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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: kindle, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. e-publishing fiction

Crowd-sourcing an iOS publishing venture
Back in January 2009 I published a blog with the title Cellphone Novelists, discussing the new development of authors in Japan using cellphones to write and publish serial novels, some while commuting to work on the bullet train, and occasional total word counts up to and above 100,000 words.

 A similar development had gotten underway in Canada in 2006 when two tech entrepreneurs started Wattpad, a new website service envisioning a mobile reading app and hosting, initially, about 17000 public domain books. However, until the introduction of the iPhone and the Kindle, the Wattpad venture struggled to gain any momentum.   Thereafter, writers began to post original works with the app and it took off (Article by David Streitfeld, NY Times, 3/24/2014; quotes in this blog are from the NYTimes article).  "This is writing re-imagined for a mobile world, where attention is fragmentary," mused the reporter.  "Almost all our writers serialize their content," Allen Lau, Wattpad's chief executive said.  "Two thousand words is roughly 10 minutes of reading.  That makes the story more digestible, something you can do when standing in line."

The Wattpad app allows for reader comments, and for some authors these involve huge numbers, generally complimentary, since the author can moderate comments before they are published and can use the delete button to eliminate any brutish trolls.  For a conscientious author trying to keep up with responding to comments by fans, the task can be staggering.  One author reports 14000 unread messages pending in her Wattpad inbox.

One of the most popular Wattpad authors is Ali Novak, a 22-year old Wisconsin writer who has serialized four mobile novels.  Ms. Novak has been forced to limit her own involvement with her fans, some of whom apparently would like her to read samples of their work:
I am no longer taking reading/interview/trailer/cover requests, so all related messages will be ignored.  Sorry, but I just don't have the time.
A pullback that is quite understandable.  Ms. Novak's biggest hit, My Life With the Walter Boys--about a girl who moves in with a family of 12 sons--was published this month by Sourcebooks in revised and edited form as a paperback.  Ms. Novack reflects:
Since I was little, I've been obsessed with reading and collecting books.  I always dreamed of seeing my book in Barnes & Noble and picking it off the shelf and holding it in my hands.  That's one thing I could never do with Wattpad. 
Yes, there's something magical about hefting that physical, material thing that you've imbued with something of your own imagination, and to know it will continue to sit safely on your bookshelf even if your computer becomes obsolete, or the internet implodes into a black hole.

My recent e-book publication
Nonetheless, some accomplished authors have begun to publish exclusive e-book offerings. These authors have already made their mark in the traditional hard-copy publishing world, and include writers like Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman; consequently, I have been intrigued by the development.  Anyone who has gone down the road of submitting countless query letters with catchy hooks, brilliantly honed synopses or summaries, and sample pages, to literary agents or traditional publishing houses, whom these days may or may not even choose to acknowledge your submittal, might perhaps view the e-publishing opportunities as a liberating development.  The traditional gate keepers may have been displaced.

Of course, perhaps only a portion of what is e-published may have true literary quality, but the voting audience is much larger now, and one can hope that the good books will just as readily rise to the top.  I like the e-publishing idea and decided to give the experience a try with my most recent coming-of-age fiction, Leaving Major Tela.  It is already up in Kindle format at Amazon.  Click on the link in 'My Publications' at the top right corner of my blog for a visit to the Amazon page and a look inside the book.  I'll have a hardcopy edition ready at the same location shortly.

0 Comments on e-publishing fiction as of 3/31/2014 2:51:00 PM
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2. Enter to Win a Kindle | 6th Anniversary Giveaway

How can it possible be true? The Children's Book Review has turned 6! To celebrate and thank our loyal readers, we are giving away a Kindle Paperwhite (value: $119). Be sure to enter daily to maximize your chance of winning.

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3. Kindle Rebellion

Little did we know that my Kindle trouble recently was the start of a Kindle Rebellion at my house.

Bookman, who rarely turns off his electronic devices, decided Friday that he would turn off his computer and his Kindle. Saturday morning his Kindle would not turn back on. I saw him go through the Kindle frustration cycles just like he watched me do when I took the drastic step of zapping my Kindle back to its original factory settings. I had hoped to swoop in like he did with me and save the day. It was not to be. I couldn’t get the Kindle to turn on either.

I suggested that perhaps Bookman had let the battery run too low (he often does) and it just needed to be charged. So we plugged it into his computer. He had to go off to work. Hours later I noticed his Kindle still was not charged. I plugged it directly into the wall instead. But it still wouldn’t charge. The light remained orange and I noticed it kept flashing on and off like there was a loss of connection or something. But everything was fine as far as I could tell when I wiggled the cord.

Saturday night Bookman came home and the Kindle that had been theoretically charging all day still did not show us the green light and continued to refuse to turn on. Unfortunately, you can’t just buy a new battery. After a few more attempts to get the Kindle working on Sunday we declared Bookman’s Kindle dead and pulled the plug.

He has the day off today and decided to shop for a new ebook reader. He considered a Nook and a Kindle Paperwhite but in the end went for just the basic no frills e-ink Kindle. He ordered it.

A little while later he picked up his dead Kindle to remove the cover and it was on! And working! Like nothing ever happened!

He decided to not cancel the order for the new one, just in case.

