Category Archives: Writers Plain & Simple

Let’s Get Real…About Self-Publishing

Yes. Let’s get real. In self-publishing, a few people make a little money on their books. A very few make a lot of money on their books. But most self-publishers run in the red.

Tips to help make writing a priority when life is busy.

One of these days…

P&S Press makes a little money (very little) on its proprietor’s golden words. But most of the press’s revenues have come from helping others prepare their books for publication: that is to say, The Copyeditor’s Desk is the main driver of income for the entire incorporated enterprise.

In consideration of that reality, some time ago I stopped actively trying to sell Plain & Simple books. Revenues from Amazon have remained the same, whether I hustle as hard as I can or whether I just let the stuff sit there: about $15 to $19 a month.

Fifteen bucks a month…on over 40 titles. That’s combined Plain & Simple Press and Camptown Races output. And no, speaking of Camptown Races: soft-core “erotica” does not sell better than ordinary nonfiction or genre novels.

A couple new books of my own are in the works — but they get put aside whenever paying work comes in from a client.

That means, in effect, they’re always set aside. Every single time I sit down to format the boob book for print or finish off the guide to writing & publishing, someone shows up at the virtual door asking me to edit this magnum opus or to index that scholarly tome. So…I’m always busy, but rarely busy on my own stuff.

“My own stuff” is, de facto, no longer a business but a hobby.

Nor was it ever much other than a hobby, given that it ran the S-corporation deep into the red. If I land the indexing project presently under consideration, that fee will bring the bottom line back to where it was before I took to sailin’ the Amazon. But just barely. And it’s taken over a year to do it.

The plan now is to keep on writing, in idle hours, to publish the stuff on Amazon, to make it available in hard copy whenever there’s something to publish. But I’m not spending any more money on it. And it will always go on the back burner whenever a paying customer shows up.

My own writing will revert to hobby status, to be posted on Amazon much as one displays one’s quilts or needlework or pecan pies at the County Fair.

If I can get one or more of the local colleges to let me teach extension courses — the “lifelong learning” sort of thing — I may use the writing guide as a “suggested text” (we’re not allowed to require people to buy our own books). That will sell a few. But otherwise, that will be about it in the marketing department.

Marketing is what costs you money. And time.

Since time supposedly is money, you could say book marketing costs you money in spades. It’s a huge time suck, and unless you like marketing, have nothing else to do, and love diddling away your time on social media, it’s an ongoing annoyance.

If you enjoy sales and marketing, I’m sure it’s fun. I personally don’t: if I were good at marketing, as we scribble I’d be making a decent living selling cars or refrigerators or radio ad space. Writers don’t live in their garrets because they so love hustling wares, their own or anyone else’s.


News from Plain & Simple Press

Dark Kindle LoRes An Update from Our Sponsor, Plain & Simple Press. 🙂

On the advice of our new marketing guru, we’ve decided to consolidate Writers Plain & Simple and with the Plain & Simple Press blog, so we can share updates on new books as well as the writerly chit-chat we’ve indulged in here.

This will help a lot with the workload as well as with the focus of our marketing efforts: instead of keeping up three websites, we’ll be able to concentrate on just one.

Come on over and have a look! The P&S Blog will offer you all sorts of goodies related to our array of books:

We’ll surely include the tips, commentary, and chatter about writing, editing, and publishing you’ve seen here at Writers Plain & Simple.

So, change your bookmark and come follow Plain & Simple Press.
Looking forward to hearing from you there!

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Building the Print Empire

Okay, okay: “the print anthill.” What can one say?

Manager at a local Whole Foods opined that 30 Pounds/4 Months might find a place on the store’s shelves. However, the buyer for that segment of the store had left and they hadn’t replaced him yet; he suggested I come back in a few weeks and try again.

Well, that’s heartening. It’s not the only WF in town, not by a long shot. Plus we have a local chain of gourmet stores that really is friendly to local businesses. One of my neighbors started baking and selling very fancy (indeed!) cookies after she and her husband were laid off during the Recession. She started with Local Gourmet right down the street, and before she knew it had more business than she could handle. The income kept the wolf from the door: they did not lose their home, nor did financial disaster befall them when they had a baby in the middle of all this.

I figure a diet book that urges people to buy nothing but whole, fresh foods and shows how to fix them should be right up the alley for those worthy grocery purveyors.

