Tag Archive: ebooks


I’ve been trying hard to embrace ebooks, I really have.

I turned my first book, Just a Couple of Chickens, into an ebook with some success – although the process of do it your self publishing of an ebook was not as fun as I’d hoped.

And I will, as soon as I can, produce an ebook version of my second book, When No One Else Would Fly, the aviation history of my grandfather, Colonel C. J. Tippett.

And I just bought the latest book of my absolute favorite author, C. J. Cherryh, in ebook format.

But.

The first time I misplaced my ereader charger, I was more than a little miffed.

Print books don’t shut down after four low battery warnings.

Silver Laced Polish Chicks love ebooks, but they don't know how to plug them back in, so they don't read much.

Silver Laced Polish Chicks love ebooks, but they don’t know how to plug them back in, so they don’t read much.

When I discovered that none of the other ereader chargers would work on the annoyingly exclusive Nook, I started to get very graphically miffed.

Print books don’t need hours of recharging whether or not one can find the right charger… despite having three other chargers available.

And then, a final straw….

My new favorite book from my new favorite author ended with a cliff hanger and I didn’t see it coming because I wasn’t holding the print book in my hand – and therefore seeing and feeling the upcoming end of the book. So I had reader whiplash.

Yes, I know I could have watched the page count at the bottom – but I didn’t.
I was busy trying to find my charger.
Schna! I felt very growly for the rest of the day.

So for all the discussions of ebook versus print book, I think that I will always produce and enjoy print books, no matter how much the marketplace proves ebooks worthy. I will make ebooks, and I will buy ebooks, but they will never fully replace print books in my world.

 

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

The Horned Lizard of Self Publishing, who is proud of her new tat, strongly recommends you read the Terms Of Service when you are self publishing a book.

Any discussion regarding how to self publish a book has to encompass the world of ebooks. And King of the World of ebooks is the Amazon Kindle.

Kindle has it’s own format, so as I turn my books into ebooks, I have to include Kindle in my plan.

As with all of the business aspects of self publishing a book, there’s a Terms of Service agreement somewhere in the mix – and a button called “I Agree” to press.

I read these terms of service every time… perhaps accounting for some of my red wine consumption by the end of the day. I was planning to discuss the more interesting bits of one of these agreements until I saw the clause expressly preventing me from making any public disclosures of any bits of the agreement.
Well, that’s a bummer!

Because many of the questions I had regarding how my eBook would work with Amazon’s Kindle Program are answered in there. So instead of publicly disclosing things regarding the agreement, I will ask questions and make free association comments, like poetry, that are random. And I’ll offer a common sense piece of self publishing advice: read the contracts carefully as you use any service to self publish a book.

Apropros of Nothing, I Say:

  • Why are the eBooks I buy through the Amazon Kindle Program, especially the nonfiction how to eBooks, not packed chockfull of advertisements and promotions?  I really appreciate the fact that they are not, but I’m somewhat surprised that they are ad-free.
  • Who controls all that marketing and promotional stuff that happens on the Amazon site? Am I going to have to manage that? Because I can barely manage finding my car keys every day, and all that stuff looks complicated.
  • The Kindle Lending Program is a super great deal for me as a customer, because I have enrolled in Amazon Prime. Mostly to watch all the videos and TV, like with NetFlix, but also to get the free two day shipping and access to the once a month lending library. But whassup with that Lending Library where it concerns MY eBook?
  • If I could have three wishes from a genie, I would immediately wish for unlimited wishes… and then I would wish for access to the customer data and raw sales data for my book sales on Amazon.
  • I wonder if it takes a couple of months for sales data to post to an Amazon Kindle Account?
  • If it turns out that someone does not have the copyright to something they sell as an eBook, there are all kinds of dire things that can happen. Just sayin’.

Having read lots of terms of service agreements, I might say – if I were saying anything – which I am not… that one of them I recently read was pretty clearly written, and worth reading. And I appreciate that, because some of them, like anything related to Bank of America, for instance, are truly awful.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

corinne tippett and the westchester press

Writers dream of big book deals with traditional publishers, or big sales income from self published books. The big blue skies of Amazon.com pervade both dreams.

In the chaotic clouds of The New Publishing Landscape, one (of many) possible pathways to making money as a self published author is starting to emerge.

By learning how to self publish a book, an author can produce work that will not only be out there in readerland, possibly earning money from the start, but could also lead directly to a big traditional book deal.

Here is how:

  • A writer writes a Really Good Book (note… the book has to be really good…)
  • The writer self publishes the book as an e-book on Amazon.com (note… it has to be on Amazon.com…)
  • The writer markets the e-book and it begins to sell, then sells some more (note… the odds on the book selling – even with marketing – are slightly better than winning the lottery, and slightly worse than being nibbled by a shark near a beach in Florida)
  • The e-book rises in rank on the Amazon.com bestseller list (note… the rank rise is directly related to the previous bullet…)
  • Traditional publishers, who are watching the Amazon.com lists, decide to take a chance on the already proven sales of the writer and her e-book (no note required)
  • Amazon.com, seeing that traditional publishers are beginning to poach the self published shoals of profitably-selling books, jumps in and offers the writer a traditional-style book deal directly (note… meaning that Amazon.com is not only a place where an writer can self publish a book, but it is also a traditional-style publishing house itself.)

This pathway to traditional publishing has already happened for some now-big-name writers, and is happening more and more. In a related, but reversed, scenario, some traditionally-published authors are beginning to self publish their work, relying on their existing fan-base.

It does, however, all come down to sales.
Write a really good book, self publish it as an e-book, market it well, and…. voila!  (maybe…)

My first self published book was only a print book, and will soon be available as an e-book. Let’s see how it goes!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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