Showing posts with label Kindle ebooks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle ebooks. Show all posts

Sunday, October 6, 2019

How to Get Started on that eBook You've Been Meaning to Do for Decades

How to Get Started on that eBook You've Always Wanted to Do

Have You Ever Wanted to Write an eBook But Didn’t Know Where to Start?  

That’s where I was. For decades I kept saying, "I want to do a book of my lifetime poems," and kept putting it off. Finally, I took the plunge and just recently completed the book. The poems were already written, and it took me about a month to learn the ropes and put the book together. It’s a book of personally written poems and lyrics from the age of 8 to 58, entitled "We Will Have Morning Smiles."

As a newbie self-publisher, I’d like to share a few of the tools I researched and used to get this first book on the market. These are just the basics, to learn from the guru’s you’ll have to Google and find the ones you like. I did watch multiple YouTube Videos from various people, and the advice I found most helpful was Self-Publishing with Dale. I tripped on his videos after endless Google research. Compared to some, his video presentations were the easiest to follow. 

My First eBook of Poems
The advice in his videos are helpful, but to be honest, I didn’t follow all of it. One bit of information was that you should use a professional to create the cover of your book (if you can). I didn’t do that; I created my own. However, I do agree that a professional is a better way to go. 

The other is that you should, if you can, hire a professional to ‘Format’ your book. Yep, you guessed it; I didn’t do that. I formatted my own. Formatting isn’t easy, especially with a poetry book, but you can do it if you’re willing to read and learn.

Here are Three Quick Points to Help You Get Started:

1. Create Your KDP Publisher Account on Amazon - This is Where You'll Upload Your Book for Publishing

That part is easy. However, when you start filling all the information in, you'll have a lot of questions. The good thing is, KDP has a terrific help section, and customer service answers questions very quickly.

2. Google Documents or Microsoft Word - Where You'll Write Your Book

I wasn’t sure how to get a book written, formatted, then uploaded to Amazon or any other sellers platform.

After reading multiple articles on how to get started, I was more confused. 

What I found was that most people use Microsoft Word to write their books. Since I don’t have the full paid version of Word on my Laptop, I decided to use Google Documents. However, you do have to save your work in .docx format to upload it to Kindle Create (see more about Kindle Create below). 

To save your google document to a .docx format:

  • Click ‘File’ in the top left
  • Scroll down to ‘Download’
  • Several file saving options will show, choose (.docx)
  • Save the file to your computer. Done.

Oh, and guess how much I knew about Google Documents? Yep. Nada. I never had a reason to use it. However, I should have been! It’s a terrific tool. I’m using it for a ton of things now. So easy. I’m currently helping a family member out with a project and have been sharing work via Google Documents. No wonder people like it!

Here’s another google docs tip for you: 

In google docs, you can auto-generate a Table of Contents. However, on the editing bar, look for the button that says, “Normal Text." There’s a dropdown menu there that lets you choose various Heading options. 

Your Heading choices are essential because they determine what goes in your table of contents, and where:
  • Heading 1 - Puts the title as a Chapter Heading in your Table of Contents
  • Heading 2 - Places it as a Sub-Chapter below a Chapter

With my poetry book, sub-chapters were important. The main chapters are the headings that describe the types of poems, and the sub-chapters are each poem by title below it.
This is the Back Cover
It appears at the end of
the eBook on the inside

3. Download Kindle Create - Kindle Create is Where You'll Format Your Book for Publishing

There are conflicting views on using this. I would guess very experienced self-publishers don't need it.

Since I’m a newbie and Kindle Create was easy to understand, it served my needs. I’ll be using it again, at least until I become some sort of a pro. 

Download Kindle Create to your computer directly from Amazon. Then watch the video tutorials and read the help section. They’re fabulous.

Upload your saved book (either from Word or Google Docs - if that’s what you used), into Kindle Create. 

The file that's created in Kindle Create is the file you'll eventually upload to your KDP Amazon Publisher Account.

A Few Tips to Share: 

  • Kindle create generates a Table of Contents for you
  • However, I still created a detailed Table of Contents in Google Docs
  • I included both Tables of Contents in my book - The detailed Table of Contents with Sub-Chapters is from Google Docs, the other from Kindle Create only features the main chapters (because I designed it that way). You don’t have to do this, but I wanted more of a break-down.
  • It appears you can't directly internally link on your document while inside of Kindle Create. 
  • Do all your internal linking in Word or Google Docs before you upload it to Kindle Create.

Remember, these are the basics for beginner self-publishers like me. I wanted to give you a way to get started on your own ebook because I know how daunting getting started can seem.




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Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Three Best Ways to Read Kindle Books

The three best ways to read Kindle books. Information and review from a long-time Kindle owner.
The author with her short-stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.

