Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Skinny

I know everyone is simply hanging on the edge of their seats for updates on Gramlich’s life so I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here’s what I’ve been up to.

1. Thanks so much to everyone who has visited and commented over at Novel Spaces when I’ve blogged there. I much appreciate that. You folks are the best.

2. I now have an author page on Amazon. Nothing much to see except images of my books and a short bio that everyone has seen before. But I may add stuff to it over time and will let you know. It’s mainly for the twos and threes of folks who might stumble upon my work outside of this blog and find themselves desperately interested in the Big G Man.

3. I finished a semi-secret project and information on that will be coming out soon. I had a lot of fun with it. It’s quite different than anything I’ve done before.

4. I joined Amazon Associates. It’s free, and I’ve seen a lot of blogs around now with those little clickable rectangle widgets that are linked to specific products at Amazon. I wanted some of those for my own books, and for other things I might want to support. Here’s a couple of them below. I do have a question for everyone. The book covers on my sidebar are clickable and will take you to Amazon, but should I replace those with these clickable widgets to make that clear, or does that smack of too much “hackery?”

5. Killing Trail has now gone live at Smashwords, but let me lay down the skinny before anyone decides to buy it there. First, the price is the same, $2.99. Second, Smashwords does have a version for the kindle, and over there the table of contents is clickable so you can jump directly to the stories. HOWEVER, if you buy a kindle form book from Smashwords you can only read it on Kindle PC and not on the Kindle device. ALSO, the formatting is generally better on the Amazon version. Adding the clickables has meant that the stories do not all start on separate pages. Some do, but others start right after the previous story ends. The readability level of the book is fine in Kindle form.

In addition, though, at Smashwords you can also get the story in PDF format and it came out perfectly that way, with the clickable table of contents and all the page breaks just as they should be. I was happy about that. So if you want to read it but don’t have a Kindle, this is the best way to go.

There are a number of other formats offered by Smashwords and I uploaded every one to see how it would work. Here’s the skinny on those for Killing Trail.

A: Do NOT get the book in RTF or Plain Text. It’s completely unreadable in plain text and the formatting is seriously screwed up on RTF, though I don’t know why.

B: The HTML online reading is generally good with indents and centering of titles working just fine, but the clickable table of contents won’t work in HTML and the page breaks aren’t necessarily correct between stories, meaning that a new story doesn’t always start on a new page.

C: The Javascript won’t show the images in the book, and the clickable table of contents won’t work. But the text is readable and you can change font size and color. I definitely wouldn’t consider this ideal.

D: There are also some formats for other e-readers that I don’t have, so I couldn’t test them. If anyone does get the book for one of these formats, please, please let me know how it works so I can make good on any problems. Anyway, these are:

EPUB: Open industry format, good for Stanza reader
LRF: for Sony reader.
Palm Doc, PDB: for Palm reading devices.

That’s about it for now. Thanks for listening.



ANNA-LYS said...

What a lovely photo <3
Congrats to Your success in life!

Deka Black said...

Nice photo ^^ About the widgets... I believe is good to make it clear putting tthem in the sidebar. Otherwise, the people who came here could think is only a list of covers of your works.

eric1313 said...

Working out the bugs of the whole e-book experience. Such is the cost of being a purveyor, i would imagine.

When the money situation gets straightened out (it will, it will, i have faith), i will certainly try to get a copy. Been reading older stuff i have that I've already been through, but you catch some great things that way. Reading Grendel by John Gardner for a third time. A dysfunctional masterpiece, for certain.

Steve Malley said...

What did you have to do for the centering? :)

Steve Malley said...

Oh, and I'm trying to choose between Amazon's Createspace and Smashwords's Wordclay for a POD service. Any thoughts??

jodi said...

Charles, I love reading of your writing success, but what are you and Lana REALLY up to. We want those details, too!

Angie said...

If I'm poking around a writer's blog and am actually looking for buy-links to their books, I'll at least mouseover any cover photos to see whether they're links. I don't know whether everyone does that, though, so using the more explicit Amazon widget thingies might be a good idea.

