Category Archives: iBooks and eBooks – Self Publishing with Alan Dapré

Children’s Author Alan Dapré shares tips and thoughts about self-publishing quality ebooks and ibooks.

‘It’s good to write badly’ – Writing tips from Alan Dapre

It’s good to write badly. Baldly, in my case.

Back in the noisy days of  typewriters I was indebted to a strip of white tape that I placed on the paper to strike out mistakes. This was replaced in time by liquid paper. Nowadays the computer Delete key is my friend. Though I enjoy drafting my ideas out on sticky post-it sheets, rearranging good ones and throwing away the not-so-good.

Writers produce their best work when they jettison unnecessary words, characters, narratives and ideas. I prefer to be ruthless and self-edit.

Working with an Editor is useful but can be painful too, reminding me of my TV script writing days where directors and producers would wreak havoc with a careful crafted submission. In TV, the editing process is not over until the final cut. Most of the writer’s vision is left on the cutting room floor, or in a computer’s trash bin.

The best publishers use Editors who work alongside writers to eliminate excess bloat – creating a flowing narrative that engages the reader. Bad ones take over – and might as well have written the piece themselves.

So I find it is in my best interest to get a story written and self-edited to a level where I feel bold enough to let it go. If it’s strong enough it’ll fly. If not, it will probably still benefit from a good kicking about.

I tend to write more than will see the light of day – best to have too much than too little. Writers need time to write themselves into a state of consistency. So there is always plenty of flab to cut out.

Giving birth to ideas allows them to take their chances. Sometimes it takes years for them to reach their potential. I once wrote ‘Kenny’ – a play about kids leaving a Care Home. It sat in a drawer for two years until it was dusted off, re-edited and sent to the BBC for their 1991 Young Radio Playwrights Festival. Happily, it became one of the winning entries and kickstarted my writing career.

It helps to write with no fear for half an hour or so. Then have a cup of tea or walk the dog, returning fresh to the work. Skim it and highlight the good sections and strike through the rest. Save the draft. Now delete the dross and save again. Re-read and tinker with any gleaming nuggets you have left.

Now for the hard bit. Look at the work as a whole and strike through anything that doesn’t fit. It may be your best line ever, but if it shouldn’t be there then it has to go. I find this tough. Very tough when I am writing short narratives for children’s picture books. Every word counts. If a word or sentence is out of place, out it goes.

Ouch.

stephen-king

Stephen King has this advice – ‘Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.’

bernard lepton, alan dapre, stranger in the home

Bernard Hepton, a great actor and a lovely bloke, once narrated ‘Stranger In The Home’ – my BBC Radio 4 monologue. Prior to the recording day, we were discussing a certain line – one that I considered to be of great emotional importance for his character.

‘I think I’ll just cut it out,’ he said softly. I asked how he would get the emotion across using the other, more mundane, lines…

‘It’s called acting, darling.’

Bernard gave my play more space – and that gave it greater emotional impact. What is left out is as important as what is left in.

This is true for actors, writers, musicians…dustmen.

A final piece of  advice from Stephen King – ‘Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.’

That’s what good writing hinges on…

 

 

 

 

eBooks for sale by J R Hartley, I mean Alan Dapré

Do you remember that advert where an old man rings round bookshops until he smiles – puts on his hat – and nips out the door? He is looking for a book by J. R. Hartley and the twist is he is after his own book. 

jr hartley - yellow pages

Well, that wouldn’t happen these days – now that online booksellers are on the scene. He would just have to do a quick Google or Yahoo (is that now a noun too?) and his dusty old book would appear. Selling second-hand on the Used section of Amazon.

It wouldn’t be long before he could read his masterpiece at home, his heart richer and his wallet poorer by £0.01…

It is weird seeing my 63 books selling online. Many are still being sold by the original publishers but some are second/third/fourth-hand and making an income for online sellers. I wish there was a way that I could retain a 10% percentage of such sales but perhaps getting £0.001 is probably not worth it. Of course, some are advertised for ridiculous prices such as £27.79.

