Tag Archives: ebook

How to fudge an Index with Kindle Create

There used to be a number of individual Kindle applications you could download and install, now there’s just one: Kindle Create.

When you open Kindle Create on your computer, you’ll be presented with two options – text heavy novels or graphics heavy non-fiction:

The one I use is ‘Textbooks, Travel Guides, Cookbooks, Music books’. It requires a PDF file and allows me to control exactly where and how text and graphics appear on the page [of the ebook].

Termed ‘fixed format’, these ebooks behave almost exactly like print books in that the size of the e-reader screen is the size of the ‘page’, and the text and graphics have to be sized to suit that page.

The screenshot below was taken from within Kindle Create and shows how the fixed format ebook will appear on a Kindle Fire:

The three things you should notice are:

  1. The page is in colour,
  2. The page contains a graphic image that fits exactly within the margins,
  3. The page contains a hyperlink.

All three elements, and their placement, were set in the original Word file, before it was converted into a PDF. Kindle Create then imported the PDF and converted it to a proprietary format called .kcb. [When the file is ready to be published to the Kindle, it will be converted to its final format which is called .kpf]. The important thing to note is that all three elements are retained in the .kcb file, including the hyperlink.

You won’t be able to do much in the way of editing, but you will be able to create a Table of Contents. The TOC is bog simple, manual and only allows for one TOC entry per page. It also allows for only one level of TOC.  Effectively, this means that you will be able to create a table of chapter headings and not much else. And, of course, there is no option for creating an Index.

The lack of a deep TOC and no Index means that non-fiction ebooks are kind of hard to dip into and ‘browse’. Yet that is precisely what most non-fiction readers need. How was I going to make my e-textbook more user friendly?

The answer was kind of obvious, once I thought of it. -sigh-

As mentioned before, Kindle Create gives you the option of preserving any hyperlinks present in your PDF. This means you can tap a link inside the ebook and be taken directly to that location…both inside the ebook and out.

-cue light bulb moment-

What if I added a list of hyperlinks to my Word document before I converted it to the PDF?

If Kindle Create preserved all those hyperlinks, I’d end up with a list of links in alphabetical order! I’d end up with an Index of Links!

As with all great ideas, mine turned out to be a wee bit harder than expected.

I started by creating a simple two column table in Word.

Then I printed off the Index pages of the paperback and marked the most important Index entries. I then typed those into the left hand column of the table with one Index entry per cell.

Next, I trawled through the print Index a second time, marking the most important ‘Subentries’. They went into the right hand column with one subentry per line.

Finally, I selected a subentry, opened the Insert tab and clicked Link:

The screenshot above shows the ‘Insert Hyperlink’ dialog box in Word 2016. If you have text selected before you open the dialog box, Word will automatically make that text the ‘Text to display’ [see two linked orange circles]. In other words, you will see that text rather than the hyperlink itself.

The orange circle labelled as ‘A‘ shows that ‘Place in This Document’ has been selected as the general location of the hyperlink.

The orange circle labelled as ‘B‘ shows the TOC sub-heading selected to be the actual location of the hyperlink.

Wait…’TOC sub heading’?

Yes. When you create a link within a document, Word looks for the same heading styles that are used to generate a Table of Contents. As my document contains five levels of heading styles – i.e. from Heading 1 through to Heading 5 – those headings are the locations I can use for my hyperlinks. Effectively, I’m using all the TOC levels Kindle Create won’t let me put into its Table of Contents to create an Index of sorts. It’s not perfect, and this work around does entail a lot of work, but…a fudged index is better than no index at all.

In case you’re wondering, this is what the Index of Links looks like in Kindle Create:

Apologies for yet another how-to post, but I was kind of pleased with my little solution. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 


How-to guide is now free!

Good morning all. 🙂 It’s 6:57am here in lovely Melbourne, and I just realised I forgot to post about the freebie here on WordPress. So….

‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing’ is now free on Amazon:

https://preview.tinyurl.com/y8fl4bks

The promotion ends at midnight US time and about 5pm-ish Australian time.

For those who have never tried any of my how-to’s, all my guides are pitched at the true beginner and include step-by-step instructions, with examples for the ‘why?’ and pictures for the ‘how?’.

If this appeals to you, please download the ebook version while it’s free. This ebook can be read on Kindle Fire tablets or on the free Kindle reading app for tablets, pc, mac and phone.

cheers

Meeks


Amazon free ebook, one day only

Just a quick post to let you know that ‘How to Print your Novel with Kindle Direct Publishing‘ [ebook version] will be free in the US from 12:00am, September 26, 2018 till 11:59pm September 26, 2018.

For the Eastern seaboard of Australia, 12:00am Seattle time [Amazon] translates to 5:00pm Melbourne time. So for us, it’ll be sometime after 5:00 pm tomorrow, Thursday September 26, 2018.

