Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some Notes on Publishing Killing Trail: Part 1

There’s certainly more than one way to set up a file to publish to Kindle, and maybe some are better than mine. But here’s what I did. If I did it all wrong, well, if you have a copy of the book you can see and decide for yourself whether the formatting worked. I’m going to cover my process over the next few posts. (Before I forget it myself.)

First, the biggest surprise of publishing with Amazon’s Kindle program was finding out how easy it was. I didn’t use any HTML code and formatted strictly with my MS Word. I used Word 97-2003.

For the cover, I created a word processing file with the title at top and my name below, and imported the picture into the file using the “insert” command. I sent it to Lana, who found the font and did the frame around the page. She sent it back to me and I converted it to a jpeg using information at this site. We had to download the cover font from the web because my word processor didn’t come with it. But that didn’t take long. Then, when the rest of the manuscript was done to my satisfaction in MS Word, I just used the insert command to put the cover jpeg at the front of the file.

For the interior illustrations, I simply inserted photographs directly from my files into the text at various points. These were not converted to jpegs, only inserted into the word processing file. These were all photos that Lana took, by the way, so there were no copyright issues. Since the cover was the pistol by itself, I inserted a picture of the holstered pistol on page 2 of my file, with a repeat of the title. I then used a cropped down picture of the pistol by itself as a header illustration for each story in the file. These were copied directly into line 1 of the page where the story started. I double spaced down to put the story’s title. This gave me the start position I wanted for the story on the page.

Note, about the images, Kindle does not support color images so even though the originals were in color, they only show up in black and white in the ebook. But you can get a preview of how the images are going to look before you decide to include them or not. I’ll talk about that later. (By the Way, Steve Malley turned me on to the fact that Kindle for PC will show the illustrations in color. Thanks, Steve.) I’d heard repeatedly that Kindle doesn’t handle images well. Other than the lack of color, I had no problems whatsoever inserting these pictures in the book, and I think they added to the overall presentation.

For the “All Rights Reserved,” “Copyright,” and “Dedication” information, I got out a few published books and used the basic format I found there. I edited some elements slightly for my own taste, then put it all together on a single page of my word processing file. I just double spaced between sections, and I’m going to stop today with a copy of what my copyright page looked like in my original word processing file. It did not come out as a single page in the resulting ebook, however, but on two pages at the smallest kindle reading font size. As you can see if you have the ebook, the lines as they will appear in a published Kindle book are not as long as the lines in a normal word processing file. However, they wrapped just fine when I uploaded the book to Kindle without me having to do a thing.


Except for brief quotations, such as those to be included in reviews, no section of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.

The short stories in this collection are works of fiction. All names, characters, places, and events are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, places, or events is coincidental.

Dedication: To Louis L’Amour, who made me love the west.

And to Roger James, my brother-in-law, who introduced me to L’Amour’s work and who never griped when I borrowed his paperbacks. All of his paperbacks.

Text Copyright © 2010 by Charles Allen Gramlich.
Cover Photo & Design copyright © 2010 by Lana Gramlich.

Published by Razored Zen Press, 2010.
Contact at

“Killing Trail” originally appeared in somewhat different form in Elbow Creek Magazine in 2001.

“Once Upon a Time with the Dead” first appeared in Bits of the Dead, 2008.

I’ll leave you with a review of Killing Trail by Randy Johnson. Thanks, man.

“A fine collection of western tales by the author of the Talera novels and Cold In The Light. It is Mr. Gramlich's first venture into ebook publishing.

There are a couple of pieces that discuss authors, particularly Louis L'Amour, that influenced his writing and a bit about the old west in his home state Arkansas. I know what he meant about considering the west way out there and not realizing the history of his own state.

The price is right and the stories are good, an unbeatable combination. If you like westerns the Killing Trail should be an acquisition. I don't own a Kindle myself, but took advantage of the free Kindle download for PCs. It took me only about an hour to read this fine collection.

Definitely worth a look.”


Barbara Martin said...

Thanks for the instructions, Charles. Congratulations on the review, too.

Barbara Martin said...

Thanks for the instructions, Charles. Congratulations on the review, too.

David Cranmer said...

Excellent. I'm taking notes.

Charles Gramlich said...

Barbara, there'll be more. Glad you liked.

David, I sent you a little something via email today.

Deka Black said...

I'm with Barbara. Thanks for the information, congratulations for the review..

And for the example of copyright page, Is a very kind and good detail to many writers, i think.

Before i forgot: You look very badass in the photo!

Now, only two thing remain to be done: My revision of my last story... and get meney to buy the first Talera book ;)

Mohamed Mughal said...

Congrats on your initiative to make your writing available to the public. I'll keep an eye on your forthcoming posts; I just may want to use the same option for my second novel.

Thanks for sharing useful information with your fellow writers!

Heff said...

I just don't GET Kindle. If I'm going to actually purchase a book to read (lol) I want a copy TO HAVE AND TO HOLD.

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka Black, I figured some illustrative examples would be helpful. I find them so. Depending on where you live, I might be able to sell you a book from my copies cheaper than you could buy online. If it's overseas, though, the mailing costs are very high. As for the pic, the reddening makes me look meaner. :)

Mohamed Mughal, glad if you found it useful. Thanks for visiting.

Heff, yeah, maybe it's kind of like having a virtual stripper on your computer? I use it only to pick up books to read that I can't get physically. And I can download free stuff for it, which is nice.

Deka Black said...