So it makes sense for me to try and compete and sell a few books online myself. That brings me to – Cuddle MuddleWiggle Jiggle & Eggy Leggy. Three books for preschoolers, each sporting a playful rhyme and funny narrative.

If you believe in supporting good writing and have a cute pre-schooler who needs a cute ebook then why not give my ebooks a try? I’ve made them dirt cheap – and it would be great to have them read & reviewed.

Click the links to see my colourful illustrations – oh, and a loveable Panda who just needs a Cuddle 😉

P0_Cover_Cuddle_Muddle_4608_3072_uncropped

Cuddle Muddle Wee Panda Bear tumbles out of bed and needs a Big Bear cuddle, but without her wee black glasses she gets in a cuddle muddle! First she hugs a hippo then cuddles a surprised croc! Until she gets a big Bear cuddle … cute sleepy wee bear just won’t stop!’

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)
Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

SCT0_KF8_WJCover_EXT_600_863_126kb_72r_TITLE_MASTER_USED

Wiggle  Jiggle – It’s Wee Panda Bear’s Birthday and she has grown an inch in the night. She wiggles and jiggles but her black coat is too tight. When no friends come to play Wee Bear sets off to find them, but nobody is at home. She goes back to her room full of gloom … and gets a brilliant surprise.
‘Wiggle Jiggle’ –  available on kindle (UK link)
‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – available on kindle  (US link)

 

Eggy Leggy - picture book by Alan Dapre
Eggy Leggy – Wee Panda Bear finds a big egg that suddenly sprouts legs and runs off. It surprises Croc and sails over Snail, buzzes by Bee and bounces on Hippo. Soon Eggy Leggy is stuck in a tree so Wee Bear hatches a plan to set her free. And find out who is inside.

‘Eggy Leggy’ –  available on kindle (UK link)
‘Eggy Leggy’ – available on kindle  (US link)

13 More Uses For A Dead Kindle … by Alan Dapre

Here are a few more uses for a dead Kindle.

 

101 Uses Dead Kindle Alan Dapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Grave Stone

scales_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Scales

Scraper__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Scraper

Shark_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Shark Fin

shower__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Knife

Skater_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Skates

skim__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Skimming Stone

skydive_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Parachute

swim_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Swim Float

Swing_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Swing

Teacher_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Hat

Vampire__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Collar

Wallace__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Uses For A Dead Kindle: Shield

 

Quick Kindle story> A few months ago my wife left her Kindle on a British Airways domestic flight from Glasgow to London. It was in the pocket attached to the seat in front. Immediately ringing  BA that day the Lost Property Dept replied that the Kindle, if found, would take 3 weeks to arrive and be logged – then details would go online.

Kate offered up the seat number and flight time – stating that it was ‘lost’ just a few hours earlier – but despite all this the Kindle mysteriously disappeared. Now, she wasn’t flying over the Bermuda Triangle so it’s safe to assume that someone nicked it from the seat pocket. Either a passenger on the next flight if the plane hadn’t been checked properly – or a staff member. Sad but true.

A brown Kindle appeared online a few weeks later but it was apparently the wrong type. So that was that. Now Kate has mine and I was forced to buy an iPad – heh heh.

 

 

101 Uses for a Dead Kindle (well, 10 actually) by Alan Dapre

It’s all in the timing. In early 2011 I was beavering away to create a book called ‘101 uses for a dead kindle’ – and had 50 drawings under my belt with 51 more sketched out … when I got sidetracked into illustrating my three Wee Bear ebooks.

Of course – in the fast paced world of publishing – someone beat me to it, leaving me with 50 fully formed Uses For A Dead Kindle with no home. So – cos I’m feeling generous and can’t stand waste, here are a few of my favourites.

