Monthly Archives: January 2011

My Book – Despair! – Should Appear on Amazon Kindle Books Tomorrow

I went in and published the book directly on Amazon. We’ll see what happens now.

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People Are Actually Buying My Book On Smashwords

I put the book up on Smashwords on Thursday and people have actually been buying the book. Looking at the stats section of Smashwords for my books is interesting. For DESPAIR! five people have downloaded it and four have actually shelled out the $2.99 to buy it. My friend Omar, who writes the blog Lingua Franca: http://epiac1216.wordpress.com/ did me the honor of the very first sale and I wish there was some way I could have given him a signed copy.

Smashwords, without a doubt, is not a site with a million hits a day like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, so I’m quite happy that the book has been selling at all. When you publish on Smashwords they have what they call the “Premium Catalog.” They review the submissions and if they meet all the formatting requirements and a few other things then a book or story is released to Amazon, B&N and other book sellers. Right now my submissions are under review. If they make the cut and appear on Amazon then I think I will actually start making sales that will be a nice supplement to my income.

I find this all quite exciting. So much so that I’m working on my next submission. If I can get it up to the proper length, 10,000 words minimum, I might just try and submit it myself to Amazon’s “Singles” section which is reserved for short works of between 10 and 30,000 words.

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Book Is Published and Available

Well, I got the story up and it’s available at: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/39473 for anyone who might be interested. What’s it about? This is the preface:

All school children in the western hemisphere know that in “1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Other than that ditty, few people know the “Admiral of the Ocean Sea” made three subsequent voyages. Of these, his final trip a decade later, to what became known as the “New World,” was probably the most interesting. It is the stuff of fiction: fierce storms, contrary currents and hurricanes. Pitched battles with hostile natives and former companions. Ship wrecks, marooning, mutiny, trickery, petty jealousies, deceit, greed, dashed dreams, despair, extraordinary heroism and rescue. But every bit of it is true and documented. The only license I have taken with the story has been the creation of the fictional narrator of the events.

It’s available for reading in a variety of formats including the popular Kindle. It will soon be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It’s only $2.99…a bargain at twice the price.

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Why No Recent Posts?

There’s a good reason for that. I’ve been slaving away to get my book finished and published. That should happen within the next few days. Just to tease you, here’s what I’ve got for a cover.

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This Never Happened To Me

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Editing For Self-Published eBooks

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about  self-publishing since that’s how I plan on publishing my book when I complete the editing.

One of the biggest complaints about the quality of self-published books is the poor editing of the final product. Much of it, apparently, is pretty amateurish. Lots of spelling and grammar errors you usually wouldn’t find in books  published the traditional way having gone through a rigorous editing process.

Not only that, but with the ability to put your book out to the public electronically there’s a lot of real garbage out there, too. Most of the sites such as Smashwords, Amazon, etc., allow you to download a sample of the book you might be interested in. Sort of the digital equivalent of roaming the aisles of a brick and mortar bookstore and leafing through a volume that might strike your fancy. I’ve done that with quite a few books online and quite frankly am glad I wasn’t charged for them, though I did download Joe Konrath’s “Newbie’s Guide to Publishing” and his novel “Shot of Tequila” which I thoroughly enjoyed.Very much in the Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey genre, if you like that sort of thing, and I do. The villains aren’t quite as freaky as those other authors but weird enough to be a lot of fun.

Anyway, in all the reading I’ve done one piece of advice is pretty consistent. “Hire an editor!” After all, writers aren’t editors. They write. Editors edit.

Like a lot of good advice I’ve received in my life I’m going to ignore this bit as well. There are just some things I feel as competent at doing as the so-called experts. For example, one excellent piece of advice given to anyone planning on buying a boat is to hire a qualified marine surveyor. I didn’t do that when I bought my sailboat, Nancy Dawson, or any of the other half-dozen or so boats after her. Why? Well, at that time I’d spent nearly 10 years working in boat yards repairing and restoring boats for a living and I doubt there’s anything a surveyor would have spotted that I couldn’t myself. In fact, there were times when I’d made repairs to boats and they were completely missed by surveyors charging their clients extortionate fees for their services.

Regarding the editing of my book, well, I worked as an editor for nearly three years and think I have a bit of an editor’s eye. In fact, I think I proved that to myself this morning as I was editing a chapter that has been sitting for a while waiting for me to look at it with a fresh perspective. I discovered that the narrator of my story spoke about the crew being “mesmerized” by a sight on the ocean. A perfectly apt description except for one important fact. The narrator is speaking in the year 1502 and Franz Anton Mesmer, after whom the phrase “mesmerized” takes its name, wasn’t born until 1734! Two hundred and thirty two years AFTER the narrator of the story uses the word. Would a paid editor have picked that fact up? Who knows? But I bet most wouldn’t have caught it.

Right now I’m rewriting and editing chapter by chapter and it’s a lot more fun than it was trying to get that first draft down on “paper.”

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Published on Smashwords

As I announced I finished the first draft of my book and am now letting it rest before setting out to edit it and prepare it for publication.

One of the ways I intend on publishing the book will be through something called Smashwords. In order to do that you have to follow their Style Guide, a 48 page PDF document. When you upload your masterpiece something they call the “Meatgrinder” converts it into various ebook formats so it can be read on the Kindle, Apple iPad, iPhone, Sony Reader and a bunch of others.

In order to upload your tome it has to be presented to Smashwords in a MS Word .doc file. If you’re using the 2007 version your work is saved as a .docx file. No Good! Now, not to pat myself on the back too hard but I’m VERY proficient with MS Word but this weekend I learned at least a dozen things about the program I had no idea about.

For example, if you have Word 2007 on your computer bring up a document now. See that circle in the upper left hand corner? Click on it.

A drop-down menu come up on your screen with options you probably don’t know about. Of course there’s the usual Open, Save and Save As options. If you click Save As you can automatically convert your document into a PDF document.

Anyway, the Style Guide goes through a lot of formatting information and I thought before tackling my book I’d try something a bit smaller. There’s a lot of short fiction and non-fiction stuff on Smashwords so I dug into my old files and decided to polish up a story I’d written a long time ago and played around with for years. It’s about my single-handed sail from Key West to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I set about polishing it up and went through the Smashwords formatting. Let me tell you, there are a LOT of things hidden in your documents you never even thought might be there.

I spent a couple of hours refining my story and formatting it and adding a cover for the story. Now I’ve gone up to the Info Plaza and set up my Smashwords account and have uploaded my story.

I’ve put a price of .99¢ on it, well, why not? HOWEVER, you, my faithful readers can get it for FREE. All you have to do is send me your email address and I’ll send you a special coupon that will let you allow you to download it for absolutely nothing. The coupon offer expires February 17, 2011, so hurry. Go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/37782 and after you’ve added the story to your cart enter the coupon number and you’ll get it for free.

Well, actually there’s one thing I ask you to do for the free story and that’s to go back to Smashwords and write a review of it. I think you’ll enjoy the story, but even if you want to say “I think your time would be better spent surfing internet porn than writing,” I’ll accept that, too.

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