Tag Archives: Self-publishing

Abraham Road Cover Art

Abraham Road Cover Art

John Mandler: So you said you weren’t going to self-publish again, and then you did anyway.

Kristopher Kelly: Exactly.

JM: Feel good about that?

KK: Nope.

JM: Why did you do it?

KK: I thought it would make a good Kindle Single. I thought they’d accept it. I’d read a lot of Singles. Thought this was definitely on par, if not better. Shows what I know.

JM: And so?

KK: Just got word back. Another one for the rejection pile.

JM: That’s a shame.

KK: I know.

JM: I’m not even real, am I?

KK: Afraid not. This is another self-interview on a mostly-ignored blog about a self-published book that’s going nowhere.

JM: Oh yeah, how are sales?

KK: Inconsequential.

JM: Are you quite done with self-publishing, then?

KK: Who can say. Probably. Maybe. I think so. I don’t know.

JM: You submit a piece to McSweeney’s again this week?

KK: Sure did.

JM: Good luck with that. You gonna be all right, hoss?

KK: More or less. What’s that the reality competition people always say? “You ain’t seen the last of me!”

JM: So we’ve not seen the last of you?

KK: I dunno. I hope not. But this one hurts.

JM: Smarts.

KK: Stings.

JM: Burns.

KK: Kick to the groin.

JM: Slap to the face.

KK: Stick in the eye.

JM: A muddy one.

KK: I thought it was a great story. I thought it would connect.

JM: Yeah. Writers always think that. Not always true, is it?

KK: No, indeed.

JM: Will you start submitting to real places, please?

KK: Yes. I guess.

JM: Will you quit fucking around and focus on editing those novels?

KK: Yes.

JM: Good. Now get out of here, chump. I’m sick of talking about you.

I Held My Breath as Long as I Could

I Held My Breath as Long as I Could

What a week. Some ups and downs, doubts and terrors, euphoria and depression. But today, I woke up and said, “I’m done editing this bastard! Time to submit!”

I’d blown my self-imposed deadline by a day. Not so bad.

I’d like to say that the process for submitting to Amazon’s Kindle Store and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store was relatively painless. For those interested, I wrote my novel in Word, saved as an HTML file, then converted to Kindle and EPUB format using Calibre, which is far and away my favorite piece of freeware.

To create a table of contents, I used Calibre’s GUI menu, having set up my Word doc to use H1 and H2 tags for the sections.

Apple’s process … well, let me just say I didn’t expect to spend an entire day troubleshooting this crap.

First of all, there’s the problem that Apple wants you to do one thing; your account can only be linked to app development, or books, or what have you. Easy enough to work around this silly limitation — just create another Apple ID for each thing you want to do — but it is annoying.

While I thought that would be the end of my troubles, it was not. When I clicked ‘Deliver’ in iTunes Producer, I received some not very friendly error messages. A lot of them were of the ‘ERROR ITMS-9000’ variety. It took me nearly a full day to figure out what was happening, so I’m going to share what I did to get my book to finally submit to iTunes.

Basically, iTunes is the fussiest place when it comes to accepting an epub format file. You MUST have a valid file, or it will not be accepted. Apparently, Barnes and Noble and Amazon are more forgiving.

Since I used Calibre, I was at first quite flummoxed. I didn’t know what a valid epub was. The best site I found for telling me what was going wrong was . They allow you to upload your book and they’ll tell you a billion things wrong with it. Taking this error report, I then had to figure out how to make changes to my ebook without using Calibre. How to do that?

Right click on your book. Choose the path that says ‘Tweak epub’ … then choose ‘Explode epub.’ I know it sounds scary, but it’s okay. It will open a dialog box that shows the files in the epub. Select all and open with your favorite text editor. I used TextMate. You could use notepad or Dreamweaver or whatever you like. Just open the files.

I can only speak to the issues I had, but they were:

1. Path names in ‘content.opf’ and ‘toc.ncx’: My title, I Held My Breath as Long as I Could, includes spaces. Calibre coded these as spaces. To be perfectly valid, you need to find and replace every instance where there is a link to your title with spaces to change the spaces to ‘%20’.

2. Bookmarks leftover from Word: These were hidden and broken and needed to be removed.

3. Some crazy crap Calibre put in the <body> tag … strip all that stuff out. Simple body tags will do.

4. Footnotes trouble: Unnecessary “name=” attribute caused an error. I just removed the “name=” attribute from the anchor tags in my footnotes, and it passed.

And that’s it! My advice is to use the site above to get some useful output, and open the files and do your best.

Good luck!

UPDATE! It’s Alive!!!

You can now purchase my book from Barnes and Noble and Amazon’s ebook stores. Still waiting on that iTunes iBookstore, though ….

For Barnes and Noble and all the Nook people, go here.

Amazon Kindle fans follow this spiffy one:

I Held My Breath as Long as I Could Cover

Cover Art, I Held My Breath as Long as I Could

In the last month, I’ve kept busy and missed precious few days. I’ve written a completely fresh draft of a story called “Radiation,” which I originally wrote in high school (it’s the story that earned me my favorite rejection letter ever, the letter which said, “This story is almost strange enough to like — unfortunately, it makes no sense at all!!!”). I love the revision. Also been working on revisions to some of the stories here, to mixed results. I have these ideas of what I want to do, but sometimes it just doesn’t work the way I think it should. I’ve got one more month until my deadline for new content expires and I go to strict line-editing, but I’ve already gotten the feeling that these are the stories I’m going with, and that I’m going to need all the time I can get to make this heap of sentences work.

There’s so much to do. There are so many words. The idea that people routinely write long novels blows my mind a bit right now.

Tonight, I’m going to read one of the pieces at Black & White here in Manhattan. Hope the audience likes it. I feel a bit nervous, as always, but it’s been too long since my last reading. I’ve been too much in the lab, and I have to make an effort to get out more.