Most people who know me are aware of my Kindle obsession. I've had an Amazon Kindle e-reader since shortly after they first were introduced to the market in 2007 and I currently own a stack of Kindle readers and Fire tablets.

Back in 2007 it was easy to decide which Kindle to buy; there was just one model and it cost $399. But things have changed and now, with multiple models of both readers and tablets that go by the name "Kindle," it can be hard to determine which is best for you.

Maybe I can help. Let's review the various choices to determine the three best ways to read Kindle books. Hopefully this information will help you choose the device that will serve your needs the best.

The Best Way to Read Kindle Books: The Kindle Reader


In my opinion, the very best way to read a Kindle book is to use a dedicated Kindle reading device, i.e. a reader that is designed specifically for people who simply love to read books. The original 2007 e-reader, almost 10 years later, has evolved into four different models that range in price from around $80 to nearly $300. That's a huge difference in price, so it's important to understand the features of each model.

The goal of Amazon is to provide a screen that makes your brain believe you're reading a "real," paper page. Through the years, the clarity of the printed page, the resolution of the screen, and the available fonts and font sizes have improved greatly and, indeed, the screen really does mimic a high-quality paper page with its gray-scale e-ink. The size of the page itself is the same for each of the models too, six inches, a comfortable size to hold and similar to a "real" paperback book. Another feature of all the Kindle e-readers is that the pages are glare-free, again just like a real book.

The differences come in when we look at the additional features. The most obvious difference is that the screen of the bottom-of-the-line Kindle is not lit, which means that, just as with a paperback book, you can't read in the dark unless you have a separate light source. If you read with a lamp nearby or in the daylight, then there's not a problem. But if you like to read in bed or in a low-light environment, you definitely will appreciate the LED lighting that is built into the next three models. The Paperwhite has four easily-adjustable LEDs that work great in a range from very dim to somewhat bright. The Kindle Voyage has six LED lights with adaptive light sensors and the Kindle Oasis even tops that with 10 LEDs that automatically adjust the lighting to stay consistent if you move from one area to another.

Another feature that is important to me is the weight of the device. While a couple of ounces doesn't sound like much, it is much more comfortable on the hands and wrists to manipulate a lighter-weight reader. The weight really comes into count when we talk about the second best way to read Kindle books, the Amazon Fire tablets.

Second Best: Amazon Fire Tablets


Tablets are all the rage these days. The price point has dropped tremendously the last couple of years as the features and apps seem to multiple exponentially almost daily. While the dedicated Kindle reader is perfect for reading e-books that look like "real" books, Amazon's line of Fire tablets arrive ablaze with bright colors and populated with cool apps that many of us have come to depend on in our daily lives.

Since our topic today is reading books, I'll leave it up to you to explore all the apps and other features (movies, music, games, camera, etc.) available for as little as $50 (price subject to change) starting with the 7-inch Fire. If you have a smart phone you're probably familiar with how many of these features work. In fact, if you have an up-to-date smart phone that you're comfortable with and just want to add a comfortable reading capability, then I'd suggest sticking to your phone and moving on down to my third best choice for the reading app.

While we're here, though, let's talk about why you might actually want a Fire tablet for both reading and entertainment. The answer in a word is "color." If you like having colorful children's books at your fingertips, or perhaps you like comics or other heavily-illustrated books where color really does count, one of the seven, eight, or even the 10-inch Fire tablets might be a great choice for you.

I talked a lot above about the quality of the screen for reading on the Kindle Reader and mentioned the LED lighting capability of all but the low-end model. Perhaps the best part of that reading quality is that it's easy to read in any light source without glare. When we get to smart phones and tablets, we're talking about a totally different type of light which, most definitely does glare. Likely you've tried to take a picture in bright light and had a difficult (or impossible) time seeing what's on the view finder screen.  Or maybe you've tried to navigate a GPS program in bright light where, again, it's difficult to see. The bright LCD display on tablets and phones may be beautiful, and the Fire tablets have outstanding, high-definition displays, but glare definitely can be a problem. If you're reading indoors, no problem. Reading at the beach? While the function and screen layout of the "books" section on the Fire is excellent, you might wish you had a Kindle reader if you're simply in the mood for reading a good book.

Third Best: Free Kindle Reading Apps 


Keep in mind that third best doesn't mean "awful." In fact, the quality of the reading apps that Amazon supplies absolutely free to anyone, on most any device that you already own (PC, laptop, MAC, phone, tablet, etc.) is quite good. And the best part (did I mention this already?) is that the app is free. In other words, if you're looking for a totally free way to read Kindle books, the Amazon app on a device (or more than one) of your choosing is an excellent solution.

