Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Published my first eBook on May 30th!

On May 30th I published my first eBook via I never thought I would work with eBooks before now. The whole concept seemed silly to me. Ever since I was eleven years old I had always dreamed of holding a printed copy of my very own book in my hands complete with my name on it and an amazing cover. Of course, I also used to write my books by hand with a pen or pencil in a binder full of notebook paper. I never cared for writing on the computer and wrote by hand for five years. It wasn’t until I got my own computer and started trying out different word processors that I realized how much easier it is to write up a book, check my mistakes and have a finished manuscript by using a computer.

My first eBook (and my first book really worthy of being called a book) is called Dangerous Drop. The original title was Hypoglycemia but after some suggestions from family and friends it was decided that the then current title might get it confused with a medical book and not an adventure. I disagreed at first because I knew Hypoglycemia would’ve been such a unique title and it would’ve perfectly stated the medical side effect of the main character’s disease (Diabetes).

However, we (myself, parents and friends) rolled the idea of a different title around in our heads. It was true. Hypoglycemia had a special meaning to me but it didn’t say enough about the book itself. It wasn’t a suspense or thriller type of title. Thus Dangerous Drop was decided and after much correcting, proofreading and revisions the book was ready to be published. The big question was by whom and in what way.

We’d looked around online, did much research and learned quite a lot about the publishing world. Contracts, editors, agents, publishers and the lot. It was scary of course and did indeed sound like a lot of work. However, being serious about getting my book out into the public I pursued many agents and read about them online. Some seemed sketchy and others didn’t publish young adult fiction which I believe Dangerous Drop is suitable for.

After a few suggestions from new found friends I started wondering what self publishing would be like. I knew from the get go it would be a lot of work. Especially to pay for the printed copies and then find someone to buy them so I could make a profit. It didn’t matter if it was a book store, a library, a school or someone sitting in their living room drinking a cup of nice warm tea. I spent many days staying up late hours or up all night doing research and trying to figure out what exactly to do with the book. At first I was very skeptical of eBooks and they are still just a very small niche in the market. I don’t know who I got it from but I had always wanted to be part of something that would grow someday and change the way we read books. Could it be possible? Will eBooks take at least half of the publishing market? I don’t know but why miss the chance. If anything, it should save a lot of trees!

Anyway, I feel I’m rambling a bit much. So as I was saying, I began to consider eBooks. This is where I found smashwords.

I read the style guide and bumbled a bit, made about 4 or 5 revisions prior to the final publish and finally got it uploaded and made the price $1.99. I had a bit of trouble understanding the style guide at first because I do not use Microsoft Word at all anymore and haven’t for the last year and a half. My word processor of choice is Apple’s Pages 4 (or Pages ’09 which is part of the iWork ’09 creativity suite) but I finally got the hang of it and submitted it to the premium catalog.

It has been accepted but won’t arrive in Apple’s iBook store for another week and the other channels for about two weeks. However, you can buy the book or read the 50% sample by following the link here:

As of this writing I have sold one copy and had thirteen sample downloads. Sadly the buyer didn’t leave a review or give the book a rating which makes promotion (which it’s my job to promote and sell my own book) very difficult.

If anybody wants to take a look and if they buy, please leave an honest rating and/or review. It would really help me out.

Thanks for your help and for also taking the time to read my 801 word blog!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Apple's iPad

I’m sure by now everyone has caught wind of Apple inc’s (formally Apple Computer inc’s) new iPad which means I’m a little late to the game writing about it!

Well, better late then never I always say! Have I got one yet you ask? Well, no. Would I do almost anything to get one? You bet! Why would I want a big iPhone that can’t even make a phone call you ask? Well, let’s get into what the iPad can do and why I would make use of it.


More portable than a netbook? For me it is. A netbook (though great in their own way) is still a laptop. You open the lid, turn it on and so forth. The iPad is more like a tablet PC in the sense that it’s well, a tablet form factor. If or not it’s actually aimed at the tablet market is debatable so we won’t get into that. It’s really the same size as a clip board and not very heavy at all while weighing in at just over one pound it may seem slightly heavy for some. It would be much easier for me personally to carry an iPad out in public, whip it out and write whatever ideas I have for my book down as apposed to carrying around a 5.5 pound (or heavier) notebook to do the same thing.

