May 23

Seeing Things, Part 8: Formatting

Dear Blog Friends,

One of the things I read, when I first started this journey into the wilds of epublishing (what feels like such a long, long time ago) was that formatting a book was one of those difficult and time-consuming things best done by a professional.  Now maybe I’m speaking too soon, but after my experience publishing my short stories last weekend (“Emily’s Fifth Birthday” and “Alternative Medicine”) I have to say that the formatting is pretty easy.  All you have to do is read the free ebook about formatting, and follow the guidelines. Okay, so maybe it would be harder if I didn’t have just straight text, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I prepared the same short stories to go up on Kindle, but Kindle has a slightly different software and a slightly different format.  The plan is for the new short stories to go up for free on Smashwords just as the old ones go from free to 99 cents.  Mostly I decided to publish the short stories so that I could practice formatting and creating cover art.  It took me two days and knitting-needles-in-the-eyes levels of frustration to create the first book cover for the short stories, and 45 minutes (before lunch) to create the second one.  I take back all those mean things I said about you, Gimp.  Turns out I just needed some time to get to know you.

Today I went through all my old short story contracts to see which ones I have the rights to again.  I also went through old stories for ones which haven’t been able to find a home, but which I still believe in.

One of the nice things about posting stories online where people can comment is that they do.  Some people suggested major revisions (sorry, not going to happen) but some people also pointed out small mistakes (in this case, missing words).  It’s not very easy to revise, because you have to delete and then re-upload an entirely new document, but it can be done.

My general plan of attack for the world is this: figure out how much time you think you’ll need, then add extra time just in case.

I think September 1st is starting to feel too far out. I bet I could get this out by July 1 if I wanted to.

And if I rethink that, maybe I should rethink other stuff. Maybe I could have it free for the first month ?  Or first month free coupons to anyone who agrees to blog about it or review it?

I’m open to suggestions.


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