Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Published!

I just published my first book on Kindle. I'm waiting for it to go live...Happy Leap Day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to format an ebook for Amazon.com

This is your brain on regular books: *(^O^)*

This is your brain on ebooks: (X_X)

Formatting an ebook can seem really daunting at first, mainly because I imagine that most people who are dreamy and creative enough to write a book, do not have the patience to sit and weave through the complicated world of computer languages and coding. But, I assure you, it's not that hard. Like any skill, formatting takes a little time to get used to, but it ends up being easy and worth the effort.

Because of my own personal biases, I'm writing about formatting for Amazon.com. I'm obsessed with Amazon. Like, if I could marry a website, I would marry Amazon in a heartbeat. Let's start there.

First, figure out where you are in the process:

A) I have a great idea for a book!
B) I'm writing a great book!
C) I've written a great book!
D) I've written and edited a great book!
E) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account!
F) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account and I don't care about formatting!
G) I've written and edited a great book and I have a KDP account and I care about formatting!

If you answered...

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to design your own book cover

A little known fact about me (and by "little known fact about me" I mean "weird thing I talk about all the time and wish people would talk about more often"): I love fonts.

I also love layout. What's layout? It's arranging fonts and photos and graphics to make publications (newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, word documents, charts...BOOK COVERS!!!!!! (<=UGH. I never use multiple exclamation points. I thought it would be quirky, but I now see that it's childish. Now I'm too frazzled to delete it. It stays.)).

So, let's back up a bit.

As I covered in my last post, you've got a beautiful novel written within a reasonable word count range, and now the next step is to make a book cover.

Actually, that's not the next step; the next step is to edit until your eyes burn and your fingers bleed, but I'll get to that another day.

Back to book covers. I think one of the wonderful quirks of the self publishing world is the strange assortment of book covers you see. Usually these are made by the author or a friend of the author; they're typically not professionally done, and this shows. Now, I'm not saying that they're THAT bad across the board. I'm just saying that they pale in comparison to the fabulous covers that you find in your local Barnes and Noble.

How does a self-publisher compete? Well, here's my advice, collected entirely from personal experience.

1. Look around at professional covers.
2. Download photo editing software.
3. Pick the right fonts.
4. Color.
5. Don't get crazy.
6. Think genre.
7. Show the cover to someone who has never read your book.

Take a deep breath; we're going to run through it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What's the average word count for a young adult book?

I'm currently going through the editing process and I cannot help but have doubts about my word count. I admit, I tend to doubt everything about my life (including the flavor of K-cup that I stick into my Keurig every morning) and I often go through moments where I think the only answer to my problems is to make monumental changes.

Thus, my frantic attempt to delete 15,000 words from my novel last night wasn't as dramatic as you would think.

Let's back up.

I've been playing around with MobiPocket for a little while now (more on that one day) and I've been uploading my book to Kindle Previewer (more on that another day) just because there's something undeniably satisfying about staring at your book on every dimension of e-reader that Amazon has to offer. I highly recommend it; it's even better than listening to Ke$ha when you're hungover and need something to make you feel like you're not a total train wreck.

So anyway, I've been converting via MobiPocket and then transferring the book to my kindle via USB and reading it on the device so I can pinpoint any errors. By the way, editing the book in a different format than the one you used to write it is SO helpful. It's like being flashed with that device that wipes your memory in Men In Black--everything seems new all of a sudden.

Focus. So, I've been comparing my book to the others on the Kindle, and I have a near coronary when I see that my book has a TON of little dots under it...like, we're talking War and Peace dots here. If you don't have a Kindle, see below: