HA! KDP Figured

Formatting, formatting, formatting… This post deals with the difference between formatting for a physical book in CreateSpace and formatting for the digital copy in KDP. There may be a bit of ranting. You have been warned.

You design a book for CreateSpace, picturing the physical copy in your hand. There’s a helpful, little option in CS that offers The Adventure Proofto publish the book to Kindle for you using the design from CS. Simple, awesome, great!

Word of advice if anyone is considering self-pubishing with Amazon CS: DO NOT USE THIS OPTION!

Originally, I figured this would be a simple, straightforward way of getting a digital version of The Adventure setup, but then I dug into some of the forums for more details. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, on the forum said not to use it. They advised going directly to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) instead of using CS for the formatting.

Am I ever glad I caught this before publishing the Kindle Version. Here’s why:

  1. Even Kindle does not recommend using PDF for their publishing. (PDF is CS’s recommendation for the hard copy). When I tried this to see what would happen, it shoved the title page, the table of contents, and the copyright page onto the same screen. Eeek. Not pretty.
  2. Kindle does not use page numbers. Think about that for a second. There are no pages in a Kindle book. You can change the size of the font for easier reading, thus pages change depending on who is reading and what device you’re using. Imagine my panic when I realized this. For a regular book, this isn’t such a big deal as long as you use page breaks between your chapters. For an Adventure book, where I need to direct readers where to go depending on their choices, this is disastrous. Thank heavens for hyperlinks. I added hyperlinks instead of using page numbers. Now it looks all pretty like and might be even easier to navigate than a physical book. (Kindle readers, let me know what you think after reading the book. I’d love your feedback!)
  3. Images…um yeah, images within the text shove the text to the next line. This creates a giant space where the text should be. This is again because you can change the size of the font in a reader and the image may or may not line up with the text you originally aligned it with. As far as I’m aware, there isn’t an easy fix for this. So instead, I put all in-text images directly in the middle of the text like I planned it that way. (Cause I did, right?!) In the preview option, this actually turned out looking pretty sharp. Again, feedback from readers is always appreciated. =)

Anyway, thanks for listening to my quasi rant about formatting. Although I rant and rave about such things, figuring all this out is a love/hate relationship for me. Seeing the finished product is totally worth it, loved all the more for the challenge it is to figure out.

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S. The Kindle version is one of the backing rewards for the Kickstarter. Check it out here!

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Learning Curve

It’s exhausting, exhilarating and expiring…in 11 days.

We’re just over three weeks into The Adventure Kickstarter. It’s a 33 day campaign that ends on Oct. 30th and by now, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about crowdfunding a creative project.

Here’s my top three:

  1. People are insanely generous and supportive.

    • I’m an introvert. I’m one of those people who might check Facebook daily but rarely posts to it. Obviously with crowdfunding, you have to be a lot more active than one or two posts a month. My introverted self cringes at this. I really don’t want to be annoying to everyone who has been awesome enough to follow my social media pages. However, I’m learning the more you share your experience, the joys, the worries, the ups and downs, the more people want to support you. The more they care, and share, your moments. It’s crazy and awesome.
  2. Crowdfunding is an exhausting and exhilarating emotional roller coaster.

    • This might be one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. There’s a level of exposure to crowdfunding that goes against my paranoid tendencies. But, with the energy and love I’ve put into writing The Adventure, I also really want people to respond to it. So I watch the Kickstarter page like a hawk. And on the days of low or no activity, my brain immediately dives into the worry cycle of “I’ve lost momentum! What am I going to do?” A whole 24 hours passes and my worry is chocking…then someone backs the project and my elation soars and tears threaten my eyes. (Yes, I can be a basket case sometimes. My poor husband). Obviously this is a twisty, turny, uppity, downity roller coaster that in the end will totally be worth it.
  3. There isn’t enough preparation in the world!

    • Adventurer's JournalI prepared for the kickstarter in every way I knew how. Now that I’ve gotten into it, I realize that there were more things I could have done. There’s obviously a balance here. You can hit a point where the preparation is really just stalling, but if I run a kickstarter in the future, I’ll definitely be looking at more ways to spread the word. They say it takes at least three times for people to see something before they’ll act on it. Except for friends, it’s kind of difficult to get that high level of exposure for such a home grown project. This is where I need to be bolder. I need to be willing to approach more media, more people in general, who can help get the word out.

