2016-08-21

Publishing with CreateSpace

The print version of Dragonverse Origins is now available on Amazon. The pre-order period for the e-book ends on August 27 and the book will be live. Please help get this book off to a good start by placing your pre-order at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O.

If you want to see how to make a printed copy of your book, you can watch the entire process from beginning to end on YouTube at: https://youtu.be/2z0uYaaS6Ro. I took screen capture videos of the process while uploading Origins

I've also opened an ad account with Amazon and I will be monitoring the effectiveness of placing ads on Amazon. I want to thank Jake Kerr, science fiction author extraordinaire and fellow Launch Pad alumni for some tips on how to use Amazon promotions. I'll let you know how this pans out in a few weeks.

2016-08-14

Not Quite WYSIWYG

Yesterday, I uploaded Dragonverse Origins to CreateSpace so I could have a printed version. One of CreateSpace's cool features is the formatting check it does on your interior. I'm getting pretty good at doing the formatting right and so I was surprised when three errors were reported. Opening up the online previewer, I found that a blank page had been inserted after the copyright page. I assumed CreateSpace had done this. I tried again, and it was still there. I must have uploaded four versions until I went and looked at the PDF file I was uploading. The extra page wasn't coming from CreateSpace, it was coming from Word!

Looking at Word, I have my cover page, then the copyright page, and then chapter one. This puts chapter one on a right-facing page as you're supposed to do. But when I generated the PDF, Word inserted a blank page. Clicking on the pages and looking at the bottom of the screen, I noted that what looked on the screen to be page 3 was identified as page 4--so where was the missing page?

A quick search on the internet provided a clue but not an answer. If you set your document for mirrored margins, Word will insist on starting page 1 on an odd numbered printed page. If you format your book correctly, your first chapter will be separated from all the front matter by a section break and you will tell Word to start counting pages there at page 1. This is pretty cool as it leads one to believe that Word will do some of the formatting for you. Unfortunately, in my case, Word was putting page 1 on an even page--not odd. No matter what I did, chapter one was starting on a left-facing page.

The solution, after almost two hours of frustrating trial and error, was to open up the page formatting option window, tell Word to apply to the entire document, de-select mirror margins, and then apply. Then, go back and do it all over again only this time ensuring your margins are correct and mirror margins are turned back on. Apply to the entire document and the blank page magically vanished even though the setting I ended up with are the same as what I started with.

I did make a series of video clips of the entire CreateSpace process and I will be taking some time to stitch them together into an informative video that I will be uploading to YouTube in the near future. I'll let you know when it's done.

During our writer's group meeting yesterday, I mentioned the severe drop in sales. One of the writers suggested it might have been caused by the roll-out of the new Harry Potter book. Although I have my doubts, I have noticed a small increase in sales since the book's release but the numbers have not recovered much. I will continue to monitor this situation.

Finally, please don't forget about doing some verbal promoting of Dragonverse Origins. If you like dragons as well as a light sprinkling of science fiction then you will enjoy Origins. Please consider putting in your pre-order at: https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O

You can also see my book on the SFWA site. Here is the link: http://www.sfwa.org/featured-books/

Pass the word and help Dragonverse Origins get a good start with as many pre-orders as possible.

Have a great day!

2016-08-07

Backups

I got to thinking the other day about my current backup strategy. I use DropBox for all of my writing-related storage and backups are automatically taken care of. I use CrashPlan to back up my 2.8 Terrabytes of data. This costs $150.00 a year. Not bad considering. But, I also pay $100.00 a year for Microsoft Office. This comes with 1TB of online storage via OneDrive. The vast majority of my backup data is movies. Microsoft also allows you to create an account for a family member who will also get 1TB of storage. To save some money, I decided to drop CrashPlan.

I purchased a portable 2TB hard drive and made a copy of all my movies. This drive is now sitting securely in my bank's safe deposit box. Why not in my firebox in the house? Because it's too close. I want off-premise backups. I've been moving everything else to the OneDrive location and allowing it to be automatically backed up to the cloud. My subscription to CrashPlan runs out on the 17th. I should have everything moved to OneDrive and backed up by then.

Why pay for online backup when you really don't need it? Another cool thing about using OneDrive is I can quickly access it from my smart phone as well as anywhere on the internet. I was worried about using a 1TB account and having the automatic synchronization fill up the hard drive on my laptop but you can selectively synchronize folders. This made things so much easier.

I spent the entire morning on Sunday installing and setting up a new router--one with advanced beaming technology to simultaneously talk to all of my devices. I did a lot of research on all the new routers and settled on an almost top-of-the line Linksys. Although NetGear gets top reviews, their customer support is about the worst I've ever heard of. Linksys has very good customer support and that's important to me. In fact, I was chatting with a technician for almost an hour this morning trying to get one of my XBox 360's (which I use as a Media Center Extender) working on wireless.

All this computer work has meant that I've not written a single word in Peacekeeper Pathogen. Sales have been very bad recently but I knew that might happen when I started on my professionalization project. I also decided to write Dragonverse Origins instead of another Peacekeeper even though the Galactic Alliance series is what sells. But I had a story I wanted to write and I wrote it. I hope to upload the CreateSpace version soon and as soon as it is ready I will early release Origins.

Origins is still available for pre-order at https://amzn.com/B01IU96X4O Please pass this on to your friends. I promise to begin work on Peacekeeper Pathogen in the next few days.