • If you really can find someone who really will Kindle your book for less than $100, pay the money. Make super sure that the offer includes Go To navigation with the chapters listed. Tell them up front if you have images in your book and read the fine print on the offer to be sure your price is still going to be less than $100 after they get started.

To all of the tech-heads who posted how-tos on forums, chats, article sites, blogs, comments, and free ebooks… thank you.

Oh, and I almost forgot… “Just A Couple Of Chickens” is now available on Kindle!!!  WahOOOOOOOOOO!

 

 

Alfred C. Glassell and Col. C. J. Tippett

Alfred C. Glassell, Jr and Cloyce Joseph Tippett won this trophy fishing for black marlin at the Cabo Blanco Fishing Club, but for Glassell, these were not the biggest fish in the sea…

Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. was one of the founding members of The Cabo Blanco Fishing Club, along with S. Kip Farrington, Jr.

He was a tall man, and towered above the other people in every photograph he stood for, unless he was standing next to my grandfather, Cloyce Joseph Tippett.

Tip was frequently at the Club, managing operations, and he joined Glassell on the Club boats as they fished for black marlin and giant tuna.

In 1958, Tip joined Glassell and Farrington in a fishing tournament. Together, they won the trophy seen in the photo.

Five years earlier, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. had won a much bigger trophy. He caught the world record for largest fish caught on rod and reel – and the record still stands today.

On August 4, 1953, Glassell hooked a black marlin using mackerel as bait. He fought the fish for more than an hour, knowing it was big enough to qualify for a record.

Tip was back on shore that day, at the Club, and had suggested that Glassell take along a film crew who were visiting Cabo Blanco, hoping to catch a marlin on film. They were shooting for the film version of Ernest Hemingway’s “Old Man and The Sea” and they were certainly getting good footage.

The black marlin was 1,560 pounds and Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. entered world history. He had the fish transported home whole and had it stuffed. For a long time, it hung in the Smithsonian Institution’s Hall of Sea Life. Now, it hangs in the offices of the National Museum of Natural History.

Tip’s biography includes many stories of The Cabo Blanco Fishing Club, and stories of aviation history. The book is coming soon, and you can sign up here for an email announcing the book’s release.

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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