Gah…I hate timezones.

Now, the ebook uses a fixed format so all the pictures fit properly. BUT. That means the ebook will only work on:

…Fire tablets and free reading apps for iPads, Android tablets, smartphones, PCs, and Macs.

 

 

Sorry, but it simply won’t work on ordinary Kindles. I will play around with a different format, to see if it works, but I’m not holding my breath; Kindles are great for text heavy books, but I suspect their ability to ‘flow’ will cause merry hell with pictures…

Anyway, even if creating a paperback of your book is still nothing but a rosy fantasy, grab a copy of the KDP how-to for future reference. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


KDP how-to, ebook version – betas needed!

My thanks to Chris the Story-Reading Ape for pointing out that some readers might prefer an ebook version to beta. Well, here it is, almost:

Please ignore the price. Once the ebook is live on Amazon, I’ll gift up to 5 beta readers with the ebook.

Before anyone volunteers, however, there are a couple of constraints to consider:

  • In order to gift you the ebook from Amazon, I’ll need an email address. I will not use your email address for any promotional activity such as ads or newsletters, but in the current climate, I like to put that point up front.
  • The ebook will only work on tablets and mobile phones – i.e. it will work on the Kindle Fire, but it will not work on the ordinary, black & white Kindles.
  • The step-by-step instructions were written for absolute beginners – i.e. I assumed that they would know nothing about POD publishing. If you are already experienced in POD, you may find the degree of ‘help’ too detailed.
  • Zooming in. Because the ebook was created using KDP’s Textbook Creator, you will not be able to change the size of the font, but you will be able to zoom in on the screenshots. I figured that would be a smallish price to pay for colour images and layout control.
  • The Table of Contents is very basic and only links to the chapter headings. Once the ebook version is finalised, I’ll go in and add at least another layer to the TOC, but I didn’t want to go to so much trouble when things could change a lot.

Okay, I think those are the only warnings I need to deliver. Ah, except for one: if you are not one of my beta readers, please do not buy the ebook as it will change before I’m finally happy with it. I hope the changes won’t be too substantial, but my betas may discover a glaring hole in either my knowledge or the way I’ve explained things so…

If anyone’s interested in becoming a beta for the ebook version, please contact me on:

meeka at triptychacf dot com

Thanks!

Meeks


Free ebook promotion on Amazon

How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace

A step-by-step guide for absolute beginners

 

“An absolute beginner is someone who has yet to learn all the little things everyone else takes for granted.”

Unfortunately, it’s always the little things that trip people up. That’s why ‘How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace’ takes nothing for granted. Examples, screenshots and step-by-step instructions guide absolute beginners through the entire printing process, from start to finish.

The only pre-requisites are a basic knowledge of Microsoft Word, the ability to save and retrieve files, and an internet connection.

With patience, nothing is impossible.

‘How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace’ is available as a paperback or as an ebook. The ebook is available on the following devices and apps:

You can find ‘How to Print Your Novel with CreateSpace’ on:

Amazon

The ebook is free from May 1 to 5, 2018.

 


‘Innerscape, Episode 5 is live’ rhymes, badly :/

Now everyone knows why I don’t do poetry. But my prose ain’t that bad, and it so happens that the very last episode of Innerscape is now available for free download from Amazon. This is where you can get it:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NAINA5W/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1481705627&sr=8-6&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

And in the spirit of giving…or is it bribery?…the very last competition is now also up and running. As always, at the end of the competition, all the correct entries will have a chance to win a $20 gift voucher from Amazon.

Entering the competition is dead easy. Start by reading the ‘Look Inside’ below [just the first few pages]. There you will find the answer to the multiple choice question for this episode:

Drum roll…and the multiple choice question is:

Where is David and Jane’s wedding to take place?

  1. Innerscape?
  2. New York?
  3. Sydney?

Once you know the answer, write it [or just the number of the correct answer] in comments and that’s it. Just one entry per person though. 🙂

The free download and the competition will both end on December 18, 2016. After that, the price for Episode 5 reverts to 0.99 cents till the end of the week. And after that, every episode, except for no. 1, will rise to $1.99. Episode 1 will stay at 0.99 forever, or until I can make it permafree.

So please, take advantage of the free dowload and the competition while you can.

cheers

Meeks

 


Allelujah! Innerscape, Episode 4 is finally free…

I’d better make this quick. Episode 4 is now available for free download from December 6, 2016 to December 10, 2016. To get your free copy, please follow the link to Amazon below:

https://www.amazon.com/Innerscape-Episode-4-C-Flory-ebook/dp/B01N0MZ35R/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1481019068&sr=1-4&keywords=kindle+innerscape

The Innerscape competition is ready to go as well. Simply read the ‘Look Inside’ below [use your browser’s back button to return to this post] and answer a simple, multiple choice question in comments, and hey presto, you’ll be in with a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift voucher. 🙂

The question for Episode 4 is – what did Alex Tang die of?

