The time of a chapter

Dear reader, I have been thinking. No, do not worry, please. It did not hurt. Not much anyway.

Some time ago I gave some thought to the time I spent on the average chapter of the last three books I wrote. With that I mean the actual first writing, then the reading of it to see if it makes some sense, the rewriting of parts of it to make it better, and then the final nitpicking on making it as error-free as authorly possible. To this I should add the time that two people help me in making sure the story flows along, and the offences against the English language that I involuntarily add is removed again. I did, however, not do that.

When I added all that up, dear reader, I came to an amount of somewhere between 4 and 5 hours per chapter. The actual time of course depends on the length of it, but 4 hours is the least I spend on a proper chapter.

Then I thought “My goodness, considering that the latest 3 books are all over 40 chapters long… that makes for a lot of hours!”

3 books, at least 40 chapters, each chapter 4 hours or more. That comes to at least 480 hours, a minimum of 160 hours per book. And that only comprises the work on the text. No time counted for research, looking up various things, and work on the cover, or turning the chapters into a proper ebook.

Those numbers surprised me. A lot.

 

Indie Promotion

Dear reader,

It is Monday again, so I present to you: today’s Indie Promotion:

Immortal Link


by Uta Burke

Ebook Short Description: Fifteen-year-old Catholine Kennan has these two cool, gorgeous brothers, the kind every girl wishes to have. They protect and care about their younger sister. They are hot. They are funny. They are also extremely troubled by what one of their friends did to her, and all three suffer in their own way. Whom will you be crazy about: dark, responsible Louis, who tries to keep the family together, or golden, free-spirited, athletic wonder Charlie, who would rather die than let his sister’s attacker get away with what he did?

Immortal Link. For victims of abuse – Immortal Link – You hurt me, I’ll hurt you MORE. (Young Adult Paranormal.)

Where to find.
You can find Immortal Link on Amazon.com as ane-book and also apaperback.

You can learn more about Uta Burke on her website and her facebook-page.

An Android tablet for Children

Oregon Scientific has announced the MEEP! Android tablet for Kids, dear reader.

Now this has not directly something to do with reading and writing, I do think it is significant, because this way children will be immersed into the world of words much easier. After all, tablets are not only about pictures, also about words.

The MEEP! will have a 7-inch touchscreen display, WiFi, an SD card slot, and a “G-sensor” for improving viewing angle. The Android version is  as yet unclear. The makers claim it’s suitable for ages six and up, and parents can monitor and limit web access via an online control panel.

I hope there will be an e-book reader installed on it as well, but otherwise it won’t be difficult to install a reading-application like that of Kobobooks, Amazon.com and/or Aldiko.

(Information found through Engadget.)

Amazon and foreign languages

Dear reader,

It seems that Amazon is doing some very strange things with respect to foreign languages.

On the friendly website of EbookFriendly.com, I found this article, which I will post here verbatim:

(start quote)

Amazon Is Removing from Kindle Store Books Published in Unsupported Languages

The international policy of Amazon is mysterious. They ship Kindle Touch to over 170 countries, but they don’t want to sell it to their major markets. They also sell Kindle books to 170 countries, but they successfully prevent authors from those countries to publish in their own language.

I self-published via Amazon’s KDP a few books. Two of them in Polish. Tonight an email arrived from KDP, saying that one of the books has been removed:

As part of our efforts to provide the best experience possible for customers in the Kindle store, we are taking this opportunity to notify you that your book(s) is in a language not currently supported by KDP.  As a result, we will be removing your book(s) from the Kindle Store:

E-opowiadania 1 [Polish Edition] (ASIN:B004TYZ1FW)

Please note that we are only accepting new submissions in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese at this time. The Kindle community is expanding quickly and we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead.

Amazon opened their self-publishing platform to authors from outside US at the beginning of 2010. I remember that fact very well, as it happened on the eve of the rumored launch of Google Ebookstore and I had no doubts that Amazon’s move was to weaken the competitor.

At the beginning there were as much as 16 supported languages and authors from countries like Poland were hoping to have new languages on board soon. Nothing like this happened. Just the opposite. Last year the list of languages was being limited to six: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

However it was still possible to publish books in other languages. You had to use a couple of tricks and it was terribly difficult to get through, but it was possible.

A couple of days ago I noticed that the language status of the book, which is now removed, was changed from “English” to “Polish”. The other title, which is, to get things even more interesting, a part of the series, is still in the Kindle Store, with a status “English”.

If you self-published a book via Amazon’s KDP, and it’s in an unsupported language, you better check the status. If the language is still English, your book may be safe.

There is a small community of Polish authors who self-published their books at KDP, and many of them were affected. I’m sure it’s not only about Polish books. If you’ve heard about removing books in other languages, please share the information in the comments below.

Why is this happening now? I hope Amazon will keep on their promises: “we’re working to support titles in more languages in the months ahead”.

