Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Time for Sure!

Title: Gifts
Author: D. G. Grace
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Print Length: 351 pages
Seller:  Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Release date: March 2014
So, just over two weeks ago, I posted that I'd  published Gifts in the Amazon Kindle Store. Now, I'm waiting for a half-dozen reviews that are supposed to be in progress (friends, bloggers, others).

Incidentally, I forgot to mention at the time that—if you have an Amazon Prime account—you can borrow the book for free via the Kindle Online lending Library. If you're not sure about being among the first to read a book with no reviews, the Amazon page's Look inside function lets you read the first two and a half chapters of teh book for free. I know, that doesn't soud like much, but quite a lot happens in the first two chapters: pyrotechnic magic, major physical transformations, gratuitous nudity. I hate opening a book and seeing nothing happen for forty pages, so I was careful to start pretty much in medias res.

Honestly, though, I wish now that I'd waited a teeny bit before announcing, mainly because I did such a crappy job of formatting on the first go 'round. I thought I was following some instructions from a would-be Kindle guru. I think those instructions were questionable at best. I soon learned, contrary to the advice I read, that converting from MS Word to HTML and then—after almost a week of code cleanup—uploading that HTML to the Amazon KDP site is not a good methodology. It's a bad methodology. It's a huge waste of time and results in a butt-ugly output.

Enter Calibre, the beautiful Open Source freeware brainchild of Kovid Goyal and (as usual for such projects) numerous contributors. Calibre is available in Windows (32 & 64 bit), Linux, Mac, and portable  flavors. The Windows version requires no build, loads promptly with Installshield, has a brilliantly intuitive GUI, and never requires any command line shenanigans. Calibre deftly converts DOCX or HTML files to EPUB or MOBI (as well as PDF, AZW, and several more formats), and the program provides its own previewer to verify the conversinos.. The Calibre downloads page also gives us a convenient means to send support to the development effort (via PayPal). Lately the bug fixes have been coming out at a regular clip, so I think they deserve all we monetary support we can muster. I realize I'm new to this ebook production circus, but seriously, if you're going to publish your own ebooks and you don't have the time or the computer chops to use the Kindle tools Amazon provides (or if like me, you cringe at the thought of compiling anything, get Calibre.

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