Frank T Hogg

Self Imposed Deadlines... Suck!

My eyes are crossing from staring at the screen far too long.

I signed up with Barnes & Noble and have the groundwork done to upload the book there as well as Amazon. I've fixed all the formatting issues so I'm ready... I think. I just know there's some glaring error somewhere in the 55,000 words that will embarrass me no end. I've noticed that the mind, especially a tired one, looks at an error and sees what was supposed to be there. I guess you just have to say enough is enough and let it take wing and hope it all turns out okay.

I will keep to my schedule to have it uploaded at either Amazon and/or Barnes&Noble by midnight Friday.

Or I'll come up with a really believable excuse.

Darn Near Done

Finally! I've got the book done except for a few small formatting issues that shouldn't take long. Of course that's what I said a couple weeks ago. This time is different and I really am almost done. I'll spend Thursday fine tuning it and I will upload it on Friday to Amazon. Then I'll do the same at Barnes&Noble. Together they cover 85% of the market with Apple bringing up a distant third.

Much to my surprise and displeasure Apple is the most difficult to deal with. They are third and not trying very hard at all. Apple is usually on top of these sorts of things but Amazon and B&N have them beat hands down. Both of them have apps that run on my Mac to read their books. Apple doesn't and that's amazing. I have to use the B&N Nook reader for the Mac to read Apple ePub books.

Apple requires that I go through what they call an aggregator, a middle man who takes a piece of the royalty just for uploading the book. That rubs me the wrong way too. The short answer is putting my books on Apple's iBookstore is low priority. Just get the free Kindle or Nook app for your Mac or iPad/iPhone and get the book there for now.

I'll put all that info in a page on the right side after I get the book uploaded.

Amazon says it will take up to 48 hours before it is on their site for sale. You can bet I'll be having a party when my book goes live.

Great News for eBook Users

One of the reasons to go the eBook route is cost. With print books costing $20 or more, it doesn't take long to pay for the cost of Amazon's Kindle eBook reader. Today the cost of the readers have come down to just $79! The new Kindle is light weight and compact. The links below have all the tech info you might want.

This is my next has a good rundown on the new Kindles. TWiT does a number of tech video shows.

It's All Wal-Mart's Fault

I was really cooking today, getting a lot done, when Wal-Mart slowed me down.

2 1/2 years ago I bought a TV from them and I went for the extended service policy. That is the first time I've ever done that. I don't think they are worth the money...

Until last May.

My VIZIO TV developed a vertical line on the right hand side and I called for service. Five months, two replacement screens and the problem wasn't fixed. They decided to replace the TV. A fellow from Wal-Mart called and said they had a nice new Toshiba that was better than mine and would I like it. He gave me the model number and I went to Wal-Mart and BestBuy to check it out. Nobody seemed thrilled with the Toshiba. The sales people at Wal-Mart gave me two model numbers for a VIZIO simular to mine and a more expensive LG.

I thought Wal-Mart would likely give me the VIZIO but I gave the guy both model numbers to check out. He said he would send me the VIZIO and I said sure, I was happy. I would have liked the LG better but I couldn't ask them to give me a much more expensive TV than the one I bought the service policy on. The guy said they would ship it out and I'd have it in a week or so.

Three hours later he called back and said the VIZIO was out of stock and could he please send me the LG instead. I said okay and he thanked me. I was really happy now and went out and bought a lottery ticket just in case.

Told you that to tell you this... (Ron Thomason of the Dry Branch Fire Squad said that.)

The TV came today and it is head and shoulders better than the old one and it was free! Well, I had to buy the original service policy for $80. But I got an brand new $800 TV for that. I'm going over to Wal-Mart and buy a service policy on the new one.

And that's why I didn't get much done on the book today.

Monday Blues

I thought I was done with the innards of the book but alas, I'm not. Some formatting problems that I was sure were fixed, weren't. So a little delay here, a little delay there, adds up. When I'm not doing that I'm trying to decide the best way to upload it to the various ebook sellers. I'm going to concentrate on the big dog for now, Amazon. I'm still hopeful for a Friday upload.

Cover Blues

Yesterday I took a day off and went with friends to see two plays at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon. They were very good. The first was Cabaret and if I had known what I was in for I would have taken my binoculars. We were in the balcony and my eyesight isn't as good as I would have liked it to be. So, I went with what I could see and used my imagination and it was nice. The second was The Road to Appomattox, a Civil War story. Both were excellent and a nice break from toiling over a hot keyboard all day.