More to follow 🙂

101 Things Dead Kindle Alan Dapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Mondrian Canvas

BlockGame_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Blocks Game

Bond_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Bond Villain’s Weapon

Cards__copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Card

cricket_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Cricket Box

Cycle_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Cycle Seat

Guillotine_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Guillotine

Loo_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Loo Divider

ping_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Ping Pong Bat

Pisa_copyright_AlanDapre

101 Things To Do With A Dead Kindle: Pisa Prop

 

Cuddle Muddle – my picture ebook is now free 25,26,27th April

Well, if you like pandas and you like cuddles then this is the book for you. I’ve made it free several times before and have got quite a few downloads and some nice reviews. If you have a Kindle Fire/Paperwhite or Kindle For Mac/Windows software then you’ll be able to read my colourful story. Helps to have a preschool youngster too 🙂

Cuddle Muddle Free Alan Dapre

Picture ebook by Alan Dapre

 

What’s it about?

Wee Panda Bear tumbles out of bed and needs a Big Bear cuddle, but without her wee black glasses she gets in a cuddle muddle! She hugs a hippo then cuddles a croc – and until sleepy Wee Bear cuddles Big Bear she just won’t stop!’ 

I’ve blogged about this story in the past so won’t go on. Feel free to have a wee free read on me 🙂

Cuddle Muddle UK link

Cuddle Muddle US link

Some reviews –

I was recommended this from a friend, and was really pleased. My 3 year old is facinated with my kindle and loves to have a few picture stories on there. She loves the illustrations in this story esp Mummy and Baby Panda! It’s a fantastic little story to keep on your Kindle for emergencies such as a Dr’s surgery waiting room or bus journey when no toys are on hand except my Kindle, unlike some of the other e-books availble for your kindle the illustraitions are of good quality and fit the story well.  Lise 2709

This is an absolutely beautiful book for all little ones that love a big cuddle and big ones that like a wee cuddle!. The book is funny, gentle, heartwarming and the perfect size for a bedtime story. The illustrations are gorgeous – I love the little teddy bear and the firefly. As someone who needed glasses at a very young age, it is especially lovely to see them featured in the story. I look forward to more books from this author. Anna O

 

 

 

Lost in the Amazon maze

Help.

Yup, that’s little old me stuck somewhere in self-publishing land and wondering what the future holds and – possibly – where’s the Exit?

Something has happened at Amazon HQ. The Like button for a free book has gone as well as the Tags. Free books now seem to have a tenth of the value per download compared to a paid sale as regards ranking. If you used to get high in the Free Charts it would be a gradual free fall down – now after an hour you have dropped like a stone into oblivion, unless you’re very lucky.

Now I was never a fan of the Like idea. I saw writers on many sites, particularly GoodReads, canvas support for their book and offer a tit-for-tat Like service. You scratch my virtual back and I will scratch yours from a distance. Apparently the Likes went into that great mathematical food mixer of an algorithm that Amazon uses … and helped determine a rank.

Tags also helped – and they were much harder to dismiss. Whenever I look for a book I type in various key words which will translate into tags for a search. If a free ebook now has no tags then I cannot reliably or quickly search for a particular type. It seems a bit counter-intuitive of Amazon to do this.

So why the changes? It seems to me that Amazon do a lot of deals with traditional publishers – after all, paper books are sold by the millions on Amazon so it makes sense to keep publishers sweet and not alienate them. Various special arrangements can be cooked up and the free books brigade are none the wiser. For instance, Publishers can list their books under 5 categories while free books are allowed 2. This means publishers have a better chance of being listed in top charts.

I was always amazed at the types of books that hover in the higher reaches of the paid book charts and certain publishers occupy very high and consistent positions as regard their books. Not amazed now.

So how does all this help me? On the plus side, some of the jiggery pokery between free-book authors will be reduced. Reviews will have to take more of a precedent – so I’m not condemned by some malicious tags (such as ‘spammer’ ‘boring’) – rather it will take a longer review and some malicious 1 Star ratings. Much more effort then for anyone being nasty.

As a writer long used to traversing the ups and downs of traditional publishing I find all this chopping and changing a pain in the Amazon. It makes no sense planning ahead or trying to get a book project flying if the rules keep being torn up. There are many sites who profited from listing Free ebooks and they were paid for each session that visitors spent on Amazon after being referred through. This was apparently queering the pitch for other affiliates.

