Technology

The publishing process involves lots and lots of technology. Here’s the technology I use to create and publish books for Mt. Sneffels Press:

Kindle Direct Publishing Want to publish on Kindle? It doesn’t cost a thing! Check it out here. If you already have an account at Amazon, you’re already set! If you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, you get 70% royalty, 35% otherwise! Note that it can be incredibly easy to upload a book, but if you want it to look good, you’ll use the two free tools you can download from their site. Kindle’s upload technology is evolving, particularly now that the Kindle Fire is available. Note that there’s a thriving cottage industry helping people format their books for Kindle upload. Contrary to what they say, you don’t need to use them, although if you’re not happy with your own upload results, you can pay someone to help you.
E-publishing for other than Kindle Use Smashwords as your gateway to the other electronic publishing sites, such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook, the Sony reader, and the Apple iBookStore. Rather more complex than Kindle, but it works—set aside a Saturday to unhurriedly walk through their instructions. They take a bit of a cut from any revenue stream, which is why I go direct with Amazon rather than through Smashwords. But my Flying Broomstick books are in these other stores too, thanks to Smashwords!
Web hosting and e-mail Digital Space, which has been taken over by Jumpline. Customer service is excellent—you’re talking to someone in Ohio, not Bangalore.
Blog Software For the Mt. Sneffels Press site, I use WordPress, which is free, although frankly not well-documented. I use the “2010” theme with a child theme to modify it a bit. Theme modification is not for the faint of heart.
Domain names SimpleURL.com (inexpensive and excellent service)
Text editing Textpad. The original American Flying Broomstick website was hand-coded. Even now that everything is in WordPress (see below), Textpad comes in very handy.
Picture editing Adobe Photoshop Elements. I have version 6—they’re up to version 10 now, and it costs a penny short of a hundred dollars, though from time to time it’s on sale. Another interesting tool is FastStone Image Viewer, which is much more than a viewer—you can do some pretty sophisticated things—check it out—it’s free!
FTP Ipswitch WS_FTP Pro, although there are free FTP tools. If worse comes to worst, you can always use the Windows Command Line FTP tool, but you really need to know what you’re doing. Better: Just use WordPress and use its upload facility.
First place to look for information on any subject Wikipedia
Geographic Visualization DeLorme Topo USA 7.0 (For Broom 1 I used version 4.0). They’re now up to a slightly renamed product, DeLorme Topo North America 9
. Also, tryGoogle Earth (probably the most amazing thing on the Internet today!)
The best motivation in the world to write book-length fiction (yes, this is how the Broom series started) The National Novel Writing Month is held every November.
Text creation and editing For Broom 1 and Broom 2, Microsoft Word 97 (yes, that’s really old, too!). For Broom 3, the completely free and fully-featured Open Office Suite Writer. I’ve now moved everything to Open Office, including The Unexpected Traveler.
Cover creation and editing Open Office Suite, particularly the Draw tool. I used to use PowerPoint 97, but find the Open Office version very friendly and full-featured, plus it has native PDF creation capability.
Conversion to PDF For Broom 1 and Broom 2, Foxit PDF Creator, but note the glitch at the bottom of page 106 of Broom 2. For Broom 3, the Open Office Suite Writer and Draw have native capability to create PDFs
ISBN, barcodes ISBN.org. ISBNs are amazingly expensive. And getting the barcode .tiff is also amazingly expensive. I use Bowker Bar Codes. NOTE that you do not need an ISBN to publish on Kindle!
Printing Market Source Book Production Services. The folks at Market Source are friendly, helpful, and return phone calls. They specialize in short-run printing—they have sophisticated digital presses that take your PDF files (one for the cover, the other for the interior) and create bound books. Those who have seen a hardcopy of any of the Broom series, plus several other books we publish at Mt. Sneffels Press, are mightily impressed with the quality. They’re fast, too. From proof to your finished copies at your doorstep can be less than a month, sometimes a great deal less. But note: they are printers, not publishers—they print exactly what you send them!
Order Taking (Shopping Cart) PayPal Merchant Services. Very easy to set up, although set aside several hours for intense concentration to get it right the first time.
Shipping U.S. Postal Service. I don’t use UPS mostly because the Post Office has been completely satisfactory.
Shipping materials, e.g., envelopes Paper Mart
Site usage tracking Google Analytics. These folks protect your privacy—I have no access to specific individuals, just summary reports.
Banner The banner is for shows and signings and also forms the backdrop for the two exerpt videos on the Broom 1 and Broom 2 pages. Banners in Vinyl provides excellent service at a remarkably low price.

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