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All the news that's fit to print--or not.  Check in here for our latest articles and updates about anything in the ePublishing world.

 


Cover of DeathByte by D.S. Kane

DS Kane's DeathByte is Amazon Bestseller!

DeathByte Knocks It Out of the Park!

Booknook.biz client D.S. Kane must be one of the happiest guys around--not only did Baksheesh, Book 5 of the Spies Lie Series, kick up to #47 in the Amazon Thrillers/Assassintaions genre, but this week D.S. (not his real name--read on to find out why!) learned that DeathByte, Book 2 in the same series, assassinated the competition by rocketing up to #1--yes, number 1--on TWO of the Amazon Bestseller lists, and number 23 overall. Yup:  23rd on the overall list, which ain't bad, boys and girls.  

Why is D.S. So Successful at Espionage Thrillers?

For all those naysayers out there still whingeing that a self-publishing author can't compete with the big boys of BPH (Big Publishing Houses), D.S., amongst others, is quite simply proving them wrong.  But why? Why is Dave just so darn good at his storytelling?  At spinning tales out of thin air? At getting inside the minds of intelligence operatives, covert agents, double-agents and traitors? 

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An Example of Amazon Look Inside The Book Gone Wrong

How Do I Fix The Look Inside the Book on Amazon?

Is Your Look Inside the Book a Wreck?

One of the questions that I see posted, all the time, at the Amazon KDP Forums is this one--some variant on, "my Look Inside is a mess!," or, "How do I fix the Look Inside, because all my nice page breaks are gone!"

Here's the bottom line:  mostly, you can't.  

I know, I know--now, you're horrified.  But here's the thing:  while an eBook like a Kindle or an ePUB is made out of HTML, so are the Amazon webpages.  The problem is, it's not the same kind of HTML.  While the HTML itself is the same, HTML is controlled by something else, called "stylesheets."  That's how companies like ours make things like fonts work--by using Stylesheets.  In HTML, they are called "CSS." (Cascading Style Sheets).  They're called cascading because a more important style will override a less important style, to put it simply.  Or, a more detailed style will override a less detailed style.  

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Ernie Vecchione's Devil's Catch demonstrating that Indy Cover Design can be AWESOME.

When Indy Cover Design Goes Right

If you've been hanging out with me for a while, or you're one of our clients, you know that one of my pet peeves is the inattention, by many self-publishing authors, to the realities of the importance of COVER DESIGN. I started nagging you all about this not less than 5 years ago (see my early-on article, Cover Design Calypso which I originally published in 2010), and my various and sundry kibbitzes since then, if you don't remember.

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An eBook made from a Commercial Template

Can You Sucessfully Use eBook Templates?

Once upon a time, (okay, about two months ago or so)  in a fit of curiosity, I decided to buy one of those advertised templates—you know the ones—make your ebook from WORD!  Why?  Because we get a lot of inquiries here.  In fact, we receive about 300 emails a day, believe it or not.  We get people asking why our services are “better” or different than what they can do themselves. A lot of what we do is invisible to the human eye.  This makes it hard to answer those types of questions without sounding self-serving. 

As in, “well, gosh, we export and clean up the HTML, so that all the bad code that you can’t see with the naked eye doesn’t make your book go wonky when it’s opened on a Kindle.” This is a difficult sell, to be honest.  It’s the same difficult sell that I run into when I try to explain that Smashwords does not do the same thing that we do.  But, when you look at a sausage, do you know what’s inside it? Can you tell that one sausage-maker lovingly crafted his sausage from the BEST stuff, while the other used what remained on the floor after the first guy finished?  No, you can’t.  Not unless you already do this for a living, and if you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation--would we?

An eBook-making Test:  Show, Not Tell.

In that vein, I decided to test what we do against those "DIY Word" templates that you can buy all over the Internet.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Perhaps, I thought, if I simply used one of those commercial templates, I could show--not tell--people the difference.  I made sure that I bought a well-written template, from one of the most reputable and best-known websites on the topic of bookmaking.  For both ebooks and print books.  Below, see the original, unstyled Word file.  (click ANY image to enlarge/lightbox).  

Read on to see my test.

 

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What is The Best eBook Format For Kindle?

What Is the Best File Format For Kindle?  Why, The One that Works, Of Course!
What Is the Best File Format For Kindle? Why, The One that Works, Of Course!

About eBook Formats

One of the questions that we are often asked is, "what is the best eBook format for Kindle? I'm not always sure what question I'm being asked.  Is the person asking to find out what file format they should upload to Amazon? Are they asking what's the best way to make a book for the Amazon-Kindle ecosystem? Really, there are only two eBook formats that are still remaining in the USA, and, when you look around, in the world. Those formats are:

  • ePUB: which stands for ePUBlication (clever, eh?), which is used by B&N, iBooks, Sony, KoboBooks, and Google, and,
  • MOBI format, which is the preferred Kindle file format.

If you've Googled, you've likely seen all sorts of claims, ranging from some folks telling you that you can put an ePUB on Kindle, to the idea that using Word is the best "Kindle eBook format." The bottom line is, the files that Amazon sells to its readers are, by and large, a single file format, called "MOBI."

What Format Does Kindle Use?

Now, if you've run across various forums, you may have seen people refer to AZW format, or AZW3 format. The former is the actual, final, encrypted Kindle format that is dispensed from the Amazon store, to your Kindle as a purchased book. That's not a format that you can make yourself. And, even if you could, you can't upload that format at the KDP, the Kindle Digital Publishing platform. The latter, AZW3, is a file format, created to emulate what's called "KF8," (the more-advanced Kindle formatting) by a piece of free library software called Calibre. However, just like AZW, you can't upload an AZW3 file format at the KDP. You can certainly make a file in that format, and side-load it to your own Kindle device, but you can't publish it. Obviously, that format, then, lacks utility.  Fine for personal use, but useless for publishing.  If someone starts yammering away at you, talking about how you can convert your file to AZW or AZW3 format, for the purposes of publishing--that's not someone to whom you should be listening.

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Remember our Fallen

Memorial Day, originally called "Decoration Day" was created
to honor those who have been slain in defense of the US.

  
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As many of our returning customers know, we close on the holidays to recharge our batteries, as we're normally open 6/days/week.  As a former servicemember, I feel strongly that Memorial Day should be observed--and remembered.  

We'll be closed, administratively, from 5:00 p.m, the night of May 24th 2019 through the morning of May 28th 2019.  Production will be full-tilt boogie while the office is closed, but in Admin, phones will not be answered and emails will only receive auto-replies until we're back on our regular schedule. Books that are in production will be shipped, fear not.  

Thanks, and have a happy and safe--and memorable--Memorial Day.
(image courtesy of William Zhang, Unsplash)