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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Publishing to KDP using Mobipocket Creator

After I had finished converting my book at Smashwords, I decided to take a crack at converting for Kindle Direct Publishing. From looking around, I soon found that the best way to go about it (for me, anyway) was to use Mobipocket Creator  (free). Just so you don’t rush into this, be aware that you will need to do some HTML editing in order to get your table of contents and NCX to work. It that seems daunting to you, don’t give up just yet.
Before you decide to sit back and wait for the long heralded Smashwords/Amazon deal, take a side trip over to CJs Easy as Pie Kindle Tutorials and read your way through the excellent series of tutorials that are posted there. I’m not sure who exactly CJ is but from the profile picture It would seem that the author is some kind of sentient winnebago. Species aside, a determined KDP publisher will find everything needed to get their book ready to launch.
Some things to keep in mind first:
1 – Mobipocket wasn’t compatible with IE9 when I used it a couple of months ago. I had to de-install IE9 and that allows IE8 to get back to work (it was still there all along – just hiding in the shadows).
2 – You will need to save your book as an HTML  document and then clean up all the garbage that isn’t needed for your eBook (CJ can help you there as well).
3 – You will need to do a fair bit of editing in HTML (See CJ’s Tutorials) so if you feel comfortable with the idea, make sure you have a decent HTML editor. I used Komodo Edit (Free – open source) and found it very easy to work with.
4 – Use the kindle Previewer from Amazon to see how the book will look and work before you upload it. Use it to check the cover page as well as the functionality of the Table of Contents and the NCX. Make sure the progress bar shows at the bottom and go through each page of your book. This is your last chance to make your first impression.
This process took me the better part of three days, thanks largely to the issue with IE9. Had that not been the case, I probably would have converted Prometheus Bound in a day. If I had to do it over again (and I will in December), it would take an afternoon.         
If you feel up to it, then best of luck and be sure to leave a comment on CJ’s tutorial site; that winnebago worked very hard to share it’s knowledge with us humans!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bonus without Borders - Fear and Loathing at the Bookstore

By now, everyone is aware of the continuing saga unfolding at Borders. The latest twist, just reported in Publishers Weekly gives us valuable insight into the underlying sickness that continues to infect our economic engine – greed may or may not be good, but stupid doesn’t go away when you put on a suit and tie.
At a time when rank and file employees are fighting to get their severance pay, their former employer is fighting in court to ensure that the top fifteen management employees get severance bonuses of $125,000 each. To put that in perspective, it’s two and a half times the annual salary of one of their store managers.
What makes them worth so much money and why do we continue to accept such bloated compensation as reasonable? Back in April, Bloomberg reported on how many millions would go to the top five executives based on how much money they could return to the shareholders. Does anyone really believe that executives are worth millions a year?
A surprising number of them turn out to be hopelessly inadequate and got there simply because they know the right phrases and when to use them. They talk about creating value and having passion for the job, but at the end of the day, they make a ton of bad decisions and end up jumping ship with as much loot as they can carry.
To carry the metaphor just a bit further, consider that those large severance bonuses are justified by all their hard work on behalf of the debtors (while employees fight in court for severance pay). It’s little different than the officers of a cruise ship ramming an iceberg and then taking one life boat each, brandishing their flare guns to keep the passengers from joining them.
They like to put their feet up, and they deserve it – don’t they?