As I mentioned in an earlier post, I just published my first two short-stories on Amazon as eBooks. The books are listed as “Kindle Editions” and I’ve had people contact me saying that they don’t have a Kindle to read them. The good news is that you don’t need to have a Kindle!
Amazon’s Kindle is an eBook reader similar to an IPad or Android tablet except it’s dedicated to reading eBooks. The cheapest is around $80, while the latest, more featured versions cost about $200 – a lot of bucks to read books!
Fortunately, Amazon has also made available the Kindle Reader software app. This is great for people (and tightwads like me!) who don’t want to splash out on the Kindle tablet and/or have another device they prefer. And the really great news is that the Kindle Reader is available on all major platforms.
If you have an android phone, tablet or other android device, no problem. Download the Kindle Reader app from the Google Play Store. Got an iPad/iPhone/Mac? You can get it from the Apple Store. If all you have is a regular Windows PC or laptop, you’re still in luck – there’s a Windows version too.
If you prefer not to install an app or can’t for some reason, you’re still invited. There’s a free online “cloud based” version of the Reader too, so you can read your books through any web-browser.
So, there’s nothing to stop anyone from getting involved in the eBook revolution (and reading my stories, of course ). Welcome to the party!
At the weekend the big day arrived. Having crossed all the I’s and dotted all the T’s, the first two of my short-stories, “How Much Is That Doggy?” and “INSER”, went live on Amazon!
It’s been a lot of work getting to this point, with many hoops to jump through (some unnecessary…) but it’s been a great deal of fun too. Working towards that clear goal is a great way of focusing your mind and leading you on to get things done.
There’s still more to do, of course. This is just a stepping stone along the way, but it feels great to pause here and bask for a little while.
These are links for amazon.com, but they should be available in your “local” amazon too.
If you want to get a taste of my writing you can check out the excerpts through my writing page.
I don’t consider myself an “artist” (I leave that to my brother, who’s brilliant at graphic design!). But I do have some artistic flair and can knock up the odd image or two. I’m not necessarily very good at the raw creative side, but I can take an image or several and turn them into a creation that usually suits my purpose.
As I’m also pretty penny-pinching (at least in some ways) I don’t want to spend money on custom graphics and couldn’t afford to anyway. So I make use of pieces I can create myself along with stock images that I can purchase. (If you’re looking for stock images, sounds or video clips you might want to check out envato.com which offers a large selection of material at reasonable prices.
Armed with a few images I liked, I recently spent some time prototyping some different covers for my soon to be released short-story “How much is that doggy?”. This piece explores an unusual form of pet therapy involving an elderly man and a dog and I wanted the cover to reflect that while at the same time making it clear that it’s speculative fiction.
I tried a number of different mock-ups and variations, but eventually came up with these three that I felt were the strongest.
I liked the solo dog photo very much. It’s face is so expressive and has an uncanny human-like expression, but the first attempt (left, above) was a little indistinct at small sizes (Amazon thumbnail size). With the second (above, middle) I loved the vibrant colors and it featured both a man and dog in it so was definitely “on theme” but I still liked the solo dog and experimented further. The end result is the third version above. This was my favorite – vibrant colors, the expressive puppy and a hint of the mysterious.
I chose that one in consultation with my wife, who always gives me good advice, though I don’t always listen…
One step nearer to publication!
Something that’s been on my “to-do” list for quite a while has been to contact the U.S. Infernal Revenue Service to register for an EIN (Employer Identification Number). I needed this so I could claim my treaty rights of being exempt from U.S. taxes for selling my writing through Amazon. Otherwise I’d have to pay 30% in tax to the U.S.as well as Canadian income tax!
Both my wife and I have spent hours researching this and gathering information to try make the process as easy as possible and we had all this prepared a couple of months ago. This was delayed by my reticence to call them (who voluntarily wants to draw attention to themselves with the tax man?), plus my eccentric, almost pathological, fear of talking to bureaucrats in general. On top of that, I also had the trauma of my recent surgery with the prospect of far more serious amputation to come. No surprise really that it got delayed!
After being on hold for two hours (two separate calls) and going through the tortuous information gathering exercise, I finally got my EIN and felt pretty good about it I can tell you. Another somewhat lesser victory, but a significant one as it represents the last piece of red tape we need to do before going “live.”
A little later, after overcoming my giddiness at being all “official,” I went to the Kindle Direct site to update my information with grubby EIN in-hand, ready for the release.
