via eBook Friendly: Want to give someone an eBook? Here’s how

I was pointed in the direction of this extremely useful video by eBook Friendly, a blog about e-books that I’ve been following for a while. It always has interesting and helpful posts, but I particularly liked this one because it answers a question I’ve been puzzling over: How to give someone an eBook?

Now I know how to give all my friends with Kindles a copy of Tangerine Tango ($2.99) for Christmas… just a thought 🙂

Divorced Pauline confesses all…

I have no idea who this is…

I always thought that my friend Pauline Gaines of the Perils of Divorced Pauline was an upright citizen. Then, she suddenly decided to confess to a secret vice – right there on her blog! I couldn’t believe my eyes. And this is all the sadder, because Pauline actually does a bit of counseling when she’s not blogging. And now it’s clear she needs counseling herself. Here’s some of her confession. Alert: probably not suitable for reading at work…

I Am an Incorrigible Book Slut

I’m a bad, bad, book slut.

When it comes to reading material, I’m promiscuous and fickle. I get a few pages into one book, then callously abandon it when another, more intriguing title catches my eye.

Sometimes I take on two, even three at a time.

I feel no shame.

I take no responsibility for my wanton ways. I blame my love’em and leave’em-ness on the internet. Before Amazon — hello, middle-aged people? Does anyone remember that long-ago era? — when I had to actually go into a bookstore to buy a book, I was much more likely to finish what I started.

Then came Amazon, that virtual, literary brothel. How exciting to browse so many tempting titles! How intoxicating to have them all available, at the click of a mouse! How special I felt to have the Amazon Madam suggest slickly packaged works just for me!

I found myself ordering more than one at a time. With tomes stacking up by my bedside, it was all too easy to discard one for another. Instead of sticking with a book during a less-than-perfect chapter, I found myself …read on

Pauline is all over the internet, so you can follow her on Twitter @divorcedpauline or Pinterest, friend her on Facebook, fan her on her Facebook page, or e-mail her at divorcedpauline@aol.com. She claims she spends an ungodly amount of time in front of the computer, and so promises to respond.

Author interview: James Tenedero

One of my more popular posts recently was the one about authors’ blog tours. After reading it, James Tenedero, a Canadian author, asked me if I’d be prepared to host him when he organized his blog tour today. James is from Montreal, but has traveled extensively in Europe, as you’ll find out when you read his book, The Consistency of Parchment, a thriller. You can find out more about his background at the bottom of this post.

Since this is James’ first novel, I wanted to know how, exactly, he arrived at a finished, published work. I was interested in the process from first concept through editing to self-publishing. I think you will be ,too.

GC: I can see from the book that you’ve traveled in Europe a great deal. Did you live there once? And, – a couple more questions: What gave you the idea for this novel, and why all the train trips?

JT: I have studied in Copenhagen, and I also lived in Budapest for a short time.  The idea for the novel really originated during my stay in Hungary. At the time, in 2003, the transition from Communist rule to democracy was already well underway, but I was still struck by the lack of severe Soviet-era architecture and customs; while there were traces of this past, much of that history seemed to have been swept out of view.

I started to consider the idea that we relate to the past in a very visceral way through the symbols and artifacts that we encounter in our daily lives. This is really the key underlying theme of the book, from which I then developed the storyline involving Cal, Kendra, and their journey to discover the contents of the safe deposit box for which Kendra possesses the key.

The frequent train trips in the book were based on my own travels throughout Europe. I used these episodes as a way to develop the bond between Cal and Kendra, and to flesh out the details of their motivations without impeding the narrative arc or the pace of the story.

GC: Once you had your ‘final’ draft, who edited it?

JT: I edited the book myself. Although I don’t have the skill set of a professional editor, I did work as a proofreader for a federal government agency for several years – so I have some sense of what to look for. Ultimately, I decided that the person best able to tell the story was me. So it seemed to make sense for me to write and edit the book myself. I’m a big proponent of the desk-drawer approach to editing: finish the draft of your manuscript, set it aside for a few weeks, and then come back to it with a set of fresh eyes.

GC: When you decided to publish, where did you start? I assume you had a Word document, but what happened next?

JT: Since I had made a decision to publish with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, I followed the template provided in their Building Your Book for Kindle guide, which is available online for free download here. I formatted the manuscript accordingly, added hyperlinks for the Table of Contents so that readers could easily navigate through the book on their Kindle, and then uploaded the full document for sale on the Amazon website.