Now, don't misunderstand, this is a free way to read a book, not a way to get e-books for free. While plenty of Kindle books are available for free, where to find those is a topic for another day. For now, let me explain how to get the free app. It's easy as one, two, three:

  1. Go to the Free Kindle Reading Apps link in the Kindle store. (Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link, but I'm sending you there for the free stuff.)
  2. Fill in the box with your email or mobile number, depending on where you want the app delivered. Click "send link."
  3. Follow the directions in the email that you'll receive almost instantly to download the executable file. Run the file and watch for the reading app to appear on your screen. All of the books you've already acquired for Kindle will be accessible from the app (as will the Kindle store). Simply access and download whichever book(s) you want to read.



In Summary


First, if you have a phone, laptop, or other device that you love, and if your budget is low, go with the free reading app to read books you already have without spending any money.

Second, if you want one device that includes just about any form of entertainment you can imagine, and especially if you want to watch movies or read books in color, decide whether the 7-inch, 8-inch, or 10-inch tablet best suits your fancy (and the size of your pocket or purse). Budget plays a role here, of course. Don't skip the 7-inch tablet because it's "cheap." I have one, use it every day for apps, and it's absolutely awesome. The only place "cheap" comes into play is in the price.

Third, if you truly love reading traditional books, indoors or outdoors, and you either already have a phone with apps or you don't really care about those, then I recommend choosing the best-equipped stand-alone Kindle reader that you can afford. I use my amazing Paperwhite because it has the lighted screen, but if I had a bigger budget I would buy the top-of-the-line Kindle Oasis. I love that it's thin and lightweight and that the cover (included) automatically boosts the device's battery power.

Clearly, after all these years I still love Amazon's e-book reading gadgets and recommend any of these devices and the app without reservation.

There are a few other Kindle features that I didn't have time to discuss. The links highlighted above provide comparison charts to make it easy for you to find detailed specifications. Then if you still have questions about which is the best way for you to read Kindle books, I'll do my best to answer your questions in the comment section below.

Happy e-reading!

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.




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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reviewing the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Series

7 reasons I recommend the Detective Jack Stratton series by Christopher Greyson. A mystery-suspense-romance series review.

Before I came across the best-selling Jack Stratton mystery series, if you would have told me that a series exists that consists of killer plots, characters that I'd care about, murder and mystery, action and adventure, all while maintaining a moral high ground (i.e. a "clean" read), I'd say you must be dreaming. Of course I'd love that combination, but what writer could possibly pull it off?

Author Christopher Greyson did.

In fact, the author pulled off the combination in stellar fashion with the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery series. I've read all six of the current books and look forward to the seventh which is coming soon.

7 Reasons I Recommend the Jack Stratton Series by Christopher Greyson


If you're a reader but are not yet sure that the books will appeal to you, let me explain further why I believe they should be on your "must read" list. Here's my review including the top seven attributes that I appreciate about the Detective Jack Stratton mysteries and why I highly recommend this series to fans of mystery, suspense and, yes, even romance. (Looking for spoilers? You won't find them here.)

1. I care about the characters. I love series books and the key to holding my interest throughout any series is the characters. It took very few chapters of the first book for me to know that I'd be reading the entire series beginning to end. That early assessment definitely proved to be true and now I can hardly wait for the next installment to learn exactly what Jack and Alice have been up to and what comes next.

2. The story lines hold me captive and keep me reading into the night. Gotta love a book that's hard to put down.

3. The military and police connections. I can relate to both as law enforcement and military experience play a major role in my own family. Plus, Jack is around the age of my own sons, so my maternal instincts didn't take long to kick in, even in the first book.

4. Continuity through the series, yet each book stands alone. Read the books in any order that you wish, though if you prefer good chronological order start by reading the most recently published book (And Then She Was Gone) first. Referring to this book as a "prequel" would be accurate and though I read this one first, in some ways I wish I would have saved it for last. I'm currently considering re-reading it while I'm waiting for book seven in the series. (Who says you can't have it both ways?)

5. I like the action scenes. There is plenty of action throughout these books and the author does not spare the details. In fact, many of the fight scenes are described move by move. Frankly, I'm surprised that I liked the descriptive detail, but I did. It didn't bog me down as I read and it offered a clear perspective on the situations and scenes that followed.

6. The venues vary greatly by book. Although most of the stories center around Jack's hometown, you'll find action occurring in Aunt Haddie's foster home, in the dark recesses of a city park, in the bowels of a sophisticated college data and research center, among conflicting crime families crawling with assassins and hit men, in a wealthy jet-setter tycoon's amazing mansion, and even across the battlefields of Iraq.

7. The moral high ground. I prefer "clean" books that avoid profanity and sexual scenes that make me want to look away (or close the book forever). At first I wasn't sure that would be possible with this series, given the murder plots, the seriously-bad bad guys, and the police involvement and military flashback scenes. Let's face it, those topics in real life are usually accompanied by bad language and, in books and movies at least, scenes that involve descriptive sexual exploits. Not so in the Jack Stratton series and I thank the author for that and for the sweet romance that grows with the characters.

Did I mention I can hardly wait for book seven to be released? It's called Jack of Hearts. Watch for pre-order information or choose which book (Kindle or paperback edition) you want to read first from author Christopher Greyson's Amazon page.

If you've read books from the Detective Jack Stratton series, I'd love to read your impressions in a comment below.

~Susan
Read more of my reviews.


Reviewing the Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Series by Christopher Greyson
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Friday, September 30, 2016

Reviewing the Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham

Review and recommendation of the book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham.  A riveting book that includes time travel, romance, and a very unique twist for doppelgangers exchanging places in time.
I have just finished reading the book "Hide in Time" by Anna Faversham and I can easily recommend it to anyone.  To be completely honest, I was actually surprised by how much I really liked this book.  I am not a fan of time travel books, mostly because I don't believe time travel is possible.  But, like any really good fiction is apt to do, this book caused me to "suspend reality" and embrace the plot.

Because I don't often read time travel books, the beginning was a little confusing to me, but after the first few pages, I got it!  Once the author smoothly lead me by the hand through a wall that separates the 1800's to the twenty-first century, I was hooked.  I needed to see what would happen to Laura who found herself lost in a world that was 200 years beyond her life.  

Because we can study history, I think it would be easier to go back in time, but imagine what it would be like to be cast into the world 200 years into the future.


The Book, Hide in Time by Anna Faversham 

Synopsis Written by Cynthia Sylvestermouse

 Hide in TimeAfter discovering her fiancé had been unfaithful, Laura boarded a ship to America.  She wanted to get as far away from him as possible.  She wanted a new start.  She meant to be traveling to a new world, but she had no way of knowing she would actually be traveling to a different place in time.  She knew she wouldn't know anyone in America, but she didn't expect to be clueless about fashion, jargon, idioms, and a more informal way of living.  

The shipwreck she survived changed her life forever.  When she washed up on shore, the land was the familiar, but everything else had changed.  It was to her great fortune, that Matt Redfern, the first person to actually speak to her, was always willing to help the helpless.  Since she had no memory of who she was or where she was from, he helped her get medical attention.  When she still could not "find her past", he helped her establish a new life and guided her in starting her own business.  

Five years after Laura was tossed into the future, she had found her footing there.  She was thriving, actually living.  Although she had regrets, she was content.  During the past 5 years, Laura investigated the area of her arrival and discovered the secret of time travel.  She also discovered that she was invisible when she returned to the past and it was clear her future belonged in the future.  Then she met Xandra.  

She saw so much of herself in Xandra.  They had so many things in common, even looks.  She felt she had actually found someone who would be a real friend.  Someone who could understand her unique ways and would like her because of them.  Laura hoped Xandra could be the sister she had never had, or at least believed she had never had.   However, when Xandra found herself on a murderer's hit list, she needed a safe haven and Laura had the answer.  She sent Xandra back in time.

As this point the book is divided in chapters where the reader is following two stories.  Laura in the future and Xandra in the past.  A truly fascinating exchange of lives.  It was a very interesting twist to doppelgangers trading places and I really, really liked it a lot.  So much so, I plan to read it again!  I feel like I may have missed some hidden nuggets in the story.


My Recommendation of the Book, "Hide in Time"


When I think about it carefully, I know there were several reasons why I really liked this book and why I would highly recommend it to anyone.

First, it shows us that we can completely change the course of our own lives when needed and find happiness in a new place.  It might take some time to readjust, but we can survive and adapt to new surroundings and people.

Second, it highlights how people are basically the same today as they were hundreds of years ago.   Evil still abounds and good people still exist to maintain the balance that is our world.

And, last but by no means least, I like the concept about time travel in "Hide in Time".  You can't go back!  Once you have crossed into a different place in time, you can't return and just pick up where you left off.  Yes, Laura returns, but she cannot be seen.  She can whisper to the living and they hear her, but they believe she is what most of us would think of as a "ghost".  

As I said at the beginning of this article, I don't believe in time travel, but if there were such a thing, it would have to be in a way that everyone traveling in time couldn't constantly be changing the future by visiting the past, literally. 


More Books By Anna Faversham

Now that I have discovered the author, Anna Faversham, I will be reading more of her books!
 


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Book Review of "Hide in Time" Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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