Friday, June 24, 2011

Contest, Twitter Me @GallantPress

Well, I have a Twitter account now (@GallantPress), and I’m learning how to use it to connect with people—people I know, people I don’t know but would like to get to know, people I don’t know and from reading their Tweets would never want to know! I wasn’t breathlessly anxious to jump into Twitter at first, but I have to admit that there is a certain fascination in reading short things that various people find important enough to say to the world.

Anyway, I will be Tweeting “here and there, now and then, to this one and that one.” And the first person who Tweets me back, or comments here on my blog, with the correct source of that quote will get a prize. I’m not sure what, yet, since I just thought of this, but something trivial and commercially worthless (remember, it’s the thought that counts).

I will give you only one hint: it has nothing to do with anime.

And tell your friends, I’d love to start getting more followers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Up and Ready

My book Memograms: The Fun Way to Remember Hard-to-Spell Words is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble online, and the Apple iBookstore. Click any of the links in the text above or on the pictures to the right to go to those stores. It’s only 99¢ everywhere.

I took the extra time to specially format my book to work on all reader devices and smart phones, so you shouldn’t have any trouble viewing it, whether you have an Android, a Blackberry, a Sony, a Kobo, a Nook, an iPad, or any of the desktop apps that simulate an eReader on your computer. And it works in either black-and-white or color.

One place that it is not available is Smashwords. That is deliberate on my part. The extra trouble that I take to format my books correctly is not available to me if I distribute through Smashwords. They insist that writers send them a Word file, which Smashwords then runs through their own formatting program called “The Meatgrinder.” The results (which I have repeatedly looked at in books from other authors) are… to put it politely… less than “ideal.” They’re sometimes even less than that. However, in all fairness to Mark Coker (the owner of Smashwords) and his team, that may be partially the fault of the authors and how they format the Word files that they send to Smashwords.

I have read post after post on blogs from people who are just crying because they are desperate to figure out how to do their formatting. They have tried this-and-that and are just lost! I’ve also read posts from other people who have told them this-and-that to (supposedly) help them out, and their directions sound like advanced physics.

To see if I can help to remedy the situation, I am writing a new book. It’s called From Idea to E-Book: a 1-2-3-Easy Guide. It will tell you how, in a series of easy step-by-step instructions, how you can format your book to be the best that it can be for the widest variety of devices. It is really not that hard to do, but it is specific! You can’t be sloppy. But, if you can follow simple directions exactly, you can do it, and I can help. I have been both a computer systems engineer and a teacher of computer classes. I know how to make computer programs work and I also know how to make computers users understand new concepts and new ways of doing things. So I think that, if you want to learn how to format an e-book, and the other places you’ve looked haven’t helped very much, my book will be for you.

I will keep you posted here how it’s coming along and when it will be ready. Stay tuned, and if you know of other people who might need a book like this, send them over here, too.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Memograms Is Published

My first e-book to be published is now available on Amazon and at Apple’s iBookstore, and it will be available on the Barnes & Noble web site in a few days. I’m also working on getting it on the Sony Reader Library and at Kobo. It’s called Memograms: The Fun Way to Remember Hard-to-Spell Words, and it’s published by my own publishing company, Gallant Press.

From the description: “Memograms: The Fun Way to Remember Hard-to-Spell Words is a collection of humorous mnemonics (memory-helpers) for 120 of the most difficult words to spell. Each word is presented with an accompanying anagram (a rearrangement of its letters) that is not only linguistically correct but is also sometimes eerily related to the original word (“aspirin” becomes “I sprain”). These are followed by an often funny sentence that uses both the original word and its anagram. Finally there is a short definition of the original word. All of which is designed to help the reader conquer some of the most formidable “spelling demons” in the English language.”

It costs 99¢ and is a great little book to have handy on your smartphone. If you have any particular words that just drive you crazy with their spelling (mine was “dictionary” for years), and if you’ve ever been in a situation where your spelling checker wasn’t helping you—they truly don’t always work and you sometimes find yourself without one available—there is a Memogram to help you. I’ve collected a first 120 of them here in this book; I’m working on volume two, More Memograms, now.

Check it out at Apple’s iBookstore (using the iBooks app) or at Amazon. Read the sample. Give it a shot. At 99¢ it’s hard to go wrong.