There’s my top three. Honestly, I could write whole essays on each one of these and barely scratch the surface but such long monologues would be self indulgent and probably boring to anyone unless they’re running a kickstarter too.

Thanks for listening to my shortish monologues and for sharing in my experience so far!

Blessings,

Jennifer

(We’re 82% funded so far! Thank you to everyone who has shared, supported and encouraged The Adventure process. 18% to go and the project will be 100%! I’m doing a happy dance.)

A Peek Inside The Tournament

Figure Under Porch Sketch from The Adventure BookRain drips from the porch above, and the siding of the building weeps with moisture. For the moment, though, you’re dry. Your small, sheltered spot is just a protected piece of cobblestone. It’s a two-foot by two-foot section where the rain isn’t drenching the ground. There’s not even enough space to lie down, but the spot’s yours, and as long as you don’t move from it, no one will challenge you.

You’re not homeless. You just can’t find an inn that’s not already full because of the tournament being held at the coliseum. Considering the situation, you may as well be homeless, but at least you’re a well-armed homeless.

Thus why no one will challenge you for your shelter.

A sword peeks over your right shoulder from its scabbard on your back. From your belt hangs a woodsman’s knife the length of your forearm, and in your right hand you hold an unstrung bow. Over your left shoulder, the fletching of your arrows plays peek-a-boo around the hood of your dark cloak.

All of the weaponry right now is just extra weight. Your cloak is the prize possession with the rain. Its wool weight settles around you with delicious warmth as its outer layer beads the bit of rain that reaches you under the porch.

You sigh, reminding yourself that you’re putting up with this for a reason. The tournament boasts a number of challenges including fencing, archery, jousting, and hand-to-hand combat. They all pay well for each winner.

You’re not here for the pay, though. You’re here for a person. You’ve heard nothing from your family since you chose to be a woods ranger instead of a baker like the rest of them.

But a few days ago a messenger found you where you were hunting in the forests to the north. He settled on the ground opposite your campfire and warmed his chilled fingers as he passed along the message your family sent with him.

“King’s men took your Uncle Ruben,” he said, “because your family can’t pay the rent on the bakery. He’s been sentenced to working the quarry until he pays off the amount due.”

“What do they want from me?” you asked, perplexed. You passed across the fire a mug of warm tea to help the messenger fight off the night’s chill.

You’ve got no influence in the King’s justice system, despite being one of his rangers. Working the quarry is hard, dangerous work, you know, but the bakery’s debt can’t be that high. Ruben shouldn’t be there that long.

The messenger sipped several times before continuing his message. You wondered how long he’d been searching for you.

“The family hasn’t paid in well over a year,” the messenger finally explained, giving you a sheepish look. It’s probably the same look your family gave while telling him, a complete stranger, their issue. “Ruben’s assigned the quarry for the next five years to pay everything off.”

Dread settled a heavy stone into your stomach. No one survived the quarry that long.

“All right,” you conceded, “what does the family want?”

“In the King’s tournament, you can ask for the release of a worker if you win one of the challenges.” As he said this, the man eyed your bow where it sat against a nearby tree and the sword laying on the ground beside your knee.

You had an “ah-ha” moment. No one in the family could win such a challenge—except you. You considered refusing. The family hasn’t spoken to you in years, much less lent a hand whenever you needed something, but this was about a man’s life, family or not.

“When does the tournament start?” you asked.

“Beginning of the week.” Again, that sheepish look came over his face.

And now you’re hunkered under a porch instead of sleeping in an inn because, by the time the messenger found you, you only had two days to get to the capital.

An inn wouldn’t have helped much anyway, you tell yourself. There’s only an hour or two before sunrise, at which time you have to be at the coliseum to check in as a contestant.

As you wait for the warmth to arrive from the rising sun, you debate whether to try archery or fencing. You’ve never attempted jousting and don’t want to start now. As a last resort you can try hand-to-hand combat, but that’s not your forte, and you’d prefer to start with your stronger skills.