It also meant that Amazon was making less money – free books actually cost Amazon – and they would rather someone come on from a site advertising big goods like washing machines and buy one than deal with people scratting about for a free book and perhaps then buying a bookmark.

This does pose one big question for Amazon to deal with. What happens to people who have bought Kindles in order to gorge on free books? Part of Amazon’s advertising is that it has millions of books available. Now that free ebooks are going to be made less visible there will be a drop in their presence. Less books will be on offer. Probably a lot less. Hopefully though a lot less cr@p too.

So what am I to do?
Sell my books via KDP and make them free 5 days per quarter in the hope I get follow up sales – even though my time at the top of the free charts will be limited?

Or do I make all my books just 99p and take a lower royalty in the hope that people will be buying lesser priced books now that free ones are harder to come by?

Or do I make one of my books permanently free and get out of the KDP scheme? I will have to boost my own website, get in with a book aggregator etc … More work, hmm.

Traditional publishing routes are in flux too. Many educational publishers offer fees instead of royalties. These fees are meant to compensate an author and exceed what they get in normal fixed royalty rates. The cynic in me wonders why they bothered changing things … unless it’s to their advantage.

So the big hitters are manoeuvring between themselves and getting ready for the kill, or ready to get in bed with each other. As for the small fry – it’s a very fishy business and we’re at the mercy of the powers that be. If I’m to be struck down from the world of self-publishing I’ll blame it on an Act of Cod.

Or – shhh – you know who.

 

‘Eggy Leggy’ – new picture ebook by Alan Dapré

Well, ‘Eggy Leggy’ has finally rolled out.

My pre-school age picture ebook – ‘Eggy Leggy’ – tells the tale of a curious Panda who finds a giant egg outside.  Suddenly Eggy Leggy sprouts legs and runs off.  Wee Bear eggcitedly gives chase. Soon Eggy Leggy surprises Croc then sails over Snail, buzzes by Bee and bounces on Hippo. When Eggy Leggy gets stuck in a tree Wee Bear hatches a plan to set her free.

'Eggy Leggy' is book 3 in my Wee Panda Bear Series

If you have read the previous ebooks – ‘Cuddle Muddle’ and ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ then you will be familiar with Wee Bear and her colourful adventures. ‘Cuddle Muddle’ was all about hugs and bedtime fears. ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ explored birthdays and surprises.  ‘Eggy Leggy’ deals with issues such as making friends or being curious. It ends with Wee Bear helping shy Eggy Leggy come out of her shell.

I’ve illustrated the book to appeal to young readers, and the vibrant colours look great on a tablet computer screen. Anyone with a Kindle Fire will be able to  download a copy easily from Amazon stores. It can be viewed on the Paperwhite and on Mac or PC computers using the Kindle For Mac/Kindle For PC software.

I’m already getting great feedback, indicating these books are perfect for parents who want a quality ebook to share with their young ones. Rolling eggs and Easter are made for each other. Why not have a wee read yourself? 🙂

***

Other books in the Wee Panda Bear Series:

‘Wiggle Jiggle’  – available on Amazon (UK link)

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – available on Amazon (US link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

 

To be (free) or not to be (a free ebook) …

on Amazon …

Well, I made my ebook ‘Cuddle Muddle‘ free for two days last week and plugged it on some Freebie sites, Twitter & Facebook, taking advice from some ‘so called’ ebook Gurus. One had a list of 50 freebie sites and I dutifully accessed some of them, putting my details in a few days before my book was due to go free on KDP Select. Some of the sites required a listing on the Free day so I got up early and did that chore too.

Now the fun started and I watched my KDP reports page to see how many people were downloading a free copy. After a slow start my book began to go from 220000 up to 6000 and then to 2000 in the Free Book rankings. By the end of the two days it had peaked at 715. So what were the scores on the doors for my KindleFire colour picture ebook for preschoolers?

600 + downloads.

Now I was pretty pleased with that especially as I made a cack-handed fist of self-promotion on Twitter. So after the two free days were over I attempted some analysis.

