by Louis B. Shalako
All Rights Reserved
I just uploaded my first two novels to Amazon, and I guess that was pretty easy.
And I’m still experimenting with Mobipocket, and fooling around with a website, etc.
Having a minimal background in journalism led me to do some research. It looks like Amazon is not an exclusive publishing contract, and I guess it’s okay to go ahead and do that now. By extension, one would assume the same for Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. And there are lots of booksellers. When you consider those contracts, I can only go as fast as my tired old eyes will let me.
Also by downloading Mobipocket 4.2 Publisher version, I learned how to do it for myself—and knowledge is power. I’ve got a document file with about fifty or a hundred links, and at some point my head was about to explode from sheer data input.
By saving links, I can go back and review the stuff. Repetition will help integrate it into long-term memory. But I built up a pretty good overview.
I can now make clean files that read properly on the Mobi PC Desktop reader.
Basically, I took the original .rtf and converted to a .txt file. Then I put it through the ‘machine.’ On the reader, the original problem was the first few paragraphs were indented, and then nothing. For some reason the .pdf files didn’t work well when used as a source, but that may just have been my own files. You may get a different result. One phone file actually has indents. Huh!
So I fooled around with it a bit. That's all I can really advise anyone to do.
Essentially what you do is to space the paragraphs in your .txt file and this preserves indents; at least for the first few short experiments. I’m not sure if it’s even worth bothering with. At least now I know what to do if required. Right now, the file still has funny things happening with the chapter titles. They’re still all over the place. I may be able to fix it, who knows? I’ll fool around with it some more. My chapter headings are in two lines. Maybe if I combine them into one line, it will work properly.
They look like this now: Chapter One
Over the Hills and Far Away
Just thinking out loud here, but a fairly-clean .prc file will also provide a ‘fairly-clean’ .html file using Mobipocket. All I have to do is go in, clean up the chapter headings…save…maybe use it as the next source file for Mobi? And then clean up the desktop. I seem to be spawning versions at an alarming rate. All this work is probably unnecessary, but I like to have control over the end product. I can sell these versions off my own site, right?
To provide a clean phone-type file, simply remove all formatting! Simply convert to .txt. All you really need here is the title, copyright, the author, the ISBN, (maybe a URL,) a few >>> and then the text. All other info could conceivably go at the end of the book. Bear in mind you have such a small screen to work with. Remove all pictures before conversion. This saves in later problem-solving.
One wonders how many people would read 100,000-word novels on their phone. Demand might be pretty small, but it is a convenience and talking point—you can blog about it. If nothing else, it is part of the training and product-related research. There are file-download widgets, and with upgrades to a website, there is probably a paypal link that goes with it. These phone-type files might sell a few extra copies.
Setting a price is hard, but we’ll let the big guys take care of that.
I tried to buy a book off my small experimental site, but was told, ‘you are logged into the seller’s account.’
(There was only one way to find out and so I did the experiment. Essentially, I can’t buy my own book off my own website.)
In the case of a small website, (and I don’t have a lot of sales experience online;) how do I describe my products? Essentially, all I can do is to study what works for other people! Let’s be honest, few are willing to talk about the earnings. (I prefer not to speculate.)
For some reason I keep forgetting my ISBN password, but that is the least of my worries right now. At some point I read the word, ‘metadata,’ and it kind of boggled me for a while, but honestly, I think I will get through this.
Oh, yeah, in another experiment, I figured out that a .pdf is not the best source for the Mobi, for some reason. When I used a .doc, the cover art showed up and all the formatting was there. I don’t know, maybe it was the .docx file, or the .pdf, and its cover art that was doing it.
When I uploaded to Amazon, I thought nothing of it, but I uploaded those .doc files complete with cover art. I don’t know how that’s going to go, but apparently human beings are involved at some stage of the process. I wouldn’t want a double cover or anything stupid like that. Essentially if that happens I make a new file sans art and un-publish, and then re-publish. (I guess.)
It kind of goes without saying, that I have no idea of what to expect from all this.
And the learning curve continues. A few hours ago, when I resolved to go with Amazon, I did feel a moment of fear, or something.
Somehow I got over it. Anyhow, it’s four twenty-two a.m.
The odds of me falling asleep right now are mighty slim!
Editor’s Note: This story is evolving over time.