Ebooks and Traditional Publishers

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I recently read Daniel Handler’s The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket as an ebook. I enjoyed the reading as I usually do. I don’t even hold it against him that he works with traditional publishers.

But I was disappointed how the ebook was put together. It wasn’t an epub file, so I couldn’t adjust the font size. The font size was a little bit small to read on my iPad mini. The file itself was 47 megabytes. Much too large for an ebook. I couldn’t even tell how long the book was until I got to the end. I’ve read other ebooks from Alice Hoffman, who also works with traditional publishers, and the title pages are actually images and not text files.

I’m shocked that the traditional publishers don’t understand ebooks. They would tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I do. I put an ebook together which contained lots of images and text. I build epub files using xhtml and yes, it’s been possible to put images and text together in ebooks for quite a long time. I think it’s easier to put them together using xhtml to keep the images from floating all over the text. Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army has more images than any other ebook I’ve put together so far. It is an epub file and it’s 19.6 megabytes. Yes, it’s still a large file, but if I did what the traditional publishers do, it would have been a much larger file.

After seeing ebooks from traditional publishers, I must draw the conclusion that they don’t even care how to do ebooks well. I’m self published and I learned on my own. Unfortunately, I live in a society in which these skills are overlooked and taken for granted. My skills are devalued, but I know how important they can be. The ebooks files do need to be small even with images or else the books may not load on people’s devices.

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Back to Amazon?

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First of all, I have caught up on all of my books that needed to be edited. They are fully released and available as ebooks from just about any online store now. I also made some more progress on the magazine conversion. I have volumes 7-13 done for The Moon and the second half of volume 6 done so far.

Yesterday, I uploaded 27 of 28 books I have available to Amazon. My free promo book, The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn, I left out because that is a free book. Amazon is somewhat difficult to deal with directly because they aren’t always clear about hidden fees and what they expect from us as far as formatting ebooks or even printed books. I’m not sure why that is. I just wish they had a bulk uploader so I wouldn’t have to deal with them at all.

The only reason I did this now is because I was hoping to increase my royalties. However, I prefer just to use Smashwords because they are clear cut as to what they expect for ebook formatting and everything else related to having an account with them. Also, once an ebook in enrolled in their premium catalog, it gets shipped to other retailers. They don’t always ship to Amazon because Amazon is the only retailer who doesn’t have a bulk uploader.

So, I will try Amazon for now, but there might be problems later on. I will let everyone know if there are problems and what I’ll do about them.

And moving on… I will of course participate in the April Camp NaNoWriMo this year. I will draft at least 2 novels and at least 50,000 words. I may do more depending upon how much time I have. I will be working another job, so that will cut into my writing.

That’s all for now.

More Books and More Books…

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I just updated 12 of my book covers and uploaded them. I also created 4 new book covers for the 4 novels that I need to edit and put into ebook form. I feel relieved that I’ve gotten this far on my work.

But I still need to update the images for The Moon magazine and clean up the code in the ebook versions that I’ve done so far. Then I will have to upload those files to Smashwords. It is a lot of work, but I still seem to have plenty of time to work on that project. That is, after I get a few other things done first.

Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army


Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army is doing well. So far it has sold 46 copies and raised US$359.55 for Dingo cats in Venice, Italy. I hope it sells more copies. But I think it’s done well so far. It is now in the Smashwords premium catalogue, which means Smashwords is shipping it out to other retailers. I also know this book with a link to Smashwords will also appear on Dingo’s website. With that and all the rave reviews and retweets on Twitter, I’m sure the book will sell more copies before the month is out.

I don’t think I can stop now even if I tried… After those four new novels, I have two in a rough form that I will put into the Guardian Series and I have ideas for a non-fiction book and a poetry book. I need to just finish up the editing before I move on to other projects. But it can be hard at times.

Until next time, I will continue to be busy with work…

Adobe Digital Editions—A Review

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I’m not sure how long it’s been since epub files have allowed images in them, but it appears there is one ereader which cannot display them properly beyond certain dimensions. Sadly, this same ereader is reputed to be a testing app for epub files. I don’t think it’s a fair test especially when the mobile version of the this ereader works better than it does on Mac. I used the Kobo app on my iPad because they use Adobe mobile software to make the app work.

This is not to attack Adobe. I don’t have to use their software. And I don’t anymore for the simple fact that they are not keeping up with digital publishing. Perhaps they think it’s better to cater to the big publishers, who are living in the past and don’t even like ebooks. They still believe print is the best format for books. Well, that may or may not be true. It will depend upon who you ask.

Unfortunately, Smashwords, the company I send my ebooks to for distribution, uses Adobe Digital Editions to test epub files. I did once learn how to add some extra code to allow Digital Editions to show the cover images correctly. Smashwords does say the separate cover image I send must match the cover image that is in the epub file. They recommend the dimensions to be 1600 x 2500 pixels. Digital Editions can’t handle that large of an image. I have no idea why. But yet the Adobe mobile version can. That’s not to mention the trouble with the thumbnail images.

thumbnail shot

The book on the left doesn’t have any extra code. The one in the middle comes with Digital Editions. The one on the right has the extra code to accommodate Digital Editions. Note that both the books on the left and right don’t display properly as thumbnails.