I reckoned most of the downloads came from the Freebie sites so I wouldn’t be getting many sales of the companion ebook  ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ from that. Those who buy freebies tend to, er, buy more freebies. It takes a lot to convince readers to part with their dosh when so many good (and bad) ebooks are freely floating around the web. By all accounts about 50000 are released each day … which makes my position of 715 not bad at all.

So how come I did okay? I also reckon some downloaders are only interested in how I managed to create my Fixed Layout ebook and have downloaded it to pick it apart with their software.

So how many downloaders will buy my next book and be interested in any others? That is the real question and I’m erring on the pessimistic side here. That’s probably realistic. I am lucky to have a track record in traditional publishing and that has helped with creating an interest, if not a buzz, but I don’t expect to break any sales records – just yet!

I thought it would be fun to see how many ebooks these gurus are selling. I was surprised to discover that all the ones I had read were selling books ranked lower than 2 million. Yet their sites acted as if they were storming the charts and selling millions. I guess it is wise to always question the advice you get on the web.

In a few weeks time I will probably make another ebook free and see how that goes. When my KDP select time is up in two months I will probably duck out of it and promote my stuff on my site and with sellers other than just Amazon. I don’t like having my eggs all in one basket. No one knows how the ranking/sales algorithms work. I certainly don’t.

What also struck me as my book lodged at number one in the Animals>Bears category in the Free list was the dross that was being bought alongside in the Paid list. Really badly drawn books with dull narratives were coining it in. Most had a low price point so I guess that readers were just having a punt, but a few were priced high and still selling.

I could see that these ones had the same sort of Tags and these Tags were liked, and that must help get the book’s ranking up.

It’s all just a game really, and one that doesn’t pay off for the professional picture book author and illustrator. Personally I like dealing with a traditional publisher who can offer editorial advice and an advance. Such deals are never easy to come by but they are always worth having.

I shall continue creating ebooks while writing my ‘traditional’ books – and it’ll be interesting to see how this ever changing ebook market pans out. If you have any comments feel free to drop me a line by clicking ‘Leave a comment’ below.

 

‘Cuddle Muddle’ is free now on Amazon – 16th & 17 jan 2013

Hi,

If you like quality children’s picture ebooks – especially free ones – I’d like to say that ‘Cuddle Muddle’ is Free on Weds 16 & Thurs 17 January 2013. It can be read on all KindleFires, plus should be downloadable for Kindle For iPad & Kindle For Android as well as Paperwhite.

Cuddle Muddle is a colourful fixed layout story with added text magnification boxes to make reading easier for preschool readers. It is the first book in my Wee Panda Bear Series.

Cuddle Muddle has a simple but engagingly funny plot – ‘Wee Panda Bear tumbles out of bed and needs a Big Bear cuddle, but without her wee black glasses she gets in a cuddle muddle! She hugs a hippo then cuddles a croc – and until sleepy Wee Bear cuddles Big Bear she just won’t stop!’ 

I’ve illustrated the story as well as written it – and hope it’s something you’ll enjoy. Feel free to download and have a free read.

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre
Cuddle Muddle Page 1 by Alan Dapré
Page 1 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre
Page 2 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre
Page 2 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre

 

 

 

 

 

Cuddle Muddle – my picture ebook is free on 16th 17th Jan, 2013

Hi,

As regular readers of this blog know I’m a published author who is also self-publishing on the Kindle Fire fixed layout format.

If you like quality children’s picture ebooks – especially free ones – I’d like to say that ‘Cuddle Muddle’ is Free on Weds 16 & Thurs 17 January 2013. It can be read on all KindleFires, plus should be downloadable for Kindle For Mac & Kindle For Android as well as Paperwhite.

Cuddle Muddle is a colourful fixed layout story with added text magnification boxes to make reading easier for preschool readers. It is the first book in my Wee Panda Bear Series.

Cuddle Muddle has a simple but engagingly funny plot – ‘Wee Panda Bear tumbles out of bed and needs a Big Bear cuddle, but without her wee black glasses she gets in a cuddle muddle! She hugs a hippo then cuddles a croc – and until sleepy Wee Bear cuddles Big Bear she just won’t stop!’ 

