happy new year!

Happy New Year!


In my last post, I talked about some ideas about what I might work on during 2012.

Since then, I've read a couple of good posts about New Year's plans and resolutions. Maggie at Maggie Madly Writing talked about her goals, and Laura Stanfill talked about hers (and said some very nice things about Maggie's post and mine).

As I said in a comment on Laura's post:

My one definite goal for next year (I think) is to publish some sort of e-book. I’ve been reading up on all the formats and conversions and so on, and I’d rather start with something that doesn’t have illustrations (my mystery book has floors plans and other illustrated clues). Emerald gave me the idea of publishing a novella, as opposed to a full-length novel. I’ve always thought of publishing as being just for book-length works, but with e-books obviously that doesn’t apply.

But we’ll see. I could always do an e-book of A Sane Woman, but I’d really rather start out with something newer.

I've been reading up on the various formats and so on – in between blowing my noisemaker and brushing all the confetti off my keyboard – and I've learned some things.

The big complication in the e-publishing world is that Amazon uses one format for the Kindle, and the rest of the world uses the EPUB format. So, to publish an e-book, you really have to publish twice. (There is a rumor going around that Amazon may soon support the EPUB format, which would make everybody's lives easier – including theirs – but who knows if that will happen.)

I know a lot of people use Smashwords for e-publishing, but there were some things about their instructions that I found annoying. They not only insist in Word format for submission, they really insist on Word itself, saying that files produced with other programs will probably not convert properly even if they are saved in Word format. This is annoying, particularly since Microsoft is unlikely to release a version of Word for Linux.

Lulu (the company that published A Sane Woman) also does EPUB conversion, but apparently their conversion process is somewhat more sophisticated because they can take RTF files from OpenOffice (the program I used to create A Sane Woman). The only annoying part of the Lulu instructions (and it's not their fault) is that apparently the EPUB format includes a mandatory navigable table of contents. This may be a problem with the mystery story book (which is not going to be published in 2012, but I'm thinking ahead), since it's possible that I will not want to have a TOC with links. Although it is a book of mystery stories, I do want people to read it in order.

The most encouraging guide I've read so far is the one from Amazon for Kindle Direct Publishing. They take HTML, and they don't require a TOC. If your book isn't formatted correctly when it's converted, you just fix the HTML and try again. Since I'm very comfortable working with HTML, this seems ideal for me.

So, no immediate plans, but I do have two questions.

1) For those who have published an e-book, how did you do it? Amazon and EPUB, or just one, and who did the conversion?

2) For those who read e-books, how do you read them? On a Kindle, or on another device, or on your computer (and if the last, using what software)?

Oh, and Happy New Year.


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