Now that sales of Wild Bill are firmly into double digits (36 and the last-minute Christmas shoppers haven’t been heard from yet), it’s time to turn my attention to what comes next. Sure, a lot of writers would see three dozen sales and kick back, figuring the mountain has been climbed. Not me. The public is fickle. Staying out of sight for too long can be death to a fledgling author. Sure, 36 is an impressive number, but drop off the radar and sales plummet. There’s no guarantee the next book would even break the prestigious 30 mark.
Fortunately, I have several novels on the hard drive (“in the drawer,” in traditional terms) that are ready to go, thanks to a myriad of gatekeepers who have for years been not just willing, but eager to tell me I was a fine writer, they liked the book a lot, and were sure I’d have no trouble finding someone (else) to publish it. The plan is to launch one every six months or so until the backlog has been worked down. Target date for Worst Enemies is March 1.
Of course, the book must be formatted for Kindle first. (I have learned the double O in Nook stands for total sales expected, at least in my case. Little time will be spent in that sales channel.) E-Book Architects did a great job with Wild Bill, and I’d go to them again in a heartbeat, but I wondered how hard it would be to do it myself. I work on computers all say. I’m no HTML programmer, but I was curious to see what was involved. I still had a plenty of time to involve E-Book Architects if I got in over my head.
Amazon has an easy to follow checklist with everything that needs to be done, including a free, downloadable program that will do the heavy lifting. I format Word documents well, having done several for POD books put out by my writers group in the past, and have learned to keep things tidy as I go.
I got the list, downloaded the software, and spent a few minutes each night for a week or so following the directions. I loaded what I had onto my Kindle and it looked great, with two exceptions. Chapters did not start on new pages, and all paragraphs had first-line indents, which I didn’t want.
The page breaks were easy. I’d fallen into the shorthand method of using Ctrl-Enter to start a new page. This doesn’t convert properly; I had to use the menu commands, Insert > Page Break. Easy fix. Took no more than fifteen minutes to correct all sixty-plus chapters.
The paragraph indents were made of sterner stuff. (I want the first paragraph of each chapter, as well as the acknowledgements, to be left aligned. The rest can be indented.) I tried a few things, even looked at the underlying HTML and experimented. No dice. Internet research showed those “we know what’s best for everyone” bastards at Amazon have Kindles set up to indent all new paragraphs by default.
(Note: I am using the slang definition of the term “bastard” to describe the powers that be at Amazon. Per Dictionary.com: a vicious, despicable, or thoroughly disliked person. I would never imply, and have no reason to suspect, that Jeff Bezos or any of his minions were conceived under other than honorable circumstances. I think the definition I have chosen is commonly accepted enough to negate any libel issues.)
More research turned me on to a procedure that should work, though it involved downloading two programs (both free), formatting the book in one, saving it as an EPUB file, then opening it in the other program to convert it to MOBI. It doesn’t strike me as being as hard as it looks here, and I have some time off coming up for the holidays.
I also have E-Book Architects’ address already entered in a draft email.