I’ve illustrated the story as well as written it – and hope it’s something you’ll enjoy. Feel free to download and have a free read.

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre

Cuddle Muddle Page 1 by Alan Dapré

Page 1 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre

Page 2 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre

Page 2 of Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre

 

 

 

 

 

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ by Alan Dapré – my new Kindle Fire fixed layout children’s book

So I finally have ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ available on Amazon.

"Wiggle Jiggle" - by Alan Dapre

A fixed layout KF8 ebook by Alan Dapré

My previous posts have given a sense of how to get a fixed layout book made. What I like about images being fixed is that they are more like a printed book, and text will remain just where I want it to be on the page. ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ features region magnification boxes which enlarge the text.

This is great for kids who can choose to double tap the words and get the story in bigger letters, against a light background, rather than just the usual text. I always try to get my text to stand out in my drawings but sometimes it is not possible, so it makes sense to use region magnification.

I have not got round to enabling speech so that a computerised voice can speak the words. Not sure if that is something I’d like. For my ibooks version of Cuddle Muddle I added a movie where the pages flipped as a recording of my voice read the story. Seemed to work. I would rather than a child attempted the words themselves, or invented their own.

Now that ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ has been successfully created for the KindleFire/Paperwhite/KIndle For iPad/Kindle For Android … I can begin to rework ‘Cuddle Muddle’ into fixed format too. Though this leaves me with a slight problem. Do I delete the original Free Flowing epub which is currently on Amazon stores and replace it with the Fixed Format? – or do I allow both to run alongside each other and risk confusing my readers? This is certainly something to mull over.

I have enjoyed drawing Wee Panda Bear again and she is becoming quite a character, adventurous, curious, sometimes timid and always cuddly. Her next adventure will be set in the snow … I had hoped to have written and illustrated it by now … hopefully I can get it done by next Christmas!

 

 

Creating a Fixed Layout Kindle Children’s Picture eBook – some tips by Alan Dapre

NOTE: The Template under discussion here is no longer available.

This post was first published on Dec 10, 2012.

If you are familiar with my blogs you’ll know that I occasionally write about my experiences in creating ebooks. Recently Amazon published Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapré , a free flowing epub for the b&w Kindle (update:  if you click the above link and download now the ebook has been reworked for KindleFires & is backward compatible with the b&w kindles).

Now that the KindleFire is here I decided to create a fixed layout ebook of my Wee Panda Bear story ‘Wiggle Jiggle’.

I studied the Kindle Fire guidelines but they seemed quite complicated … so I had no option but to scour the net for a decent template.

I found a company called U-DO-IT which makes templates for children’s books and graphic novels. Better still, there is a template which includes region magnification. This means that when text is double tapped it is enlarged in its own box and therefore stands out. Very useful for children’s picture books.

The KF8 Region Magnification template is well constructed, with advice in grey text throughout, and follows the Amazon guidance for region magnification KindleFire books.

I have made my own flowable epubs using other templates so I was kind of familiar with the folders and structure. That said, this is for a fixed layout template so there are definite differences and it is wise to follow the instructions carefully.

One point to note is that helpful guidance is in the UDOIT DOCUMENTATION folder in the form of the index.html document.

It is good that the advice in the tutorial movies is clear and can be stopped and rewound at anytime, though you will use each movie as and when you need one.

It took a moment or two to understand how to format my images and where to put them etc but the advice is there. I just needed to read it all, not just jump in.

After compiling my ebook (i.e. assembling the images at the right size and resolution, added text, setting the layout and look of the region mag boxes, etc) I dragged the content.opf file to Kindle Previewer where I could check for errors.

For me when I got the odd error it meant that a photo was put in the wrong place or I had not put the correct path to it – my error. It helps to make sure that the info in the style.css matches what you put on xhtml pages. A bit of common sense meant I soon sorted issues out.

The resultant mobi made automatically by the Kindle Previewer is found in the Compiled-content.opf folder.