Kindle Warrior

Kindle Warrior

But now I am wondering if this is a Kindle ploy to build the Kindle army in our house. Such gullible humans! We will soon have three Kindles and we two homo saps will be outnumbered. If this is the beginning of a Kindle uprising I wish I could count on Waldo and Dickens to help us out. Waldo is a good hunter, at least we think he is. Since he doesn’t go outdoors all he has ever hunted are spiders, centipedes and dust bunnies, but he is very good at it. And Dickens is Houdini reincarnated. He can open doors and dresser drawers and boxes and storage bins with clasps. Between the two of them they could save Bookman and I should
My army?

My defenders?

worse come to worst. But can one ever really trust a cat? Sure, they act like they love us, but one never really knows whether it’s true love or they’re just looking for a warm lap.

So I am getting this message out while I can, before the Kindles block my internet and keep me from communicating with the outside world. Beware the Kindle Rebellion!

Filed under: Kindle

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4. Great deal on Kindle!

Amazing offer right now, children’s humorous fantasy only £1.99 on Kindle for a limited period. Winner of The Book Awards, February 2014!
Click here for offer.

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5. Ebooks v. Apps

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Start Your Novel by Darcy Pattison

Start Your Novel

by Darcy Pattison

Giveaway ends October 01, 2013.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Here’s an interesting infographic from Kite Ebook Readers, which specializes in making children’s ebooks and apps.

This infographic is from kitereaders.com.


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6. Speaking of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz graphic novel…

it’s $2.99 on Kindle today.

wonderful wizard of oz

(I admit I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, graphic novels and comics look absolutely gorgeous on an iPad or Kindle Fire. On the other hand, I’m still of the school that prefers to give print editions to kids. Especially little’uns like Rilla. Time enough for reliance on screens later in her life.)

Related post: Rilla in Oz

P.S. Lots of other enticing stuff on sale for Kindle today. Poisonwood Bible, This Band Could Be Your Life, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, A People’s History of the United States, Wonder Boys, a Louise Erdrich title I haven’t read yet, several others. An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer, which I thought I had queued but don’t seem to after all. Have you read it? Do I want it?

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7. Monster Sale



Halloween is just around the corner.  Soon we will be surrounded by ghosts, witches and maybe even some monsters.  Your little monster is sure to enjoy this picture book about family and parents.

Age Level:  0-6

Have you ever wondered if monsters have mommies and daddies? It turns out monsters families are a lot like our families. This monstrous tale about parents and family is perfect for children aged eight and under.

On sale for only $.99 this weekend, September 27th though September 29th (normally $2.99).



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8. I feel it is my duty to let you know

…that a whole slew of Dorothy Sayers mysteries are $1.99 on Kindle today. (Sixteen, to be exact.)

And a giant bunch of other books (it’s their big Cyber Monday sale) including:

my beloved Muriel Spark (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie among others)

Lois Lenski (Strawberry Girl and others)

Jean Craighead George (Julie of the Wolves is $1.99; some of her American Woodland Tales are only .99!)

Patricia Reilly Giff

Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Pearl S. Buck

Mary McCarthy (I recently read The Group and would like to read more of her work)

a lot of Rebecca West (Family Memories and many more—some are $2.99)

James Herriot

Alice Walker

Walker Percy

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

a bunch of Boxcar Children books

several Tomie de Paola picture books including Early American Christmas, Fin Mc’Couland some of his saint books

some Barbara Pym, whom I have not yet read!

and a gajillion more.

Note: the above are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a few cents on each book you purchase. TO SPEND ON MORE BOOKS.

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9. Quick Heads Up: Genesis

Bernard Beckett’s Genesis is 1.99 on Kindle today. It was one of my favorite reads of the year a few years back:

After plague and war decimate the human race, a small group of survivors build a protected, isolated island community called The Republic, modeled on Plato’s vision of the perfect society, but rigidly totalitarian. We learn about the history of The Republic via the oral examination given by the somber members of the esteemed Academy to Anax, an earnest young scholar who has prepared long years for this event in hopes of admission. Anax’s subject of specialty is the revolutionary, Adam Forde, whose subversive actions brought down The Republic many years before. A serious and captivating aspect of Adam’s history is his relationship with a robot possessing highly advanced simulated-consciousness technology, and their discussions about the nature of consciousness are incredibly gripping and thought-provoking.

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Cropped Pic 2

Today I had the privilege of being a reader at a local elementary school.  I got to read one of my favorite books, The Bee Bully, and talk to the kids about being an author.  The energetic kindergartners made me feel very welcome and I really enjoyed spending some time with them.  We talked a little bit about what it means to be a bully and how important reading is.

Three reasons why reading is important to young children:

1).  Reading exercises our brains.  That’s right, our brains need a workout too.  Reading strengthens brain connections and can even create new ones so pick up a book and help your brain exercise.

2).  Reading improves concentration.  Kids have to focus when they read which can sometimes be a difficult task.  The more you read the longer you can extend that concentration time which will continue to improve.

3).  Reading helps develop imagination.  When you read your brain translates what is read to pictures.  Did you know you can create a movie in your head while you read?  We become engrossed in the story and we can connect with the characters.  We can sympathize with how a character feels and reflect on how we would feel in that same situation.

Now go grab a book and BEE A READER!


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11. Look! A quick one with bargains in it.

posted by Neil Gaiman
A Quick One -- over at Amazon they have a Gold Box Special on for Books that Inspired Our Passion For Reading. It's only for today.

They have American Gods in it, and Coraline, but I'm plugging this as they have 36 books altogether, all for under $2.99 and most for $1.99, which are pretty much all books that you'd want on your virtual shelves. Click here to see the full list.

Right. Off to be interviewed.

While I'm gone, enjoy learning what the most popular book is in each of the 50 American States, and ponder what it tells us about the state in question...