GC: Who designed the cover and layout?

JT: As with the editing, I selected the cover art and designed the front cover. (You can probably tell that I like to exercise a good deal of control over the way that my writing is presented, and with The Consistency of Parchment I was an unabashed monopolist from conception of the story to sale of the book!). The photograph is taken from a cemetery in Manchester, England, which I visited earlier this year, and I experimented with several different fonts before settling on the text that you see here. I’m happy with the overall result, and I’ve already had some very complimentary feedback in this vein from potential readers!

GC: Where is it available?

JT:Although there are certainly many options for authors looking to make their books available on the Web, I chose Amazon because of the popularity of the site. I wanted to ensure that I had the largest possible audience for my work, and Amazon provides me with this opportunity. Another nice feature of their publishing model is that you’re essentially unrestricted in terms of the potential volume of sales you can realize. You publish online, your book is automatically listed by Amazon, and your ultimate success is dependent on the quality of the product (as determined by the readers and reviewers, not by literary agents or publishing houses) and the amount of effort you devote to marketing it.

GC: When you sent me a review copy (thank you) it was in MOBI format. Can you tell us why you chose that format?

JT: I chose MOBI as my format because of its simplicity and inexpensiveness. An author can use freely available software such as Mobipocket Creator to convert a manuscript into MOBI. Also, these files are fully compatible with the Kindle, which of course was an important consideration for me!

GC: I opened my copy using Calibre, and then transferred it to my Kindle Fire. Am I right in thinking that this only works for free copies?

JT: Although I haven’t used Calibre myself, my understanding of the tool is that it works for both free and paid copies.

GC: So if people want to buy it, how much does it cost, and where can they find it?

JT: The Consistency of Parchment is currently on sale for $2.99 on the Amazon web site. Since my book is included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Amazon Prime members can obtain it for free. Also, the familiar ‘Look Inside’ feature allows readers to sample the first couple of chapters before deciding whether to purchase the book.

Thank you for hosting me and allowing me to speak about my work! I would invite your readers to follow me on Twitter (@jamestenedero), connect with me on Goodreads, and Like my Facebook author page. I’m always interested in hearing from other authors and readers, so feel free to get in touch with me through any of these channels.

I hope you enjoy the book, and I welcome your feedback and comments.

James Tenedero is a Montreal author, PhD student, (sometime) adventurer, and (unrepentant) bibliophile. After stints in corporate finance and management consulting, James answered the call of academia: he is currently enrolled in PhD studies at McGill University with the hopes of eventually securing his place in the ivory tower. When he’s not writing fiction, James can be found in his office researching organizational innovation and writing non-fiction. The Consistency of Parchment is his first full-length novel

Re-post from Ebook Friendly: 5 Bestselling Kindle Singles So Far

A while ago I wrote a post about the increasing market for short stories one could read on the go in a busy world. I figured this is good news for writers, and here to help make my case, is an article from the website Ebook Friendly. I came across  this site because I follow a Polish blogger named  Piotr Kowalczyk, self-publisher, author of short stories for geeks and a declared enthusiast of electronic books. And, by the way, a writer of impeccable English. Joseph Conrad could have taken lessons… He has a blog, Password incorrect, about mobile e-books, self-publishing and digital storytelling, and a website called Ebook Friendly.  You can find him on Twitter at @ebookfriendly  or @namenick. He’s more than happy to answer questions about self-publishing in a mobile world or about Ebook Friendly.

Here’s his report on the winning singles so far (and you can buy them via Ebook Friendly);

Good news travels fast. Over 2 million Kindle Singles were sold since they launched in January 2011. There are only 161 titles so far, you can browse all of them in Kindle Store. For your convenience we list below 5 most popular titles.

This list is based on a chart published by paidContent, where you can also check the approximate number of units sold, the date of publication, and the publisher.

Two titles, Second Son by Lee Child (#1 on a paidContent list), and No Time Left by David Baldacci (#3) were removed by their publishers from Kindle Singles section, probably in order to increase the price. They are not included in the list.