I then went to the KDP site and added my new book title. I entered the details, wrote a description, added an ISBN in my case, verified my publishing rights, added categories & uploaded a cover. (By the way – the tutorials show how to make a cover the right size – all very helpful). I now easily uploaded my Kindle Previewer mobi.

Amazon works some more magic and flashes up the words ‘Upload and conversion successful’. To preview their converted mobi I downloaded it – ‘Wiggle+Jiggle.mobi” – by clicking ‘download book preview file’. I now had it in my downloads folder and could double click it and have a look at it in Kindle For Mac. It worked perfectly.

Amazon has accepted the story and I  have it for sale online. Just click my ebook’s title – Wiggle Jiggle – to go to Amazon –  where you can download it at a great price. 

The whole process of making an ebook for KindleFire was vastly simplified by using this KF8 region mag template. It works. If you have any questions then it’s easy to fire off a comment and get a helpful, slightly grumpy sounding, response.

Please note I am not getting paid to blow U-DO-IT’s trumpet regarding the template – I’m just happy it worked well for me, and is a good tool for authors who don’t want to pay hundreds to get a digital book created. Reckon the template creator owes me a pint for all the traffic he gets.

Update May 30th, 2013 – I have now also created my third ebook – ‘Eggy Leggy’. :)

Update June 21st, 2013 –  Sadly, I am unable to offer advice to anyone stuck using the current updated U-DO-IT template. I have not used it so cannot vouch for its usefulness. The template I used did work for me but involved a lot of head scratching before I got it. The software maker has provided detailed info but it takes some getting used to. Best to read his comments section and then write your own.

I am getting lots of hits on this article. Please buy and download my ebooks -feel free to  take them apart to see how well they are made.

******

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (UK link)

Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle  (US link)

Cuddle Muddle Author Alan Dapre

Cuddle Muddle Book 1

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – available on kindle  (US link)

Wiggle Jiggle Author Alan Dapre

Wiggle Jiggle Book 2

‘Eggy Leggy’ –  available on kindle (UK link)

‘Eggy Leggy’
 – available on kindle  (US link)
Eggy Leggy - picture book by Alan Dapre

Eggy Leggy – picture book by Alan Dapre

 

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ – new picture book by Alan Dapré (for Fixed Layout Kindle Fire/HD/Paperwhite)

In a few days ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ will be up on the Amazon Kindle Store. ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ is the follow up to ‘Cuddle Muddle’, and the second ebook in my Wee Panda Bear Series.

I decided to make this one a fixed layout book for the Kindle Fire (standard and HD) and Paperwhite. It should work on the older black and white e-ink Kindles as Amazon makes the mobi files backward compatible.

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ will initially be available from Amazon Stores. At some point I will make an epub version for other platforms. I will also make a fixed layout iBook version for people with iPads and Apple macs.

‘Wiggle Jiggle’ is the story of a Wee Panda Bear who discovers her coat is too tight. Why? She has grown an inch in the night. It’s her birthday but no one comes to visit, so she sets off to find her missing friends. None of them are in and she trudges back, full of gloom, to her room … where she gets a brilliant Birthday surprise.

This story sits well with its sister book ‘Cuddle Muddle.’ Both feature an adventurous Panda Bear who gets into all sorts of muddles. Of course, the stories always end with a heartwarming cuddle.

My Wee Panda Bear Series echoes the way that young children interact with the world, through chance discoveries and bold investigations. Whenever there is dramatic tension in the stories I introduce humour and warmth, not to mention friendly characters and big HUGS.

So I am hopeful that I can soon get this book out to its rightful audience, such as preschool children and anyone who loves a well written, thoughtful and cuddly tale.

Here’s a sneak preview of the cover.

Wiggle Jiggle - by Alan Dapré

Wiggle Jiggle - by Alan Dapré (available for KindleFire/Paperwhite and e-ink kindles)

Wiggle Jiggle!

 

Lost your Blogging Mojo?

Well, it’s been a while since I last blogged.

