Finally... submission to CreateSpace

Finally I have submitted the text and cover files to CreateSpace. I expected this process to be all sorts of things but nerve-shredding was not one of them! Not the upload itself, which was very straightforward, but the anxiety over having got everything perfect before turning the Word files into PDF. My only hitch has been with the cover, which was insufficiently high resolution and has now been re-submitted at 300dpi. The 4mb j-peg Kindle cover has inexplicably shrunk to a 260kb full size cover. Is this normal? Will it look ok? There are so many things to be concerned about in this process that I salute those who survive!

All the Birds, Singing

Just finished Evie Wyld's second book and am full of admiration. It's beautifully written, bleak, tough, pared back. Also an interesting way to construct a novel: not quite backwards but certainly working steadily from present to past. Enjoyed that; enjoyed all of it once I got stuck into it and quickly realised this was a novel very much worth reading. Highly recommended.

Page numbering for CreateSpace

Another long gap between blogs must mean...yes, intensive work on CreateSpace. And you know what? All those little warnings the books and the bloggers tell you about Word are true! There really are gremlins in there. All over the place. But mostly things chugged along nicely, if painfully slowly, until I got to page numbering. Everyone warns you this is tricky. They are right. But it wasn't the dividing into sections that got me, it was the numbers themselves. They all came out with lines above them. The CreateSpace forums were no help on this one. Sincere thanks then to Patsy Trench for her succinct advice to go to Borders and check No Borders everywhere you can. It worked! So much more straightforward than the forums made it seem and even there nobody seemed to be sure that anything they suggested would work. All I can say is that it does for Word 2010. If you are in that place, try it before you are driven mad.

Yann Martel

"Once I sent sixteen different stories to sixteen different literary reviews. I received sixteen rejections." Yann Martel

I have just finished The High Mountains of Portugal and enjoyed it very much. In due course a review will appear on my Reviews page. But the quotation above made me rather flippantly think that writing a  tongue-in-cheek fifty or one hundred word pitch for a Yann Martel novel would make for a wonderfully entertaining competition!

Of Kindle and Hyperlinks

This blog has been quieter than it should have been recently for one reason only - I have been lost in the tech wilderness of preparing and then converting the text of LYNX: Back to the Wild ready for Kindle, a task finally accomplished last night. I have to say it was a nail-biting experience to a non-techy like me but also that it actually worked! Have hope ye faint-hearted! My utterly indispensable guide was Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard, as close to a personal hand-holding as it is possible to get in print. The only task I could not accomplish just using her guidance was the linking of the Table of Contents to the chapter headings. She does say that it depends on the version of Word you are using but my efforts to achieve the links through Heading One were abysmal failures and it took me a long time to realise that doing it the long way round involves both bookmarking AND hyperlinking. As I said, I am not a techy nor was meant to be. In case anyone reading this has the same problem (ie how to create links within a document), Rachel Stone's article How to Hyperlink Your Table of Contents in Microsoft Word is very good and I can confirm that her instructions also work for Word 2010, at least on Kindle. Just Google it. Anyway, I was very happy to discover that you can jump around as much as you like from my Table of Contents to the chapter headings and back again, and also that the links from the book to my website also work. In fact I think I'll go and play with them for a few minutes now just for the fun of it!

Another air crash in Nepal

Saddened to see the news that another plane has crashed in the mountains of Nepal. The flight from Pokhara to Jomson is one of the most tense we flew. As you approach Jomsom you head straight for the mountains. And I mean straight, until you are so close that it seems impossible that you will not fly straight into the rock and ice face in front of you. At the very last minute the plane banks left and approaches the landing strip. In its report, the BBC commented on Nepal's poor safety record. They did not comment on the appallingly difficult flying conditions.

What's the use of adverbs?

The prevailing creative writing orthodoxy dictates that adverbs should not be used. In On Writing, Stephen King is almost apoplectic in denouncing them. So, I have a question. If we don't need adverbs and shouldn't ever use them, why do so many exist?