Category Archives: Writing

Tales From the Writer’s Desk

Indie War Dispatch – Wraparound Background

The short-version backstory on this continuing series of posts is very simple: with more time than spare change lying around, I decided to personally accomplish each of the tasks required to publish my novel as an ebook for all the popular ereading devices and make it available on as many distribution outlets as possible, along with offering a paperback edition through print-on-demand. At this point in my account of the war, I had been actively seeking help on two forums, one for Photoshop Elements (PSE) and the other for InDesign (ID). Etiquette as well as practical considerations prevent crossing the … Continue reading

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Dispatch From the Indie Front Lines – More Cover Battles

If any of my fellow Texans are viewing this post as a single dedicated page (rather than on the Home Page with the fighter pilot header), I’ve set the featured image to remind you what water looks like. I’m not confident that it will ever rain again. If the fighter pilot is giving you the eagle eye, click on the post title. As noted in an earlier post, my brother and I call it The McIntosh Brothers’ Pandora’s Box Syndrome, referring to the manner in which something that appears to be a relatively simple task will suddenly expand out of … Continue reading

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Update From the Indie Publishing Front Lines

Recapping recent battles in the war: Scrub the original Word.doc file formatted for submission to agents to remove all the “messy” troublemakers like extra returns, tabs, spaces, etc. Follow the guidelines of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), and PubIt (Barnes&Noble) to prepare a single .doc file for conversion to .epub and .mobi. Create another .doc file using the Smashwords formatting guidelines. Use Calibre to create the .epub and .mobi versions of the ebook. Design a cover for the ebooks with Photoshop Elements. Upload the .epub and .mobi files to PubIt and KDP along with the cover. Create a template for the … Continue reading

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Wraparound Covers

I regret the absence of screen grabs in this post to illustrate the process of designing my cover, but based on the advice of “counsel” I’ll keep it under wraps until the decision to indie-publish the novel becomes a reality. Based on a recent post by Dean Wesley Smith, that might occur sooner than previously anticipated. Stay tuned for ramblings on that topic. In the meantime, I have added images from Editing Historical Fiction, a fascinating website that makes me want to write a Western. Last week after using InDesign to format the interior of my novel for the trade … Continue reading

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A Fifth (and Final?) Format Follows the Fourth

If you’ve been following the trials and tribulations of this writer’s efforts to prepare for the possibility of indie publishing his novel, you might have predicted that the fourth version of his manuscript would not be the final one for very long. And you would have been correct. Although Microsoft Word is adequate for producing a file that will be converted to .pdf for uploading to Amazon’s CreateSpace, the following quote from Build Your Book by Walton Mendelson got my attention: I assume you are are not going to learn a desk top publishing application like Adobe’s In-Design. If you … Continue reading

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A Tale of Three Formats Gains A Fourth

If you’ve previously visited this Writer’s Desk logbook and read any of the posts on the subject of ebooks, you may remember (with affection, I’m sure) my ramblings on the mind-boggling process of converting a manuscript properly formatted for submitting to agents into one that will survive being turned into an ebook. Having completed that task for uploading to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes&Nobles’ PubIt, and the Smashwords “Meatgrinder,” I had settled into a welcome respite from such activities when I began an email discussion with John Jones, a good friend and fellow writer, about his current plans with regard … Continue reading

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Ebook Covers – Hold On There, Bubba!

I don’t know if this is the story of my life, but it isn’t far removed: spend hours (in this case days) trying to do something myself, and for which I am ill-prepared because I know little to nothing about it, and finally end up getting it done only to discover there are far easier ways, or it was a bad idea to begin with, or as in the case of ebook covers, The Big Oops lies waiting. My wife’s son-in-law is a professional photographer and writer. When he viewed the result of all my effort, I’m pleased to say … Continue reading

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Ebooks – What Are You Gonna Do When . . .?

Last evening at a meeting of a small writer’s group, one of the members asked me what I was going to do if I got an agent and an offer from a Big 6 publisher. Even considering the slim possibility that will occur, it’s a very good question because it highlights the core element of the ongoing turmoil in the industry: the gatekeeping function of agents and the publishers’ monopoly on printing and distribution are becoming more irrelevant with each passing day. Author J.A. Konrath in his widely read blog post “Are You Dense?” challenges writers to quit chasing a … Continue reading

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Ebooks – A Tale of Three Formats

So, after hours–no, days, actually–of editing the .doc file of my novel to remove all the “messy” stuff hiding within the text and applying the styles for chapter headings, main body text, and scene breaks, the time came to enter totally uncharted waters. Taking the metaphor a bit further, I was the captain of a sailing vessel headed toward the edge of the Earth (which really is flat, you know), and the only map I had cautioned me with, Here There Be Dragons. Truer warnings have never been posted. Under the assumption that someone might want to read my ebook … Continue reading

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Ebooks – A Tale of Two Formats

Nothing in life is fair, and here’s a perfect example. One day you say to yourself, “Self, let’s write a novel.” Self: “You gotta be kidding me.” You: “I’m serious. And because we’re one and the same, get used to it.” So you both do that, and after many hours of bleeding at your computer, you finally complete the novel. Then after a bunch of revisions, the manuscript reaches “submission” quality. Time to send out those queries, right? Not so fast, says “The Industry.” Manuscripts aren’t really submission-ready until they’ve been properly formatted. But that’s not a problem, because the … Continue reading

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