Category Archives: ebook

Self-Publishing 4

Do it yourself self-publishing can be a scary thought, but if you can write a book and get it ready to publish, then you do have enough skills to get that book out there. I took the plunge and so can you.

What made me change my attitude from scary to possible? Sure, I talked to others who had done it, but I was still hesitant, until I came across a book by Lucinda Moebius called Write Well Publish Right. First of all, I was interested in reading a book about writing from a high school and college teacher. Her book is what she teaches her students from beginning to the end at publishing. Mainly, I thought maybe I could implement some of her concepts into ideas for teaching language to small groups. Moreover, what I really took away from this book is that it is possible for me to self-publish a book.

Lucinda states that it is easy with the use of the formatting guides available through ePublishing platforms. She hired a formatter for the Kindle version of her science fiction books, but formatted the Smashwords version on her own. Also, she had help with her cover, hired an editor, and went through Amazon CreateSpace as her printer. Many times she states that it is up to you to do your own research and do what is best for you.

Yes, she inspired me, so I went to and got started. There an author can put in the title and paste in your manuscript and cover. Remember you have to have an ISBN number for your e-book, another one for your print book and CreateSpace can provide them for you. I did have to hire help with the e-book, my son did the front cover work, then I hired Fiverr for the spine and back cover for which I paid a little extra. Instead of five dollars with Fiverr, it was ten dollars and I’m very happy with their work.

I learned that the CreateSpace process for me was somewhere between adding art and print to a Vistaprint writing advertisement to doing my own taxes (on an easier year).

Yesterday, I went to hear multi-published author, Joanne Pence, give a talk about self-publishing at my local writers group in the Boise area. After already using CreateSpace, I learned the following information:

For those of you that want to add a publishing name to their self-pubbed books, Joanne says that you can go through SBA.GOV for your assumed business name. Registering a name will cost you $25.00. For my writing business name of Melland Publishing, LLC, I went through the Secretary of Idaho and paid $100.

Joanne also says that off-white or cream is the paper color of most fiction books. The 6 x 9 inch book size is becoming the industry standard and costs less than a book sized 5 ½ x 8 1/2 inches. You can buy a cheaper, older version of Adobe Photoshop on eBay for making your own covers.

Finally, Joanne adds that, especially for multi-published authors, the value of going to and using them exclusively to sell your e-book for your first 90 days can give you five free days on Amazon. It’s a way to get your name out there in hopes of readers choosing to buy and read your other books. After 90 days you can renew with them, or you can put your book into an .epub format and download it to other bookselling sites.

Yet, as Lucinda says, you need to do your own study and then decide what is best for you.


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Are You Ready for Indie Publishing, Part II

A Haunting in Trillium Falls_Mary Vine.jpgYou can find Are You Ready For Indie Publishing, Part 1 here:

I’ve written and edited a book, asked other writers to read it and then I made changes. So, now I’m ready to start the steps to indie publishing. Yes, I wallowed with whether I should try to submit this baby to a publisher, but only sent it to one who rejected it. After some disappointment, I reminded myself that with three published books to my credit, this is the one I’d chosen to branch out with.

To be sure, I talked with other authors about the self-pub business. Many found success and encouraged me to do the same. An indie author referred me to Indieromanceink, an email loop for those who are, or plan to be, an indie author. It is a large group of writers that ask questions, or answer them, and there’s quite a bit of knowledge to be gained from this site.

An incredible amount of work to self-publish is necessary and it can be downright scary. First, you need to hire an editor to do a line-by-line edit, especially for a first time author. Some suggest two editors. It takes hours of time to read about marketing to prepare for launching out on your own.

There are two things I just don’t know how to do, and don’t have the time or inclination to learn. Number one is: Cover art. There are many indie writers out there doing it all, including the cover art and some a very eye-catching. I am lucky to have a designer, graphic production, multimedia, digital artist guy in the family to do mine.

Number two is to publish the e-book and send it to various outlets. I chose Wildflowers Books, a division of The Wild Rose Press to self-publish and distribute my book, A Haunting in Trillium Falls. The cost totaled $199 and the package includes a digital ISBN, conversion of the book into various formats, and distribution to the following retailers and partners:
Amazon Kindle
All Romance
iTunes (iBookstore)
Barnes & Noble Nook
Overdrive Content Reserve (distributes to libraries and various retailers)

Whether you are published first or not, marketing your book(s) takes time and scheduling time to write is the one thing most authors struggle with. It’s like going to school to be a special education teacher and when you get the job find out you are overwhelmed with so much paperwork that you have little time to work with the students that fascinate you so much. Yet, going the indie route with an e-mail loop has helped me learn volumes about the book publishing business which seems to change every day. And to top it off, you will earn more money on your own for that book you’ve created after hours of hard work.


