Tag Archives: david kudler

All Things Amazon

Along with Ruth Schwartz, I’m going to be offering a presentation at the monthly meeting of the Bay Area Independent Publishers Assocation ambitiously titled All Things Amazon!

Come join us in lovely Novato — the meeting is from 9:00–4:00, but our presentation is from 11:00–12:15. (There are going to be break-out sessions in the afternoon.)

Here’s the blurb: Continue reading All Things Amazon

So you want to start your own small press?

Over on Quora, an anonymous reader asked me to answer the question, “How should I go about starting a small, independent press?

This question was asked by someone who was already publishing his or her own work, but who was considering expanding beyond that to publishing others’ books.

This got me thinking. Thinking a lot. Probably way more than the poster wanted. If you don’t want to read all of what I came up with, the TL;DR version is down at the bottom.

Here’s what I had to say:

Continue reading So you want to start your own small press?

Authors: 6 Reasons You Have to Be on Goodreads

Books by telmo32 (flickr.com)This past Saturday at BAIPA, I led a roundtable about the reasons that every independent author and publisher (as well as every “dependent” author) needed to have an active presence on Goodreads.com. It was one of three roundtable sessions at the time, and I assumed that most BAIPA folks (who are pretty savvy) would already know most of what I had to say. I was surprised to find that not only did they not, but they were very hungry to hear about the world’s largest book review site

Because they all found the material I presented to be helpful, I thought I’d share my major points here. This is why you have to be on Goodreads: Continue reading Authors: 6 Reasons You Have to Be on Goodreads

New Joseph Campbell ebook: Oriental Mythology

Oriental Mythology
Just wanted to pass along an announcement from Joseph Campbell Foundation about the formal release of Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, the newest ebook in the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell! It’s a project that we’ve been working on for more than a year, and are pleased to see come to fruition.

The ebook, the first release in a digital edition of the Masks of God series, explores the evolution of the myths of the Middle East and Asia from the dawn of history up until modern times, looking at how they have changed from country to country and millennium to millennium, and how they’ve remained the same.

The ebook is currently available only on the foundation’s website, JCF.org, as a thank you gift for donations of $9.99 and greater. Continue reading New Joseph Campbell ebook: Oriental Mythology

From BAIPA Audiobook Presentation

Here are are the PowerPoint slides for the presentation that Becky Parker and I gave at BAIPA today (and the audio files, since the audio was on the fritz!): Continue reading From BAIPA Audiobook Presentation

1 Thing That SHOULDN’T Go at the Front of Your Ebook

InterrobangSo I’ve written about what you should put at the back of your ebook. Over on LinkedIn, Denise Wakeman raised the issue, sparking an excellent discussion. (She suggested a great possibility that I hadn’t thought of: an opt-in link for your newsletter/mailing list.)

The discussion then turned to what should go at the front of an ebook.

You know those pages at the front of a print book that get lowercase roman numerals instead of regular arabic page numbers — the boring stuff that you usually flip through so you can start reading? That’s called the book’s front matter.

Now, tradition has set the front matter of print books fairly rigidly for a while now. According to my trusty Chicago Manual of Style, it runs something like this, with each item given a separate page or section: half-title page, series title or frontispiece, title page, copyright page, dedication, epigraph, table of contents (TOC), list of illustrations, list of tables, foreword, preface, acknowledgements, introduction (unless it’s part of the body of the book). Then you get, you know, the book. (Except for the title page and copyright page, these are all optional, by the way.)

In an ebook, where navigation can be non-linear, we often move some of the less essential, bulkier bits (i.e., TOC, lists of illustrations and tables) to the back, trusting that the reader will be able to find them easily using the Contents button. (I often link to the appropriate entry in the list of illustrations from the image’s caption.) The half-title page (the one often signed by authors and gift-givers) has been jettisoned. Not too many ebook signings.

You’ll notice, however, that there’s a commonly used section that’s missing from that list, and it became a major topic of debate in the LinkedIn discussion: blurbs. Continue reading 1 Thing That SHOULDN’T Go at the Front of Your Ebook

1 Thing That SHOULDN'T Go at the Front of Your Ebook

InterrobangSo I’ve written about what you should put at the back of your ebook. Over on LinkedIn, Denise Wakeman raised the issue, sparking an excellent discussion. (She suggested a great possibility that I hadn’t thought of: an opt-in link for your newsletter/mailing list.)

The discussion then turned to what should go at the front of an ebook.

You know those pages at the front of a print book that get lowercase roman numerals instead of regular arabic page numbers — the boring stuff that you usually flip through so you can start reading? That’s called the book’s front matter.