Share on Twitter   Share on Facebook   Share on Tumblr   Pin it on Pinterest   Share on Google+

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12. Drastic Measures

My Kindle and I have been having an ongoing argument. I mentioned our disagreement back in November when it appeared that Kindle was developing an opinion about what I should and shouldn’t read. I thought we had come to an understanding after the incident since things went on in a friendly way for the next book or two. But January brought a few hiccups and February almost came to a melt down.

Now over the weekend I felt like Kindle and I were in the knife fight from Beat It except without the cool dance moves.

I finished reading David Copperfield and was queuing up my next book only Kindle refused to cooperate. It either kept trying to take me to the Amazon online store or would not let me page through my books to the one I wanted to read next. No amount of restarting helped. Amazon troubleshooting and forums all said restart and all will be well. Liars!

Finally I decided to take the nuclear option. I saved all my books onto my computer since most of the books on my Kindle are from Project Gutenberg and I didn’t want to have to download them all again nor did I want to lose my highlights and notes. Then I reset Kindle to its original factory settings. Zap!

But Kindle refused to bow down in submission. Resetting it also deregistered it from Amazon which means the few books I have bought were inaccessible and I couldn’t borrow an ebook from the library if I wanted to. When I tried to get to the settings menu to re-register Kindle, it refused to allow me to go to the page.

Kindle and I circled around each other, waving our knives. While Kindle was silent, I was not. Bookman became alarmed. Let me help you he pleaded. There is nothing you can do! I snapped. I was sorely tempted to break Kindle in half against the edge of the table and be done with it once and for all. But Bookman swooped in like Michael Jackson in the video, randomly pushed buttons, and suddenly Kindle decided to dance! I registered, plugged Kindle into my computer, copied all my books back to it and held my breath. Success!

Today I began reading Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin and Kindle continues to behave. We’ll see what Kindle will do when I am done with the book in a few weeks. Will it let me read another book without trouble? Time will tell. But for now we are getting along again.

Filed under: ebooks, Kindle

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13. Pondering my next wish

Every time a friend like Sarah Elwell or Liz Burns mentions the books of Melina Marchetta, I think I have got to get on the ball and read those. Just last week I was wishing the first book in the series, Finnikin of the Rock, would be a Kindle deal. And today it is.

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What ho! Otto here!
Here is my new bestselling work of children's literature!

It is about a penguin called Piddles who widdles everywhere.

"Brilliant!" I hear you say, wondering why no-one has penned such a tome before. That is why I am a Bestselling Author and International Poet and you are not. (Statistically speaking it is very unlikely another Bestselling Author and International Poet is reading this. But if you are actually a Bestselling Author and International Poet, I apologize.)

It will be free, of course, for a short period, purely out of the goodness of my heart, on Monday and Tuesday. Probably this coming Monday and Tuesday, the 28th and 29th of January. But as it is only 99 cents, or 77 pence, why not buy it anyway? You can always return it if you don't like it!

Click on this rather shakily drawn cover image to view the thing on Amazon.com, or click on the links underneath!

Piddles the Penguin ebook for kids


0 Comments on PIDDLES THE PENGUIN! as of 1/25/2013 9:18:00 AM
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15. I got a Kindle

kindle with custom screensaver on

I am aware that I am dreadfully behind the times, but the Kindle I wanted finally hit a price point that I felt was worth it and I got one: a Kindle Keyboard 3G/Wifi model. It’s nice. I’ve been tinkering with it. Here are some initial impressions.

1. Now that the Kindle Fire and other fancier ebook readers are out, the older ones are relatively inexpensive. While you can still buy this model new for low three figures, I got it refurbished from ebay for $50 delivered and was happy about it. Didn’t come in an Amazon box. Just showed up in some bubble wrap with a cable. Fine by me and super cheap for worldwide low-end 3G and an “experimental” browser.

2. I am mostly interested in using this when I travel for the free worldwide-ish internet access as well as being able to carry a lot of books with me on a long trip. I still prefer paper books but am at the point where I need to have more working knowledge of ebook readers than I have. We lend them out at the library that I occasionally work at, but that isn’t enough. I am not interested in buying a lot of new books. I am not interested in creating any more of a relationship with Amazon than I already have. I have a loose relationship with copyright laws but that doesn’t mean that you should, necessarily.

3. First step: hacking it so I can do what I want with it. I do not want their default screen savers. I do not want to pay them to convert things to PDF for me. I do not want to only buy things from the store, I don’t really care about the store. I don’t like the blinky page turning effect. A quick google brings me to this page. I follow a few instructions and I have my own screensavers and a jailbroken Kindle. I also read more about the blinky page flashing effect and why it exists (and that the alternative is often ghosting which would drive me crazy) and I’ve decided to stick with the blinky and learn to live with it, even though it’s nice to have options. I am not messing with the default fonts, for now. I am not installing KIF the Kindle interactive fiction interpreter, for now. I am okay that I will miss out on Amazon-only releases, for now.

4. Second step: get some books. As I said, I wanted to see how much I could do with this without involving Amazon. I’m not anti-Amazon so much as I’m just Amazon-agnostic and don’t want to have my device talking to them about me. There are basically three main ways to get books on to the thing: buy them, steal/borrow them, create them.

As much as I love the DIY Scanner idea, it’s a ways off for me. So I’m going to focus on the middle option.

First option: I went to Listen Up Vermont and gritted my teeth through the terrible interface (which I hear is changing), found a book I wanted to read, went to check it out, tried three different library cards until I got one that worked. Then got to the Amazon page and had to log in there as well. Did not want to register my Kindle. My only option at that point was to read the book in the “cloud reader” [i.e. on their website]. Okay. No way to download a book without becoming an Amazon customer. I’m sure this is not news to anyone who has a Kindle, but I hadn’t really tried this all out yet. This whole process took far too long.

Second option: Open Library. Found a book I wanted to read. “Checked it out” via Open Library’s nifty checkout options. Not even sure which library card I used, maybe it was just me being in the state of Vermont. Checked out the PDF of the book. Downloaded it to my desktop via Adobe Digital Editions which did not require me to register for an account but did have less functionality if I didn’t register which seemed okay to me. Could read it on my desktop. Was prohibited because of DRM from reading it on my Kindle. In the interests of science I tried to figure out how to get this to work anyhow. Spent a lot of time on this website reading about Calibre and the DRM and ebooks generally. Don’t let the post dates fool you, this is a fairly up to date blog. Calibre is a great ebook management tool that follows in the steps of some other open source tools in that it doesn’t break DRM itself, but you can obtain plug-ins that will do the DRM-breaking if you want. It also does a lot of other great things like allowing you to edit ebook metadata and group and organize your ebook collection. You can also use Calibre to format-shift your ebooks to and from various formats. I took the DRM off this ebook and then moved it to my Kindle. It’s not so great to read there because it’s in PDF format but it was good for proof of concept. 500 page PDFs are just not awesome for reading.

Third option: piracy. Most of the time if you search for a reasonably popular book using the title and other words like “mobi” or “epub” you can find forums where people upload pirated copies of these books to filesharing sites like divshare or mediafire. It’s worth noting that the Apprentice Alf website that helps you break DRM explicitly says that breaking DRM to upload books to piracy sites is an explicitly uncool use of DRM end-running which is the position I agree with for the most part. I tried the pirate download options with a book I already had in hard copy and found not just that book but a bundle of five other books by the same author. Downloaded, unrar-ed drag-and-dropped to my Kindle. Started reading. No passwords. No failures.

And as far as the reading experience, I’ve taken to it much more quickly than I thought I would. This is, of course, what everyone but me thought would happen. The Kindle is light, the back-forth buttons are simple and not accidentally clicked. I like being able to look up words in a dictionary without moving more than a few fingers. I like that it knows where I left off. I like getting to toss a book out when I am done with it. All in all my conclusions are much like the ones I was nodding my head with at the In Re: Books conference. Ebooks readers are great and improving all the time. It’s the ebooks themselves–the DRM, the bad user experience, the complicated and wonky checkout procedures, the lack of privacy, the changing restrictions we deal with as libraries, the terrible websites our vendors create–that are not just suboptimal but at the center of a bad user experience that we’re in the awkward position of promoting as if it were our own.

So, mixed feelings of course. I’ve gone to bed and read my Kindle most nights this week and enjoy it. I still can’t look a patron in the eye and explain that they need to go through a bunch of bad websites, log in at least twice and create relationships with multiple vendors who are not the library in order to check out a book from us. Here’s hoping the landscape will change for the better. Here’s suggesting we do what we can to help that happen.

15 Comments on I got a Kindle, last added: 2/25/2013
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16. eReader Rage

The Networked NonprofitOh sweet mother of dog, can anyone help me work out how to download and open a goddamn PDF book on my iPad Mini? I bought the book. The default reader is Overdrive, but Overdrive doesn’t support PDFs and won’t download the file. I cannae work out how to download and open the book via another reader. (Adobe PDF Reader for iPad, Kindle, iBooks, etc.) Gah, ebook format wars and incompatibility make Fi very angry.

If the above Facebook post slash cry for help hasn’t already alerted you to this fact, I should probably spell it out for you: This blog post has been typed in anger.

I held off buying an ereader for this precise reason until just a few weeks ago. I wanted the format wars to be over and for the dust from them to be settled. I wanted to be able to purchase and read a book with just a couple of clicks and plenty of ease, with the biggest decision I had to make being which book to purchase. I didn’t want to spend hours researching and troubleshooting downloads and formats and getting increasingly exasperated and incensed.

This is not how I should be spending my Sunday afternoon.

The ultimate irony is that the book I’m trying to download—Beth Kanter and Allison H Fine‘s The Networked Nonprofit—isn’t even a book I want to read for fun. I mean no offence by that—I’m sure it’s a rollicking read. More importantly it’s a book I absolutely must, must, must read and reference for my university study (and it does contain, I’m sure, and by pure virtue of currently being inaccessible to me, the key to my entire thesis).

I should preface the rest of this rant with a note that this is not the fault of Booku, the ebook retail site that complements Boomerang Books. In fact, although Booku doesn’t support PDF files on iPad Minis, it had the clearest, most concise, most communicationally designed (that’s a technical term) help information I was able to find. If it weren’t for Booku, I’d still be googling and randomly attempting to download apps and readers and who knows what else (and no, I’m not just saying that because I technically work for them). I also feel the need to specify that it’s not an Apple product thing. It’s an ebook format war thing. Every ereading device currently available comes with quirks and cons.

The issue is that downloading a book to any device shouldn’t have to be this hard. This format war stuff needs to be sorted the f$%k out.

