October 25, 2012

With New Kindles Come New Responsibilities

So, Amazon released a new build of KindleGen today. It is the program that makes the Kindle eBooks used by publishing professionals. As a reader, you could probably care less, but I'll tell you why you should be interested. This new program ensures that eBooks can be properly read on the new Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD devices. Therefore, I spent the better part of the day getting my fiction recompiled so it's more enjoyable for readers with these new-fangled contraptions. Having a piss poor eBook being sold to your readers is sort of asking for the Rodney Dangerfeld treatment.

Anyway, here's some of my fiction that's up there now:

Paperwhite on the Left and Kindle Fire on the Right (America Goes On)
Drop Caps and Glyphs - W00T! (America Goes On)
Little Saddam Heads as Section Breaks - Why Not (The Bunker Below Believers' Palace)
While my writing still has a ways to go, I'd like to think that at least the design and formatting is 4.0. As the Managing Director of an eBook conversion shop, I'd be a really schnook if it wasn't. Check it out on Amazon by visiting my author page.

October 7, 2012

My Dumb Life

Just in case you're hearing all the boring details of my life, you can find them here at Belinda Nicoll's blog. She has a great new series for authors focusing on Change and has asked them to provide stepping stones in their life. This is a challenge for most authors, since they are not accustomed to talking about themselves. Sure, writing a 100K-worder novel is no problem, but asking for 500-1,000 words on yourself...that's tough.

September 26, 2012

The eBook Design and Development Guide - My Latest

After eight-months of toil, the eBook Design and Development Guide is finally published. I'm pretty proud of this one, since it includes some nice color-coded snippets and over 150 images. Here are some screen shots:

You can pick it up at Amazon for $6.99. Thanks so much.

While eBook sales continue to increase around the world, the actual layout and presentation of eBooks is in a sorry state. Mangled formatting, defective images, and non-reflowable content are just a few symptoms of the problem. Many publishing houses and independent authors believe that converting an eBook directly from Word, InDesign, or another publishing program will produce a “good enough” eBook. However, poor sales and poor reviews from readers suggests otherwise.

The eBook Design and Development Guide is a technical reference for serious publishers and authors who want to produce professional eBooks with a focus on quality. This guide provides all the technical knowledge of HTML, CSS, EPUB, XML, and KindleGen that is necessary to create your eBook from a source manuscript into an eBook ready for sale at all the major eBook vendors, including the Amazon Kindle Store, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, and the iBookstore.

No prior experience is required and the process of eBook production requires no expensive third-party software. This guide will teach you how to master the following tasks:

  • Converting your manuscript into HTML
  • Adding hyperlinks, bullets, and tables to your eBook
  • Embedding correctly-sized images in your eBook
  • Creating a clickable Table of Contents for your eBook
  • Adding basic presentation and styling to your eBook with CSS such as font sizing, margins, and indentation
  • Embedding fonts in your eBook
  • Adding advanced styling to your eBook such as gradients, drop caps, and backgrounds
  • Creating a valid EPUB eBook
  • Creating a valid MOBI/KF8 eBook with KindleGen
  • Adding metadata into your eBook
  • Working with regular expressions for quickly converting an eBook

Additionally, the guide provides a step-by-step walkthrough for a sample conversion of an eBook, as well as some helpful tips on the publishing and marketing process. All HTML, CSS, and EPUB templates are available for immediate use in this guide so you can start making your eBook for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, and all the other major platforms.

This book is a follow-up to How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else with much more details on HTML, CSS, and the EPUB standard. It also explains how to properly design an eBook for the new Kindle Format 8 (KF8) devices such as the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and Paperwhite.

Buy this 65,000-word guide that contains 150 images and 200 code snippets, and you will be able to create professional eBooks that really stand out from the crowd.

September 4, 2012

The Sentinel in Sector 5 - a Sci-Fi Novella

Writing across a lot of different genres is not necessarily a bad thing. I've always been a fan of the shotgun approach. Following up on literary fiction, crime/hard-boiled, and technical non-fiction, it's now time to dip my toe into science fiction.

I have always been a huge fan of post-apocalypse science fiction. From Canticle for Leibowitz to Lucifer's Hammer, speculating on the direction our future is headed has always been fascinating to me. Political commentary in fiction can be even more effective than non-fiction. Classics like Brave New World as well as newcomers like the Hunger Games Trilogy have a way of making you think about the current state of affairs. How our children integrated into society? What future will they be left with? I did my best to try and incorporate some of the great works that have influenced me in this short novella, and I hope that you will enjoy it.

Five hundred years after mankind was nearly destroyed by The Plague, a controlled society known as the Precinct continues the evolution of the human race. The Wardens select all children for their lifelong occupation at age 5 and the Administrators teach them for 15 years their duties and responsibilities to Society.

Alan7347F is a 17-year old Student classified to be a Machine Operator, but he spends his days wondering about the demise of his Ancestors’ civilization. One night, a rogue citizen, the Vagabond, creates a simulation that allows Alan and his classmates to travel back in time to experience firsthand the chain of events that nearly destroyed humanity. However, as the simulation unfolds, it becomes unclear what its true purpose is. The Sentinel in Sector 5 is a 30,000-word sci-fi novella about the burning questions lingering in a young man's heart amid a restricted society.

Like a cross between The Hunger Games and Brave New World, Sentinel in Sector 5 is sure to keep you entertained while making you think about where our civilization is headed.

This novella is only $2.99 at Amazon, and please let me know what you think.