booksandstories.com

July 2009 Review

Writing News

I have now started “The Sullenfeld Oracle.” Yes, that's right, I have actually started it. That doesn't mean to say it is hundreds of pages in, but at least it has started and some of the major characters have been introduced. Having said that I think I am in for a long haul with the writing process. Unlike on other ocasions, I find this time that my spirit is willing but my typing fingers maybe would rather be doing something else. I have also managed to put together the draft cover for the book, and I think I enjoy that creative aspect, the 3D graphics, more than the writing these days. That in itself is the first ironic point to come up this month as I only took up the graphics hobby to do the covers for my books!

I have been talking about putting some of my books on Kindle, and that I was going to do this for “The Tale of the Comet” when I had a bit of money to spend. Well it turns out that it is possible to do this yourself, and as I am pretty well used to 'doing it myself' I have decided to have a go. Well, would you believe it, the first hurdle I hit in setting up my Kindle account on Amazon.com was the requirement for a US bank account. As I am based in the UK that was going to be a bit of a problem. But on further enquiry it turns out that there is an alternative to Kindle. Kindle is Amazon's ebook platform, which is doing quite well at the moment. And one of the reasons I am interested in the ebook route is because it is a great leveller. At the moment my books are a little on the expensive side as I am published by two smaller independant publishers (PublishAmerica and BookSurge). Being an independant, or self-published author can also bring with it pre-conceived ideas about quality, style and grammer. A bit unfair really, but not altogether incorrect. On the other hand as an ebook it doesn't matter who your publisher is or how much your book costs to produce, because it is an ebook and they can all be priced the same. I am intending to price my ebooks at no more than $2, so this should make them a lot more competitive. And so we come to the second ironic point in this review.

Ten years ago I set up this website to promote, and yes, sell my stories over the internet. All my stories were available to download in simple web (html) format for you to access and read on your computer. You could access the first twenty chapters of any book, and at one time I used to charge £1 to access the remaining restricted chapters. Today those chapters are also available if you email me for a password. I was doing the ebook thing ten years ago, and here I am today starting all over again.

Pain in the arse, isn't it?

One of the reasons why I didn't make a million on the internet with my brilliant idea is that it requires people to visit your website on a grand scale. Although I get visitors, and although I frequently sold access to my books, it was never in the same numbers as Amazon.com or anyone like that. So the best thing to do was hang up my hat and join in. Which I did with my published books, nearly all of which are on Amazon.com. And now I am going back into the ebook buisiness, but not with Kindle directly.

My UK based position means that I will have difficulty getting and managing a US bank account. So instead of Kindle I am going the MobiPocket.com route to ebooks. MobiPocket Creator and MobiPocket Reader are free software packages you can download here from MobiPocket.com. MobiPocket is a French company that is also associated with Amazon through their French based site (I think). They provide an ebook version of Amazon.com that looks and feels very similar. eBooks on the MobiPocket platform are also taken on by Amazon for Kindle. So this is my approach.

I have downloaded the creator and reader from MobiPocket and used these to convert my original html files into ebooks. Obviously it isn't that simple, as there are some changes to be made. That is why you also need the reader to see what your ebook looks like. I started out as intended with “The Tale of the Comet,” but as this has been heavily edited from the original I have had to convert the Word document back to html. This results in a lot more work to sort out the extra and now unwanted code from the file Word produces. So while I have been doing that I took “An Affair of the Heart” directly from the html (as it hasn't changed), converted it into an ebook, reviewed and edited it, and finally uploaded it to MobiPocket.com. I will find out how things go now that it has gone live on their site. You can find the ebook for “An Affair of the Heart” on MobiPocket here.

Exciting isn't it?

See you next month.
 

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