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Another Reason to Buy an E-book

Recently, my husband said I should get a new Kindle Fire, the one with the larger screen and the capability to be online anywhere with a reasonable distance to a cell tower. I knew phones could do that, of course, but I didn’t know a tablet could, so in a few days I held one in my hand. The 4G Kindle Fire takes a little time to get used to, at least for me, but once I have it figured out I should be able to do just about anything with it.

At work, I looked for some vocabulary curriculum that I could use with my high school students, and came across a reading comprehension sheet from Read Theory, LLC. The paper didn’t have a title or a mention of the author who wrote it, but it was about books becoming relics, and how e-readers are superior. Obviously it was a persuasion essay, and I’m not here to tell you to throw away your books. I will always love an actual book I can hold in my hand, too.

I have heard several of the author’s arguments before, but one thing really opened my eyes. E-books are environmentally friendly. Of course they are, I have no argument with that. Further he/she stated how many trees it took to print a book.

80,000 pieces of paper in a tree.

If your book is 300 pages long, printed 1000 times, it will take 4 trees.

If your book is a bestseller, selling 20,000 copies a week, it will take over 300 trees per month.

If you are J.K Rowling, with the Harry Potter series, you have sold 450 million copies and have used 2 million trees to print your books.

So, here is another reason to buy E-books. I, personally, love trees and am rethinking the value of a book held in my hand.


Posted by on March 19, 2013 in 4G Kindle Fire, books, ebook, readers, reading, values


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A Kindle Way of Life

012Christmas before last, my husband gave me a Kindle Fire. Sure, I had thought about having an e-reader one day, but I was quite happy with having an actual book in my lap. My dream was always to write a book I could hold in my hands. I’m grateful I got to have just that before we all turn electronic one day.

After making my New Year’s resolution to exercise last year, I noticed that I could multi-task by using my exercise bike and utilize Facebook at the same time. Once I finished checking in, I could read email or an e-book while cycling away. I also use my Kindle to look for information on the internet.  Sometimes, I get quicker results than on my computer.

This past year I had some major editing to do on a manuscript, so I looked for a couple of craft books for inspiration. The two books I chose were available in e-book format, so I opted for the electronic version mainly because of the cheaper price. A nice surprise was that I could lay my small kindle next to my computer instead of two books. I’d zip through the pages of the reader as I worked and my husband got tired of hearing about how convenient this arrangement was.

Several authors have free or discounted e-books so I download them on my Kindle. I get excellent buys on 013books and easily store them on my Kindle, verses filling my already full bookcase or end tables. I like that my books are more affordable as e-books, too.

I look at my pile of magazines and think that I will start ordering them in e-book format, so I won’t have them lying around, and will be at hand on the Kindle I have in my bag when I’m out and about, or travelling to see my family. When I do travel my Kindle is smaller and lighter than my computer, and it is WiFi accessible.

Just before Christmas break, I worked with a high school student who likes to read but struggles with vocabulary/hard words. To help her understand, we looked at the other words in the sentence before and after to help her understand the meaning of the word. Her eyes lit up when I told her that on a Kindle you can touch the word on the page and the meaning comes up.

I love to read to my grandchildren. I started thinking that if I could have my favorite children’s e-books on hand where ever I am, then I’ll always have the opportunity to read to them while not having to carry the copies around.

I found some free and inexpensive children’s e-books. This past Christmas I got a chance to read them to my grandchildren. I did read hard cover books to them while they were here, and it was perfect just before bedtime. Yet, in the living room, I noticed how easy it was to pull the kids into my lap when they were fussing, getting bored, or tired, and open the Kindle Fire and read. The kids and I enjoyed the color pictures and how they slid across the screen. In my opinion, at that moment, they enjoyed the e-book version as much as the hard cover books.

It took me a little while to understand the value of my husband’s gift, but now I consider it to be a gift that keeps on giving.


Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Blogs, Boise, books, ebook, Family, Idaho, readers, reading, travel


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Beta Reading Using A Kindle (Or Kindle Reader) by Johanna Harness

So you want to beta read that manuscript on your Kindle, do you? 

Yeah, I can’t blame you.  Writers spend enough time sitting at computers.  Why not read in comfort?

First off, you don’t have to own a Kindle.  You can download Kindle reading apps for other portable devices too. My top choice for reading Kindle books is my iPad.  For reading on the run, I like my phone.  I have an old, clunky 1st-generation Kindle (the kind with the back cover that keeps falling off), but I can’t stand the scroll bar after getting used to a touch screen.  I upgraded to the Kindle Touch, but returned it because the screen responded so slowly.  Plus?  I thought reading .pdf files on the new Kindle would be cool. Nope.  It wasn’t.  The pdf transferred to a print too small to read.  Making the text bigger meant it shifted off the screen.  Maybe I missed a setting or two and there was a way around this, but I try not to pay money for gadgets that make me want to throw them across the room.

So this isn’t a wild endorsement of Kindles. Rather, it’s a record of what my beta readers and I did with the readers we already owned.

First of all—you with the manuscript—you need to change it into a Kindle file.

You have options and I’ll list them here from most complicated to least:

  • Use Calibre or a similar program.  Writers use these to work on final ebooks they release to the public.  If you already have experience on this level, go with what you know.  Your results will be beautiful.
  • If you already use Scrivener, compile your manuscript as a Kindle eBook.  Is it worth it to buy the program just for Kindle formatting?  Probably not, but use it if you have it.
  • Convert your doc by emailing it to your super-secret email address for converting files. (More on this in a second.)

Now let’s make sure you don’t get charged for converting or receiving documents.

  1. Log in to Amazon.
  2. There should be a menu on the left side.  One of the menu options is “Kindle.”  Hover over that and you get a submenu option: “Manage Your Kindle.”  Click that.
  3. I always have to log in again at that point.
  4. On the next screen, in the left menu, under the header “Your Kindle Account,” there’s an option:  “Personal Document Settings.”  Click that.
  5. Look at your settings for “whispernet delivery options.” You can limit the charge through whispernet 3G or you can do like I do and keep whispernet disabled.  This means you’ll have to use an existing wireless connection (or USB) to get your personal documents.  This works for me.  I don’t need to use their 3G service and I don’t want to accidentally use it if my kindle can’t find my home network for some reason.

Find your super-secret Kindle email address.

  1. From the “Personal Document Settings,” page, find your “Send-to-Kindle Email Settings.”
  2. You will see at least one email address–more if you have more than one device registered.
  3. If you don’t have an address here, make sure your device (or reading software) is linked to your account.
  4. Make note of the Kindle address you want to use.

Add emails to your list of approved senders:

  • From the “Personal Document Settings” page, look at your approved email list.
  • You can only receive documents from addresses on that list.
  • At a minimum, make sure your return email address is there.
  • If writers are going to send files directly to your kindle, make sure to add their addresses here.

If you still need to convert your document:

  • Send it to your own [Kindle name in the above super-secret kindle adresss]  (Subject line: “Convert”)
  • I usually just send this as a .doc file.  It might work with other files.
  • Amazon will send you an email when the file is converted, along with a link to the file.
  • Go to that link.  Deliver the file to your own Kindle reading device.  Make sure you like the way it looks.

Email the file to your beta reader.

You can either send your kindle book to your reader’s Kindle directly (easiest) or email the file and let the reader send it on to the super-secret Kindle address.  When you send to the kindle, there’s no need for subject or message.

After you send, refresh your Kindle and the file should show up.  (It took a few minutes longer than I thought it should, so don’t despair if it’s not immediate.)  If it doesn’t show up after a few minutes, check the archives from your reader.  It sometimes ends up there.

Please note: If you are sending files from a PC, you may need this free program to send files:

Delete the file when you’re done reading.

From the “Personal Documents” page, you’ll see a list of files.  The book you’re reading will appear here.  When you’re done with it, delete it.

This is the method I’ve used with beta readers and it’s worked for us.  It’s really not as difficult as it sounds once we’ve set things up. Please do share your experience in the comments.  Any tips and tricks I haven’t covered? Know of any similar tutorials for Nook?  Do you use iPads in creative ways?  Do you use dropbox or cloud for this?  I’d love to hear what works for you.


Posted by on March 14, 2012 in ebook, reading, writing


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