Today I'm struggling with the cover for the book and I'm just about ready to do one with crayon and call it done! I've got something that looks decent and I think I'll go with it for the next few days. I'll revisit it before I publish the book later in the week. I know that all the experts say a good cover is really important and all. But at some point you have to declare it done and move on. I'd much rather write than do this anyway.

Onward and upward...

Tough Day

I was working on the book cover when my phone rang. It was Jacky, my neighbor up the street. Ronda, my neighbor across the street's dog had been run over by a car and was laying in the road in front of her house. I went to the living room window and could see the little dog laying there, unmoving. My neighbor up the street was at work and couldn't do anything so I said I would take care of it. I went across the street, stopping to check on the dog and it looked like it was sleeping. No evidence that it had been run over but it wasn't breathing and I knew she was gone.

I knocked on Ronda's door and she was very upset and I really didn't know what to do. I'm a guy and guys really aren't well suited to deal with this kind of thing. She told me that the Radford Animal Clinic would take the dog but she couldn't do it. She was pretty broken up and that is something I can understand. I've had many cats that lived long lives and it was traumatic when the day came to put them down.

Ronda got a towel and I grabbed an empty box and went out to get the dog. I kneeled down on the street and wrapped her in the towel and carefully put her in the box. I noticed her neck was broken but I couldn't see anything that would tell me how it happened. Because the dog was laying in the road the assumption is she was hit by a car. But if that was the case the driver didn't stop. That makes me think the dog might have run into the side of the car, maybe chasing at the tire or something and somehow that's what did her in. Because there was no blood and no evidence a car ran over her it's likely the driver never felt anything and didn't know it happened.

I drove the dog over to the Animal Clinic and they were very compassionate and caring and said they would take care of it and if Ronda wanted to do anything she could call.

I went back to Ronda's in a feeble attempt to console her by telling her what I found out and what I thought might have happened. The broken neck meant the dog died instantly and didn't suffer. I'm not sure I consoled her much because as a clueless guy I stood an equal chance of making it worse than making it better.

It's never a good day when death is involved but, sad as it is, death is part of life. It makes me realize that every day is precious. I'll miss seeing that little dog wagging her tail at me from her front yard. Everyone in the neighborhood will miss her too.

Moving forward

I made good progress on the formatting front. It's tedious because after I think I have it formatted properly I have to export it as a ePub and then load that into iTunes and sync that with my iOS device and check it. Back and forth I go. I'm down to just a few tweaks and then the fun really starts as I have to check it on a Kindle device. I don't have the actual Kindle so I'll use the Kindle app on my Mac and hope it turns out okay.

The other issue I'm pondering is the cover. Most advisors make a point of doing a good cover. But the darn icons are so small on Amazon and on the reader that a lot is lost. For my testing I just increased the font size to 96 and it is readable in the small icons available. So, is it better to have a fancy colorful cover that nobody can read of not. I'll play around with that after I get the formatting issue resolved.


It was a whole lot more fun writing this book than doing the grunt work of getting it formatted and ready to be published as an ebook. What I'm finding is that there are several standards for ebooks which I kinda knew but didn't pay much attention too. The other problem is that the technology is a moving target and information as little as six months ago no longer applies. But you have to slog through all of that before you're up to date.

I used Apple's Pages program to write it because it has an ePub output option. I figured no sweat and just went blindly ahead. It turns out you have to do certain things before you start writing, setting up the proper styles etc. I didn't check into that until after I did all the writing. Grunt work, just grunt work. However, I'm still on target to upload it by next Friday and I'll make that deadline.

My next fun project is using a graphics program to create a cover page. Interesting conditions. It has to be readable as a small icon. Look at Amazon's website for ebooks and you'll see what I mean. They display two sizes, one in list view and a larger one for the page view. Some of the book covers are unreadable in those small sizes. I bet they look good on a paper book but not on Amazon. And they don't look good in your ebook reader either. In hindsight it might have been a better idea to come up with a shorter title for my book. Live and learn.

The next one will be much easier.

Down to the wire

I'm in the final stages of getting Part One ready to upload to Amazon and others. I'm shooting for the end of this month. If it was a print book it would be about 200 pages, but ebooks don't have pages in the conventional way. It depends on the device you're reading it on. Part One covers the years 1948 to the 1960's. There will be an overlap with Part Two which I'll start in October with the hope of getting that done by the end of the year. I'll know how much that covers when I write it. I've learned with Part One that it gets unwieldily after 175-200 pages. 

The limited time promotional price for Part One will be just $0.99.