Tag Archive: Just A Couple Of Chickens


I'm mentioned in an article on ModernFarmer.com !

I’m mentioned in an article on ModernFarmer.com !

Lori Rotenberk has written a great article on ModernFarmer.com about the uses of chicken feathers titled “Flock Star: From Computers to Cars, Chicken Feathers Are Everywhere” – and I’m mentioned for The Feathered Egg and Just A Couple of Chickens!

The article describes how chicken feathers are being used, both commercially and experimentally. There are some amazing things being made out of feathers.

Lori contacted me through my website and we talked by phone and email. She wanted to add an art element to the scientific and manufacturing focus, and my small feather business was just the thing.

Check out the article and learn, as I did, where feathers are headed in our future!

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!

 

 

The Free Rooster for Just A Couple Of Chickens

This is the actual cover from the pdf book generated by Blog2Print. There were plenty of cover color options, but no font options. Yellow matches the book that the blog supports. “The Free Rooster” supports “Just A Couple of Chickens” and is trying to become a book on it’s own. A Blook!

Many of us, especially authors supporting a self published book, are putting a lot of great content into our blogs, as I am doing with my “how to self publish a book” series, and it would be fabulously great to find an easy and affordable way to turn a blog into a book.

That’s called “blook” in this new language of bloggery.

So I am testing each of the blog to book methods I can find, and my standards are pretty high. I’m finding that I may have to choose between my desires:

  • I want a nice looking book, but I don’t want to have to spend hours formatting it, because I could do that manually, the same way I usually make books.
  • I want the photos to look good, and that’s going to be a challenge because while 72 dpi looks great on screen, it doesn’t look great in print.
  • The book probably needs to be in color, because of all the effort I’ve put into the photos, and color print books are expensive to produce… but, ebooks!  It could be an ebook.
  • And I want to be able to access the book file. For cut and paste, for other uses of my materials. I want to create a file that I can take anywhere, print anywhere.
  • Plus a final and new wish… for it to be affordable, especially if I intend to sell it.
I’ve already reviewed Blurb.com’s blog to book service, and found it nifty but expensive and laborious – at least for how my blog slurped into it.
So onward to Blog2print

This service will work for blogger.com, wordpress.com or typepad.com. It won’t work for self hosted blogs, or any other platforms. Hmmm, (foreshadowing headsup… in this continuing series of blog posts about How To Turn Your Blog Into A Book, I have found some services that will pull from an RSS feed, so don’t despair yet if you are self hosted, but make sure you publish and know the address of your feed…)

Since my chosen blog for this project  is on Blogger.com, I’m in-like-flynn!

There is no charge to get started… once again, I would only pay once I order the book or download the pdf.

  • It offers to take all my blog posts
  • with pictures,
  • from oldest to newest,
  • and also offers to grab comments.

Since I don’t have any comments that I want to keep, I did not check this option and so haven’t tested it. But including comments is an important feature to many bloggers, and it would be worth testing that feature before getting too excited about this service.

I can choose a cover color, plus front and back picture, title and spine title, but I can’t select the font or size, so it looks a little …well… hokey?  But there I go again with my standards. I am learning that if I want it mostly automated and very affordable, then I can’t have it look exactly like I want.  For that, I will have to put some effort in – wah.

Blog2Print assembled the book quickly and made a nice table of contents, I have 88 posts, most with pictures. The pictures in this Blog2Print book are small, and I can’t change the size. I also can’t change the page breaks. I can select posts to not be included, and I can add some pages after the service has pulled the posts… but I don’t have any editorial control really. However, it has arranged things neatly and in order.

The pricing is easy to see.  As a softcover, I could have the 136 pages, with front and back cover, in color for $55.55, and hardcover for $65.55, both of which are far outside my means and intentions for this project. I could have it in B&W for $22.55. But it isn’t clear what size those books would be. There is a pdf download option for $7.95, and I am going to take it!

The checkout is easy, and I can (must) preview the pdf book before I order it. It came via email, and downloaded quickly. The book size is 8.5 x 11 and so if I want to try and print it at some print-on-demand service, I’ll have to fiddle with the book size. A pdf is not an e-book, but I can send it to my e-readers and view it there, like any other pdf doccument.

It’s pretty good – even if I didn’t get everything I’m looking for. I got an inexpensive pdf download of my entire blog, with pictures (and possibly with comments) with very little effort.  The system worked well, no surprises and no disappointments. Blog2Print goes into my list of possible tools, but I am going to keep looking for something I can edit and better control.

 

Silver Laced Polish in Just A Couple Of Chickens

Silver Laced Polish Chickens enjoy heat lamps in the winter… and I learned to hang them high enough to clear their head feathers! But now I have to watchit for teflon-coated heat lamps as well!

I used red heat lamps extensively both when I was brooding my 100 poultry chicks, and each winter of their lives, to keep them comfortable.