Now netbooks are small and they get great battery life. But if you’re picky like me, you may find the netbook being bulkier than an iPad.


Now before you go shouting “Well netbooks have multitouch too!” I am totally aware of this. In fact, at least a few of them do if not a handful by now. But tell me, if you’ve used an iPhone or iPod Touch before, can you honestly compare it to the multitouch Microsoft Windows offers? Ask yourself this before deciding because it happens to be a major selling point for Apple’s iPad I believe. And let’s say the particular netbook doesn’t have multitouch. What are you going to use, a horrendously small trackpad even smaller than the already cramped ones on full sized budget notebooks? I didn’t think so. The bottom line here is, once you’ve used an iPhone or iPod touch it’s multitouch technology can’t really be compared to a netbook with a touch screen. It isn’t as responsive or intuitive and until Microsoft designs an OS solely for the purpose of multitouch I don’t think it will be comparable. Windows 7 is a good start and makes a better touch OS than Apple’s own Macintosh OS X would in it’s current stage. I will say that much.

Battery life.

You may be wondering why I am bringing this up because a lot of netbooks get great battery life. If not 10 or more hours, very close. However compared to other “tablets” on the market currently or even full blown laptops, the iPad has been known to get 10 or 11 hours out of it’s battery. A laptop will vary dramatically on what you’ve got running in the back ground, if your keyboard black light is on, etc. Though to be fair, my current MacBook Pro does get the advertised 5 hours (well, four and a half now, but it’s not brand new anymore). Of course, once iOS 4 brings multitasking to the iPad, battery life may really change though according to Apple, multitasking was done in a way that hardly uses any juice at all. Regardless, I’ll wait for real world tests before believing the boys in Cupertino California.


When I first saw the iPad I admit I was very skeptical. Why would I need this? I doesn’t multitask, it doesn’t run Mac OS X, what good is it to me besides a photo frame or a portable gaming system?

Well, in all reality most electronic picture frames cost as much as an iPad and they don’t compare at all. I then starting looking into it more. iBooks caught my interest though it doesn’t compare to the Amazon Kindle. Then again, why should it? Kindle is a dedicated eReader and the iPad is a “do eReading and other things” type of gizmo. iWork is what really struck me. At first the keyboard seemed awkward to use but after seeing videos on YouTube and people using the device to type it looked quite easy on the hands. Now let me explain about iWork. Pages ’09 is the program I use on my laptop when I go out. Do I need a Core 2 Duo, 4 GB of RAM and a 512MB video card out and about to use a word processor? No. It’s bulky, it gets in the way and it just doesn’t make sense for that kind of thing. The iPad does in my mind. Some may vote for the netbook and that’s your prerogative however, netbooks to me rather they be 10 inches or 8 they are still notebooks. They don’t seem as easy to carry around (maybe I’m weird, who knows) and it just doesn’t sound as simple and spontaneous as pulling out an iPad and going straight to work.

The screen

This may be my personal opinion just like the rest of this discussion but when I first saw a netbook screen it looked well, like crud to me. Maybe it was the fact that it was running Windows XP and not Windows 7 but it just wasn’t very crisp looking at all. From what I’ve seen of the iPad, its a completely different story. Of course I’m sure that IPS technology helps. In any case, the screen looks very good. Crystal clear if you will, especially for a tablet-like device. It looks very enjoyable for watching movies on as well.


So maybe the iPad isn’t for everyone and yes, it is a hard product to place. Maybe it was made for people like me who don’t need a notebook-like computer on the road but something smaller that you could easily carry about. And yes, the base model at $499 with only 16GB memory seems silly compared to the hard drive space cheaper netbooks come with. I myself couldn’t imagine cramming close to 16GB worth of files on an iPad but hey, you never know. And alright, the iPad doesn’t run flash but you know what the funny thing is? Whenever I go to a website, the only thing using flash to run most of the time is annoying ads that flash (no pun intended) on the tops and side of the webpage. Now some people may not want an iPad because of the fact that it doesn’t run flash. But to me, it isn’t a drawback in the least. And with it being able to run all those apps from the App Store it is kind of hard for me to say no. But alas, it’s just my opinion.