The reason is that I lost my blogging mojo. It happened after I’d spent countless hours in front of the computer trying to boost my profile on the web – joining sites for Authors, asking for reviews, sending out PR mail shots, updating my website etc … but for what?

Sure, I got  a few more hits.  But I missed spending precious ‘daddy’ time with my wee daughter. I began to wonder if I had virtually run myself ragged online for virtually nothing. You see, Google’s algorithms are deliberately mysterious and vague and after so much effort I saw precious little change in my page rank, visitor numbers etc. And precious little of my girl in the evenings … though to be honest she is usually all over Mum when she gets home.

As a writer it is important to write the stuff that really matters but I was finding myself writing publicity articles and reviews. Stuff that might improve my rating online but will do nothing for getting my work out to a publisher. The rise of the net has left writers with immense opportunities but immense challenges too. Time is limited and we have to use it wisely. So – I ducked out of the net and wrote two stories and now I am pleased to say they will be published next year by Pearson. Always great to get another book out and these stories will be a fun read for Primary Age kids.

My next mission is to get ‘Wiggle Jiggle’ out as a picture story eBook for Kindle and Mac – it’s the follow-up to ‘Cuddle Muddle’, starring Wee Panda Bear. I aim to make it suitable for Kindle Fire as well as the iPad, Nook etc. More steep learning curves to climb. And more time away from actual writing and illustrating. The act of getting a book self-published online involves image resizing, html coding, knowledge of software such as Sigil, Photoshop, KindleGen and iBooks Author … the list goes on.

Meanwhile I am still hoping that a fantastic picture book story I have written for youngsters will get commissioned. A very well known illustrator is keen on doing the drawings but I need a publisher.  A bold, funny, energetic publisher willing to publish my bold, funny, energetic prose.

At the moment,  many traditional publishers  are just using the big names, and tried and tested formulas. There is fear in the air and money is tight. They stick to their lists, not willing to risk anything – which is why so many of their previously published books are being digitally scanned and flogged on eReaders,  just to make a quick buck. The online book market is saturated with these books and ‘amateur scribblings’.

Professional children’s authors who are not Julia Donaldson or J.K. Rowling are caught in the middle. We want to write books that get read in print … or on eReaders … by loads of children. But to do that we really need to be noticed. Getting our books seen and bought on the likes of Amazon is hard. There is so much competition needed. So much Time needed. So much luck needed.

Which is why I walked away for a bit and spent time with my family and wrote the stories I wanted to write.

And why I will still keep writing this blog – when it feels right. Oh, and probably when I have a new eBook to plug. 😉

 

 

Daily Mirror Daily Mirror? Alan Dapre in the news

A few weeks ago, a photographer came round to my house to take a publicity photo on behalf of the Daily Mirror. The UK newspaper features a business Q & A page called Biz Bureau and its editor wanted a photo of me … looking windswept and interesting.

This all came about because a few months ago I sent off a question about ebook publishing. The photographer took quite a few pictures though he seems to have left the better ones in his camera 😉

Here’s the link to the Daily Mirror article which featured my question & ugly mug. It was actually published on Wednesday 25th July and I missed it … despite being dragged past a stack of unsold Daily Mirrors in Morrisons’ supermarket by my daughter … towards her favourite Tractor Ride.

The Biz Bureau editor Tricia Phillips answered my question about how best to publish/publicise my ebook. Her advice was to use Kindle Direct Publishing –  good advice for anyone who has not tried self-publishing on Amazon before.

Actually I have already used KDP before. It was an easy process and worth doing as Amazon is the biggest online ebook seller. So I did not learn anything new but – hey – being in the Daily Mirror is a great bit of publicity for my preschool picture ebook Cuddle Muddle …

Cuddle Muddle by Alan Dapre, as featured in Daily Mirror 26 July 2012

… and I don’t mind ending up as yesterday’s fish & chip wrapper.

***

If you wish to view or download Cuddle Muddle, please click one of the links below
Cuddle Muddle‘ – available on kindle now (UK link)
Cuddle Muddle‘ – interactive iPad version with movies  (UK Link)
‘Cuddle Muddle’ – (US Kindle link)