Aug
31
2011
10

New Kindle Bits & Pieces

Did you hear that Kindle books now allow you to communicate with the author from within the book? It’s an awesome feature. Of course, they’re only rolling it out for a few authors to begin with, including J.A. Konrath, John Locke, Ted Dekker, James Rollins, and more.

Here’s an explanation:

@author is a new forum that connects readers with authors and others in the reading community by allowing readers to ask questions about authors and books. Readers can ask questions from the Kindle by highlighting a passage, typing “@author” followed by the question, and using the Tweet/Share option, or from the Amazon Author Page.

To get the answer, you have to go to the author’s Amazon page:

When you ask an @author question from your Kindle or from the Amazon Author Page, you will automatically receive an e-mail notification when a new answer to your question has been posted.

It seems that every day, new developments and changes happen with ebooks. Although ebooks should be flowable text for the best reader experience, publishers and authors want more control over design. Apple now has a Fixed-Layout Format, and Kindle just released Kindle Print Replica Content.

It’s exciting to see how things are developing. I’m glad that design is becoming as important a factor in ebooks as it is in print books.

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Aug
25
2011
10

A Milestone & Ebook Excellence

I now know enough people in Tucson to actually run into people I know when I’m randomly out and about! It’s happened three times this week. And that’s not counting going to a coffee shop where I know people!

I’m happy, but also this means that when it’s 8pm and I’ve gotten ready for bed and I’m a little on the scuzzy side with messy hair and a shiny, freshly-washed face, a trip to the store on a rabid search for chocolate could prove to be a little embarrassing. Before, I was certain to be anonymous.

You know how it is. The one time you don’t want to be seen is when you will most certainly be seen. :-)

 

Also this week, I’ve updated my coding for ebooks. There are a number of display problems on the different devices, so I’ve updated my code so it’s all fresh and new and makes everything look good.

I’ve reached a point where I’ve got a queue, so I lose all the business of people who want a super-quick turnaround. :-( However, I’ve decided I want to take my time more.

When I was a teacher, the motto of our studio was “Teaching Excellence.” And I know I can only take a miniscule amount of credit for it, but whenever I hear how my students are doing, I just beam with pride. They’re all doing something with excellence.

And, as I used to say ad nauseum to the students, excellence is doing that last 2% that takes as long as the first 98%.

So I’m slowing down.

Right now, it seems a large portion of ebook design and formatting focus is making things display correctly on every device, but with the changes coming to eReaders and the coming of epub3 in the next few months and year, the focus will shift to quality of design, particularly with things like the Publishing Innovation Awards that promote excellence in ebook design.

And that’s how it should be. I want the eBook Artisans to be known for excellence. It’s difficult, though, because a lot of authors see every day as sales lost, so they want it out there right now. It’s an instant gratification world.

So probably I will lose a bunch of quotes, but when my queue empties, I’ll be able to have a quick turnaround again! Woo-hoo!

Have you seen any of the gorgeous, multimedia ebooks coming out lately? Particularly on the Nook and the iPad? The children’s books are just fantastic, with embedded audio reading the story along as you turn the pages and gorgeous graphics. Pretty soon authors will be embedding book trailers to their other books in the back of each book, and all sorts of interesting stuff!

Remember when books used to be illustrated? I miss that! I’m betting we’ll see more of that, too.

Aren’t you excited for all the cool stuff that’s coming to ebooks?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Ebook Formatting,Epub Formatting,Kindle Formatting |
Aug
22
2011
9

How Do You Restore Balance?

It’s been a month. I moved to the city, got badly dehydrated in the process, and then finally settled in. And then last week I got the flu, and someone said some incredibly hurtful things that had me reeling for days.

Let’s just say that I have been missing the stars and the moon and my nightly walks like crazy. You can only see a few stars up here, and until today, I couldn’t find anywhere to safely walk.

BUT I FOUND A PLACE! I love it!!!

So I’m back to my seven miles a night. I’m so relieved.

Walking has been incredible therapy to me. When I first started walking, I was going through some stuff, and I’d walk until I felt my inner balance restored. And I made a number of changes in my life, and gradually I just walked for exercise and relaxation. I lost weight (45 pounds!), which was definitely a motivation to continue, too.

I feel great about where my life is now, but I still look forward to walking—especially when life throws me a curveball. At first, two hours of nothing to do but think was difficult. After a while, though, all that time with myself gave me a daily reminder of who I was.

In a way, that time allows me to settle back into myself. That’s the wonderful thing about the latter part of being in your thirties: you know yourself, you’re comfortable with yourself, and, well… you like yourself.

I like being me. :-)

I spent way too much time in my younger years trying to please people and achieve what success meant to them. Walking, for me, is the way I protect against negative outside influences and stay faithful to my own, authentic self and what makes me happy. And even if someone says hurtful things, I can return to myself and remember how much I like myself and my life.

How do you maintain balance? Or return to balance after someone manages to get under your skin and really hurt you?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Musings | Tags:

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