Now, tradition has set the front matter of print books fairly rigidly for a while now. According to my trusty Chicago Manual of Style, it runs something like this, with each item given a separate page or section: half-title page, series title or frontispiece, title page, copyright page, dedication, epigraph, table of contents (TOC), list of illustrations, list of tables, foreword, preface, acknowledgements, introduction (unless it’s part of the body of the book). Then you get, you know, the book. (Except for the title page and copyright page, these are all optional, by the way.)

In an ebook, where navigation can be non-linear, we often move some of the less essential, bulkier bits (i.e., TOC, lists of illustrations and tables) to the back, trusting that the reader will be able to find them easily using the Contents button. (I often link to the appropriate entry in the list of illustrations from the image’s caption.) The half-title page (the one often signed by authors and gift-givers) has been jettisoned. Not too many ebook signings.

You’ll notice, however, that there’s a commonly used section that’s missing from that list, and it became a major topic of debate in the LinkedIn discussion: blurbs. Continue reading 1 Thing That SHOULDN'T Go at the Front of Your Ebook

6 great file formats to send to ebook designers (and 2 awful ones)

Express Delivery by Kamyar Adi/flickr.com. Used through a Creative Commons license.So you’ve decided to have an ebook designer convert your book into ePub (iBooks/Nook/Kobo) and mobi (Kindle) formats. Great! What formats are best to send?

I mentioned in a rant a couple of weeks ago how not to do it. However, what should you do?

The designer/conversion house will hopefully tell you how they want the book delivered. Well, an ebook is essentially web pages in a box, so if you hand the designer clean HTML, she or he will want to kiss you; it’s very simple to turn that into an ebook. Beyond that, a good ebook designer should be able to work with whatever format you give them, whether it’s an InDesign or Quark file, a Word or Pages or OpenOffice doc, a PDF (see more below, however) — heck, I’ve managed to work from a copies of the print book, and typed or handwritten manuscripts. Still, it’s good to be prepared.

What are the best formats to send, in terms of keeping your cost low and your quality high? Continue reading 6 great file formats to send to ebook designers (and 2 awful ones)

A Plea to Book Designers: InDesign Is Not a Linotype Machine

Lead Type by Andre Chinn (andrechinn) @flickr.com. Used through a Creative Commons license.This is a plea from the heart to all of the page-layout/book-design folks out there on behalf of us lowly ebook designers, but it’s also, I’m afraid, a bit of a rant. Bear with me.

Here’s the gist: PLEASE DON’T USE THE SPACE BAR OR THE RETURN KEY TO MAKE YOUR LINES LOOK PRETTY!

I’ve worked on two ebook conversions recently where the designers had used spaces (or possibly hairspaces) and line feeds to make the pages flow cleanly and attractively on the printed page. They would use the hairspace/space between letters in a word and resize it to make the letters space out attractively — this was usually in the chapter heads or subheads, since spacing in display type can sometimes be tricky. And they’d use the return key (or possibly the shift-return combination) to force a line break in the middle of the paragraph — to avoid hyphenation, for example.

The problem is that when an ebook designer takes your book and converts it into HTML (since ebooks are just self-contained web pages), those little adjustments lose their meaning and are treated for what they are: spaces in the middle of words or paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences.

Continue reading A Plea to Book Designers: InDesign Is Not a Linotype Machine

Advice for the Self-Publisher

Last week, I gave an interview to Inkspokes, a website dedicated to independent authors and their readers.  The interviewer, Nelson Suit, who is one of the editors at Inkspokes, asked me a number of questions about my own experiences as an author who published his own work, but then asked me — as both a writer and a publisher of others’ writing — what would be my advice for folks who were looking at self-publishing. Well, a lot of people who are smarter than I am have given thought to that subject, but after considering the question for a bit, here’s what I came up with:

DK: My two biggest pieces of advice will both seem a bit heretical.

The first is that self-publishing doesn’t mean that you have do everything yourself — or that you should. The chairman of Penguin/Random House doesn’t copyedit every book, nor does he try to design his own covers. He’s your competition. Budget in the time and (if you can) the money to outsource the parts of the work of publishing that you really can’t (or as I said shouldn’t) handle yourself.

The places where you will really serve yourself best by finding someone else to help out? Highly technical processes like print layout and cover design. It’s possible to create your own ebooks if your work is narrative and doesn’t include much in the way of complicated formatting or images.

stillpoint-shlomo

You should absolutely have editors at each of the three stages of editing — development (before the “final” draft is finished); copyediting (after you’re done developing the book but before you’ve had it laid out); and proofreading (after layout/conversion and just before publication). Do you have to hire professionals? I’m not unbiased, I recognize, but I highly recommend it.

Continue reading Advice for the Self-Publisher