“21st-Century Publishing: Report from the Front Lines”–an inspiring evening!

San Francisco’s Mechanics’ Institute Library may not be the first place you’d think to look

Authors Carol Verburg, Blythe Rainey-Cuyler, Carol Costello, & Renee Gibbons (Adele Fasick not shown); librarians Sharon Miller & Taryn Edwards

for what’s new in cutting-edge technology for writers & publishers, but Bay Areans are quickly learning what a great resource it is. On Monday evening, June 25, five indie publishers, a literary agent (April Eberhardt, not pictured), & MIL’s head librarian brought news bulletins & new books, just in time for beach-blanket reading! And if a beach blanket doesn’t loom large in your summer plans, how about those long waits in traffic? News flash: all of these new books can be read on your e-reader, tablet, or smartphone!

Wole Soyinka on life as an artist

[Interviewer] Ulli Beier:  . . . You speak about the artist going on a kind of journey; a trip into another dimension from where he returns with a kind of boon … and inspiration … but maybe you better summarize it yourself.

Soyinka: I think what I was referring to was the mystery of creativity itself. Which is almost like a dare, a challenge of nature secrecies. One goes out almost in the same way in which Ogun cleared the jungle – because he had forged the metallic instrument. He is very much the explorer.

The artist is in many ways similar; each time, he discovers a proto world in gestation; it’s almost like discovering another world in the galaxy. The artist’s view of reality creates an entirely new world. Into that world he leads a raid; he rifles its resources and returns to normal existence. The tragic dimension of that is one of disintegration of the self in a world which is being reborn always, and from which the artists can only recover his being by an exercise of sheer will power. He disintegrates in the passage into that world. He loses himself and only the power of the will can bring him back. And when he returns from the experience, he is imbued with new wisdoms, new perspectives, a new way of looking at phenomena.


Making a multiformat multimedia e-book

Each book I publish catapults me past what I needed to know & do for the last one! This is partly because I’m not fluent in Geek, the language of most advanced how-to guides, & partly because of big gaps in the overlap between publishing technology & software technology.

Edward Gorey On Stage will debut this month, fingers crossed, for Kindle, Nook, the iP*ds, & smartphones. It features color photos, B&W drawings, text of multiple sizes (captions were a challenge!), & live links. I’m using Apple’s Pages software because that lets me include all of the above & export the finished ms. as an e-pub, which even Kindle now promises they can handle (they refused until a few months ago).

Fallen by the wayside: Pages’ capacity to embed video clips does NOT export (I’ve had to use links instead), nor do its handy internal bookmarks (would have been great for image citations)–a problem because the auto-TOC won’t recognize figure captions.

The reason I’m posting this is a duh! moment yesterday. I knew that for my images to do the Alice-in-Wonderland size changes required by the enormous variety of e-readers, they’d have to be LARGE. So, OK; max pixels.  The pictures looked fine on Mac or PC, but they shrank beyond teeny on my smartphone! Why? Duh! For image size to matter, the book itself had to be large! I’d created it in the same 5.5 x 8.5 page size I’ve used for most other books, which take both e-book & POD form. For EGOS, which is an e-book only, I knew I could get rid of margins, since it would have no fixed pages. The breakthrough was realizing I could use whatever page size worked best for the images. POD size was too small (postage stamps); 8.5 x 11 was too big (accidental cropping). With a calculator plus some trial & error, I picked 6.5 x 10 as the page size where most images fill my Android phone side-to-side, & also show up large & clear on both my computers.

Now if I could just find a way to get distributors to accept the book with a combined cover & title page, instead of requiring one of each, which in an e-book is a waste of space!


Spam, spam, wonderful spam!

Since I started blogging 2 months ago, the enormous volume of comments pouring in has moved me to tears.  Of laughter?  Despair?  Hard to say.  But what a world!–so full of typists struggling inarticulately to connect!

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So many people? robots? desperate to write something–anything–that will convince others to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need!  May you all win the lottery & buy each other’s unwanted goods.