Monday, May 30, 2011

Smashwords Link

Obviously I need to work on my marketing plan since I neglected to put a link to my new ebook in my last post. Here is where you can find the book, download sample pages or purchase Keys to Unlocking House History.

As of today, five people have downloaded samples of the book. There have been no purchases. I am hoping that once the book gets into Smashwords' premium catalogue I will begin to see some sales. I need to get started on self-promotion of the book as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Smashed It!

I finished up the revisions of my house history research book, following closely the ebook offered by Smashwords on how to successfully send a submission to them. Taking a deep breath, I hit the upload button. I had to take a few more steps because I got questions back from them (such as "Where is your cover?" and "Where do you want your money sent?") Now frankly, if they had you complete the online "paperwork" first before telling you to submit, these issues could have been resolved ahead of time. But regardless, I got everything sent to them and bam! My ebook went live! It was quite amazing. I am still awaiting approval to be added to premium status, which gets me in their premium catalog for distribution to major retailers. That can take up to two weeks, so I am hoping all my diligence pays off in getting me into this status quickly.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Under Cover

Here is the cover for my new ebook. I am really happy with how it turned out. It seems to contain all the suggestions I have seen for creating a good ebook cover. I have been working my way through the Smashwords guidelines on converting your Microsoft Word manuscript into a successful ebook submission. Is it ever tedious! But I am shooting for getting it accepted on the first submission. Apparently not many people make it through on the first try. We'll see what happens. I have made the changes and have printed out the book to see how it looks. I need to verify that I removed all references to St. Louis County, as well as the forms I made available in the print book. The forms cannot be reproduced in an ebook. Down the road I think I will package the forms as a pdf and sell them separately off the website.

In terms of my dad's book, I am at a standstill until I get the back cover and book spine designed to go with the front cover that Katie came up with. On a whim I asked the ebook cover designer if she knew of anyone who would do those two pieces without also wanting to do the front cover. On her website she had indicated that she no longer is designing print book covers. She said that since I am going to print through Lightening Source, she would take on the project. I'm not sure what difference the printer makes to her, unless it is because she is familiar with their cover specifications? At any rate, I plan to take her up on her offer. I need to get a few things put together for her before she can begin. I also need to ask her what the charge will be for the design. She was so reasonable on the ebook, I'm hoping this print cover will be an acceptable fee as well.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Keys to an E-book Cover

The e-book I am working on, a revised vanilla version of "Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed(room)?", is coming along. I still believe that I will e-print this book through Smashwords, so I turned to them for assistance with the cover design. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, provided me with a list of freelancers who will assist you in getting the interior of the book Smashwords-ready, as well as those who design the e-book covers. I am still attempting to do the interior myself, but I selected a woman from Mark's list for the cover design. We have been exchanging ideas back and forth, and I sent her a copy of my original book cover to show her what we did for the first book. The e-book version will be called "Keys to Unlocking House History". I like where she is going with the cover. She is cleaning up a scan of an abstract to use, and I had asked her to replace the house keys she had used with more antique-looking keys. I sent her a link to a free jpeg I found, as well as a photo of an old key that I had taken. She might be able to just duplicate the key a couple of times in photoshop to get the look I am seeking. I can't wait to see the next revision!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

My House History Website

I have been remiss in not mentioning that the website is up and running again. Cyber Peggy finally came through with setting up a new email address for me, which I then used to request a temporary password. I was finally able to get in to axspace, change to a new password and pay the bill. Voila - ready to go for another 12 months.

As I have previously discussed, this website was built on a WordPress platform, and I have never installed any of the WordPress updates on it. My philosophy is if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I am afraid if I do an upgrade, everything will get screwed up. But I recently read that Google somehow knows when you don't update the site and stops listing you in the web searches. So apparently I will have to bite the bullet and update. Before I do that, however, I have signed up for a workshop called Blogging Bootcamp, which takes place on June 11th. It is specifically for bloggers who use WordPress, so it should be great. If nothing else, I hope to meet someone that might be available to hire when I need to be bailed out. Hopefully for less than the $150 per hour my original consultant charges.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Always Something

As I have been happily going about my research on e-books, cyberspace has been plotting against me. When I went to add a post on the website April 27th, I got the dreaded "This account has been suspended" message. Seriously? This is what visitors to my site are going to see? As I checked records, I believe the web hosting came up for renewal in April. Long story short, I thought that we had moved my website to a different host after this host became hostile last year. Apparently that was not the case, and since I didn't pay my renewal fee, Axspace gave me the axe.

Trying to rectify the situation has become an exercise in international diplomacy, as I am convinced I'm dealing with someone over in Asia somewhere. The first email from them told me that a ticket had been created regarding my inquiry. The second email reply told me to log in to my account and pay the bill. Should have been easy, but the Axspace website wouldn't let me in. Third email asks me what my domain name is. Fourth email tells me that they can't find my account, and that they need my name to look it up a different way. Huh? What have they been looking at all this time? I guess my name at the bottom of each email wasn't clear enough. Fifth email tells me to reset my password. You supposedly accomplish this by entering your email and asking them to send you an email with the followup. Well, the followup never came. A new email to Axspace results in answer number six telling me that if I have forgotten my email address, they can accept a new email from me provided I give them my date of birth and my school mascot. So this is where we stand after four days of "communication". I am still suspended.

Sometimes I hate the "virtual" world!