September 4th, 2010

we're all better

It's a good feeling.

On the timewasting front, I decided to experiment a little the last couple days with things I have known about for a while. Specifically, I downloaded the nook application on the iPad, and then went to go get some free ebooks. Wow is that some amazing process to get a free book; they want a viable payment method (viz. a current credit card). Otherwise, a lot like other reader apps on the iPad.

The other experiment involved the Digital Text Platform over at Amazon. Specifically, I took the advice book/notes I put together after many, many long conversations with my good friend J. over a decade ago, and converted it for kindle. At least, I tried really hard. I'm completely unclear on whether I ever got the table of contents to work correctly, since the links are clickable in the Previewer and I can't tell if they are _supposed_ to be clickable or not. In any event, the TOC link and the Start link work right, so the menu options are linked up right. There's no cover art (bad bad bad, I know) and I opted for 70% royalties and a $9.99 list price, mostly to discourage anyone from actually buying it before I figure out whether that table of contents works correctly or not. There's a review process -- hey, maybe they'll fix it for me if I screwed it up! Yeah, not. I'm still scratching my head over whether I made enough changes from what I've had up on my website for years to qualify as a new/different book and thus the free version on my website doesn't violate the pricing rules. OTOH, I don't really care; if they reprice the book to be free, I'm very okay with that, too.

Once it's up, I'll probably post a link to it from here, or on my website, or somewhere.

Other than a few minutes trying to figure out the TOC/Start named anchors, and way too much time trying to validate the table of contents (and failing), it was a straightforward process. I took the files that I use on my website, concatenated them (in vi, since I couldn't figure out any other way to do it without introducing a lot of formatting I'd then have to strip out afterwards), stripped out the navigation stuff at the top and bottom, spell checked it (by uploading the long file to google docs and looking through the text for red underlines, but making the changes back on my home computer in vi), modified the TOC navigation to be internal to one file, rather than referring to a zillion little files, corrected and/or removed broken links and made some minor changes to the text itself (most notably, removing the Miss Manners recommendation and supplying an alternative). I also had to come up with a title (since it never had one!), and track down the Latin-1 copyright symbol (©).

It was so simple (other than not knowing whether that table of contents works or not) that I figure I could get my two novels (the first NaNoWriMo and the crappy fantasy novel that predates the advice book) up in under a day. I did all this while one or more small children was careening around.