Saturday, December 25, 2010

Notes to Myself: No Third Option.

by Louis Bertrand Shalako


All Rights Reserved

On Lulu I now have four e-books in pdf format. On opening up the preview, they all look more or less the same. According to my reading of the help pages, I could try to make Epub files by using Calibre. That's fine, as my pdf's, once converted to Epubs, revealed all sorts of errors and warnings when subjected to a free verification site/process. Simply put, Lulu's system wouldn't eat them.

The only trouble there is, I actually sat through the Calibre sales pitch and demo/tutorials...I already had a system that worked...I don't know. I just don't know! That was months ago.

It's a question of how badly I feel I need Epubs, or any format, really; on Lulu, when I already have them on Smashwords. (Or Kindle, or whatever.) How much time would it take? And is it ultimately worth it? Those pdfs on Lulu are all based on the Smashwords .doc files. They're very clean, with minimal formatting, and in that sense, the fully-formatted pdfs that I make at home are much more attractive, book-like objects. Two I made months ago loaded up fine...the next ones didn't. If I have four books on one site, in one format, they should all look the same in terms of formatting.

At the very least, now the pdfs read 'Lulu Edition' inside, rather than 'Smashwords Edition,' which is what started this whole ball of wax off to begin with. (I used Smashwords Epubs to upload to Lulu in a moment of brain-fade. Those converted to Epubs.)

Incidentally, I dragged and dropped a simple pdf, the one that wouldn't load into the Lulu site, into my PC Mobipocket Reader. It took some time to 'build' a file, essentially the same process as the Mobi Creator uses, and the final product was readable.

All formatting was stripped away. All blank lines, all centering, all paragraph indents were gone. This might be fine to read on a phone. The original pdf opened up with the exact same formatting you can see on Lulu. All you have to do is click on it. So, why anyone would do that for any other thing except to read the file on a phone is a mystery. As for the two books on, they hold the account open, and people can read them if they want to.

No matter what I try there, I can't get the next two books to load up. And for that reason I am reluctant to remove the previous two book versions and try to fix any little problems, like the fact that page one starts on the left when it so easily could have started on a right-hand page. For that reason alone, the Myebook reader has been useful. Assuming I can get things to load into it, it can be used as a 'book-simulator.'

This is a nit-picking, detail-oriented process, I don't much like looking like an ass all the time, and it's no wonder that I am unhappy. This is not creativity, it is merely necessary to learn it, and to learn it well.

But it clearly isn't my strong suit.

I've been going through a bunch of leads for reviews and stuff like that. The few good ones seldom review e-books, and there are quite a few ringers. I got the list from a paid service whom I won't identify, and quite frankly, much of it looks like bullshit, except for the obvious ones like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc.

Looking back, a year ago my goal was to self-publish one paperback book, at my own expense, and I started off with a basis of no knowledge whatsoever. In a very real sense I have failed at achieving the goal! The e-book industry is a growth industry, with real potential for the future. If I had more nerve, I might charge $20.00 an hour to format e-books for people, but of course that just leads to angst and conflict with the ODSP. Either I succeed brilliantly, beyond my wildest dreams and get off of ODSP, or fail miserably, and stay on it. There is no third option. That is about all I have to say in my defense.

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