Sunday, August 28, 2011

I’m a Publisher!

Ok, not really, but I did get a 6 hour lesson on how to publish a book for the Kindle.  Could have been a simple 3 hour lesson, if the Amazon.com directions hadn’t suggested the best way to format the book was in HTML.

I was helping Lisa Shafer get her book Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire formatted and uploaded onto the Amazon Kindle site.

After reading the instructions, which listed almost a dozen different formats you can send them, we decided to use HTML since they said that all formats would be changed into HTML anyhow.

So we spent the time centering, changing font sizes, figuring out how to insert page breaks and setting up the cover picture properly.  It all looked great when I opened it up in the browser.

The moment of truth.  Upload it to the site.  Enter title, author, genre, keywords, accidentally hit “backspace” at the wrong time and get sent back to the previous page, erasing all your entries.

Start all over again.  Be real careful not to tap the mouse wrong and backspace again.  Ooops.  Did it.  There goes everything.

Third time’s the charm, right?  Actually yes, because we got through the whole thing, just to preview the book and see that it certainly had uploaded it in HTML, as a matter of fact it was even showing it in HTML.

Yup, we had just published the code.  We also figured that although this might appeal to your average HTML freak, the average teenager, which the book is aimed at, would find it annoying to read.  For example, here are this post’s last two paragraphs in HTML:

<p align="justify">Third time’s the charm, right?&nbsp; Actually yes, because we got through the whole thing, just to preview the book and see that it certainly had uploaded it in HTML, as a matter of fact it was even showing it in HTML.</p>
<p align="justify">Yup, we had just published the code.&nbsp; We also figured that although this might appeal to your average HTML freak, the average teenager, which the book is aimed at, would find it annoying to read.&nbsp; For example, here are this post’s last two paragraphs in HTML:</p>

Fun, eh?  Not quite on the road to “bestseller”, so we gotta come up with a Plan B.

Microsoft Word.  The little blurb on uploading a Word document said that it would work fine, as long as there wasn’t any real complicated formatting and lots of photos in the manuscript.  Knowing it HAD to be better than what we had just seen, we took this route.

Copy, paste the entire thing.  Formatting took about a half hour, 45 minutes.  That included an Active Table of Contents (click on “Chapter 3”, go to chapter 3).

Uploaded (replacing the old HTML file) and checking out the preview, thing looked great!  All that is left is setting the price (99¢), checking all the “yes, I want to keep the copyrights to this” boxes and “SUBMIT”.

As frustrating as it was getting at times, all in all it was good to learn the process, next time it will be a snap.

And I got dinner at Ruth’s Diner for my troubles.

11 comments:

Lisa Shafer said...

Officially, Max, you're not the publisher; you're the formatter. And you're credited as such on the title page.
Thanks, tons, for what you've done. I'm still buying you a Home Depot gift card as well. :)
And who knows? If you're patience holds and you can help me through a couple more e-books (not too soon, of course -- you'll be glad to know that, after the POD version of this one, it'll take me a couple of months to get the next ones ready), you might start a side business doing this. :)

And now I'm going to go and buy my own book, just because I WANT to. :)

Word verification: trust.

:)

Lisa Shafer said...

Okay, well, I just found out something we forgot to check for: all the italics disappeared out of the text somewhere in one of the times we moved it. That means all the movie titles and book titles are not properly punctuated.
sigh.
I never thought to check for that.......
I wonder if there's a way to fix it.

Karen S. said...

Well misery loves company, at least you weren't in it alone right...!..and dinner too, oh yeah very productive...it seems anything worth while takes so much time involved....but in the end, and there always finally comes and end...things will fall into place! I say excellent job, for giving it your all for SURE! May I call for pointers once you get it all figured out?!!! LOL

Lisa Shafer said...

Karen,
C'mon over to my blog and read my list of things we learned!

Max said...

Lisa - I know that, that's why the first line of the actual post is "Ok, not really,"
Let me know if you need the help fixing the italics. Being the cyber-packrat that I am, I certainly do still have the Word file. Heck, I still have school files from 1997.
Karen - But of course. I'd be happy to help you keep from spending extra hours going down the wrong road like we did.

Lisa Shafer said...

I thought you'd still have the file. Thanks!
I'm playing with another manuscript and transferring it over to Pages to see if it's something I can publish myself. I may also try transferring everything from Half-Vampire over as well, but that may be more work.

I'm afraid what's going to happen is that I'll have to spend hours one Saturday, sitting in your computer room, looking from the document on my laptop to the file on yours, and changing hundreds of words over into italics.
Sigh.
That's why I"m trying the Pages thing, too. It might actually be easier that way. But at the moment, I can't change anything yet, since my book isn't "live" on the bookshelf at amazon. It's in limbo.

Alexia said...

I feel for you both. I've read both blogs and I can see how incredibly annoying and frustrating it was.

- hugs, chocolate, beer, whatever it takes .... a new car, maybe, Max?

Max said...

"a new car,". Made me laugh and I needed that this fine Monday morning after another midnight thunderstorm kept me up for a couple hours.

Lisa Shafer said...

I'll take the chocolate, Max can have the beer and the car (I'm fine with my own, thanks), and we'll both take the hugs and sympathy.
thanks!

And that was quite a storm. I, however, was awakened by it but then went back to sleep. I had two fans blowing on me because of the nasty heatwave, and the sounds of the fans drowned out most of the thunder after that one HUGE bang that was freakin' right over my house!!!

Max said...

Agreed. All the chocolate is yours. The beer, eh. I can take it or leave it. But to paraphrase a famous quote from long, long ago (1926) - "I've never met a car I didn't like ... and want to own."

Lisa Shafer said...

Maybe we can convince Alexia to send you Dr. Pepper then. :) Or Diet Coke with lime.