A Journey Through Times

Or rather from Times Literary Supplement onwards. I was browsing through TLS’ blog section and came across this article which highlights the trend for bestsellers to use very similar looking covers. The cover is such a huge buying point in a shop that it seems to have become rather formulaic based on those that have sold well in the past. It is rare that I look at book covers and think that is totally amazing and only once have I bought a book solely for the cover…

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Small Suprises

The thing I love most about the Internet is not knowing what you are going to stumble over next. In the course of researching independent publishing I came across a site that has been going for three years and yet I hadn’t heard about, http://www.booksy.co.uk/ The idea of the site is to allow people to review books that are unlikely to be found in mainstream bookshops. Such books may often miss out on sales due to people not wanting to take the risk involved in buying…

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What determines the stock in a bookshop

Before embarking on setting up Ravenshead Press I often used to wonder at the range of books found in my local Watersones. A minor poetry section stocked about twenty books, about half mainstream poets and the rest made up or departed greats like Wordsworth, Shelley, etc. The computer section on the other hand had as many books just on the subject of operating Windows Vista. How have we got to the stage where dull books about computers (not that all of them are dull, some are excellent,…

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The book comes first

After my note about poetry coming first I seem to have headed on the track of the proper order of things. Which leads me onto the trap for would be publishers.

The Book Comes First

When starting Ravenshead Press I had a book in the pipeline to release ‘Such Words As These’. I had even created the contents of the book before looking for a printing company. When signing up to Lightning Source I was surprised to find that they wanted the ISBN number of my first book, but I didn’t have an ISBN number yet since I didn’t have a confirmed printer.

So off to get an ISBN number. I downloaded the forms from Nielsen and started to fill them in. Halfway through and wham! They wanted to know the dimensions of my first book, how many pages, the cover price and many more details. A slightly cleft stick I didn’t know what the cost of printing would be since I didn’t have the printer yet and I didn’t have an ISBN to get a printer. Luckily I did have the contents for a book.

Lightning Source fortunately had a selection of tools available which allowed me to work out the dimensions of a book and once the contents were correctly formatted I knew how many pages it would contain. The final step for me was to look at other books in the same genre already in the market and set a cover price based on those. If I didn’t have the completed contents of the book to hand the whole process would have been impossible.

So advice to would be publishers get your first book right up to the final stages before thinking about ISBN’s or printers.

The poetry comes first

Just enjoyed the following article http://littlestarjournal.com/blog/2012/03/robert-wrigley-allowable-error/. The paragraph that caught my attention the most was this “For me, this has to do with responsibility. A poet’s primary responsibility is—must be—to the poem itself, to the art: the what one says must, in fact, be subservient to the how one says it, and if one maintains the determination to make a statement of political significance that is aesthetically vital, one might achieve the condition of literature. And the responsibility of literature is to tell a truth…

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Ncx building

A nice article here which explains how to build the ncx file (not quite as clearly as Joshua Tallents’ book). I disagree with one point in the article which says that the Kindle doesn’t support nested navigation points. It does, the main navigation points show up along the navigation bar. Move to a main navigation point then turn a page, the joystick now navigates the next level of navigation points. Neat and fairly intuitive. Such Words As These will be using a nested navigation system. Edit: Or maybe not, the…

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NCX Toc file formatting

Building the ncx file for joystick navigation on the Kindle has been proving fun. After debugging a couple of mis-spelt anchor points it now works nicely except for a bug in Kindles formatting. All the chapter headers were formatted like <a name=”Chapter_1″><h3 height=”30″><i>Chapter 1</i></h3></a> before building the ncx file the formatting looked spot on, once the ncx file was built and linked to the anchor points it removed all the formatting from the enclosed text. We have two solutions to try: Move the anchor tags…

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Proofing and Kindling

The proof copy of Such Words As These arrived today and Lightning Source have done an excellent job with it. Despite worries over colour management and icc profiles, the cover has turned out exactly as expected. The final proof read of the book is now under way before we sign off and begin printing. At the same time the mobi format version is almost ready. A few teething troubles with mobi creator have now been resolved. We were experiencing a large number of crashes while…

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