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I am a very quiet person that dabbles in many hobbies.  I have found writing to be my passion to take me away from my stress and help me relax.  Very family oriented, I enjoy spending time with family and friends doing a big cookout or just having a good round of sister talk with the girls. I take each and blessing as a gift and never question why things happen.  We have to take the good with the bad to complete ourselves as a person.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Take A Chance And Receive A Free Copy

Independent authors have to work hard to get recognized.  I'm willing to give away a free copy of my newest novel in exchange for liking my facebook fan page.  If you're willing to like my page, I'll send to you a free copy of "Law and Disorder: Partners Undercover."  Click on the "contact me" link on my blog to leave a valid email address and the PDF eBook is yours as my thanks. Click on the link below.

http://www.facebook.com/BooksbyToye

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Technology Moves Forward; Hopefully The Conversion Process Will Soon Follow

New electronic gadgets are being produced quicker then we can blink our eyes. Being an author breaking in on the digital scene, I had to make decisions on whether to mass produce my work as electronic or in physical form. The noticable increase in electronic versions of my book over the paperback versions made that decision easy to make.

While it is cheaper to produce eBooks, the process of getting there can be difficult. The conversion process is tedious. Words on paper are crisp and readable. The margins and paragraph separation are clearly defined. Punctuation marks are noticeable as well as fonts and maybe images if you are doing books that have graphics or pictures.

Trying to get these types of elements to come across on eReaders is hard unless you are proficient in converting documents into mobi, ePub, html, or other applications that are required to convert books to eReaders. I have found PDF to be the most efficient conversion tool for me.

Now my problem with PDF conversion is minor but still frustrating. Your book looks great. You’ve made sure you have dotted all the ‘I’s’ and crossed all the “T’s” before saving it to a PDF. Next step is uploading it to say Kindle. The circle churns while it is converting your book to their format. Finally, after ten minutes or so, you get the green light it has been converted and would you like to preview it before saving.

Sure, why not! I feel confident I formatted my document correctly by following the guidelines provided. Scrolling through the viewer, the first few pages look wonderful. The pages appear clear and not smudged or blurry. The paragraphs appear to stop and start where they are supposed to; even indentations are flowing.

WARNING: READ PAST THE FIRST FEW PAGES. Somewhere along the conversion process, hiccups occurred. The formatting goes to the wayside and it looks a jumbled mess past page ten. I know how long it takes to format a book for electronic readers. I also know what my book looked like before I converted it to PDF or whatever application I’m using.

Many reviewers complain that punctuation marks were either not used or in the wrong place in sentences. I’m thinking I know I put a ‘comma’ here or used a “quotation” mark at the beginning of this sentence; what happened to them?” I go back to my original document and sure enough those items are where they are supposed to be. Why aren’t they converting or better yet, how are they being moved or removed?”

I love the concept of being able to read books and magazines on different devices, but there has to be a way to make sure what we’re converting is coming over as written. I work in an industry where we convert many documents into different formats to send to clients depending on what systems are being used. There is a good possibility that one or two of those conversions are sent back due to jumbled or missing paragraphs.

Where am I going with this? I read an article where it predicted electronic inventions and sales of these gadgets will jump even further as the future moves on. In reality, instead of saying the future, I should say as the days move forward. If these devices are going to replace physical books, newspapers, and magazines, then there has to be improvement on the conversion process.

I have spoken with professionals that convert many documents. I was told they too run into those little nuisances I spoke of earlier. So to my fellow self-published authors, who are trying to save a few dollars by doing everything yourself, just continue to make sure your formatting is consistent and within the guidelines of whatever application you are using to convert your book. It might take a few uploads to get to near perfection, but to me, perfection will not happen until the conversion technology is upgraded a tad bit more.

In closing, I’m asking readers to take into consideration that the authors did not put in extra sets of quotations marks or forget to place those periods at the end of the sentence. Most likely, the conversion hiccupped causing the fonts to change or removed the formatting to leave some pages a jumbled mess. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping the conversion process will become easier as technology evolves. It would take a lot of stress from the author and make a better reading experience for the buyer.

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012 Personal Challenge

Well we are in a new year.  This year will be the year of growth and personal tests for me.  A lot of people are looking forward to change or personal challenges this year, while others will still stick to the old adage, ‘new year same crap’ (not the word normally used).  While this may be true, we have the power to change how we plan to live in this New Year.  I for one, plan to make major changes in my personal life as well as my literary life.  I plan not to emphasize so much on book sales, but take delight in what I have accomplished in the few years I have been writing.  The stress on my job will stay there once I clock out for the day. Whatever is stressing me there will sit until I return to face it the next day. 

In 2010, I finished a major feat by publishing my first book.  Once I finished it, I realized after a year of working on this book it could have use more work.  I used that as a learning tool and didn’t let it dissuade me from writing another one.  The next book, I expanded my research and spoke with professionals in the fields my characters were portraying.  The research was hard, but I enjoyed every moment of it.  I continued this strategy into 2011 and attended book conferences, started blogging and hit the social networks.   Before I knew it, my free time was being consumed with writing, traveling and worrying about book reviews being negative rather than positive. 

While I wanted to put out the very best I had to offer at work and through my books, all the worrying and traveling was causing my health to slowly fail.  I neglected to take care of myself by putting my dreams and my paying job ahead of me.  This year I won’t be doing that; I will come first.  No more letting my job, my writing or anything come before me.  There is nothing like a hospital stay to get things into perspective. 

I admit I was one of many that stuck to the old motto ‘same (expletive) new year,’ that won’t be me this year.  My new motto is now ‘new year new attitude’ and hope others that have the habit of putting the horse before the cart will do the same.  Happy New Year everyone! 

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