Yes, is overseas, to Spain, in fact. To think i begin read in english tired of wait to the translations of my favourite writers...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for sharing that, Charles. I think a lot of people here are mulling it over and you made it clear what was needed.

ivan said...

Thanks for thew instructions indeed. And I follow Barbara Martin in offering congrats on the rewview.

Comes to setting up files, I fear I have a loosely constructed mind.

Oh how I long for the days when we could order typsetters and printers around. Remember linotype operators? Usually gay, but at least following writers' orders.
...Now we have to do it all by ourselves...Makes ya wanna sing show tunes while setting up files. :) Technological society.

Like Barney Rubble, I still want to work on stone, but those days are gone forever.
While all the time we wonder what in hell are we doing on this cooling piee of rock in the first place.

Ah, the morning heavies!

Congrats, theough.

sage said...

Sounds easy, thanks for the tips. Do you know if this works with Barnes and Noble's "Nook?" I've yet to get either, but the wife has a Nook.

BStearns said...

That's so cool Charles. Thanks for giving us the know-how.


Cloudia said...

You have the talent
and the drive to support it.

I'm glad for you, Charles.

Thanks for your posts and valued visits!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka Black, your English seems quite good. I doubt the TAleran books would ever be translated anyway.

pattinase (abbott), I've got at least one more and maybe 2 more posts in this series. I don't like them to run on too long.

ivan, I was lucky that when I first really started writing seriously computers were available. I might have been one of the first generations of writers for whome that was true.

sage, I don't know about the nook. At present they don't seem to have a publishing program, but I don't know if they can read kindleized ebooks or not.

BStearns, no prob.

Cloudia, sometimes it seems my drive is waning.

Deka Black said...

Thanks charles. being a language self-taught is nice to know i am good (and i can be better).

And yes, i was fearing this. But in fact, i have learned to not fear read something in his original form. So.. what is said: When i get the money... i add something Taleran to my shelves ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Deka, those books are also on sale through Amazon UK so that might be the closest way to go for you.

BernardL said...

Very thorough review of the process. Thank you.

Jess said...

Thanks Charles. I've downloaded the Kindle for PCs and Killing Trail is waiting for me. I look forward to reading it.

Also...thanks for such detailed instructions. I've requested the rights back on my novel and hope to get it on Kindle one day. I understand I'll have to design a new cover so this info is priceless to me.

Instructions from other writers on my various writing loops seemed complicated to me. You've really put it in a nutshell, and I'm MOST appreciative.

laughingwolf said...

great info, thx charles... may your sales exceed all expectations :)

nice review!

taking notes, too

Steve Malley said...

I'm reading it on PC right now, enjoying it very much! *And* the illustrations are in colour... :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

BernardL, there will be more. and thanks very much for the Amazon review. I appreciate it, man.

Jess, thanks. I appreciate you getting "Killing Trail." There'll be about three posts in this series, I think. Eventually I'll publish it all as one document.

laughingwolf, so far they've been fairly slow but I'm hoping for something good to happen.

Steve Malley, really!? Cool. I've got the kindle for PC. I'll have to have a gander.

Oscar said...

Thanks for the info and good luck on the sales!

Ron Scheer said...

Getting the last word in here - though the horse is already out of the barn and long gone.

Just wanted to say thanks for the making-of featurette. Ever thought of doing an audio commentary to go with your stories? Not kidding.

Travis Cody said...

I appreciate the instructions. Maybe one day I'll get up the courage to try this.

Charles Gramlich said...

Oscar, thanks, I appreciate that, man.

Ron Scheer, I've had one story produced as an audio pod cast, at Fear On Demand. I haven't given anything else audio any thought. Maybe I should eh?

Travis Cody, I've thoguht about trying to put together a non gramlich collection and publishing it through Razored Zen. May have to consider that.

Lana Gramlich said...

But I thought a magician never gave away their secrets? ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, hum, Maybe I'm like the masked magician.

Erik Donald France said...

Y'all are leading the way -- wonderful. And very pragmatic.

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Oh, I found you!

Very interesting post...I wonder if e-books are going to be the new way of things...

I love your blog and I'll be buying your book "Write with Fire" It looks interesting!

Glad I found you...I'll be back for sure!


Laurie Powers said...

Thank you Charles for posting this info. I'm still ruminating over what I'm going to do with my grandfather's stories - I'm leaning towards something that can be an actual book and an e-book. But if I decide to go e-book alone, the Kindle process seems pretty easy, and you get instant distribution with the biggest distributor in the world. Can't beat that. I'm off to read Part Two now.

Shauna Roberts said...

I appreciate your sharing your process with us. I think this is an excellent idea for getting more money and recognition from stories you've already written. I hope you will continue to let us know how it sells and how much you need to advertise it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, it's going to be an interesting next few years.

Houston A.W. Knight. Hawk, thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy Write With Fire. Let me know if you get a chance. There'll be more posts in this series. Thanks again for dropping by.

Laurie Powers, I'd still rather have my stuff out in print, of course, or in print too. But it was a kind of experiment on my part. I was curious mainly.

Shauna Roberts, so far the sales have not caught on fire but it's a few I didn't have before.

gary said...

Although I write short fiction, I've always preferred to read novels. By the time you get to know, and get involved in the lives of the characters, the short story ends.

The stories in Charles Gramlich's Killing Trail collection offer plenty of action, and surprisingly thorough character development as well.

Well done, my friend.

Gary Addis

Charles Gramlich said...

Gary, thanks, and thanks for dropping by.