I recently read a comment along the lines that if a book sells well, that doesn’t mean it is a good book. Some awful books sell well, while “brilliant” books flounder in obscurity. One commentor to my recent column on Grasping for the Wind mentions that because a book sells well isn’t a measure of how well it is written. That comment has been rattling around in my brain. I know what they are saying, and on a certain level, it is true, but there is something inherently wrong about that statement as well. Let me see if I can pin down what it is.
Out of the popular ebook formats, the hardest to create without buying an expensive program is the Ereader.com’s pdb files. Epub has Calibre, prc/mobi has MobiCreator, but pdb only has Dropbook. Whereas the others take an html formatted file, easy to do from Open Office or Word, and creates an ebook in those formats, Dropbook requires that you take your book, add in the tags designating chapter headings, italics, bold, etc., and then save it as a text file and “drop” it into the box. If all your tags are valid, it will spit out a pdb file.
At the risk of hitting a dead horse, once again, I’m going to respond to something I’ve heard recently. I’ve heard it before, and I’ve responded to it before, but I don’t think I have on this blog…until now! What did I hear? In fear of Christian fiction devoid of bad words and violence, etc., someone inevitably brings up the line, “But the Bible is full of horrible violence and rough characters,” or its cousin, “The Bible is R-rated.”
A while back I wrote a blog article on how to prepare a document for Smashwords using the “nuclear” option but still retain the basic formatting like italics and bold text. Admittedly that is a long and tedious process, though not nearly as tedious as reformatting your novel.
Because of that, I intended to eventually create a macro in Word that would automate some of those tasks.
Learning how to handle point of view in writing is one of the first things I had to learn. My first short story that eventually become my first published short story, Dragon Stew, had three limited-third points of view, and I learned early on the importance of establishing the point of view character within the first paragraph, if not the first line of their section.
One of the axioms that fiction writers hear is that a gripping story is a story with conflict. Indeed, even in high school, we were told that the parts to a story were introduction, a building to a climax, the climax, and the resolution. Or, a story needs to introduce a conflict, push that conflict to a breaking point, until at its peak, one side gives, and the conflict resolves. Usually one side “wins’ and the other “loses.” Most plots are built upon that basic premise.
One of the cool things for authors is the ability to set up Open Office’s Writer (the word processor) to accomplish many of the task novel writing software claims to make easier. Task like easily navigating in your document, quickly moving scenes or chapters, automatic renumbering of scenes and chapters, as well as document wide task like saving to a Word doc file, printing, formatting, find/replace, etc.
You want to self-publish a book, you have cover art and a design, but you don’t have Photoshop or an equivalent big-boy graphics software that will pull that together and put it into a PDF file that CreateSpace will accept? Have no fear, Rick is here. Again, this is a writer/publisher techy article. If this isn’t of interest to you, pass on, otherwise read on.