Other than the Polish Chickens burning their head feathers on the hot bulb, I had no problem… but that was more than two years ago and there’s a new technology out there resulting in red heat lamps that are coated with teflon.

And teflon is extremely toxic to birds when heated… teflon fumes = dead chicks. The teflon makes the bulbs shatterproof, and these bulbs are intended for food warming, but this new development makes it important that backyard poultry farmers be very careful when choosing the right heat lamp bulb.

In another new technology development, there are energy efficient, ceramic heat lamps available that don’t put out any light… and have no teflon threat, and Rocio Crespo, DVM, MS, DVSc, Dip ACPV suggests that we use them for our brooders and not risk the red heat lamps.

Dr. Crespo presented a talk to the Pacific Northwest Poultry Association (PNPA) in November this year, and I was very happy to be able to hear her speak. For one thing, I totally would have used heat lamps for my birds – and potentially gassed them all to death, and for another thing, she had many other valuable pieces of information. I learned a huge amount!

Rocio Crespo is the Branch Director, Associate Professor at the Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, in Puyallup, WA. Her knowledge of chicken keeping, and her availability as a knowledge resource is amazing. People contact her with chicken health mysteries they cannot solve, and this is how she learned of the teflon danger. An entire brooder of new chicks expired one night, and Dr. Crespo narrowed down the clues until a light bulb moment appeared overhead. A red teflon light bulb.

I had kept my chicks in constant light, thinking that was better for them, and for me (checking on them in the night), but the lightless heat of the creamic bulb gives the chicks a chance to learn the cycles of day and night, which Dr. Crespo says is better.

SO!  good to know… no more red bulbs for me for poultry. And no more overheating my teflon frying pans… if it isn’t good for chickens it probably isn’t good for children. (Oops.)

Thank you Dr. Crespo and the PNPA!

 

Jodi McDonald supplied the Button Quail for Just a Couple of Chickens

My Button Quail came from Jodi McDonald who has written “A Closer Look At Button Quail” which is the best Button Quail book out there!

Jodi McDonald was the quail breeder in my book whom I called when I needed a girl quail to go with my boy quail, which I bought thinking he was a girl quail who would lay lots of quail eggs… and she was the person who taught me all the things I should have known before I got any quail.

She breeds, raises, and sells Button Quail from her Bracken Ridge Ranch in California.

A couple of years ago, Jodi came out with her book about Button Quail, and it is the absolute resource for everything there is to know about this little bird. It’s the best button quail book I’ve ever read!

The Button Quail is a borderline pet in the US today, but it is also a true quail and needs all the things that poultry need, and a few things more.

Jodi builds and sells a cage specifically designed for Button Quail success. It copes with their bonking issues, their escape plans, and their egg laying production. I tried to handle all of those quail-isms myself and in addition to Jodi’s book, I’d use Jodi’s cages next time.

Button Quail eggs are the size of a penny, and so delightful. They are in great demand in egg art. Button Quail chicks are literally the size of bumblebees – so cute, so tiny. My quail hens, which were Jodi’s quail hens until I bought them and she shipped them to me in perfect health and comfort, laid so many eggs that I am still selling them on www.TheFeatheredEgg.com.

If it’s about Button Quail, which, as Jodi says, is actually the Chinese Blue Breasted Quail, then Jodi is the one to ask.

Quail Queen… Jodi rocks.

 

Just A Couple Of Chickens Is About Raising Chckens

Self publishing a book about raising chickens is turning out to be a lot like writing a book about raising chickens!

I raised over 100 poultry chicks and I wrote two books. One was about raising over 100 poultry chicks.

And I’m writing about how to self publish a book… and I’ve noticed a very big difference between raising chickens and writing about raising chickens.

When I fussed about the brooder temperature for the chicks, they grew…
And when I changed their feed and water, they grew…
And when I went in and out of their pen, they grew….

They grew no matter what I did. And if I had left the roosters to their own devices, they would have also multiplied.

But when I was writing the book, every time I stopped typing, the book stopped progressing.
And even if I left it under a warm lamp, with plenty of food and water, it still didn’t grow.
Every time I turned my back on the chickens, they grew, but despite turning my back frequently to my book, it didn’t grow…

Unless I wrote another word, and another, and about… 100,000 more.

Then I went and self published my book, and once again, nothing grew unless I made it grow. There was some independent progress, as word of mouth drove book sales, but mostly, it was like writing it.

One bright side of all this work is control. I can choose when to write, where to publish, and what things look like. Some of my poultry grew surprisingly out of control, either in size or behavior. And I never knew what they were going to do next… whereas my book rarely surprised me with plot turns or out-of-control sales.

But maybe one day, there will be a writing project that grows when my back is turned. It has happened to self published projects before, and it is happening more and more each day.

So maybe the difference between raising chickens and writing about raising chickens is similar to the difference between nature’s creation and literary creation… that’s kind of deep!

 

Copyright 2012 Corinne Tippett & The Westchester Press
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