Kindle Create

Let me explain the process I follow to create a trade paperback version and the Kindle version of my novels for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). This may surprise you.

I write with Scrivener 3 (from Literature and Latte). I have been for years now and I LOVE the programme. The new Scrivener 3 boasted an improved compiler from that found in Scrivener 2 and I was excited about it. Excited until I started using it. It is supposed to be more user friendly. It’s not. It’s supposed to allow you to format your novel in whatever manner you wish. I don’t find it does. You need a PhD. It is NOT intuitive. Try something like Vellum and you will immediately see where Scrivener fails to support the author in formatting a simple thing.

So what I do is simply compile to a Microsoft Word docx format and an ePub3 format. The docx is for the paperback and the epub is for the Kindle. With me so far?

The paperback version of my novels is so easy to do. I open the Word doc and tweak it. I make sure chapters start on the right side page. I add drop caps (first letter of chapter is enlarged), correct fonts, add blank lines, etc. Once I am happy, I export to PDF, upload to KDP, preview how KDP processes it, and nine times out of ten it is perfect and I can publish the paperback. For those in the know, yes, KDP accepts docx. The conversion is poor though and I find PDFs almost are never modified by KDP.

The Kindle version is not so easy. First, you need to understand that Kindle publishes eBook in their MOBI format. KDP will convert your epub to a mobi when you upload it. KDP has been criticised by many for not describing the specific html code it uses to format the Kindle and invariably the mobi will not match what you formatted the epub to look like. It can be quite frustrating.

What I have been doing is the following:

  1. I compile from Scrivener 3 to ePub3.
  2. I open the ePub3 in Sigil (software to format ebooks). I spend around 2-3 hours formatting in html code the epub until it looks right. I save the epub.
  3. I open the epub in Calibre (an ebook library programme) and CONVERT the epub to mobi.
  4. I upload the mobi to KDP and cross my fingers. 9 times out of 10 it is what I want the mobi to look like (with drop caps, etc.)

I just did this with Cill Darae (Volume 5 of the New Druids series, pick up yours on April 30th!). After I was done I noticed a little hyperlink on KDP introducing Kindle Create. I was like “wuh?”. I downloaded it, opened it, and cried in joy. Now, I know this has been around for a while (now I do, anyway), but to me this was NEW and SHINY! The good news is all I need to do now is load the docx paperback version, tweak the content to my ebook content (i.e. the ISBN for Kindle is different than the paperback), and save the file in the KPF format. I upload the kpf and BAM! I have a perfect mobi version of my novel.

I’m so happy right now. Time for wine.

New Duilleog Cover

So, as I said the other day, I’ve commissioned a new cover for Duilleog from JD&J Book Cover Design. They just sent me the three versions. Have a look and shoot me an email and tell me what you think. Or leave a comment below. I love these!

Version 1
Version 2
Version 2

Switching to VoIP

So, I have been paying Rogers about $25 CAD per month for a land line for like 4 years now since moving back to Ottawa, Canada. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing before I continue… still waiting… okay, enough.

Listen: We needed a land line so my wife could call her mum whenever she wanted with free long distance. Still laughing? I bet you feel bad now. That’s her mum I’m talking about. Heavy sigh.

Anyway. I am so tired of handing $25 per month to a company like Rogers. So I decided to go to a VoIP phone. VoIP means Voice Over Internet Protocol. Which mean you make your call over the internet, not over the telephone lines stretching across the country. Using VoIP, I will reduce my monthly cost to $0.85 per month (excluding long distance costs). Yup, that is 85 cents. Don’t believe me? Head on over to http://voip.ms and check it out.

So how do I do this?

  1. Once you have an account with VoIP.ms, request a new land line phone number.
  2. Go to where your phone lines enters the house (usually by the power panel) and disconnect the land line from the little box the phone company installed. This little box distributes the phone lines in the walls of your house.
  3. Take a spare phone line and connect it to this little box and take the other end and connect it to an analog telephone adapter (ATA) –
    The device I bought was the Grandstream GS-HT802 on Amazon.ca. What you have just done is that all the phone jacks in your house are connected to the ATA.
  4. Connect your ATA to your house internet connection with an ethernet cable (Cat5e). I connected mine to a TP-Link switch. Your phones in the house will now communicate to the INTERNET, not your telephone provider. Get it?
  5. Browse into your house internet router (typically 192.168.1.1) on a desktop or laptop. Determine what IP address your ATA was assigned by the router. You then need to remote into the ATA using that IP address (type the address into a browser e.g. 192.168.1.23) and configure the ATA as required. There are so many options here. Please Google configurations for your ATA. Mine can provide music to people on hold, will text me when someone leaves a voice mail, call forwarding to multiple lines (i.e. you and wife get a cell phone call when someone calls the house, first one to answer wins), etc. etc.
  6. Pick up your phone handset (that you already have in your house connected to a house phone plug) and dial out. Use a cell phone and dial in. This confirms the ATA is working.
  7. Then go to VOIP.ms and request they transfer your original land line number over them. This will take a week or so. They will contact your phone provider and make the transfer happen.
  8. While this is being transferred, disconnect everything and go back to the old telephone connection and enjoy your last days with a company that takes your money and takes your money and takes your money.
  9. Once VOIP.ms owns your old number. Reconnect your ATA and call your phone company to cancel your land line.
  10. Use your new found wealth to treat your wife/significant other to something nice. Or your doogie-doog. Or your cat. You decide.

Warning: Do this means that when your house loses POWER, that your land lines will not work. Why? The internet devices in your house are also without power. However, you can install an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to your home internet devices and to the ATA and provided your internet connection is still available, you can make calls. I’m not doing that though. My house phones are those wireless ones with a base station that requires power, so when I lose power I lose my land lines. Meh. I just use my cell phone…

New Duilleog Book Cover

I’ve commissioned a professional book cover for Duilleog. I’ve opted to go with a company based in Florida called JD and J Design. They seem reputable and their work looks exceptional. They promised me they can work an entire series and do the epic fantasy style cover I need.

The work starts on March 22, 2019. I’ve never done this before, and I don’t know what to expect. What I expect is a lot of back and forth discussion on the main themes I wish to capture. While that may appear to be simple, in practice I suspect it will be difficult. My existing covers were my design and over the years I have had more negative comments than positive. By far. Which is what led me to make this decision to change the cover.

Fun facts: My New Druids covers have a repeating theme you may have noticed. A tree is getting larger and larger, central to the cover. The bottom is bark. The upper portion is an idyllic scene with a castle predominant in it. And I change the colour of a separating line. And...that’s about it. The castle represents the politics and religious aspects and the tree represents the druids. Modern fantasy covers usually have a character displayed striking a pose with the background covered in some exciting scene of some kind. Its what people expect these days.

Homework: So what themes best represent the New Druids series to you? Let me know. Leave a comment or email me. For me, the New Druids novels are about the harmony of nature and how people can truly screw up a wonderful world through politics and religion. What would you expect, or like to see, on the cover of the New Druids series?

Page 1 of 36

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén