Tag Archives: how I lost 30 pounds in four months

wooHOO! New Book Posted on Amazon

Wow! It was like giving birth…with a LONG labor. But finally the “Publish” button has been clicked for How I Lost 30 Pounds in 4 Months. It’s not available yet, but as soon as I have a link, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, just covet this fan-freaking-tastic cover art:

F&B cookbook coverThis is the wrap-around for the print version. It still needs a bar code, but since I may not sell it on Amazon at all (the plan is to use it to help with fund-raising for my fave cause), I decided to hold off for awhile on spending extra money on that detail.

I have to say, I’ve never had such a difficult experience with a project like this. The PoD version went together fine and uploaded happily to the printer of choice. I used a Book Design Templates choice called “Pulp,” which is specifically designed to save on the number of pages and also switch-hits between e-book publication and print layout. Compared with the “Focus” design I’d used for Slave Labor, the effect in page proofs was disappointing: in print, “Focus” is much more polished and handsome. Easily solved, though: I just pasted it from “Pulp” into “Focus,” did a few adjustments, and re-uploaded.

“A few adjustments” turned into a long, time-sucking slog. Probably worth it, though. In a review of the PDFs as the printer’s software received them, the new format looks very handsome.

But the e-book conversion…oh gawd. I thought I was gunna DIE. NOTHING that I did would make it work to upload to Amazon.

It did upload once. But then I needed to make some corrections, and after that… Bleyagh!!!! The main problem was it wouldn’t upload the TofC. And wouldn’t. And wouldn’t. And wouldn’t. And wouldn’t…

Word, which my associate editor and I justly call “Wyrd” (the Old English cognate for modern English “weird”), came up with every glitch it could contrive. Several of these required me to comb through all 363 pages several times removing bugs and fixing copy. It was BRAIN-BANGING tedious.

I’m pretty sure the main reason was the complexity of the book’s organization. It starts with four chapters on the diet strategy. Then it presents about 125 recipes, organized in 14 sections. So we had chapters, then sections, then chapters (i.e., the recipe titles) within the sections.

So I’ve spent a fair amount of today and of the past two or three days groaning in front of a computer and ripping at my hair.

Finally, Tracy Atkins of Book Design Templates came to my rescue. Tracy thinks it’s my version of Wyrd — 2008, the buggiest version Microsoft every produced, wouldncha know — and suggests I should pay the price to connect with Wyrd online.

I’ve resisted this, because

a) I hate, loathe, and despise the effing “Ribbon”;
b) Signing up for Wyrd represents ANOTHER monthly drain on my checking account, which I do not welcome by any means whatsoever; and
c) I welcome yet another goddamn learning curve even less than I welcome yet another monthly budget drain.

In a draftig way, I uploaded the content of a short novel and thought it worked  just fine. But no. On second look, I see it ALSO didn’t upload the TofC links.

So obviously, I’m going to have to find a way to get an updated version of Wyrd. And that’s going to be a hassle of the ongoing variety.

But I must say, I am utterly hassled out right this minute. I’ve wasted three full days on this shit, during which I’ve written all of about four paragraphs in the current Bobbi & the Biker series.

You know, if I had wanted to do book production, I would have gotten a degree in graphic arts, not in English. I would have made myself unemployable with an MFA in design, dammit, not with a Ph.D. in late Renaissance and Early Jacobean literature and history!!!!!

Claro que I am not a creature of the endlessly dystopic 21st Century.

Diet/Cookbook Almost Ready to Go!

HAY cook book3 3-16-2015How do you like the cover design for How I Lost 30 Pounds in Four Months…without Hardly Trying?

It needs a little adjustment for the PoD version, but I think it’s fine for the e-book. The byline needs to be a little larger, I think. The subtitle looks microscopic in this WordPress post-drafting mode and presumably will need an electron microscope to be visible in a thumbnail.

HAY cook book3 3-16-2015Oh heck. Let’s try that in WP… Ohhh WordPress WordPress on the laptop, which font is tiniest of them all?