  1. pneumonia?
  2. a heart attack?
  3. the common cold?

If you know the answer, please write it in comments [only one per person please] at the end of this post. When the competition finishes, I’ll write each correct entry onto a piece of paper which will then be folded and placed into a vessel of some kind, maybe a hat. Finally, the Offspring will come along to select the winning entry. Easy.

The winner of the competition will be announced on this blog, plus I’ll email or contact the winner directly. Then it’s just a case of deciding what to treat yourself to…erm, with.

If you haven’t entered the competition yet, please do because I get as much fun out of it as the winner does. 🙂

And now for a music track that I didn’t listen to while writing Innerscape. It’s a cinematic from Advent Children, an animation by Square Enix. This scene depicts the final fight between Cloud and Sephiroth, iconic characters from Final Fantasy 7. Even if you don’t like fighting, please watch the incredible cinematography and animation. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Innerscape – Music competition for Episode 1 begins!

reworked-cover-final-1Good evening, good afternoon and good morning. 🙂

Innerscape Episode 1 is live on Amazon, and from November 14, 2016 to November 18, 2016, you will be able to download Episode 1 for free, and enter the Music Competition to win free music.

The Music Competition, which runs in lockstep with the free downloads, will give two lucky winners one of the following digital albums:

  • Elysium, by Jo Blankenburg, and
  • Vendetta, also by Jo Blankenburg.

This is a video clip of one of my favourite tracks from Elysium.

And this one is a making-of type video clip that features snippets from Vendetta.

If you don’t like these albums, or miss out for some reason, don’t worry – there will be two new albums up for grabs with Episode 2.

To enter the Music Competition, all you have to do is answer a simple question based on the excerpt from Innerscape, found in the Amazon ‘Look Inside’ for Episode 1.

You can find the excerpt here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N3ZBKAK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1478992768&sr=8-2&keywords=kindle+Innerscape

Hint: if you read as far as the chapter entitled ‘Takh Ahn’, you’ve gone too far. But don’t let me stop you from reading further. 😉

And now for the all-important, multiple choice question:

Who is the Head of Patient Care at Innerscape?

  1. Kenneth Wu?
  2. Charles McGragh?
  3. Emily Watson?

Once you know the answer, type the correct name, or simply 1, 2 or 3, in the comments section at the end of this post, and that’s it.

[Sorry, only 1 entry per person]

Both the Music Competition and the free download days for Episode 1 will end on November 18, 2016. Yes, I know I’ve said that before but I don’t want anyone to get the dates wrong and end up disappointed.

On November 19, 2016, I will pick two correct answers, at random, from a big mixing bowl, and the names of the winners will be announced in a post on this blog. The winners will also be announced via Twitter so please check back to see if you’ve won.

To find out how you can claim your free digital music album, please read the Innerscape FAQ here:

http://wp.me/p25AFu-2sA

Thank you for joining me today, and may the Party begin!
cheers
Meeks


Death of Choice – Ilil Arbel

Well over a year ago, my friend Ilil Arbel brought out a delightful detective story set in the flapper era. That story was called Madame Koska and the Imperial Brooch, and you can read my 5 star review here.

I wish I could tell you that Ilil has brought out a second volume in the adventures of Madame Koska, but I can’t. However I can tell you that she has contributed a story to the anthology called ‘Death of Choice’.

Ilil Arbel anthology

If you click on the picture it should take you to the Amazon page where you can do the ‘look inside’ thing.:) To be honest, I didn’t look inside because I know how good Ilil’s writing is, but don’t take my word for it. Look inside and enjoy!

cheers

Meeks


How to fix missing ebooks on your Kindle Fire 6

Last night I went to bed, got cosy, opened my Kindle Fire 6 and discovered that the ebook I’d been reading the night before was nowhere to be found. What the…?

This morning I discovered that missing ebooks are a known problem with a couple of solutions/workarounds. I could:

  1. De-register and re-register my Kindle, or
  2. Reset my Kindle to factory defaults

Not having a Wi-Fi modem* and remembering how hard it had been to register my Kindle Fire when I bought it [I had to go into work and ask to use their Wi-Fi connection], I quickly decided that the first option was not for me. Instead, I chose option 2 – resetting the Kindle to the factory defaults.

<<cue ominous music>>

This is where my geek friends roll around in fits of laughter, and my reputation as a baby geek takes a nose-dive. Let’s just say I should have known better. In my own defence, I have to say I did know that resetting the Kindle would mean losing all the ebooks I’d downloaded from Amazon, but in my wisdom I thought it would not matter because :

a) I’d already read those books anyway, and

b) I could always download them again from my Amazon account if I wanted to re-read them.

