Updating or Changing your Kindle E-Book

So, your self-published book has a few typos. Congrats. It’s right on target for the genre. =)

But seriously, I wanted to fix a few kinks in my book. Amazon explains that I should download and modify the HTML file.

I once talked my way into a job based on my HTML skillz (thanks Baxter!), but this was (ahem) ages ago. I think this option is great if you only have a few small changes or if you didn’t originally convert the book and the person who did wants to charge you for changes (as perhaps well they should). But what if there are, shall we say, several typos?

Then I thought, I’ll just make the changes in my original file and recovert.

Originally, I used a template from Joel Friedlander’s site http://www.bookdesigntemplates.com/

The templates worked like a charm the first time. Hopfully for the reupload it will be just as good. Of course, Amazon is making we wait 12 hours while they “review” my submission.

If I done it all wrong, let me know via the contact page.

What does it mean to be a great writer?

Is Piers Anthony a good writer? That’s how it all started. A friend and I were discussing one of our favorite authors, Piers Anthony. My friend pointed out that he is not a perfect writer. True, a comparison between Anthony and someone like Dostoevsky,  for instance, might not be particularly kind to Anthony.

So, is Piers Anthony an ideal writer? No. But it turns out that the question of whether a writer is good is actually a very complex one.

The works of Piers Anthony were very important to me at the time I read them. They were positive, witty, uplifting, and a little bit on the naughty side, but not so naughty as to be positively vulgar. Who doesn’t remember the classic Xanth stories with fondness? For me, The Blue Adept series was also very formative.

This conversation got me thinking about other authors whose writing might not be described as “good” but who were similarly influential in my life and in my art. John Christopher’s Tripod series comes to mind. I recently began reading these aloud to my children at night. Remembering the strong feelings evoked by The White Mountains and sharing that, now, with my children is amazing.

Returning to the question, is Piers Anthony a good writer. My answer is “Yes.” He did exactly what he set out to do and did it masterfully. Meanwhile, if everything was The Brothers Karamazov, we would all go mad.

How to overcome writer’s block

“Lower your expectations.”

Dagan said this over a cup at the 11th Street Coffee shop.

A lot of great lines were born there. Like, “He has something you don’t…”

I had just found out my girlfriend Kelly was cheating on me. I stared at Dagan, incredulous. “Like what?”

“He’s an a–hole.”

Don’t let writer’s block get you down. Follow Dagan’s advice. Lower your expectations. It applies equally to certain relationships.

Now I thank God that Kelly and I didn’t stay together. And I’m grateful to my friend for his always timely advice.

A Book is not a Poem

I used to write and rewrite every passage, as if a book was a poem. I was a perfectionist. But I was set free from that sysiphian task by this post from Kristine Kathryn Rusch who wrote:

1. Write a lot of good stories. Not beautiful words. Good stories. Remember, fiction gets translated into a variety of languages, and in those languages, your original words get lost. Only stories get translated, stories with great characters, great plots, and unforgettable moments. I wrote a lot about this over the summer. Start with my post titled, “Perfection.”

I still struggle. First, there is the old idea of the masterwork. I feel that I ought to be able to write a masterwork before I become a for-real author. But as I’ve gotten older, and as I’ve gotten a little more realistic about my talent, I’ve realized that I’m just ok. I’m never going to write the great American novel. And that’s ok. Some people like what I write. That’s good enough. Frankly, like most writers I know, I’m a bit OCD about writing. As in, I don’t have a choice about it. I have to write.

But I don’t have to edit and edit and edit anymore.

It also helped moving from short stories to novels. I find that I don’t fuss around as much with my novel (in progress). With short stories, I still fuss too much.

Now I’m working with a translator on my book of fables. It’ s interesting because where I worked and worked and worked on the language of each story, to make it super nice to read out loud, I have no control over the tone of the translation. the only thing that will really be translated is the story or the myth contained in each story. And I’m ok with that.