Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Learning to Fly.

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

The first novel took seven years to complete, the second one, written mostly to prove the first one wasn’t a fluke, took almost exactly three years. The third one is hard to say, but arguably years. I ‘completed’ the first draft in the winter of 2008. You really do lose track of the re-writes. I always have lots of projects going on. I had to publish some books just to get them out of my hair! Some kind of closure.

Book Covers: The painting on the front of ‘Heaven’ is my own work. It is pretty bad, cost $40 for materials, and took about a week. ‘Core,’ that’s my own photo, something I did in school back in 1992. I got a free shot from ‘morguefile’ and used it for the third book. Basically, you must alter the photo, and cannot use it as a ‘stand-alone,’ and while you do not have to give attribution, you cannot claim authorship, ownership, or copyright the original image. Anyone can use the image on a coffee cup, a t-shirt or whatever. All they have to do is download and alter it.

ISBN numbers are easy enough once you sign up and learn to navigate the system. They’re free in Canada. Don’t pay for what you don’t have to.

Formatting for e-books has a steep learning curve, but then Windows 7 has a steep learning curve. My novels have all been through multiple crashes and file formats. What this means is that you make it a .txt file, then convert to .doc file, and then totally reformat the entire book from scratch. It is good training, but it is frustrating to upload your file and have it rejected once or twice. I plan on having all my books in Smashwords’ Premium Catalogue, and then they market them to people like Sony and the Apple Store. I haven’t gotten into Barnes & Noble, and Borders, but they want an American credit card or an American bank account. Why they wouldn’t accept a Canadian bank or Visa is unknown.


This process was a little nerve-wracking because I don’t have a cell phone, or a laptop, or a Kindle, Kobo, Galaxy Pad, or an I-Pad, and I don’t have a Blackberry or any other form of PDA. How the heck do I check my product formatting? Answer: they have previewer features on your upload page, and you can also download free Kindle for PC. I also have ‘mobipocket’ e-book creator and reader, free downloads. I’m always afraid of my machine crashing, so I burn safety discs. She’s crashed twice so far. I’ve been on the internet a year and a half, and quite frankly, I’ve learned an amazing amount of stuff.

I’ve been published in English, Dutch, Estonian, Greek, and Spanish so far. I’ve never been published in Canada, but then I'm not counting college newspapers, a brief stint in journalism, or the fifty-odd stories, letters and poems that have appeared in the last twenty-something years.

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