Monday, December 28, 2009

Sony too!

Once I get on a roll, I don't know when to stop. As long as I'm formatting my book for digital readers, I might as well cover the market. Sony has a new model competing with Amazon's Kindle. It's still a little to pricey for me, but my book will be there.

The formatting took longer this time. As a self-published author, I had to go through Smashwords to get to the Sony reader. Once I passed through their hoops, they will distribute to several other markets as well. This time I really had to flatten my manuscript. No headers or footers, no page numbers or table of contents, no sections, no fancy fonts. Single spaced! They allowed me a space between paragraphs. My eyes couldn't stand the work otherwise. I stuck to the rules and they included me in the Premium Catalog that gets the distribution to Sony, Barnes & Noble, etc.

They didn't even notify me yet. I just found out through Narcisurfing - my weekly Google alert on myself.

You can find a large excerpt here. You don't even need a reader to browse.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Done!!

Amazon support came through with flying colors and my book is available for Kindle download. If you have a Kindle device, or if you want to get Kindle for PC (free beta download), or if a Kindle is on your Christmas wish list....any more if's I can think of?? Click here for the Kindle book.

It's a win-win. The price is $7.99 vs. $17.99 for the paperback, and the author gets a bigger percentage royalty. Nice Christmas present for everybody. And unlike ordering from Norm Thompson, there is no waiting on pins and needles for the sweater that doesn't arrive as promised "in time for Christmas."

Of course if you want an autographed copy, the price is $16 plus shipping and handling. Click here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Going Kindle

Amazon released its first digital reader in 2007 at a price of $399. Kindle 2 was released in February 2009, and the price was reduced to $259 in October 2009.

As an avid reader, I rejected the idea of a digital reader at first. I like to curl up with a book, I like the heft of a book and the feel of the pages. But I find a gadget hard to resist. It's the price that has kept me away.

As an author, I have been asked time after time, when my book would be available on Kindle. Since I'm self-published, that decision is left to me. I have put off making that transition for a couple of reasons. First, I'm not ready to buy a Kindle at that price, and I wasn't comfortable with the idea of putting my book on a medium where I couldn't see it. Second, I printed out the eight-page guide to the Amazon Digital Text Platform, and found it lacking. The geek in me is up to the task, but the analyst in me could see what was missing in the instructions.

Everything changed this week when I stumbled upon Kindle for PC. I was browsing Amazon as I often do, and clicked myself into the Kindle bookstore. The book I was browsing had several purchase options, and there it was "Kindle for PC free download."

Far be it from me to resist something free, at the same time solving part of my Kindle publication issue. I would be able to see my book on Kindle. Before I knew it I had downloaded that Kindle for PC, and started preparing my book to upload to the Digital platform.

After spending 3 hours Tuesday, I was heading for frustration. Getting the text uploaded was simple enough, but I had never seen a Kindle book. Where does my book cover show up? And what about all my Author bio stuff on the back cover? Does that show up anywhere? What do other books look like on Kindle?

So it was back to the Kindle bookstore to see what I could buy for cheap. Free is usually better than cheap, and I found a free sample of Twilight, part 1 of the Twilight saga. (I have almost been tempted to hook myself on vampires) I downloaded the free sample into my Kindle for PC reader, and there I saw it. Page one is the book cover.

I spent 3 hours Wednesday trying to get my book cover into Kindle. (I don't want to take this ride without Cynthia Marie's handiwork). I followed the sketchy instructions as well as some postings in the forum from equally frustrated people trying to get their stuff into Kindle. Starting with my Word document, I pasted the book cover in the front page and back cover on the last page, and saved it as HTML. That action created a new folder with the images in it. Since one of the accepted file types is a zip file, I zipped everything together and uploaded to Kindle.

They have a preview that doesn't exactly look like Kindle and doesn't always show the images correctly. I read that in the forums. So now I have my text in acceptable quailty, but in place of my images is the message "The image is missing."

(Groan) I found a similar question in the forums from 2007 without a useful answer. My last action was to contact support, by email. I have had no answer yet, but I won't give up. I want my Kindle book available in time for all you people who get a Kindle for Christmas.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Adventures in Belize

When we booked an excursion from our cruise ship for "Xunantunich & Marimba Lunch" I didn't know quite what to expect. I don't do detailed research prior to a Caribbean cruise. This was supposed to be a resting vacation. We had not been to Belize before, and a friend said we might like to see some Mayan ruins.

The excursion description said to wear walking shoes, as there would be hiking uphill and up many steps. We have been to Mayan pyramids in Cancun in the heat of summer, and didn't go all the way to the top due to the 110 degree temperature and 90% humidity. You would think December weather would be more friendly for climbing.

When we arrived at the pyramid at Xunantunich after a steep climb, my first reaction was to stay safely on the ground in the shade. The sun was hot already at 10 AM. Tinker was going all the way up, as were everybody else in the group including pre-teen kids, and senior citizens with canes. I didn't want to be the only wimp in the crowd.

I was up to the physical challenge of the climb, thanks to my months of muscle workouts. I was able to focus enough on the step in front of me, not to be overcome by fear of the height. The heat was the worst challenge. But we did stop at several levels where we could hide in the shade of the stones. I made it to the top without mishap. Coming down was not as bad as I expected, and there was a stairway with a handrail for the very last leg.

I was glad I hadn't chickened out. The view of the frieze on the back side was worth the trip.

The next stop was lunch at a restaurant in St. Ignatio, our tourguide's hometown. It should have been a welcomed end to a day's excursion. But no, I tripped over a bump in the pavement entering the restuarant, and landed face-down, splat, my prescription sunglasses flying in one direction and my camera flying in the other. I heard the voices saying, "Did she faint?" "Help her up." "No give her time to work through the pain." "I see that little bump where she tripped."

By that time, Tinker was helping me up. I felt my face for blood; there wasn't any. My mouth and chin hurt. I went into the restroom to wash my hands of the dirt, and I could see it already, a fat lip. UGH!!! The bartender gave me enough ice to last through lunch and the bus ride back to the ship.

The rest of the day, I hid out in our stateroom, applying ice to my lip that continued to swell. Ed was sympathetic and insisted it wasn't so bad. I had heard enough fat lip jokes on the bus ride already. "Just tell people your husband hit you." (Not funny) "Hey, you don't need Botox." (ALso not funny) Ed went without me to happy hour in the concierge lounge, and our new friends said "Tell her to get a burkha and come on up." (It hurt to laugh.)

Now it's day two, and the lip has gone down very little. The answer on Yahoo Answers says it will take 2 - 3 days. I'll be able to go home without a fat lip.