And now for the cover images.

extra code to accommodate Digital Editions on Mac

extra code in Kobo app on iPad

extra code to accommodate Digital Editions in Kobo app on iPad

no extra code in Digital Editons on Mac

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

And that’s just the cover images. With other images you get the following. Some of the pictures show the images aren’t separated from the text as it is in the code.

no extra code in Digital Editions on Mac

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

no extra code in Digital Editions on Mac

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

no extra code in Kobo app on iPad

As you can see from the images, Adobe can’t be consistent between Mac and iOS. That’s appalling. So, because these of differences, I have to choose between distribution and quality. I choose quality because I do know what I’m with epub files. I feel I shouldn’t have to bow down to someone else who doesn’t care or thinks no one other than big publishers count.

Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army

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Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army

US$9.99 at Smashwords Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army

eISBN: 9781937050993

(I’ve not been very good with book promotion in the past. Probably because of all the work I do on each and every book I put out. I also don’t like how some books are promoted. The marketing can be overdone and make me not want to read the books at all. I nearly missed The Hunger Games for that very reason. The series was better than I thought it would be. However, I do make sure my website is updated with the current books and links to Smashwords where each book is for sale.)

I finished it. Finally. It’s taken longer to work on than any other book I’ve done to date. But that’s okay. For this project, I had to work with lots of different people all around the world. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun compiling this book from what other people gave me. It’s also been a learning experience.

This is the largest ebook I have created to date. There are lots of pictures of cats with their scarves, which are the bulk of the epub file’s data. It’s at 19.6 megabytes. The current limit for epub files is 20 megabytes. I’m happy to say that I learned about how the technology has changed from when I was in school studying graphic design.

I have tested this book on different ereaders and computers. Granted I could only test it on my MacBook and iPad, but there weren’t any differences between iBooks on the MacBook or the iPad. However, there is a huge difference between Adobe Digital Editions on the MacBook and Adobe Mobile (the Kobo app) on the iPad. I am well aware that the images don’t display properly on Digital Editions, but they looked fine on the Kobo app.

Unfortunately, it’s how the images appear in Adobe Digital Editions which could prevent the ebook from going out to other stores. It is available on Smashwords now. To counteract this I will be submitting pictures of how this book looks on my MacBook and my iPad and how one of my other books appears on both computers as well. There is a way to accommodate Adobe Digital Editions, but then that extra code can cause problems on Adobe Mobile and on iBooks.

Needless to say I’m not happy about these differences. From now I have to choose between quality and distribution. I think quality is more important. If Adobe doesn’t care to make its software consistent across different platforms, there is nothing I can do or say to them or for them. I don’t think I should accommodate them when it will make my work look bad.

If you’d like to share screenshots with me to show how different ereaders deal with this ebook, let me know. I am interested in seeing them. I will share my screenshots soon.

Smashwords End of the Year Sale

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Starting December 25, 2017 at midnight through January 1, 2018 at 11:59 pm (Pacific Standard Time) Smashwords is having a end of the year sale. Normally, I just have two items for free all year around. Both are automatically enrolled in this sale as well.

My Smashwords page lists everything I currently have for sale. I know those magazine issues take up a lot of space and you may not see everything. So, I have listed all the free books for this sale with their individual links.

Free items are an issue of the monthly magazine I used to put together and the book which introduces my universe. I’ve added five more ebooks to this list. One is a poetry collection. One is a poetry and short story collection. The rest are three novels which start three different series.

The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn (introduction to my universe) eISBN: 9781937050658

The Moon 1202
Sample magazine issue.

scientist in training gone mad (contains poetry and short stories) eISBN: 9781937050351

Honoring the Cats in My Life (poetry) eISBN: 9781937050375

The Guardians Series Book 1: Formation of the Guardians (The Stars Beckon and The Inventor from The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn) eISBN: 9781937050825

The Violet Series Book 1: A Water Nymph’s Tale (The Mine from The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn) eISBN: 9781937050832
This series follows The Colonies of Earth: Tales From Mars and The Colonies of Earth (Eris): Different.

The White Lion Unicorn Series Book 1: A Colony of Tiny Nekos eISBN: 9781937050894
The little neko took over The Strange & Unusual Universe of Silver Moon Unicorn so he now has his own book series. He’s based on a cat that I bottle fed when he was just a kitten.

Current Writing/Graphic Design Work

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I’ve been too busy and wondering what’s going on…

Well, I finished up NaNoWriMo on November 30th with 100,116 words among four novels drafts. I planned on three novel drafts and went on to write a fourth, which I finished drafting on December 1st with the last three chapters. Needless to say all that writing took a lot out of me. I then went on to read all 13 books of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Not to mention all the cleaning and sorting I’ve done on the house that’s getting prepared for selling sometime soon. Perhaps even this month if all goes well…

I feel like I’m falling behind in my work once again. Not only do I have four new novels to edit and design covers for, but I have a creative non-fiction book to finish up this month. I just hope I will have everything I need to finish it. I haven’t done much of the writing. Those parts came from other people around the world. But I have to do the compiling, editing, and graphic design work on it. Hopefully, I’ll have that ebook released after xmas.

Of course I still have the magazine conversions to do as well. That’s more work that’s just waiting for me to get to it. But it can wait as I finish up the creative non-fiction book and look for a new home for Nuri and me. So far I’ve been offered a place, but she can’t come with me. That’s not good enough. Nuri is my responsibility and I can’t dump her anywhere. She’s made it clear that she still wants me to be her girl and look after her. So, we need a place together.

I guess I’ll be busy for quite some time…at least through the end of the year…