Also, believe it or not we still have one surviving REAL bookstore here. It’s much beloved and is doing well enough to branch out. It has two stores, one of them right down the road. And I’m told the owner has said she will consider peddling self-published books if they look professionally designed. Dorkish, no…but if you’ve done a decent job of writing & design: maybe.

So my plan is to take the 30 Pounds and Slave Labor in her direction, also bearing with me the fistful of books I’ve emitted through “traditional” publishers, so she’ll know I’m more than the average little old lady with a publishing hobby.

Accordingly, I decided to order a copy of Slave Labor and one of the first collected Fire-Rider volumes through the new PoD vendor. Thought it would be a piece of cake…but it turned into a humongous project that absorbed the entire day.

An old friend who used to do design for Arizona Highways and was the art director at Scottsdale Magazine for years did the Slave Labor cover. And a very nice job of it he did, indeed. It was the first of my little publishing efforts, and so it never occurred to me to ask him to provide not just a PDF but also a high-resolution JPEG or TIFF. At the time, I didn’t know any better.

Asked for the latter, he couldn’t find one. The PDF he’d sent me was 72 dpi. Why? No clue. But that was all I had.

I’d created a wrap-around cover for Slave Labor quite some time ago, but it also seems only to exist in PDF. To sell the book through a retailer, I needed to add a bar code, which I hadn’t done before because I had no intention of selling a print version at all. There seemed to be no way to add a new design element to a PDF.

So I had to take the PDF of the Kindle cover (72dpi????? HOW did I get this thing on Amazon?) and convert that to a JPEG and then create a new cover and then add the bar code.

In converting from PDF to JPEG on a Mac, you can tell Preview to save a 72 dps file at a resolution of 300 dps. That’s rather futile, because if you don’t have 300 dps to start with, you’re not going to end up with anything like a real 300 dps image. It’s kind of like trying to turn a piece of gauze into percale: yeah, you can weave more lengths of cotton thread into it, and yeah, you’ll probably end up with a sturdier piece of cloth. But it ain’t a-gonna be percale. Similarly, your system can “guess” at the colors of the missing pixels and where they might have been, but the result ain’t a-gonna be a true 300 dps image.

It certainly won’t print with the perfect definition. But I think it’ll be good enough for government work. I hope. I reproduced the back cover and tightened up the back cover copy. Looks OK, I think. I hope.


The copy was easy enough: it was already formatted and just went right up there.

Posting the Fire-Rider collection to the PoD folks’ site was another matter altogether. The cover was ready to go, but as I looked at the content…not so much.

Among the many fixes that needed to be made: one chapter’s first page, which which should have appeared on a recto (odd-numbered) page…well, it did so, but only with an extra blank page (i.e., two blank pages) in front of it.

Say what?

Fixing that screwed up the TofC, but that’s not such a big deal with a print book.

Then I realized…waaaaiiitaminit here! If this were a real print book, when a verso page is left blank it would also be unnumbered. Well, no: it would be numbered but the page number and running header or footer would not appear on that page, just as they do not appear on the opening page of a chapter.

It’s easy to persuade Wyrd to refrain from showing headers & page numbers on first pages. But…that’s about as far as it goes.

The fix is simple, but it’s (urk!) manual. To hide the running header/footer on a blank verso page, you have to insert a “shape” (a rectangle will do the trick), set it to show no fill, no line, no shadow (yes, goddamn Wyrd auto-inserts a freaking shadow on those things). Then bring it forward, keep it in the body (not in the header or footer) and slide it over so it will cover the offending characters. Works like a charm, as long as you’re not bothered by activities best described as “time-consuming, ditzy, and annoying.” It helps a great deal if your bookoid is not 320 pages long…

That and a few other housekeeping tasks helped to fill a good 12 hours. But I think the result will be very attractive.

FR Hard Copy 1 Take 3 LoRes. jpg

If you’d like to buy a five-star reviewed sci-fi saga, lemme know in the comments below. I figure to make a profit selling it in a bookstore, I’d need to charge $12 to $14. But because you’re You, I’ll discount it to $9 + shipping and handling.

Adventures in Self-Publishing: Kindle “Preview” Tool

About two o’clock this afternoon I started on some of the publishing-related chores filling the To-Do list, after having completed some morning tasks that slopped over the noon hour. Several things really needed to get done today. None of them did get done, alas. Because… In the email came a notice from the Kindle folks bragging about their new “Preview” tool: a snippet of code that you can install in your website to direct readers to a fairly lengthy peek at just about any book published at Amazon.