Mile 81 (Kindle Single)

Stephen King

With the heart of Stand By Me and the genius horror of Christine, Mile 81 is Stephen King unleashing his imagination as he drives past one of those road signs…

At Mile 81 on the Maine Turnpike is a boarded up rest stop on a highway in Maine. It’s a place where high school kids drink and get into the kind of trouble high school kids have always gotten into. It’s the place where Pete Simmons goes when his older brother, who’s supposed to be looking out for him, heads off to the gravel pit to play “paratroopers over the side.” Pete, armed only with the magnifying glass he got for his tenth birthday, finds a discarded bottle of vodka in the boarded up burger shack and drinks enough to pass out.

Not much later, a mud-covered station wagon (which is strange because there hadn’t been any rain in New England for over a week) veers into the Mile 81 rest area, ignoring the sign that says “closed, no services.” The driver’s door opens but nobody gets out.

Doug Clayton, an insurance man from Bangor, is driving his Prius to a conference in Portland. On the backseat are his briefcase and suitcase and in the passenger bucket is a King James Bible, what Doug calls “the ultimate insurance manual,” but it isn’t going to save Doug when he decides to be the Good Samaritan and help the guy in the broken down wagon. He pulls up behind it, puts on his four-ways, and then notices that the wagon has no plates.

Ten minutes later, Julianne Vernon, pulling a horse trailer, spots the Prius and the wagon, and pulls over. Julianne finds Doug Clayton’s cracked cell phone near the wagon door — and gets too close herself. By the time Pete Simmons wakes up from his vodka nap, there are a half a dozen cars at the Mile 81 rest stop. Two kids — Rachel and Blake Lussier — and one horse named Deedee are the only living left. Unless you maybe count the wagon. List Price: $ 3.99

The Moonlit Mind: A Tale of Suspense (Kindle Single)

Dean Koontz

In this chilling original stand-alone novella, available exclusively as an eBook, #1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz offers a taste of what’s to come in his new novel, 77 Shadow Street, with a mesmerizing tale of a homeless boy at large in a city fraught with threats . . . both human and otherwise.

Twelve-year-old Crispin has lived on the streets since he was nine—with only his wits and his daring to sustain him, and only his silent dog, Harley, to call his friend. He is always on the move, never lingering in any one place long enough to risk being discovered. Still, there are certain places he returns to. In the midst of the tumultuous city, they are havens of solitude: like the hushed environs of St. Mary Salome Cemetery, a place where Crispin can feel at peace—safe, at least for a while, from the fearsome memories that plague him . . . and seep into his darkest nightmares. But not only his dreams are haunted. The city he roams with Harley has secrets and mysteries, things unexplainable and maybe unimaginable. Crispin has seen ghosts in the dead of night, and sensed dimensions beyond reason in broad daylight. Hints of things disturbing and strange nibble at the edges of his existence, even as dangers wholly natural and earthbound cast their shadows across his path. Alone, drifting, and scavenging to survive is no life for a boy. But the life Crispin has left behind, and is still running scared from, is an unspeakable alternative . . . that may yet catch up with him. List Price: $ 2.9

Thorn in My Side (Kindle Single)

Karin Slaughter

It could have been just any night, and they could have just been any two brothers–but it wasn’t, and they weren’t. The scene is an Atlanta bar. The music is loud and the dance floor is packed. The good-looking brother picks up a girl. But when dark deeds ensue out in the parking lot, what happens next can only be described in two words: vintage Slaughter. From the opening scene to the last line, Thorn in My Side is as wicked as it is entertaining–an unforgettable piece of writing from one of the most beloved storytellers working today. List Price: $ 0.99

Leaving Home: Short Pieces (Kindle Single)

Jodi Picoult

Leaving Home brings together three, previously published short pieces, each dealing with a variation on the theme of leaving home. The first, “Weights and Measures,” deals with the tragic loss of a child; the second is a non-fiction letter Picoult wrote to her eldest son as he left for college; and, “Ritz” tells the story of a mother who takes the vacation all mothers need sometime. List Price: $ 2.99

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way (Kindle Single)

Jon Krakauer

Greg Mortenson has built a global reputation as a selfless humanitarian and children’s crusader, and he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is also not what he appears to be. As acclaimed author Jon Krakauer discovered, Mortenson has not only fabricated substantial parts of his bestselling books Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, but has also misused millions of dollars donated by unsuspecting admirers like Krakauer himself.

This is the tragic tale of good intentions gone very wrong.

100% of Jon Krakauer’s proceeds from the sale of Three Cups of Deceit will be donated to the “Stop Girl Trafficking” project at the American Himalayan Foundation (www.himalayanfoundation.org/live/project/stopgirltrafficking). List Price: $ 2.99