Contemplating A Kindle Edition

Even though I’m primarily interested in publishing a paperback version of my book, I recently looked into the possibility of a Kindle version. What I’ve learned is that books on Kindle are best if they have no, or few illustrations. I have something like 130 photographs, plus nearly a dozen diagrams, so a Kindle edition wouldn’t work well, I don’t think.

Creating An Index

The most important part of a non-fiction book, in my thinking, is the index. Nothing is more annoying than a scanty one, nor one that didn’t seem worth the effort to do well. I confess it irritates me if, for example, I want to look up “cherry pie,” only to find that entry telling me “see pie, cherry”. It would take less characters to simply put the page number in both places!

Granted, it is a huge task, as I’m learning. I don’t think I could do it without my computer, word processor, and spreadsheet. Not as easily or thoroughly anyway.

My procedure is this:

  1. Read through each chapter and appendix, and make a list of words and terms on alphabetized index cards.
  2. Type the words from the cards into a spreadsheet.
  3. Click on A to Z order to alphabetize.
  4. Select all and copy from the spreadsheet. (For a list of the software I’m using, click here.)
  5. Paste into simple text editor to remove formatting.
  6. Copy and paste onto my book index.
  7. Next will be to put all the chapters into a single document. This can only be done once the proofing, editing, and last minute changes are complete.
  8. Then add page numbers.
  9. Finally, use the find feature on my word processor to find the terms in my index, and copy the page numbers.

True, this will still be time consuming, but I hope will be worth it for the reader.

Learning Curve: Vector Drawings

One of the things I’m going to need are scalable vector images. Mostly I’m working with black and white photographs for the book itself, but there are a few things for which I will need vector images.

One is the format for the title of the book. It will include the name of my blog, 5 Acres & A Dream, and I thought that for the cover and title pages, it would be nice to use the same font.

blog_title

I could certainly do this as a jpg image, but if I want to change the size of the image easily, vector would be better than raster, or bitmap, which is what jpeg images are. A vector image is created differently, so that it is easy to change the size, or scale, of the image. A raster or bitmap image is made of pixels, little dots. Because of this, changing sizes of the image also changes its clarity. The larger jpeg images are sized for example, the fuzzier they appear. I could scale the title as a jpg as needed, but it would take more steps.

What I cannot do, is use the font as text, even though my word processor recognizes it. From what I’ve researched, printers use standard fonts, hence this one would not render properly as text. It would be converted to a standard font. As an image, I can get the look I want, which will help keep the book visually consistent with the blog.

The other purpose I have for a vector drawing program, is my publishing identity, Kikobian Books. I need a logo and scalability is a must. I haven’t even started on that, however.

Using a vector drawing program though, is a learning curve for me. Because I use Ubuntu Linux for my operating system, my choices are different than for say, someone who uses Windows or Mac. I have found two such programs, Xara Xtreme and Inkscape, and both are available in the Ubuntu repositories. Xara Xtreme, however, is configured for the Unity desktop, which I do not use. I prefer Xubuntu’s Xfce desktop environment. That means I’ve been concentrating on learning Inkscape.

For the record, here are the best resources for this I’ve found so far:

I’ll add more as I find them.

Why A Print Book?

There seems to be quite a bit of encouragement these days, for self-publishers to produce their books as e-books or in a Kindle edition. Perhaps it’s my age, but I do not find these recommendations the least bit enticing.

Perhaps it has to do with not particularly liking to read off of a screen for hours on end. Or the fact that I can’t flip back and forth easily to things I want to reference. Perhaps it’s fond childhood memories of riding my bike once a week to the public library, of pouring over titles in the stacks, of carefully choosing what I wanted to read. I was an avid reader as a child, usually reading three or four books at a time, depending on my mood at the moment.

Perhaps, though, it’s how I view the written word. A good book, a good story, good information, is a work of art. It deserves a place in permanence. The computer world is not permanent. A glitch, a hijack, a virus, a wrong key hit, a power outage at the wrong time, can wipe it all out.

There is something sensually delightful about a print book: the feel of it in one’s hands, the smell of it, the interaction with it as one turns the pages. It makes a book a real thing, a tangible thing. Shelves filled with books create a pleasing ambience, a calming atmosphere in a room. None of this exists with a screen and a keyboard.

Saving trees? There are some things I accept this argument for, for packaging only destined to be thrown away for example. But books? No. A book is a worthy destiny for a tree.

Those are the reasons I want my book to be a print book. I want it to be a part of that legacy, even if only a few people ever read it.