Well, the sales potential is obvious, no? Since copying and pasting code into a WordPress page is fast and painless (usually…), I decided to belay the scheduled jobs and instead post “Preview” ads for key books I’m trying to peddle at Plain and Simple Press, at Fire-Rider, and at Funny about Money. This shouldn’t have taken longer than about 45 minutes or an hour. Max. With dawdling and Murphy’s Law figured in.

It’s now after 7:00. I never did get the Fire-Rider website updated or a page of reviews posted there. I’ve gone around in circles uploading data, making a horrifying discovery, and deleting data. And I. am. mad. as. a. CAT!

To make a long story short, after I had posted a “Preview” link to 30 Pounds / 4 Months, the new diet-cookbook that has been selling moderately well, compared to the other opuses we have online, I belatedly took it into my hot little mind to click on that link by way of testing it. What came up was a gawdawful formatting mess!

This, after I had checked, checked, checked, and re-checked that .mobi file in the large, clunky Kindle Previewer that you can download from Amazon and save to your hard drive. The one that downloads files and opens them in about half the time it takes for your hair to turn gray. In that Kindle previewer, downloadable from your Amazon Author “Bookshelf” — where you go to publish your golden words — the formatting appears to be PERFECT. But when you see it in Kindle’s fine new marketing tool, it’s sh!t.

The other books looked OK — I checked them at the time I uploaded the “Preview” links and foolishly assumed all was well. But this one is a screaming fiasco.

And of course, this happens to be the book that I expect will sell. Indeed, in hard copy it is selling rather briskly.

By the time I went back into all my websites, deleted all the “Previews” of the cookbook from every page I’d put them on, changed the links on the cookbook widgets away from the websites’ new PREVIEWS! pages and back to Amazon’s pages, and revised and updated a Funny about Money post burbling on joyfully about the new fine opportunity, I’d killed the entire afternoon struggling with this little headache.

If that weren’t enough to push the blood pressure into the ionosphere… At this point I have no idea whether 30 Pounds appears to be properly formatted when it’s loaded into a Kindle device or whether it’s a jumble of wacked-out heads, subheads, and wrong paragraph formatting.

I could, in theory, drop the price to 99 cents for a day or two or three (or however long it takes to return the price to the $9.99 that will return almost a whole dollar‘s net profit on the thing). Then I could pay Amazon for the privilege of letting me download it into my Kindle device so I can see what it actually looks like. But you wanna know what? I ain’t a-gunna do that!

My position is that Kindle should be able to provide publishers with a previewer that actually shows what our customers will see! And if they’re going to promulgate a previewer to be used as a sales tool, they should provide one that doesn’t make hamburger stew of formatting that looks fine in the previewer they claim shows what we’re publishing.

Ham and eggs? Or corned beef hash?

Ham and eggs? Or corned beef hash?

Woo Hoo! Cookbooks SELL!

Wednesday evening our redoubtable choir director agreed to let me wave the new cookbook around during the break at rehearsal. And by golly! SEVEN PEOPLE bought a copy on the spot!

And I don’t even have the hard copies yet! What I showed was a page proof from the previous PoD printer.

Down at the new guy’s plant, we saw that his software (which differs slightly from his competition’s) left a quarter-inch border along the bottom edge of the cover, so he suggested I bleed the image further off the edge. So instead of ordering a bunch to fill the requests already lined up, I had to traipse back to the office, fiddle with the cover art, and order a new page proof. {gronk}

So: if you’ve ordered a copy of 30 Pounds / Four Months, be assured yours is on the way. I expect we’ll have them in another week.

And if you’d like a hard copy, which is not available at Amazon, leave a comment to that effect at this post or at the Plain & Simple Press “contact” page.

Discounted $3 for blog friends and choir members only, the price is $10 plus shipping.

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Fire-Rider: Fire and Ice

The second set of Fire-Rider stories, Fire and Ice, is up at Amazon. Herein is told the amazing exploit of Kaybrel Fire-Rider and his cousin, Jag Bova Snow-Killer, and how they came to earn those honorifics. And, to some extent, what kind of men they really were.

Or will be, since the action takes place a thousand years or more in the future.

Get it. You’ll love it. Whether you do or not, review it!

fire book 2ai

Publishing Polka: Gearing back up

The publishing empire has gone quiet for the past few weeks. Between the holiday hecticity and the first seriously annoying cold I’ve had in two or three years, a fair amount of momentum has been lost. But now we’re beginning to gear back up.

