Sunday, 30 October 2011

When is a book not a book?

Well, I did it. I fought the Kindle formatting and won.

You don't need to know about the blood, sweat and blasphemy that went into sorting it all. (Though I will, here, say a huge thank you to Anna, a daughter, who kept her head when I was in danger of losing mine.)

And, should you have a Kindle, you can even buy it by clicking here!!

I will get the linky-thing working at the side of the blog over the next few days. Hopefully that will also link to the smashwords version - yes, I'm even doing battle with their (different) formatting requirements, and believe that, too, is almost cracked. I'm just waiting for - I think it's some sort of review, and then they give me an ISBN and I have to do something mysterious with that, and then the smashwords version will also be available.

Smug - of course. Not only have I done the travelling, I've written the book, and mastered the technology. Worth a little smugness, just for a day or two? Even some celebratory wine? (Yes, please join me in that. Especially my little band of loyal followers who drop by every blogpost and have cheered me so much these past few weeks. I've raised a glass to you, too - you have definitely helped keep my spirits up in those bleak moments when I wondered if I was ever going to get the hang of this. Thank you all.)

Ah, but this is not the whole story, is it? I am still waiting for the proofs of the 'real book' to come from createspace, and there are bound to be mistakes in that (I rushed it), so there will be more amendments and waiting. It may well be the New Year before I have the final, polished, version to offer you.

And so - my ebook, that lives in the ether and cannot be held or smelled or leafed through - it is real? It has no substance, no body, fills no space. I'm in an odd limbo, knowing my efforts already exist in the contents pages of a Kindle or few, and yet with nothing to hold - nothing, if you like, to show for it.

So - does anyone else experience this odd existential questioning when the ebook is there for all to see, but there is still nothing for anyone to hold?


  1. "And, should you have a Kindle, you can even buy it by clicking here!!"

    Jo, people don't need to own a Kindle to read your book: there are various apps which one can download which work on different platforms so that Kindle books can be read from just about anywhere--a PC, a mobile phone, an iPad, and so on. Your potential market is bigger than you think!

  2. Jane - how kind. It has been such a steep learning curve to get this far, and obviously I have masses more to learn. *reaches for the chocolate, and then takes deep breath to find out more.*

  3. You don't need to thank me Ma - it was nothing (In fact, in comparison to previous writing related crises it was fairly minor - at least I wasn't retyping the whole thing from hard copy this time!)


  4. Congrats on publishing the ebook. Enjoy the wine, you've earned it. And yes, your book is a real book, ebook or not. The text exists to be read. It's real. Well done.

  5. Dan - thanks. When I'm drowning in the MA I'l remember this!

    And Anna - I'l agree that this pales into insignificance beside retyping an entire book. But that doesn't mean I'm not deeply grateful for all your support with this.

  6. Well done! Now I must start to learn the same thing to get my non fiction book online. It's not worth reprinting as a "real" book when it's so much cheaper to make it an e-book. (I was going to say "cheaper and easier" .... hm. ) I am inspired that you have got to grips with it starting from the basics.

  7. I will take one for the team and join you in the wine-fuelled celebrations! Congratulations again, really pleased for you! Love Polly

  8. Jenny - I can only advise you to stock up on coffee and wine and take it slowly. There is a logic - read every bit of smallest print. The worst that happens - you have to start again. So keep a copy of everything and then keep trying. Then have a party.

    And Polly - I'll give you a copy when the real book comes out. But thanks for backing me up - it's been quite a journey.

  9. Fantastic, Jo! Congrats! Now, give us a link to buy it! :) :)

  10. Well I've been reading it via the Kindle downloaded onto my MacBook (great technology!) and it certainly feels like a real book to me! Granted you can't smell the paper and touch the shiny cover (and yippee, it actually stays open at the page where you left it!)... the reality comes from the story rolling along with real characters in real places living life in all its complexity! So well done you and your back-up team!
    (Who would have thought it, in those days in Benefactors: we didn't even dream of e-books, let alone that you would ever create one!)
    Loads of love and congratulations, it's just fab. xx

  11. Jo, sorry I'm so late, I'm running behind in my blog-reading. I just couldn't pass up the chance to say congratulations once again, I'm so pleased for you. And if it's not too late, I'll join you in that glass of wine :-)

  12. How kind you all are.

    Talli - does the link in the middle of this blog not work for you? It seems ok when I try it. But I am planning to put a widget-thing alongside this blog, if I can work out how to do it.

    Ah Carolyn - those days in Benefactors, when computers were as big as a room. Probably a good thing we didn't know how our lives would pan out!

    And Sarah - it's never too late for wine. Cheers!