Odds and Ends – The ? Files

This is a presentation outline I did for the Gonzales Writers’ Group in Gonzales, TX on October 1, 2015.
Not Dummies, just Newbies

I. Get Ready…
A. Go to the source: In the amazon.com Kindle bookstore, download for free (except shipping and handling – usually about $1) “Building Your Book for Kindle”.
B. Either print out and highlight or make your own notes or keep up on your Kindle while working to set up manuscript.
C. Use Word (caution about legality) or one of the programs mentioned in the book for the easiest set up of the manuscript.
1. Ariel font considered best for Kindle by other authors.
2. Don’t use headers and footers – they won’t show up on Kindle.
3. Follow the book for details on setting up the “front matter” – title page, copyright page, dedication, etc.
D. Write, rewrite, and probably rewrite again.
E. Edit, edit, edit!
1. Spellcheck – you’ll have to look for words that are spelled correctly but are the wrong word. You know, the ones that sound the same but aren’t spelled the same?
2. Proofread. Fix punctuation, grammar, and overly used words. Read it out loud for extra effectiveness.
3. Have someone who’s not known for flattery proofread your book and offer suggestions. Accept or refuse suggestions.
F. Save the manuscript as one file on your desktop, as “Web Page, Filtered”. This will convert it to HTML.
II. Get Set…
A. Go to https.//kdp.amazon.com and sign in. Either use your amazon.com password or set up an account if you don’t have an amazon.com account already. (Though if you downloaded their book, you should…) Minors (considered as such per their state of residence laws) will need their parent to set up an account.
B. It should take you directly to the bookshelf page. If not, use the tab for it.

C. Start with “Enter your new book title”. Follow the steps.
1. Cover – you can upload your own per their requirements and guidelines, or use the Cover Creator, which is a selection of pictures and photos in the public domain and can be used for free.
2. Upload the manuscript file per their instructions.
3. Use the Kindle Preview feature to make sure your product looks like you wanted it to. If it doesn’t, follow the steps given to make changes.
4. Set pricing and rights. You must have a bank account for the direct deposit of royalties, or you can get a wire transfer or a check. (Woo-hoo!!) Think carefully about rights. Don’t want to lose anything that might make you a fortune… Note: Selling through Kindle Select means you can’t sell the ebook through anybody else.
5. After setting price and rights, choose either ‘Save as Draft’ or ‘Save and Publish’.
III. Go, Go, Go!
A. Books will be ready for sale in Kindle bookstore in 12 hours if it is in English and within two days for all other languages.
B. You cannot edit it for about 24 – 72 hours if it has reached this point. Make changes first!
C. If you make changes later, or change book details like pricing, description, title, royalties percentage, etc., go to your Bookshelf tab and use the “Actions” drop down menu next to the particular product. Important: after making changes, click “Save and Continue”, THEN “Save and Publish”.
D. Set up your author’s profile on “Author Central”. If you can’t think of anything interesting about yourself, ask someone who likes you.
E. Follow the advice on the ‘Promotion and Merchandising’ tab on the left. If you can’t afford an advertising agency, you’ll have to learn to self-promote.
F. Lots of books are available for a range of prices offering tips for making money with Kindle.
G. If your hopes and dreams come true, and your baby sells, your royalties will show up in 60 days. However, be aware some lowlifes may purchase it, read it and return it, and Kindle will take the money back if it is returned in 7 days. Important: Read “Where is My Money?” under the “Getting Paid” link on the left.
H. Because you might actually get paid royalties, the “Tax Information” link absolutely must be studied. Kindle must validate your tax identification before you are allowed to publish. Sorry, guess that should have come first…
I. If you want to know how you are doing with your sales because you can’t wait for the royalty check, go to the ‘Reports’ tab at the top of the page. You can download a spreadsheet with lots of interesting information, or just look at some graphs showing sales.
J. Under the ‘Community’ tab is the forum for everyone on Kindle. Plenty of interesting information there.


The Really Odd Thing

I was asked what my weirdest experience was.  I told them I have experienced everything from UFOs to ghosts to visions to dreams becoming real.  But I really would have to say my very weirdest experience (to date, anyway) was shared. 

My sister and I were sharing a home out in the country.  Very odd things began happening, like hearing footsteps cross the room though we saw nothing.  The sound of someone sitting in our dining table chair, making that whooshing sound of sitting on a cushion and squashing the air out of it. They were odd, but not scary.  We were just fascinated. The home was an ordinary mobile home, a trailer with no history of deaths or violence.

Then my sister began having sleep problems.  She reported she felt as if someone were standing over her as she slept in her bed. Then one night the entity threw itself upon her and seemed to smother her.  She was paralyzed but managed to wheeze my name and the entity disappeared. After that, she refused to sleep in the room and insisted on sharing my large bed at the other end of the house.  

We grew up sharing a bed so I didn’t complain too much.  She didn’t seem to have any bad dreams after that.  But one night not too long after, I had a dream.  I always left my bedroom door open since the room was small.  I dreamed I looked up at the doorway and saw bright moonlight shining through it. Suddenly there were two men standing there, a blonde haired one and a black man, both in teeshirts and jeans.  They were leering at us, their expressions clear in the moonlight.

I still remember I had no feelings of fear.  I was furious.  “Get out of my house!” I shouted at them in the dream. 

They both laughed heartily and threw themselves upon us and I found myself fighting to get the blond off me as his hands pinned mine.  Still, I felt no fear.  “Get off me before I kill you!” I growled. 

He laughed again and sneered, “You can’t kill us.  We’re already dead.”

“That’s what you think,” I snapped and suddenly everything went white.

I felt as if he were blown off me and with the other man, sent flying backwards down a tunnel by a ball of brightness. They were screaming and it sounded as if they went a long way.  Their screams cut off as a massive explosion erupted at the end of the tunnel.

Suddenly I was sitting up in bed, looking at the doorway, which was dark as it always was since there was no way for the moon to shine into it. Now that was a weird dream, I thought. Then my sister rolled over next to me, looked around, and whispered, “Are they gone?”

There were no more strange sounds in the house, or odd dreams while we lived there.