Racy Books: The latest story in The Travelers’ Tales went online yesterday. It’s kind of a funny little story about an antiques dealer who meets a painter in the course of his business…and finds a new occupation.

Presentation6 LoResTwo more stories are upcoming in that series. Then we have several free-standing stories hanging fire, which we’ll be publishing in February and March.

One of the liveliest “Roberta Stuart” writers — she’s responsible for most of Roberta’s tales — has learned to use Calibre and figured out how to convert our .mobi files into ePub books pretty smoothly. She believes they look good. My iPad is refusing to let my MacMail stay open and will not access my gmail accounts, so I haven’t been able to examine our first efforts “in the wild,” as it were. But as soon as we’re sure the conversion looks good, we’ll start mounting the Racy Books on AllRomanceEbooks and possibly on Smashwords. Or possibly on Nook alone…we’re still studying that.

Plain & Simple Books: We’ve moved to a new PoD vendor, Author2Market, with whom so far I’ve been very pleased. Their price is much better than the outfit we’ve been working with, and they’re located in town, so I can run down to their plant to pick up books. This will be good.

A2M also will help with fulfillment by shipping direct to your customers. Not only that, but they’ll make you a mailing label with your logo on it! 😀

Dark Kindle LoResThe diet/cookbook is in production (again!), and the new page proofs should be ready the first part of next week. We’ve already presold four hard copies, and I’ve had almost nothing to say about it to anything. The thing is practically selling itself. Tomorrow I’ll take the page proofs to a scribblers’ meeting, where I hope to peddle a few more of the things.

fire book 2aiThe middle of this month, I’ll post the third and last collection of Fire-Rider stories, also a production of Plain & Simple Press. That assumes I have time to put the package together, which may not be the case. If I can’t find time to compile the thing, it’ll have to wait until February.

Fire-Rider is one of two loci for a new marketing campaign we have under way. I’ve hired a marketing agent, who is launching a Facebook Ads campaign to try to get some attention to that saga of speculative fiction.

Sagas, though, seem to be a dime a dozen, and so I’m not holding my breath until we all get rich. It would just be nice to come up with enough to pay the writers and the marketing lady.

Also in the marketing department, we plan to purchase a lot more ad space at SmartBitches/Trashy Books. Probably December wasn’t the ideal month to experiment with an ad campaign, Christmas being…whatever it is. However, we did learn that SBTB generates a healthy number of impressions. Clicks on ads: less so, but a helluva lot better than we’ve been doing through Twitter.

Do clicks on ads convert to sales? Not evident. We’re still not headed for the Riviera to live on the proceeds of our pornographic publishing empire. But we did a little better than we did last month.

Meanwhile, as usual nothing will do but what every client I’ve ever had — and a few new ones to boot — descend on me in the middle of

a) the holidays
b) a house guest/temporary roommate moving in for six or eight weeks
b) a cold or flu that has hung on for over two weeks
c) enough self-assigned work to keep me busy for the next three months.

So the copyediting business is thundering away — not altogether to the disadvantage of the publishing enterprise. One of the clients, a prolific writer who has had an interesting life, is completing a memoir whose interest he thinks will be limited mostly to friends and family. He’d like to publish the thing through Plain & Simple Press.

Very nice! Not only do I get paid for editing a 300-page manuscript, but Plain &  Simple Press gets to add to its list. He has several other books in progress, so if we manage to keep him happy, it looks like we’ll be in business awhile longer.

The present magnum opus, when poured into one of my layout templates, came to 535 pages…and that was without the images. Holy sh!t.

Our scholarly journal’s editors dumped an entire issue’s worth of copy on us last Monday, asking if we couldn’t please turn it around in a week.

Well. No.

My associate editor, on whom I usually foist this material, happens to edit the largest journal of organizational management on the planet. Some of its editorial is run through Oxford, whose email system was hacked shortly before Christmas. The Brits, as those of you who’ve ever spent time in England will know, take their vacation time seriously. Nary a thing was to be done for the crisis until after the first. By that time, she had some 2,000 frantic messages waiting for her.

I’d managed to get through one article — copyediting it but not doing the mark-up, a chore I truly hate — by the time Honored Client walked in the door. You may be sure the guy who pays sixty bucks an hour will be privileged over the outfit that pays a flat rate for an entire semiannual journal.

Moving on, the child of another old client surfaced, hoping to get some advice on a couple of college admissions essays. Adorable! Young people are so full of energy and ginger. Very promising…let’s hope she goes a long way.