Do you pick Archery or Fencing?

***

This story was so fun to write. Research can be overwhelming or really interesting. This story, researching long bows and such, proved to be really cool.

For more, check out The Adventure on Kickstarter

or

The Adventure will be available on Amazon at the end of November.

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Adventure Cover Revealed!

The Adventure Front Cover

As I said in my last post, I couldn’t be happier with how this cover turned out! Thank you to Joseph Apolinar for all his hard work.

This image is from Moonrise Mountain, the first adventure story in the book. You’ll just have to read it to find out who the old man is =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

The Adventure Full Cover

(As I said in my first cover post, the cover, front, back and spine, are all created as one image. Here’s the full image for The Adventure)

Cover Reveal Part 2

The Cover of a book might be harder to create than any other illustration…The Adventure Cover Part 2

I haven’t asked Joseph Apolinar his thoughts on this, but I can say the cover took longer to produce than any other illustration in The Adventure.

There’s just something to it that makes it more daunting, like riding a larger motorcycle. It’s still riding, but there’s so much more to think about!

But that extra time on the cover was totally worth it. Traditional publishing houses decide the cover of a book, not the author. They do this all based on what they think will sell. It makes sense but it’s such a cold way of going about it.

This cover, to me, has a lot of heart and came out beautifully. Of course I want it to sell but more than that, it’s a cover I’m proud to present.

Here’s the next part of the The Adventure’s cover. I’ll present the full image this Thursday! Be sure to stop by =)

Blessings,

Jennifer

P.S Any new guesses on which adventure story this image pertains to?

 

Artists, Amazing Artists

I’m a writer but expect me to draw a picture and you’ll get a stick figure.

Stories flow through my brain all the time, it’s a constant river of possibilities. I’m gifted this way.

But I am not gifted in drawing, in illustration, and the people who are gifted this way boggle my mind. They enrich the world in a way I cannot. Thank God for such people.

Adventure Stories are Illustrated

It never occurred to me not to illustrate The Adventure. In fact, this is the first time the possibility even crossed my mind. It’s a hideous thought. Strike it from the record.

Adventure stories are made for illustration!

So, part of figuring out publishing The Adventure has been finding someone to illustrate it. Umm. Again, I wasn’t sure who to reach out to. This was no small project with over 50 illustrations and a cover to produce.

In the end, I found two amazing artists to work with and the connections I have with them I would never have considered before this project.

The first artist, Joseph Apolinar, is a coworker of my husband’s.

He’s got a crazy busy schedule but, somehow, he managed to produce 2/3rds of the illustrations plus the cover. This is just as much of a learning process for him as it’s been for me but I love his work and it’s totally been worth it. I was looking for pencil sketch kind of artwork and I got exactly what I wanted with his work.

The cover will be revealed soon but here’s some of his work to whet your appetite.

Snow Storm Sketch from The Adventure Book

This is the Snowstorm from Moonrise Mountain for those of you familiar with the Adventure Story.

Figure Under Porch Sketch from The Adventure Book

This one is the porch that starts out The Tournament for those who have explored that Adventure story in the past.

The Second Artist, Justin Allen, is a childhood friend’s older brother.

(Talk about a distant connection!)

I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw Justin. But when I spoke about how much work I was asking of Joseph, my dad mentioned he still had contact with Justin Allen and he might be a good person to contact.

It was a shot in the dark that totally paid off. Justin’s got some experience in Illustration (I think) and was thrilled at the offer. There are three stories in The Adventure and Justin illustrated one of them, The Temple of Night and Wind. His work creates a beautiful contrast from Joseph’s, giving each story its own distinct feel. I couldn’t be happier with how his illustrations turned out.

Here’s a couple to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

Howling Maw Sketch from The Adventure Book

This one is the Howling Maw from The Temple of Night and Wind.

Prism Statue Sketch from The Adventure book

This is one of the many tunnels you might end up exploring.

Amazing artists!

Again, I love how these turned out and these, along with the 50 some other illustrations look even better in the book. I can’t wait for everyone to see!

Blessings,

Jennifer M Zeiger