The Indigo SpellI can’t recount the steps I took to get my PDF onto my iPad, partly because I don’t want to bore you and mostly because I can’t remember the myriad, seemingly unending, largely fruitless steps I took. I should also admit that although I’ve now got the book open and readable on my Macbook Pro, I still haven’t managed to do it on my iPad Mini (it appears that I can only download the Adobe Digital Editions to the former, because it’s not an app, which kind of defeats the purpose of me specifically purchasing an iPad Mini to be an ereader). If you’ve got any advice on how to do this, I’m all eyes and ears.


Who knows, maybe half of what I’ve typed here today is incorrect. But I don’t apologise for that—this ebook stuff is unnecessarily confusing. Because here’s the rub: I don’t care what format my ebook is in. Nor should I even have to know. As the producers and distributors of this product, the publishers and retailers should be across that. And they should be making it as easy as possibly for me, the enduser, to simply decided on my purchase and download it with ease. That’s how the interwebs work these days.

There’s a reason why iTunes and Amazon’s (particularly with the latter’s oh-so-dangerous, impulse buy-encouraging one-click functionality) are dominating the sales spaces, and it’s not because they’re behemoths. It’s because they’ve made it easy for people to get the things they’re after. I’m actually reasonably tech savvy and interested in ebooks (it is, after all, central to my work and industry). If I can’t work it out, what hope is there for the lay reader who just wants to enjoy some Sunday afternoon Vampire Academy (I’m eagerly awaiting the arriving of my just-released The Indigo Spell)?

To be blunt (not that I haven’t already been), I resent having to have about 17 different ereading apps downloaded to my ereading device and playing which-one-will-work roulette every time I want to read a book. I resent not being able to use the ereader of my choice, instead being dictated to by the format that it may or may not support. I also resent having my ebooks spread across various apps—I imagine there’ll be a time when I lose my s$%t trying to find a book I know I own but can’t remember its format and, subsequently, in which app’s library it will happen to be stored.

I’m sure downloading Kanter’s book didn’t and doesn’t need to be this hard. But I didn’t know the steps and I shouldn’t have had to. They should be intuitive and the process should be seamless. It shouldn’t have involved me having to first find and then type in my stupid Adobe ID multiple times. (As a side note, Adobe also forced me to give the company my birthday, which enraged me no end. The only reason they need such information is to gather marketing data on me is that they will use against me or sell on to a third party. It’s not ok, Adobe. You knowing my age doesn’t affect whether I can get a goddamn PDF downloaded and opened on my device.)

Nor should the process have had to involve me becoming an expert of what kinds of ereading apps are available and which formats they support. For the record none of the ones I looked at—Goodreader, Stanza, Kindle, iBooks, Overdrive, and Bluefire—and especially not the last two, are intuitive titles that people would think to use as search terms. Where is the generically named ‘ebook reader’ app? Where is the ereader that’s easy to find, intuitive to use, and that reads all formats?

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17. O di immortales!

BETSY-TACY is $1.99 on Kindle right now!

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18. Sending Web Content to an E-Reader for Reading Later

Following up on yesterday’s post—some good questions came up in the comments. I’ll tackle this one first: “How does the Send to Kindle app work?

Send to Kindle

I mentioned how much I rely on Send to Kindle to read long-form posts and articles later, away from my computer. This is an official Amazon app but there are third-party equivalents, too. (See Send to Reader, below. Instapaper is another.)

How it works: I installed Send to Kindle in my browser. (There are Chrome and Firefox versions, PC and Mac desktop versions, and even an Android app.)


In Chrome, the Send to Kindle icon appears at the top right of my browser—see the orange K?

When I’m reading a post online and I want to send it to my Kindle, all I have to do is click the icon.

If I want, I can choose to send the article to the Kindle app on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device instead. Click the icon to access the settings button. This is handy if I want to send a particular article to Scott’s device instead of mine. (You may have up to six devices connected to your Kindle account at any one time.)

Send to Reader

As I said, Send to Reader works almost the same way. You create an account, install its bookmarklet in your toolbar, and enter your Kindle’s email address. IMPORTANT: Be sure to use the free.kindle.com version of your Kindle address, i.e. username@free.kindle.com, not username@kindle.com. This is the simplest way to avoid any download charges for the content you send. (You can also tweak your Kindle document settings to make sure you don’t accidentally download content via Whispernet, incurring data charges. Go to Amazon –> Manage Your Kindle –> Personal Document Settings and set a price limit of, say, one cent for download fees. That way, any download that would exceed that fee will be withheld until you’re connected via Wifi, where all downloads are free. Or just make a point of always using the free.kindle.com address instead!)

While you’re in your Kindle settings, be sure to enter kindle@sendtoreader.com as one of your approved email addresses for receiving content.

This fussy set-up stuff takes much more time to describe than to do. Once you’re set up, you don’t have to bother with this ever again. From then on, you can zap articles to your Kindle by simply clicking the bookmarklet.

I believe Send to Reader works with the Kindle app on your iPad or Android device, as well. If you don’t know your device’s Kindle email address, you can find it at Manage Your Kindle –> Personal Document Settings.

Sending posts directly from Google Reader

OK, so that’s how I send long-form web content to my e-reader for perusing later. Now let’s back up half a step: say I’m reading a blog post in Google Reader—how do I send that post to my Kindle? Two ways. Either I can click through to the actual post and follow the steps above, or I can send it directly from Reader via the “Send to” button.

See the “Send to” tab at the bottom of the post? When you click on it, up pop your options. You can send this post all over the place!



Here’s how to configure the options: In Google Reader, click the Settings gear icon. Select “Reader Settings.”

Click the “Send to” tab to get to the screen pictured below.