One of the mathematicians e-mailed: can we translate his Chinglish into academicese? And do it by Friday? Oh, sure… Foisted that on a subcontractor; haven’t heard a word back.

And what can I tell you about writing, editing, and publishing?

Get a job as a Walmart greeter, dears. You’ll make a better living at it. And not work as hard.




Website Upgrade! And a Handy WordPress Hack

The Website Empire has been looking a little tattered around the edges. In our first three months, Camptown Races Press writers — we have four of ’em! — cranked out so many books it was hard to keep up in the production department. We were publishing eight to ten bookoids a month, many of them short-shorts, but several full-length books.

Meanwhile, here at Plain & Simple Press, I had broken my War & Peace-size magnum opus into 18 installments, all of them significantly longer than the Camptown Races “Racy Books.” Most of the Fire-Rider installments are novelette or novela length. Once these were online, I began collecting them in three “boxed sets,” Amazon’s ungainly way of presenting collections and anthologies. Two of those are now “published” (scare quotes: to my mind self-publishing on Amazon is more akin to “posting” than to real publishing, which entails many layers of quality control) and the last one is on the way.

That’s a lot to keep up with. I’d fallen behind with posting and describing Plain & Simple Press books, and just now I’m pretty far behind with Camptown Ladies Talk, too, largely because of a hectic holiday season complicated by the fine respiratory infection that’s going around — you’ve probably enjoyed that one, too; if you haven’t, brace yourself, for you soon will. 😉

So yesterday, the first day of relative peace in two or three weeks, I focused solely on tidying and updating the P&S website. I’d put off developing a “Books” page for Plain & Simple Press, largely because of an annoying WordPress characteristic that makes it damn near impossible to display Amazon “cover” images in an attractive and coherent way. Plug-ins notwithstanding, you can’t insert a table that lets you display two, three, or four images across a page, add links to them, and be confident the things will make any sense on a mobile device. “Gallery” plug-ins don’t seem to fill the bill, and plug-ins for tables require more technological expertise than I have or want to learn. This means you have to use the formatting tools available in your WP theme, which are very basic, indeed.

WordPress is programmed to “clean” your copy every time you save or publish…by deleting any extra line spaces you’ve entered. So if, say, you’d like to post a cover image flush left, enter a block of copy to the right of it, and then drop down three, four, or more lines to enter another flush-left image and block of copy below that one, you CAN’T. The extra line spaces are invariably deleted, leaving a gawdawful mess in place of your elegantly designed page.

What if, for example, you’d like entries in your Books page to look like this?

Dark Kindle LoResA doctor put Victoria Hay on blood pressure pills and told her he didn’t believe she could lose an excess twenty-two pounds. She proved him wrong. With a “real food” diet free of artificial and highly processed ingredients plus some mild exercise, just sixteen weeks she dropped thirty pounds. Her blood pressure returned to the normal range and stayed there.

Yes. Like that. Without this paragraph right here pulling up to the right of the image. With this paragraph right here STAYING PUT, dammit.

When you google up this issue in as many variations as you can imagine, you find that the techies at WordPress don’t even understand what their customers are talking about when users post questions at the annoying forums. They don’t seem to know what the user wants to do or why anyone would want an extra line space in a page of copy, and so they’re unable to offer any advice that makes anything like sense.

After what seemed like endless searching, I stumbled across this piece of code: <br style=”clear: both;” />

Enter this at the end of your paragraph while in “Text” mode et voilà! you get an ineradicable line break! NO MORE “CLEANING UP” the design you entered on purpose, not as some sort of mindless typo. You may have to enter it twice in order to make the added line break stay put.

Absent this nifty little snippet of code, you end up having to center images and then set descriptive copy flush left, like this:

The Travelers’ Tales
A Roberta Stuart Series

A huge storm over the East Coast shuts down air travel, leaving travelers stranded in airports all over the region. As evening turns to night, seven weary travelers are stuck in a waiting room, hoping to hear at any time that they can reboard their plane. Fighting boredom and frustration, one of them suggests they pass the time telling stories. The subject? Your most memorable quickie!

Presentation6 LoResOne Night in the Library

First to go is Aileen, the librarian whose mousy appearance is, as it develops, deceptive…


Presentation7-3 LoResScience Teacher

When the microscope repairman shows up at her laboratory door, Janice is surprised to find he’s there to fix something altogether different.


This is not awful. It’s just not what I want. IMHO, setting the descriptive type directly adjacent to a flush-left cover image is easier to read and more intuitive. And I hate the way the subhead under each image pulls up tight against the image’s bottom border.

