It’s been a crazy month.
Anyone who self-publishes knows the hoops you have to go through to get your file ready for Kindle. If, like me, you like your books to go to other ereaders like Nook and Kobo or on Apple’s iPad, you know that there are subtle differences between the standards needed for the file that goes via Smashwords – or direct on the other companies’ publishing systems.
If you put your book together for a paperback edition via Createspace, they provide you with a Kindle-ready file after you’ve submitted… don’t they? Well, no. If you have a very simple book, maybe it does. You know, all text, no pictures, and you’re not much fussed about the content file… I got the ‘kindle ready’ file back, looked at it and knew it wouldn’t work. Just to be a little more humble than normal, I gave it a shot. It needs a lot of work to get it Kindle-ready. Nothing more than I was going to do anyway, in truth, but it’s no more Kindle ready than my own standard file.
The thing is, I like pictures in my books. All the Princelings books have chapter illustrations to go with the chapter headings. Call me stupid, but that’s how I did it with the first book, and that’s how it continues. I have over 120 chapter illustrations on file now. Odd, really, since there are more like 140 chapters out there. Ok, I re-use Castle Marsh, Castle Buckmore and The Inn of the Seventh Happiness in most books!
I used to have trouble with spurious lines around my chapter illustrations. They didn’t happen in the first until I uploaded a new version. I just couldn’t get rid of them until after book 4, when I discovered that the simple line drawings needed to be put in as gifs. Hey presto, the spurious lines disappeared, and haven’t returned. It’s to do with the way the kindle reader looks at the pixels, or something. Anyway, for line drawings and diagrams, use gifs; for photos and full colour or greyscale saturation, use jpegs.
And in the new book, White Water Landings, I have a lot of greyscale photographs. Most of them transferred over in the ‘kindle ready’ file, but minutely; some just showed as an error message.
The exciting adventure has been doing a hardcover version with Blurb. I met Blurb at the London Author Fair last year, and after I worked out that my poor computer just didn’t have the power of memory to run good publishing software, I bought an iMac and it’s been plain sailing so far (and I’ve stopped moaning about my broadband speed!). I’ve just about got to the proof stage, so I’m hoping that it all looks good in print. But it’s been great fun, and very easy, putting in the plain text files and slotting them into prepared layouts, and then adding in my photos with other layout templates. It didn’t take as long as I thought it might, and it was a pleasure to do. Very satisfying seeing it all come together, and much more so than just preparing a file for Createspace.
Interestingly, I will also get a Kindle and Epub file from Blurb. I’ll be spoiled for choice as to the best one to use. I’ll check these files out and see how much better they are than the Createspace one. If I’m not happy, I’ll be doing my usual file, and then adding an active Contents, using the Smashwords Guide to Ebook Publishing (an excellent and free bible).
I’m on target for publication on 11th May. I hope to get the Giveaway up on Goodreads within a few days now.
Then I need to get to work on the marketing, alongside the A to Z Challenge, which starts on Wednesday.
And for more adventures in publishing – well, watch out for the new paperback versions of The Princelings of the East books, coming soon via Blurb, and possibly to a real bookstore near you!