It did not even occur to me that there might be an option ‘c’ to consider. 😦

So…I did the deed. I’m not providing pictures because I don’t want to make this too easy in case someone does it by mistake, or in a drunken fit. Anyway, the steps are detailed below:

With the Kindle Fire 6 turned on, swipe to unlock, tap Apps, tap Settings, tap Device Options, and finally, if you’re brave [or foolhardy] tap Reset to Factory Defaults. You’ll be given one chance to change your mind, but once you tap OK you won’t be able to stop the process; everything currently on your Kindle Fire will be erased.

Sadly, it was only when the screen prompted me to register my newly empty Kindle that I realised I’d done the very thing I had not wanted to do – i.e. I’d erased the registration data along with everything else. Ut oh….

I won’t detail the choice words that flew around my office at that point. Suffice to say I was not happy. I did consider asking my neighbour if I could use her Wi-Fi connection to re-register my Kindle Fire, but embarrassment stopped me before I could dial her number. I hate having to explain that I’m not really a complete luddite, just a scrooge. [I built my house with Cat 5 cabling in the walls so my network is hardwired. I don’t need Wi-Fi…except at times like these.]

Anyway, that was when desperation made me remember something I’d read about using a mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Could I do it?

Much research later, I finally found a video clip that detailed how to turn a Samsung Galaxy S2, Android version Jellybean [exactly what I now have] into a mobile hotspot. And this is it:

It’s a great video, but it does go very quickly so I’ve provided a sort of step-by-step transcript below:

  1. Make sure your S2 is fully charged
  2. Turn it on and swipe to unlock
  3. On the home screen tap Apps
  4. Then tap Settings
  5. Then tap …More settings
  6. Then tap Tethering and portable hotspot

The next bit involves a slight change of technique.

When you see an option called Portable Wi-Fi hotspot, don’t tap it. Instead, tap-hold-slide the slider bar from ‘O‘ across to ‘I‘ as shown below:

Wifi hotspot 1

Now tap Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot. You will get a warning message that says turning the portable Wi-Fi hotspot on will turn the phone’s Wi-Fi off. Tap OK.

Next you will get a message saying ‘enabling Wi-Fi Hotspot’. When it’s finished doing what it needs to do, the display changes to show the ‘I’ lit up in green:

Wifi hotspot 2

Tap the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot option to display the configuration options as shown below:

Wifi hotspot 3Your phone will have a default name and password. At this point you have two options, you can either change the default name and password on your phone, or you can leave it as is and simply connect your Kindle to the phone’s default hotspot settings. Either way, your Samsung Galaxy S2, Android version Jellybean is now an active mobile hotspot.

Now to connect your Kindle Fire to the Wi-Fi.

Keep your phone set to portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

Turn the Kindle Fire on.

Swipe to unlock.

At the top of the screen, tap Apps.

Tap the Settings option.

Tap Wireless and VPN.

Tap Wi-Fi.

The next Wi-Fi option is set to ‘Off’. Tap it once to change ‘Off’ to ‘On’.

You should now see the name of your mobile phone in the list of available hotspots. If it’s not there, tap ‘join another network’ to make your Kindle sense the mobile phone’s presence.

Once you see the name of your mobile phone on the list, tap it to select it.

You may now be asked for the phone’s password. This will be the password shown on the configuration screen of your mobile phone!

Tap in the password and the Kindle should show a connection to your mobile hotspot. Yay!

Now, follow the Kindle Fire onscreen prompts to complete the registration of your device.

Note: The email address required to register your Kindle will be the email address you use to login to Amazon. Similarly, the password will be the normal password you use to log in to Amazon.

Once you’re done, your Kindle Fire should sync with your Amazon account and display your most recent purchases. I downloaded my two missing ebooks via the mobile hotspot but doing so does chew up quite a bit of the data allocation – i.e. it’s expensive so be warned.

Finally, when everything is ticketty boo again, close Wi-Fi on your Kindle Fire.

Now to fix up your phone.

If the screen has gone black, just tap the ‘On’ button at the side of the phone to wake it up. It should still be showing the configuration screen for the portable Wi-Fi hotspot.

Turn the portable Wi-Fi hotspot off by moving the slider bar from ‘I’ back to ‘O’.

Your mobile hotspot is now off but you are not finished yet. Go back to Settings/Wireless and networks and turn the [ordinary] Wi-Fi option back to ‘I‘.

[Do not get confused, this is the setting your phone uses. It is not the portable hotspot setting].

And that is that. A lot of work to fix a silly error. The only good thing to come out of this is that I’ve got my new ebooks back and I’ll have something to read tonight. Oh and I’ve learned some new stuff about my phone. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

*Normally when I buy ebooks from Amazon, I download them to my pc and then sideload them onto my Kindle device[s].

 


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