Choose whatever sites you like to send stuff to.

You’ll notice Diigo and Send to Reader are missing from this checklist, but do appear in my list of options in the previous photo. That’s because I added them manually (again, a one-time set-up process) following the instructions under “Don’t see your favorite site?”


Click “Create a custom link” to connect with the site of your choice. Again, I think this kind of thing is harder to explain than to do. Let me know if anything here doesn’t make sense!

I should add that I really only use Google Reader’s “send to” feature to send articles to my Kindle—I seldom share links to Facebook or Twitter this way. I prefer HootSuite for that. But that is fodder for another post.

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19. Heads Up

The Narnia books are $1.99 each on Kindle today.

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20. Yet another heads-up

Betsy-Tacy TreasuryA doozy! You guys! The Betsy-Tacy Treasury (that’s the first four books in the series) is $2.99 on Kindle right now!

Here’s an older post of mine about the books.

Sorry so brief today. Busy busy day! We took the kids to the mountains to see snow. Was Huck and Rilla’s first encounter with it. Oh my little Southern California children.

But I finished re-reading Ballet Shoes for the Streatfeild read-along and I should be able to get a post up about it tomorrow afternoon. Are you reading? Are you ready?

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21. Flashy Fiction Bundle Now Available! Save 25%

Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales volumes 1 and 2 are now available in a bundle! Not only do you get both books together, you save 25% too!


Flashy Fiction and Other Insane Tales (Bundle Vol 1 & 2) 

by Jen Wylie and Sean Hayden

Anthology Bundle

Published March 17 2013

Price: 2.99 (save 25%)

Available at [Amazon]

Okay, technically it’s just BOTH BOOKS in ONE seriously funny and scary easy to read, purchase only once, compendium of the deranged! And you save almost a WHOLE DOLLAR! Do we rock or do we rock?

An anthology of the strange, bizarre, and just plain weird.

Zombies, vampires, ghosts, and …crickets? Try a taste of writing from two very different fantasy authors. Flash stories are super short and perfect for when you ‘just have a minute’. This anthology contains 15 stories from authors Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. Run the rampart of emotions in this exciting mix of tales. From humor to twisted, there is something for everyone.

Unicorns, zombies, devils, dark whispers, teddy bears, and …fireflies? Try a taste of writing from two very different fantasy authors. Flash fiction stories are super short and perfect for when you ‘just have a minute’. This anthology contains 15 stories (both flash and longer short stories) from authors Sean Hayden and Jen Wylie. Run the rampart of emotions in this exciting mix of tales. From humor to horror, sweet to twisted, there is something for everyone.

Note: Some stories contain adult language.

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22. e-Book Formatting – Converting Options

bookdevicesThis is by no means the only things you can use to format and convert your manuscript to an e-book, it is just to give you an idea of the some of the things out in the market you can use. The Kindle, the Nook and the iTunes Bookstore (which services both the iPhone and iPad) now stand out as the most common targets for e-books. This has helped the e-book boom has helped consolidate formats a bit, but there still isn’t a single gold-standard editing product that guides users through the whole workflow and helps them check their results.

You probably will want to format your e-book for a varity of readers –  it helps to support as many of devices as possible. The Kindle, for instance, is notorious for not supporting ePub format files.

So here is a little information about the most common e-book formats and their drawbacks, so you can decide what to use to format your manuscript and create an ebook.


If you are looking for only one fromat, HTML is more or less it. For one, it’s ubiquitous; almost every text-processing program can generate or read HTML. It also supports many features e-books will use: hyperlinks, font control, section headings, images, etc. Downside not everyone knows HTML.

But if you’re starting with a Microsoft Word or Open Document Format document, your best bet is to export it directly from the source application into HTML. Word users should do a “Save as…” using the “Web Page, Filtered” option, which strips out most of Word’s generated left over junk (cruft).

Exporting to HTML from your source program helps preserve the most crucial formatting and usually preserves sections and chapters: outline headers are turned into h1/h2/h3 tags, which most conversion programs correctly recognize. Some are even able to auto-generate tables of contents from those tags. Word typically does a good job generating TOCs without problems.

Microsoft Word (DOC or DOCX)

If you’re dealing with an original manuscript, odds are it’s probably going to be in Microsoft Word format. Almost every device on the face of the Earth can read or write Word documents. And the format has native support for most everything you could think of: formulas, chaptering, footnotes, indexes — anything that might show up in an e-book.

Word documents are best as a starting point for an intermediate conversion format, most likely HTML, rather than a format that can be converted directly into an e-book. In fact, most e-book conversion programs don’t accept Word natively as a source document type. They may accept Word’s sibling format, RTF, but that is already at least one stage of conversion away from the original and increases the chance that certain features might not make it through the conversion process. For example, RTF does support features like sections and footnotes, but the Calibre e-book creation suite, for one, doesn’t process them correctly.

OpenDocument (ODF)

OpenDocument is the format used by OpenOffice.org. Microsoft Word also supports ODF as one of it’s formats. it reads and writes.) Third-party OpenOffice offers extensions that let you export directly to e-pub formats. There are also a number of standalone applications, such as ODFToEPub. If you’re already used to creating your documents in ODF, your path to creating a finished e-book may be  shortened, slightly.


An open, non-proprietary format. Uses XHTML as the basis for its document format. ePub is widely supported as an output format by various e-book production applications. iTunes only accepts ePub as a source format, so it couldn’t hurt to render a copy of your product as ePub no matter what other formats you use.  Books that require PDF-style page fidelity won’t work well in ePub.