<br style=”clear: both;” />  Try it. You’ll like it.

ePub Revelation

Sometimes things we think things are a lot more complicated than they really are. Sometimes things that look difficult are surprisingly simple.

To wit: ePub generation.

It’s all very nice to create a perfect .mobi file at Amazon, download it to disk, and murmur contentedly, “Now I have a perfect .mobi file!” It’s quite another thing to realize you also need an ePub file if you’re to publish through Nook, iTunes, Smashwords, or at any of various specialized marketing sites such as AllRomanceEbooks.

Often has my good friend the eBook designer urged upon me the difficulty of converting Word docs to Mobi and ePub formats. How hard this is! That’s the message.

To pay someone $50 or $100 for a single ebook, emitted about once in a year or maybe once in a lifetime: that’s one thing. But Camptown Races and Plain & Simple have been publishing eight to ten books a month. Even at our calmer, more conservative pace, we’re publishing four a month.

That represents a lot of dollars to place ebooks on lesser sites that Amazon’s.

Gasping at the potential cost, I sought to find a way to convert our copy to ePub format in-house, rather than having to hire the job out.

The search led me to Scrivener, that widely loved word-processing-cum-formatting platform. Among its many admirable characteristics, it allows you to convert your completed bookoid to ePub.

I downloaded a free trial subscription. Even though I needed only one of its features — ePub conversion — it appeared that this was the simplest and most reliable system for accomplishing that one, lonely desire.

Scrivener is a complex and sophisticated piece of software. It’s not something you just turn on and start using. Its  designers present you with a set of tutorials, which naturally I started working on right after I downloaded the freebie.

The tutorials are organized in five segments. To get through just one of them, the simple introductory section, took me over an hour!

At a bare minimum,  we’re looking at five hours of plodding through online lessons, just to start using this thing in all its complicated glory. That’s when all I want to do is convert an already completed and formatted file to ePub!

Today I revisited an old Google search: convert Word to ePub. I came across a promising tool called Online-Convert and also learned it’s pretty well reviewed by random users on the Internet.

Assessing how the product would look to future readers posed a problem: I would have to get the ePub file into my iPad’s “Bookshelf” function so I could see it in an ePub reader. I do not know how to do that, do not want to know how to do it, and would have to persuade my equally stubborn but Mac-Knowledgeable son to come to my house to make all this happen.

Time passed, during which I decided the path of least resistance must be to learn to use Scrivener. (Yea verily: that is the challenge involved in getting a reluctant offspring to apply tech skills to an aging parent’s needs and desires.)

But lo!

A new discovery: FireFox has a new add-on that allows you to read an ePub in the browser!

How perfect this is, I do not know. It’s decently reviewed by vocal users on the Web. And at first blush, it does let you see the general qualities of a converted file.

First I loaded one of the short, simple Racy Books into the thing by converting a .mobi file to ePub.

The result: a live table of contents that works accurately, very plain-vanilla but readable enough body content, and a good enough cover image.

Next: upload the complex and difficult 30 Pounds / 4 Months cookbook, replete with heads, subheads, sub-subheads, bulleted lists, and footnotes(!).

In about 30 seconds, Online-Convert produced an ePub version.

Only two problems presented themselves:

  • Chapter headings were set Roman in the original template, and so they appear disappointingly unemphatic in the ePub conversion.
  • B-level subheads are seen as chapter headings, triggering a page break before each subhead.

Easy to fix, both of them. And of course, neither headache presents itself in a plain, straightforward work of fiction.

Think of that: This one online tool saves me at least five hours of learning-curve shenanigans, plus the cost of having to purchase a challenging new computer program.

Lhudly sing huzzah!

Comin' Our Way

Comin’ Our Way!

New Cookbook Cover: in Progress!

Designing book covers is a kick. Yesterday you saw an early mock-up of the new Thirty Pounds: Four Months diet/cookbook cover. Here’s how it looks 24 hours later…

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(Click on the image for a larger, higher-resolution view.)

Looking better, no? I like the maize-yellow type highlighted with a red “shadow.” The font color is achieved by using the standard yellow in the Powerpoint palette and then adding a very thin white line. The effect is to lighten the shade, creating a kind of lemon hue.

Welp, I have GOT to move on to some paying work this afternoon. Thought you might enjoy seeing how a cover evolves as you work it over and over.

Hope your weekend is good!