Saturday 1 October 2011

Ten Things I Learned This Week

(photo by DC John)
1: To have a better understanding of Tartan Noir, you should read The Incredible Hulk, according to Bookchums. Who knew?

2: If you want to allocate ISBNs to your ebooks, Nielsen's best practice is to provide different ISBNs for different formats, just like physical books. I had assumed it was one ISBN for all ebooks, but, no, PRC (Kindle), ePub, PDF all require separate ISBNs.

3: The percentage of publishers in the UK offering their ebooks to libraries could be as low as 20% (via the Bookseller).

4: Advertising ebooks on Facebook would appear to be even more of a waste of money than I thought. Not a big fan of paid advertising in any case, but if you do want a decent return for your buck, I'd imagine you're much better focusing on the kind of places where ebook readers hang out. Anecdotally, Kindle Nation and Pixel of Ink are two names that keep coming up.

5: Roz Wood should write more reviews. This one of Slammer is her first blog entry.

6: The shelf-life of an ebook bears little relation to the shelf-life of a physical book. We're conditioned to accept that books sell massively in the first few weeks of release, then taper off quickly. The Kindle version of Two-Way Split sold 16 copies in the UK yesterday – just over three months after its release. That's more than any other single day so far. Sales have grown steadily week on week since it was released.

7: Formatting issues are more easily resolved if you use Open Office than Microsoft Word. I knew this already but I had yet another reminder. Open Office is free (and compatible with MS Word).

8: Bloomsbury continues to embrace digital like a good 'un with the launch of a new digital imprint: Bloomsbury Reader.

9: No matter what I try, sometimes I just can't leave comments on blog posts. I wanted to leave one here to say, "Don't pace yourself! Read Beast of Burden now, it's a classic piece of contemporary noir," but all my attempts have been foiled. I frequently can't leave comments here either. I know, that'll teach me to use Blogger.

10: Plans for expurgated editions of my books are a non-starter. I was seriously considering it – it's easily done with ebooks. But this one-star review of Bye Bye Baby about the 'foul language' shows the likely futility of such an exercise. If I was to expurgate my books I'd be using Bye Bye Baby as a yardstick. As Ray Banks points out in this post on the topic of swearing, there's minimal (and minor) bad language in the book (the strongest swear word is 'shit'). So, f**k that.


  1. Hey There,

    Followed the link to the 1-star rating and posted a comment of how off the mark the review was. Can't believe so many a**holes exist out there. Who would take the time to open an account just to post a review that is mindless? Keep up the writing and publishing bc all your books flat out kick a**

  2. Thanks for all the tips, Allan. I've never heard of Open Office and will check it out.

    I like swearing and swears and being sweary, so maybe I'll put that in my next review. Swearers unite!

  3. also having formatting issues so thanks for the Open Office suggestion & the reality check on what i should expect for daily sales!

    re. Chris Rhatigan - think we need a guerilla group to fight those non-swearing freaks - how about the Cuntras?

  4. Thanks for the kind words, DMan. Kicking bottom is what I hope to do!

    Chris, hope you find Open Office useful. There's no question its equivalent of Word produces much cleaner code than Word does. And happy swearing!

    Eva, most formatting issues seem to stem from a single root cause, which is not clearing the formatting in the first instance. You need to prune all the Word crap out by removing its fancy formatting. Open Office will do this without losing text formatting such as italics, bold, etc. Another reason to prefer it. Drop me a line if you have a specific problem -- no guarantees, but I may have encountered it myself and have found a solution. I like the name for the guerilla group. Much better than the Wankers.

  5. Alan, thanks for the advice - it's the tabs in Word causing the problem i think, so Open Office sounds ideal. no more quietly pushing the release date back hopefully! so shaming.

  6. Thanks for all the useful intel. Just my taste, but I rather enjoy the profanity, violence, drugs in the crime stories I read. I agree that you need to clear all Word formatting out as a first step. The Smashwords style guide (free) was a great resource to understand the Word to Adobe conversion, as well as the whole ebook formatting process. I knew about Open Office and will now be giving it a good look.

  7. Thanks for the Open Office suggestion, will definitely be having a look at that.

    Also, had to reply to the easily offended AFH (Another Fu*king Headcase?) on Amazon...

  8. Sean/Luca: Word does some pretty weird things that creates almost impossible-to-remove indents (often in dialogue) that only manifest themselves when you upload to Kindle. I've found that the problem is instantly fixed by saving the offending Word doc as an Open Office html file and using the latter as your master.

    Luca, you might be right. That word's a bit strong.