Mobi and Kindle:

After Amazon bought Mobit, it made it into the basis for the Kindle reader’s own e-book format. Mobi supports digital rights management, but unencrypted Mobi documents can be read on the Kindle without issues.


PDFs can be read as-is in the majority of e-book readers, including the Kindle. It is best used when you want to maintain absolute fidelity to page layout — images, typefaces, etc. But this is the very feature that makes PDFs a problem in some scenarios. Other e-book formats are designed to work independently of any particular device resolution, so pages reflow automatically for each device. This is one of the reasons the Kindle didn’t make use of page numbers at first, since the page numbering for a particular book depends on what device or screen size you are using.

PDFs reproduce the formatting of the original page, no matter what the size of the destination device, so a PDF formatted at a certain size may be readable on a large display, but look cramped on a Kindle or Nook. If you plan to use PDFs, you may want to consider exporting your document with different page sizes for people using e-readers with small screens.


http://calibre-ebook.com/  Calibre is a free and open-source application marketed as a personal e-book management solution. It can be used as an e-book conversion utility.  It is powerful and may be the best place to start, especially if you want to distill output for multiple e-book formats. The program can accept ODF, RTF, ePub, Mobi, PDF and HTML. Calibre can also reformat documents unwrapping plain text that has too many line breaks or insert chapter breaks by looking for certain text structures (such as a line break, the word “Chapter” and then a number).

It doesn’t support DOC or DOCX documents, so anything coming from Word, so you will have to save it in another format first.  Serdar Yegulalp, a computer techology author says, ”Saving in either ODF or HTML from Word seemed to do the best job of preserving formatting and features, including things like monospaced formatting for code examples. Doesn’t process footnotes correctly.”


http://code.google.com/p/sigil/ Sigil is a multi-platform EPUB ebook editor – free open source. It’s an editor that exports to e-books (has a built-in document editor) it includes various tools for collating and assembling a finished e-book (such as a table-of-contents editor). Sigil’s main drawback is how it handles importing – only accepts HTML, plain text or existing ePub files as input documents.


http://www.jutoh.com/ Accepts OPL files and has slightly more robust editing options. The cost is $39.

Adobes In Design is a full blown publishing solution, but it requires a lot more work and knowledge to generate a finished product than a simple conversion utility. Second is the price tag: It starts at $699.

TIP: Include a Table of Contents

An e-book that isn’t properly chaptered is difficult to navigate. Going to an arbitrary point in a book is not as easy as it should be. The Kindle, for instance, has no touch screen, so jumping around in a book without a table of contents is a chore.

If you have gone through the process of formatting and converting your own ebook, we loved to hear what you chose.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: demystify, How to, Process, Publishing Industry, reference Tagged: ePub, Formatting an e-book, itunes, Kindle, Mobi, Nook

6 Comments on e-Book Formatting – Converting Options, last added: 4/8/2013
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23. Multiple Ebook Platforms: Apple, Kobo, Kindle, Nook, PDF

A cat says ________.
A dog says________.
A skunk says______. (We don't know!) Watch this video to hear a skunk, a ground hog, a bison and more.

My picture book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS is now available as in iBook. To access it, you must go to the iBook app on your iPhone or iPad. Then, search for the iBook. Or, click here to be taken to the page on iTunes.

Do you want your book to sell as an ebook? Here are some of the things you must consider.

Ebooks on Multiple Platforms

First, there is an industry-wide ePub standard. But almost no one goes by it. This means that you can put your book up as an ePub, but you’ll have to tweak the files for each and every platform you want to put it on.

The easiest method is to work with Smashwords, which allows ePubs now, or has a MeatGrinder to convert files. You will most definitely want to read Smashwords owner Mark Coker’s Smashwords File Guide. It is a simple explanation of the variables involved in formatting your book. Smashwords has multiple distributions and many people just upload it here and let Smashwords take care of distribution to these platforms: Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Amazon, Apple, Diesel, Page Foundry, Baker & Taylor Blio, Library Direct, Baker & Taylor, and Axis 360 . But others prefer to move on to other platforms themselves.

Nook: You can upload your ePub documents to Nook at pubit.barnesandnoble.com.
Their process has a built in viewer so you can see what your book will look like on these devices.

Kindle: Go to the kdp.amazon.com program and set up an account to get started. Kindle formatting is not ePub and you must convert your files. KDP allows for distribution on Amazon stores in multiple countries: Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and India. Of course, if you want it in different languages, you must translate it yourself, then upload the translated files.

Kobo: Not a new player, but one to take notice of now, Kobo recently signed a deal with the Independent Booksellers to make Kobo the preferred platform in your local indie. They are working together to promote books in new and fresh ways. The Kobo App is available on almost any platform. You can get on Kobo through Smashwords, or by directly uploading to them. They accept an ePub format and will convert it as needed to their format.

Apple iBooks: The strange thing about Apple’s iBook platform is its limitations. iBooks is an app for iPhone or iPad, but there’s no app for Android, desktop Macs, or other platforms. Sales go through the iBookstore, which is part of iTunes. Some argue that iBooks won’t take off until they pull the books out of iTunes. The real advantage of Apple is their international reach, which allows you to put your book into 52 different countries. Again, you must translate yourself; if you only put up English, you may get some sales, but it won’t take off. Apple provides free software, IBookAuthor, which allows you to embed audio and video and is generally touted as a boon to textbook writers. Of course, that just increases your copyright headaches, as you must make sure you have permissions for all images, sounds, music, video, multimedia, etc. But it’s totally cool to include video. I put an introductory video on the new Wisdom iBook. If you have ePub files, they may work on Apple’s platform, but you can’t get around the requirement that you use a Mac Computer to upload at iTunesConnect .