Hmmm… We’ll be asking for a couple of adjustments on that thing. But the artwork’s kinda cool, isn’t it? Original stuff from multi-award-winning artist and former art director of Arizona Highways Gary Bennett. Apple…apple a day…get it? 😀

For the interior copy I used the “Pulp” design in a Word template from Book Design Templates. As I remarked awhile back, “Pulp” is one of several two-way templates that allow you, with just one upload of your copy, to convert from Wyrd to e-book formats and also to do a print-on-design layout.

It worked reasonably well. The cookbook is pretty complex because of all the lists, but once you figure out the styles (which could use a little better organizing IMHO), the template goes a long way toward ensuring consistency in all your design elements.

However, things are never so simple as you think. Preparing a manuscript for e-book and print incarnations requires a fair amount of fiddling around: the basic design needs are not the same. For example, in a print book you’d like chapters to open on recto (odd-numbered) pages. For an e-book, that not only is unnecessary, it’s undesirable.

Thirty Pounds in Four Months has two sections: one consisting of four chapters describing how I managed to lose one-fifth of my body weight (and drop the elevated blood pressure into the “normal” range) without starving myself and without beating myself up at the gym, and one that offers over 125 recipes. Setting every one of those recipes on a recto page would have required hundreds of Wyrd commands that would have to be inserted when I went to create a hard-copy layout (or undone if I started with the PoD layout).

So, I decided to lay out the first section in the traditional hard-copy manner but let the recipes appear on whatever page they would naturally fall on — this, by the way, is what “Pulp” was designed to do in the first place. Said scheme then requires me to do the PoD version first, save it to disk, and then go back and delete only the three odd-page section breaks in Section 1 for the e-book’s purposes.

That is much easier than deleting 130 or 140 of the things!

The result looks OK, I think. Certainly good enough for government work.

But I think I’ll spring for a full multi-use license for the “Focus” design that I used to lay out Slave Labor (which will be ready for the printer as soon as the hard-copy cover is done! wahoo!). At the time I purchased a single-use license, I was in pure experimental mode — had no idea how this was going to work and didn’t want to spend any more than necessary.

Now that I see how they work, though, I think I really like “Focus.” Even though its typeface and design will create more pages in any given hard-copy book, it’s really very attractive AND — big, very big! — it’s more streamlined and simpler to use. The template’s “styles” are easier to find and more intuitive to select, and the effect is quite handsome.

Most of the books I get up to self-publishing are likely to sell best as e-books. The ability to print a few on demand for the occasional buyer who craves to feel pages under the fingers will be good, but I don’t think I’ll need so many of them that a dollar or so difference in price will matter much.

The entire Fire-Rider series and the next book that’s in hand will be produced as serial electronic “bookoids” through Amazon. I may produce a hard-copy “collector’s edition” that I could give away for free to people who buy X number of e-books (enough to cover the cost of printing), or to those who have bought the whole series. Those who would like to have just a hard-copy version, then, would have to pay the freight for printing plus enough for me to turn a little profit. Or I might give it away to those who buy XX numbers of the next book’s serials.

Which is to say…I hope to use the PoD version as a marketing tool.

Last night I installed the content of the first Fire-Rider serial in “Focus,” just to see what would happen. It was extremely easy.

There’ll be 18 of those. I figure to do a “Save As” for each serial, but meanwhile have a larger file for the PoD version into which I paste the formatted material out of each serial’s file into the longer PoD file. Then when all is said and done, I can get into the file for PoD, adjust the formatting, have a wrap-around cover done, et voilà!

The Book Design Templates folks allow you to upgrade from single to multi-use, so that’s what I’m going to do with “Focus.”

So, I’m excited about it. Is this enterprise gonna make any money for me? I’ll be surprised. But thrilled beyond measure if it does — cannot tell you how much I never want to slog through another turgid scholarly work or another awful freshman comp essay. Probably the best way to make money through self-publishing is by writing porn…and that this point, I am not above that!