Saturday, December 31, 2011

Curtain call for 2011

Well, another year comes to an end.

I've got to say, 2011 was a big year for me. Getting my book out there and getting this whole writing thing going (although technically I started in late 2010, sue me) made the whole thing worth it.

One thing is certain, I look forward to 2012, and all the work I can accomplish there. My resolution for last New Year's was to complete my book by year's end, and as you all know, I fulfilled that.

It wasn't always easy. There were a few rough spots I hit while writing that it took a few weeks to work out. The evil evil writer's block made my life miserable. Curse you, writer's block!

But I kept going, and well, here I am, sitting down and counting out the last handful of hours until the end of the year. (For a frame of reference, as I post this, I slide down to just under 24 hours remaining. No, the moon will not fall.)

As for 2012 itself, I have a couple of different plans. I actually have a handful of different ideas for future novels, and I'm looking at which one of them feels right to me. Obviously, I'd love to push the sequel to No Place Like Amestraton out there, but we'll see what happens.

Any way I handle it, the future is bright with possibilities. Here's to 2012, and the non-ending of the world! (Seriously, who actually thinks the world will end?)

See you on the other side!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy holidays

There's not much I have to say with this post, so I'll keep it short. Tomorrow I head out of town to visit relatives for Christmas, so I need to double check my packing.

It's somewhat of a family tradition, and it's one that I've managed to follow every year - save one. (That year, my entire family came down with nasty colds/flu/something, and couldn't go anywhere.

I know there's a definite possibility that any number of readers of this blog (and hopefully my book), are less fortunate and stuck due to the weather. If so, I wish you all the best. If I could fix weather as easily as rewriting a passage in my book, I would.

Whatever you may celebrate, I wish you all happy holidays. Have fun, stay safe, blah blah, the whole nine yards. Now, since that packing won't double check itself...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Amazon trail

And no, I don't mean the classic computer game. (I wonder if anyone other than me remembers that.)

We're live and running for the Kindle, so now I've covered all the major platforms. You can find the happy results here. Should be good for all your buying needs, yes?

Let me tell you, figuring out how to upload it was a pain. I started out with Amazon's own list of instructions. To summarize: I had to convert it to html format, edit it, plug it into the MobiPocket software, have it convert it to drc format, then upload that to Amazon, who would convert it to mobi format for Kindles.

Needless to say, I spent several hours butting my head against the proverbial brick wall. The main issue was that the html conversion liked sticking random spaces in between paragraphs. Nothing I did could stop OpenOffice from doing that, and it kept transferring over.

So then I went to look at the other piece of software I'd heard about: Calibre. Initially, the same thing happened. Every html conversion went south. At one point, I was trying converting it from html in MobiPocket, then moving it over to Calibre. Talk about convoluted.

Finally, I went online and began looking up more information, trying to see if there was something I missed. (I'd consulted several different websites, guides, and blogs by now.)

Guess what? There was.

It turned out I could use Calibre to convert odt files (the default OpenOffice files) directly. D'oh! So once that issue was resolved, the rest was easy. Just a minor hiccup over the table of contents (me not realizing how mobi files handle such metadata), and I had a working mobi file of No Place Like Amestraton. Up it went!

I suppose the moral of this story is never to trust official directions, except, well, the Calibre info kind of was official directions. So really, I learned nothing. Except that the process is both simpler and more complex than it needs to be.

Well, enjoy the reading. I know some of you were probably waiting long enough for the book to be on Amazon, so have at it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lending out deal breakers

Well, then, some interesting news. Seems Amazon's new lending program requires exclusivity (meaning you can't publish with any other source if you participate), and Mark Coker (the head of Smashwords) is not happy. Neither am I, but for different reasons.

Obviously, I'd never sign up for such a thing. My e-book is now available through multiple formats, and I like it that way. I already know of people who have bought it in one format, and there probably are others (I'm not certain, due to Smashwords being its usual lazy self with updating my stats).

However, the blog post does make a point about Amazon and Smashwords not being able to reach a distribution deal due to Amazon, in Coker's words, being "unwilling to provide us agency terms".

Given what he accuses Amazon of in that blog post, I would not be surprised for Amazon to now have very different reasons why to reject any deal.

In other words, the distribution deal (that was supposedly in the works) is most certainly off. Smashwords, in all likelihood, will not be distributing to Amazon now, the near future, the far future, or any other type of future.

Not that this bothers me too much, since that means I get to skip the middleman and go straight through Amazon. You can probably expect to see No Place Like Amestraton to show up there sometime in the next week, assuming they are as fast as they advertise. This means that for all of you who use Kindles, you get an early Christmas present.

Nor is this a problem with Smashwords, since I still plan, at least for now, to continue to distribute to all other sources. Smashwords currently doesn't require exclusivity, and I doubt they ever will.

I'll admit, I may have been overly optimistic about them working out a deal. It's the kind of person I am, really. Always look on the bright side and all that. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Take care, everyone.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The worst blog post ever

Remember, remember, it is now December...

It's almost midnight where I am, so this post goes up really late. Okay, I'll admit it, I procrastinated a little when it came time to post this. So sue me.

Writing wise, I've been plugging along slowly. When writer's block hits, it hits hard. I think I should be able to speed up though, now that I've figured out roughly what I'm writing next.

It probably doesn't help that I don't have a lot to talk about for the blog. Not much has been happening, so it's kind of a weird feeling sitting down and writing about nothing.

I know there are probably some people out there who can take the most seemingly boring anecdote and turn it into an and amusing blog post. Hint: I am not one of those people, as much as I might want to be one.

I've tried to keep the focus on the writing (other than my early baseball diversions, which I suspect impressed no one). I figure since I'm a writer, it might be of interest to get some insight into my admittedly messed-up mind. Seriously, the blog is called "Chris Mitchell the Author" for a reason.

To be honest, I've been very spontaneous with this blog, if you couldn't tell. A lot of it is me tossing out what I'm thinking, and filling in the holes whatever humorous quips come to mind. I suppose that might not be the most professional approach to a blog, but that's how it goes.

Either way, I guess it does reflect the kind of person I am, and that's what a blog's about, right? A little piece of a person, put on the internet for public viewing. And if you don't like this blog, it's probably safe to say you wouldn't like meeting me in person either. Fair enough.

And since I've managed to churn out another blog post out of my thoughts, I guess I'll go write some more. After all, the dwarves aren't going to wait (book teaser, oh my).

See (or rather, I won't, no webcam hijinks here) you later.