There are other platforms, of course. Vook touts their video-embedded ebooks, while other platforms have other specialties.

PDF Ebooks. Technically not an ePub, but still often referred to as an ebook, are pdf versions of your book. You can sell these from your website through a sales management site such as ejunkie.com. It allows you to upload your files, then handles the transaction and sends a notice to the buyer when the financial transaction is finished, so they can download their file. Goodreads.com also allows you to sell pdf

Software to Create EPubs

What a tangled web there is when you consider converting your book to ePub!
First, most of the major platforms will convert for you. But you’ll want to create the ePub first. Here are some options.

Adobe Indesign. The premiere book/publishing layout and design software from Adobe has made it easier than ever to convert to an ePub. Indesign CS6 allows for flexible layouts, so you can create both portrait and landscape versions of your book for the tablet requirements. Many magazines use Indesign and create the flexible layouts to publish. You can export in a digital format, too, which should meet ePub requirements. The cost of Adobe products continues to escalate and they update so often that it is outdated quickly; therefore, they now offer a monthly subscription that I am reluctantly moving to.

Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite is not the same thing; it is used more by magazine publishers than book publishers, and by iPad app developers. This is because through this software, you can upload to the Apple App store, but NOT to the Apple book store. Think carefully where you want to sell your product when you choose your Adobe software. Do you want an app (DPS) or an ebook(InDesign)?

Apple’s iBookAuthor. On the other hand, Apple’s price is right: free. iBooksAuthor is one of the easiest, most-intuitive programs to use, but it comes with a major disadvantage. When you create an ebook with this software, you may sell it on Apple’s iBookstore and no where else. This means you will probably do a separate version just for them. The biggest advantage of Apple is that you can sell to 52 countries. And Apple seems to me to be a sleeping giant: if they ever decide to push ebooks, like they do music and video, look out.

Sigil. Open software, Sigil lets you look at the inside of your ePub and–if you are brave and knowledgable–make changes.

Calibre. A desktop ebook reader and editor, Calibre allows you to edit the metadata, add a book cover and convert to some formats. A free, open-source program, it’s useful to have around.

My Workflow

Well, to be honest, it changes every time I get ready to do this, because the development of software, platforms and everything about ebooks changes so rapidly. But in general, what I’ve done is to layout a book in InDesign, then export as an ebook and as a pdf. In Sigil, I can change anything I need to on the “guts” of the ebook. I use that for Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook. I’ll use it for Kobo next time, too, since their connection to Independent Bookstores has raised their profile. I use the pdf with ejunkie.com to sell on my own site.Then, I do a completely new version in iBookAuthor for Apple. Such a pain. Hard to keep track.

At times, I have also hired someone to convert to the standard ePub, then done any tweaking needed for a different format. I’ll be so glad when everyone abides by a given standard! Right now, the biggest drawback to ePubs is the fragmented platforms and their individual requirements.

Helpful books

Elizabeth Castro rocks. Essentially, an ePub is a set of images and text that are put into an html file, controlled by a CSS (cascading style sheets) file, and then zipped into one file. This means that if you mess with the guts of the ePub, you need advice from someone who understand html and css and can explain it in relatively simple terms. Elizabeth Castro has a suite of books that does just this.

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24. Win Kindle Paperwhite eReader

Being a writer affords me the liberty of creating characters who mean something to me and have characteristics that I like to see. I love getting to know them, then standing back and letting them tell me their story.

Here is some insight into the men of Unraveled:

Caedon Keene: the hot blackbelt who is interested in Autumn. He's sensitive, but deadly which makes him even more alluring.

Eduardo: Autumn's Taco Bell loving cousin. He's her partner in crime and modeled after Tommy Lee of Motley Crue:

Papi: Autumn's father. He's a baker, and an honest hardworking man. He doesn't understand Autumn's math gift, but believes in her talent.

Now for the cool stuff 

What’s up for grabs on my blog?

A FREE E-book of Unraveled

How to enter? Answer this question in the comment section below:

What's your favorite mystery novel?

What’s up for grabs on during the Blog Hop?

• One lucky hopper will win a KINDLE PAPERWHITE eREADER sponsored by Evernight Teen.
• Every book blogger/reviewer site is giving away one free eBook from Evernight Teen (winner’s choice of any eBook from Evernight Teen’s website).

• Plus, each author offers their own unique prize! So visit each blog hop stop for a host of fabulous prizes to win.

Be sure to leave your answer and your email address in the comments below to be eligible to win an eBook of Unraveled.

Continue hopping to the next stop!

Here is the Link so you can go on to the next blog for a chance to win more prizes.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list...

11 Comments on Win Kindle Paperwhite eReader, last added: 6/28/2013
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25. Evernight Teen Summer Ebook Sale-.99 on Amazon

Need a few more books to read during summer vacation? All Evernight Teen titles, including my YA mystery, Unraveled, are on sale for a week on Amazon.

Check them all out: Evernight Teen Amazon Kindle books:

Disintegrate by Christine Klocek-Lim
Phoenix: The Rising by Bette Maybee
Shrapnel by Stephanie Lawton
Elysium by Sylah Sloan
Unraveled by S.X. Bradley
Slayer for Hire by P.E. Cunningham
Blood Hex by Erin Butler


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