My First E-Book Experience

All being well, His Brand Of Beautiful will be published as an e-book in the new year, so I figured it was time I owned a Kindle and thanks to hubby Santa, my wish came true.

I’ve just finished my first e-book. Ex and The Single Girl, by Lani Diane Rich. This was a freebie plugged on Jennifer Crusie’s website some time ago that I’ve had sitting in my Amazon store, just a-waitin’ the Kindle.

So, some first impressions of e-books v print books.

It is SO light. Amazingly so. No RSI in the wrists reading anymore. And when I put it on my bedside table, or the kitchen bench or any handy horizontal surface, well, I feel rather stylish. (Hey, I don’t feel stylish very often – work with me). It’s so very pretty in its little leather satchel!

Now if I had my choice again, I think I’d like a ‘touch screen’ option, rather than press buttons to turn pages. But that’s being picky. Sorry Santa.

The viewing quality is great. I was reading it outside yesterday and there wasn’t any glare from the overhead sun, and I’ve discovered how to make the font bigger… useful given the champagne downed in this house Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Without making any comment on the book itself, it had a few formatting errors that were annoying. The scene breaks were non-existent, which meant every now and then I was completely thrown by paragraphs that continued a new scene from the ending of an old one. No paragraph space. No ****. Nothing. (My blog wants to throw in a line of white space below – but imagine if it was closed up and you’ll see what I mean.)

Here’s an example:

“Bastard.” I swiped an empty bottle of chardonnay off the coffee table and into the trash can, trying to work up some anger. It didn’t come. I put the trash by the door and wandered into my bedroom, falling asleep to thoughts of old flames and British Flyers.

“How’s that eggplant?” Peter asked. I looked down at my plate. I’d had one small bite and was still chewing.

See?

And hunting for that scene just told me a downfall of e-books. How do you quickly skim through to find a specific page/scene?

Aha! She says all-knowing, after five minutes of faffing about because my Kindle doesn’t have touch screen (sorry Santa for being ungrateful) pressing buttons… You can search the book for ‘eggplant’…

As a marketing module, this Kindle is amazing. Every time I close it, when I come back they are promoting a new title. I imagine they have a way of checking my profile on things such as Goodreads or books I’ve browsed at Amazon and they think, right, this girl’s a good fit for the latest Patricia Cornwell Scarpetta book, let’s see if we can sell it to her. Come in sucker…

After I’ve got rid of the marketing page about Patricia Cornwell’s new book, I’m at the same page where I left off. I don’t need bookmarks (proper ones that the kids giggle as they steal) or dog-eared pages that my husband grizzles at me about. I can lay this Kindle down whichever way I like and I don’t get nagged for ‘breaking that book’s back’.

The real test will be: will I read my Kindle in the loo? I have books that only ever get read in the loo. Right now I’m on Lord Of The Rings, so my loo-reading basket is well and truly full for at least another month. That’s a dang big book! If my Kindle makes it to the toilet, it will be my best booky friend forever.

Blogs, Books and DANG BIG THINGS…

I’ve had some big days in recent weeks, but today just takes the cake. I can only imagine how I might feel the day my book actually hits the shelves, err… cyberspace.

Jenn J Mcleod, who is about to release her debut book House For All Seasons in March, and is also now an official radio and television megastar in the mould of Dame Edna, who by the way I am going to see in Adelaide on her farewell tour in January – but I digress. (I do that). Where was I?

Yes! Jenn J Mcleod has invited me to be part of a blog hop tour called The Next Big Thing. Jenn plus four author friends Allison Tait, Kerrie Patterson and Cate Ellink and yours truly have ten questions each to answer about our book(s). And we also have an official group called the DIGRITS (as to how we got our name, my lips are sealed.)

Plus: Jenn has invited me to be on her Author Harvest blog, which is a series I love reading, and I’ve found out so much about chickens and gnomes from all the talented people who’ve been on her site this year, I am thrilled to be part of it. I had to share just a taste, this was one of my favorite responses to Jenn’s big: “Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road” question, by Kylie Ladd:

JJM: Now for the big question… Why did the chicken cross the road?

KL: Our chickens are so very stupid I have no idea why they do anything. Yesterday a dragonfly buzzed near them while they were sitting together on the lawn. They jumped up in a panic and ran straight into each other. Crossing an entire road would be well beyond them.  

Where was I? (Laughing again at the idea of Kylie’s crazy chickens).

Yes! Thrilled to be part of Author Harvest. Thanks for asking me Jenn!

And so, I went off to my email inbox hunting all these blog questionnaires and also looking for notice from OzSales about my Christmas outfit that has YET to arrive and I bought it online WEEKS ago!! (Yep, digressing again…) And there I found this one:

Ping!

“I have just assigned an editor to work with you on His Brand of Beautiful. Her name is [blanked out – oh this confidentiality until the contract is signed is killing me], and she is really enthusiastic about getting your work ready for publication. She will be working with you directly, which will allow you both more freedom to work to your own schedule.

[Blanked out] has been informed of the final and only due date of February 1 2013, which is when she will need to send us the final edited copy so we can release your title in March 2013. [SQQUUUUEEEEEE] I will be sending [blanked out] your manuscript today, so you should hear from her in the near future.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any queries along the way, and in the meantime I hope you find the editing process rewarding!”

SQUEEEEEEEEE! Now I think I’m gonna go do twenty cartwheels on the lawn. (ahem-in my dreams).

So excited! Thank you world.

But I wanted a signed copy

Oops…

In our family the news is out. My two lovely Aunts have heard from my mother that I have a book contract in the wings and one Aunt said to mum… “I want a copy of Lily’s book and I want it personally signed…”

My mother dutifully passed on this message yesterday and the conversation went like this:

“That’s great, Mum. But it’s going to be an e-book.”

Cue silent pause, which I fill. “It’s an electronic book, Mum. You need a thing called a Kindle to read it.”

“Oh. It’s not a book then?”

“It’s a book. It’s just not printed out.”

“Oh,” more pause. “How much does a Kindle thing cost?” Her voice goes a little squeaky at the end.

“You can get all types, mum, with a zillion bells and whistles, but the one I want for Christmas is about $120.”

“Oh.” Brightens. “It’s not thousands then.”

“No. Not thousands, mum.”

But I can’t imagine either of my Aunts rushing out to buy a Kindle. And my mother has yet to master the sending of a text. She is certain if she touches a computer she will break it, and the idea of using a mouse makes her look for the highest place to leap.

Make no mistake. My mother is still thrilled, but I don’t think the idea of there being an electronic book ever occurred to her, much less that her daughter might write one.

I shall have to sign my Kindle and let my Aunt read it there… 😉