According to Nexto, one of the biggest Polish ebookstores, there are over 60,000 Kindle devices in Poland. First thing a new Kindle owner does is to check books in the mother tongue. Those who speak English, German, French, Spanish or Portuguese are lucky. The rest have to use tricks to find books in Kindle Store. If they don’t, they start to look somewhere else. If I were Amazon, I would consider it a lost opportunity.

I’ve asked KDP for explanation. If any specific answer comes, I’ll share it.

Update: Just checked my KDP dashboard. The status of the book in question is “blocked” and it means:

(end quote)

This may not have much impact on most readers, as they are probably native English, but if I had the idea to publish my Hilda books in Dutch, they would not appear on Amazon.com for the simple reason that they do not support my native language.

Traditional publishers should learn from self-publishers

Does self-publishing represent a threat to traditional publishers, or perhaps an opportunity? A number of people in the publishing industry seem dismissive of self-publishing writers or their numbers. But Philip Jones of FutureBook thinks that this is a mistake. He notes that readers who buy cheap self-published books will be spending time reading them that they might otherwise have spent reading more expensive works from traditional publishers.

What strikes me most about indie writers, however, is not what they write, but how they publish it. Konrath may be a ‘downmarket’ writer for some, but he is a first-rate publisher for many, as was Hocking: they wrote regularly, priced to the market, and promoted like hell. Heinze and Wilkinson may be looking for publishing deals: they just can’t be bothered waiting for traditional publishers to “discover them”.

Traditional publishers need to learn from these successes, if they are to throw off the irritating “legacy” tag some self-published writers hang around their necks.

He suggests publishers should be trying models similar to that floated by Macmillan New Writing (which is unfortunately closed for new submissions right now when it should be scooping up all the fresh “indie” talent it can). They should be building communities and courting the more successful self-published authors (as with Amanda Hocking).

All that makes sense, but the article’s close in which Jones suggests that badly-edited and poorly-presented self-published e-books will put readers off over time, and traditional publishers could improve their appearance, is actually rather amusing. I find myself wondering just where Jones has been over the last few years if he thinks that “professional” e-books are uniformly well-edited or presented. I’ve seen plenty of self-published works that were better than some pro-published for typos.

(Post originally appeared on Teleread.)

Page-turning in Ebooks Now Gets Much Smarter [Video]

Do you miss the paper feel in ebooks? Developers of ebook applications have always been trying to imitate the sensation of paper, and one of the most obvious ways was page-turning animation.

KAIST Institute of Information Technology Convergence developed a whole new concept of page-flipping for ebooks. Watch the video to see how many possibilities we will have when it’s introduced. It’s actually even more convenient than paper books.

Via Ebook Friendly » Tips & More, by Piotr Kowalczyk, and The Verge

Writing update

I am going to focus on finishing the children’s story now. 1 more chapter, I think. It’s on 34000 words now, and the 20th chapter just started.
Don’t want to make this book too long, as it’s for children, and also the first one. I’m testing the waters, so to speak.

Sorry, Hilda fans, you’ll have to wait.

Hilda on paper (the library is growing)

Dear reader,

With much pleasure I can announce that at this moment 5 Hilda-books are also available in print. Unfortunately I am not yet so famous and important that you can run into your local bookstore to obtain a copy, if you would like one, but printed copies are available.

Here you can see the covers of the actual books. Click the cover to go to the detail-page on www.lulu.com where the specific book can be ordered.

Kindle Devices: Availability and Prices for International Users

Kindle 4

KINDLE 4 | PHOTO: AMAZON.CO.UK

In this post I’ll track changes in prices and availability of Kindle devices for non-US customers.

I’ll update it every time a price will change or a new model will become available.

The chart below lists devices in Kindle Stores localized in six countries: US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. Kindle devices from US store are shipping to over 170 countries and destinations – here is the country list for Kindle 4.

However, the recently added Kindle Touch can’t be bought by users from 5 countries where there are local Kindle Stores: UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. This fact leaves non-US users confused as to what is available, for which price, and in which store. This post gathers all info from different stores to show a clear picture.

Versions with special offers are excluded from a list, as they are offered only for US customers. Kindle Touch WiFi has replaced Kindle Keyboard WiFi in US store. In fact, the last model has disappeared from the offer at all. If you’re desperate to buy it, you can get it… from a German store.

At today’s currency rates (07.02.2012), the cost of Kindle 4 in localized stores converted to dollars is:
– $132 (€99) for Germany, France, Italy and Spain ( 1 EUR = 1.33 USD )
– $142 (£89) in United Kingdom ( 1 GBP = 1.59 USD )

I’ve checked if this is possible for users in one of the 5 countries to order the device in Kindle Store US, even when this particular model is available in their local store. To do that I’ve added a shipping address in France. First, I double-checked Kindle Touch and confirm – it’s not possible.

When it comes to Kindle 4 – you can order it from Kindle Store US. Shipping and handling from US to France is $20.98, plus import fees deposit $25.48. Total to pay is $155.46. It looks like for users in countries with their own Kindle Stores, it’s more cost-effective to buy in the local store.

(Post courtesy of Ebookfriendly.com, thank you Piotr Kowalczyk)