Well, wouldn’t you know it? Amazon has now changed it’s process; recognising the Canadian SIN (Social Insurance Number) and assigning you the correct tax rate (0%) automatically. Not only that, it now refuses to even let me enter my bloody EIN because I’m outside the U.S.! After all that effort, that’s a low blow I’d say – though I’m not complaining too much
So I’m all set on the logistics side of things, just a few more odds and ends to prepare and then the first of my eBooks will be launched. This event will be accompanied by great fanfare and will undoubtedly become one of Amazon’s best sellers overnight!
The first one is a short story called “How much is that doggy?” I hope you’ll enjoy it. And remember it’s getting close to Christmas…
It’s heartbreaking to read the news of Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship Two failure on it’s first powered test-flight. From the news so far one of the crew managed to eject and is badly hurt but alive while the other died in the crash.
It’s a grim reminder of the dangers of space flight and thoughts go out to all of the people working on the project and the families of the crew members who have lost loved ones.
Space technology is still in it’s relative infancy and it’s important to remember that humans have only been doing this for around fifty years and the private space industry is only perhaps ten years old.
Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites were pioneers in this new era of private space flight, using new designs and technologies and that always carries a substantial risk. That doesn’t mean that such things shouldn’t be tried however, humans are at heart risk takers and it is only by undertaking such endeavors that we grow and develop as a species.
I look forward to seeing Virgin Galactic overcoming this setback and establishing themselves as a real twenty-first century company.
Per ardua ad astra
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve just had a couple of toes and part of my foot amputated after it got badly infected. While recovering I have been told to keep my legs elevated to maintain the best circulation possible and I also can’t put any weight on that foot for at least the next six weeks. So I’m pretty much bedridden for the duration.
Actually I’m not fully confined to my bed. During the day I move downstairs (sliding ignominiously down the stairs on my arse) and take up residence on the couch in the living room so I have easier access to food and the bathroom. It’s amazing how not having use of a leg changes your perspective on things!
Before coming home we had Continue reading
I’ve been working towards my first, very modest adventure in self-publishing for a few months and am now at the last hurdle paperwork wise. But over the last few weeks I’ve also been dealing with some painful foot injuries. Imagine my surprise then that I now find myself writing this while recovering from surgery to remove two toes and around a quarter of my left foot!
Needless to say this has been very much “out of the blue” and extremely traumatic, to put it mildly.
The wound on the left foot was infected and had a lot of “necrotic” tissue Continue reading
The recent NASA award for Crew Transportation was somewhat suspect and as I noted in my earlier post, the cost of the Boeing proposal was inexplicable high when weighed against others.
I’m not the only one who feels that the decision was flawed; the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), who submitted plans centered around its Dream Chaser project has now filed a challenge to the contract award. Part of the company’s release states:
While all three competitors were found to be compliant and awardable under the criteria set forth in the request for proposal (RFP), only two proposals were selected (Boeing and SpaceX), one of which would result in a substantial increased cost to the public despite near equivalent technical and past performance scores.”
So a rough translation would be: “How come you gave Boeing so much money for services that we could provide at a fraction of the cost?”
That seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s also interesting that on the same day that SNC submitted their appeal, NASA announced a Request For Proposals for a second round of cargo resupply contracts.
Something smells very bad in the Space industry right now and it makes me angry and embarrassed to see these political games being played out in this arena.
So the Higgs has been found, and although early investigations pointed to possible discrepancies that could result in new physics theories, these have been subsequently ironed out. As a result, the Higgs now fairly solidly confirms the Standard Model.
The Standard Model has been around for about fifty years and describes how matter is made up, consisting of Leptons, Quarks and Bosons. So far there are six Leptons, six Quarks (grouped together as twelve Fermions) and five Bosons, including the Continue reading
NASA has a long history of making goofs (or “poor decision” making if we want to be more formal) over the years. After all it’s a government organization so anything forward-thinking, innovative or bold will get quickly squashed under the fat boot of bureaucracy and risk-aversion – despite any claims to the contrary.
So it should really come as little surprise that NASA’s competition to find a commercial supplier of space crew ferrying to Low Earth Orbit has resulted in the choice of two companies: SpaceX and Boeing.
The choice of SpaceX is admirable and not entirely unexpected; the company already privides NASA with non-crew launch services using its in-house systems and has been dedicated to developing access to space since its inception in 2002.
Boeing is somewhat less obvious. Although they have Continue reading