Also, it might look a bit neater to have all your clickable cover-link-thingies the same size; what you have now is a bit of a mixed bag. Whether this is at all important depends upon your own sense of esthetics. Personally I get a bit anal about that kind of thing, but not everyone shares my pathology. [cough/grin]

And that's definitely a cool photo of you and Lana. :D


Laurie Powers said...

I like the idea of widgets also, and may start using them for my own books. That is, if I ever get one published.

laughingwolf said...

grats on all fronts, charles :)

thx for all the tips, as always...

Unknown said...

Your Amazon page is nice though. Very easy and enjoyed reading the reviews of your trilogy.

Good information and great pic.

Paul R. McNamee said...

Charles - thanks for all the e-book creation data. I will keep it in mind (or come back to these posts) if I ever get that far.

As I replied to Jason Waltz last week; Standards are great - there are so many of them! ;)

I did read your post at Novel Spaces but didn't have time to craft an intelligent reply this week.

Heather said...

love the photo!

RK Sterling said...

Very nice all around. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Anna-lys, that's from our wedding.

Deka, I was wondering. I'll gather information on that from today's post.

Eric1313, I remember Grendel quite fondly.

Steve, I couldn't get the titles centered at Smashwords. I tried a couple of different things and finally just let 'em be flush left.

Jodi, does a gentleman tell those kinds of stories? I'll check with Lana. ;)

Angie, Lana said something to me too about having 'em all the same size. On occassion, though, I deliberately like to flout my own need for such organization. Sometimes my brain tells me to "let 'em vary." But I hear you.

Laurie, so far it looks like Widgets are the way to go.

Laughingwolf, thanks, man. Glad to be of service.

Carol, thanks. I'm still hoping someone will review "Witch." I know a couple of people have read it at least, but the reviews on Swords and Wings are pretty nice.

Paul, no worries. Sometimes there isn't time for all we'd like to do.

Heather, one of my faves.

Kate S., thankee.

Ty said...

Nice image.

Yes, I've found Amazon's Kindle formating looks best. Smashwords, not so much, but the big reason for this is because of trying to squeeze one format into multiple formats. I'm guessing Smashwords will eventually get better technology, or something else will improve the situation. Or possibly writers will stop using Smashwords once BN, Sony and others have their own publishing sites available.

ArtSparker said...

Awww, that photo is so sweet.

Here's my graphic designer take on the widgets: Could you change the title Charles Gramlich's Books to
Charles Gramlich's Books
(Click cover for details)

otherwise, leave as is?

Better visually - same info.

LoveRundle said...

Love the photo.

I'm so excited for you. You're so good at juggling all these projects.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ty, I'm sure you're right about the others coming out with their own publishing sites. The weirdest thing about Smashwords was why the RTF file didn't come out.

Artsparker, Lana suggested that too and that may be the way I go so it doesn't look quite so mercenary.

Christina, yes, I like that one.

BStearns said...

Great to hear that Charles! I'd say you should change your photos over to the Amazon one. I have no problem with it, and it does two things. One, it gives the price of all the books without clicking through, and two, it shows people that they can indeed click those and buy the book. Good on ya Charles!


j said...

You know, I really DO enjoy those "updates on Gramlich’s life"... it's like checking in with an old friend. So strange that to feel that way about people I've never met (gotta love blogging).

I liked ArtSparker's suggestion and I LOVE the affectionate photo.

X. Dell said...

I wouldn't think of posting a book or anything else in something other than PDF.

Can't wait for the semi-secret project.

Mary Witzl said...

Awww, that photograph!

I like the idea of having widgets on your sidebar. Believe me, if my book ever sees the light of a publisher, I'll put widgets on my sidebar.

Ron Scheer said...

I think everything's been said here already. What I like about the amazon widgets is that the price is shown, and that can be an attention-holder.

Deka Black said...

Charles, er.. in your author page.. where is the third Talera book?

Shauna Roberts said...

Love the photo too.

I like the idea of using the Amazon click-throughs so that everyone, even people who are new to the Web, understands that they can easily get to to buy your book just by clicking on the link.

Aimlesswriter said...

Congrats Charles!
And I say put those widgets up!
I was on your Amazon page today. For some reason the demon's at my job have your Razored Zen site blocked under "games". Weird but thats the government for you. They also blocked all my chat software which is driving me crazy. (facebook chat is blocked too but thanks for the suggestion)
Your Amazon page looks great!

Charles Gramlich said...

Bryan, that’s a good point about the prices being upfront.

jennifer, I added a line per Artsparker’s suggestion. I’ll see how I like that and what other kinds of input I get. The pic is from our wedding.

X. Dell, I wish PDF translated better into Kindle.

Mary Witzl, The vast majority of folks are supporting that view.

Ron Scheer, Yes, definitely a good point about the widgets and the price.

Deka Black, hum, is it not there? I’ll have to double check. It would be pretty bad to forget one of my own books.

Shauna Roberts, thankee. Yes, sounds like the widgets are winning the suggestion wars.

Aimless Writer, wow, I’m a game now! That’s kind of cool. But I’m sorry to hear I’m blocked.

Charles Gramlich said...

X-Dell. On my kindle, PDFs come up with very small print and you can't change the font size, making them largely impossible for me to read comfortably.

nephite blood spartan heart said...

I appreciate all your info about your experiences with Killing Trail and think you may as well have the widgets out there so people know to get your book.

Barbara Martin said...

I like that Smashwords has the stories available in PDF, a format I like to read in.

Widgets are a great idea, Charles.

ivan said...

Doubling, and tenning, and multiplying yourself. Amazing google and amazing Amazon.
Eric 1313 calls it the e-book experience.

But I'm with Eric on the Grendel tale....typewritten stuff of the Sixties. Grendel. Yes.
The Beowulf story from the monster's point of view.
I think it is impossible to beat today.

But author John Champlin Gardner died at 49.
...Makes me nervous.

the walking man said...

The widgets are good as they sit and i suggest you talk to JR at Jr
s thumbprints about your formatting stuff. He is as Hendrix said "experienced"

Looking good Charles.

BernardL said...

The formatting from one form to another is a much more important element than I imagined. It's a subject Amazon and the rest will have to give serious consideration to.

Charles Gramlich said...

David J. West, that was the general consensus so I did it last night to see how it looked.

Barbara Martin, I do like PDF too. It's the best I think for online reading, but it's not supported well by Kindle unfortunately.

ivan, I knew Gardner died early. I didn't think it was at 49. Well, you and I have both beat him then. You by a couple of years more than me. :)

Mark, yes, I should pick JR's brain. I've got his chapbook here. Have not read it all yet except those things I read on his blog.

BernardL, yeah, eventually an industry standard will probably develop but right now it's the wild west out there.

SQT said...

Using the widgets is just smart in my opinion.

Like the photo too!

Chris Benjamin said...

You are mad prolific, it's so impressive.

Question: did you license Amazon to sell your book for Kindle? How does that process work?

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Charles - I adore that pic of you and Lana!!! You guys make me real happy!

Ron Scheer said...

I believe Gardner died in a motorcycle accident.

Travis Cody said...

I submit that promoting your own work cannot possibly classify as hackery. So I am in favor of putting the clicky thingies so there can be no doubt that a) your work is for sale and b) you've provided a convenient way to go purchase it.

Charles Gramlich said...

SQT, that seems to be the general consensus. So I'm gonna do it.

benjibopper, it's easy as can be. You don't even sign a contract. You own all rights and basically give Amazon a percentage of each sale to act as distributor. They do put "kindle edition" on it. And you have to attest that it is your original work.

Ello, and me too!

Ron Scheer, ahh, I came close to that myself.

Travis Cody, I think most everyone is in agreement. I'm glad I got the concensus.

Evan Lewis said...

OK, let's have that super secret news please. I hate secrets unless I know them.

Charles Gramlich said...

Evan, if it were my news to give entirely I would. But tis not just mine. Soon soon.