Monday, April 13, 2009

The Kindle Report

A new series of posts has already begun here at PODBRAM entitled The Kindle Report. Please note the new series in the link list down the left column of this page. I have been researching and developing The Kindle Report since late last year, but I had to get all my website transition stuff settled before I would have enough time to devote to this new project. The first installment of The Kindle Report appeared March 11th as Al's review of Carla Kelly's Marrying the Captain, the first review at PODBRAM written after actually reading the Kindle version of the book. Dr. Past followed his review with an informative article that was very popular at PODBRAM entitled Kindle the Gorilla. You will now find those two posts, this one, and the several that will follow listed under The Kindle Report.

This post is only an introduction to the series. Coming over the next several weeks, probably spanning the time through May, the series will be interspersed with our regular book reviews from the PODBRAM team members. I do not yet know the order in which these posts will appear because a lot still hinges upon exactly how the process unfolds. What are probably the best two books available on Kindle formatting are on their way to me to read and review upon arrival. These books have been written by POD authors and released in both print and Kindle formats. My four books have all been released in the Kindle format, but I did not complete this project until just days ago. That was just one of many developments I was awaiting before taking the project to the next level. My four nonfiction, semi-reference books each present challenges on four separate levels when uploading them into the Kindle format, and these levels are somewhat above that of most average fiction novels. Whether or not these two books I plan to read and review help me to better understand the processes of Kindle formatting will be a leading question. What can I learn from them that I can impart to authors who have much simpler POD books or authors who have yet to publish via POD or Kindle are yet more questions. For those of you who are not aware, one of the best things about Kindle is the same as one of the big reasons I moved all my websites to Blogger: you can freely and easily change and update your material! This means you might learn something from The Kindle Report long after your book has already been available in a Kindle version, and you can update your work. Once you have joined The Kindle Generation, you can have almost total control of your books from that point onward. When someone tells you that the proofeader must have been drunk when you published your book, you can fix it!

An interview with Michael R. Hicks, the author of In Her Name and Publish Your Book on the Amazon Kindle is already in the works. After the review is completed of Joshua Tallent's Kindle Formatting, I am open to continuing the development of The Kindle Report. For right now, I am already committed to more than enough work for PODBRAM in the coming weeks. I chose to interview Michael because his first book has already been reviewed on this site and his second one to be reviewed is very short. Joshua's book could turn out to be too far over the heads of most of the PODBRAM audience, including me! The only way to find out is for me to give it a shot. The result of all this could mean minor, or even serious, changes to my own Kindle versions, but maybe not. You can't swim the dunk tank until you get in the water!

I have been doing a lot of research on other aspects of the Kindle phenomenon, too. You must be dying to know: yes, I favor the Kindle 2's electronic voice box to be free to everyone all the time. I could go into a lot more detail, but that will be saved for my extensive article to be posted later, after I have completed all my research. The short version is that I experimented with audio tracks, even with music, with parts of my first book way back in 2000-01. I even have something of a studio set up in my house, but I have never continued the project for many reasons. I shall address these in my later article, but suffice it to say that, yes, you can produce a whopping better product than the Kindle voice at a whopping cost in time. Of course if you choose to produce an audio version professionally, you can add cost to that whopper, too. Al and I have done several experiments to test the Kindle. When I feed it one of the worst Kindle audio nightmares from Plastic Ozone Daydream, it does choke, stumble, and mispronounce a bit, but HAL 9000 has still come a long way, baby!

The screen shot you see at the top of this article is of the title page of Dianne Salerni's new, unreleased novel. I used this to show you yet another trick the Kindle can do. You can upload any Word document you might create to read on your Kindle, including your own yet to be released book! Cheap, convenient book review trades, anyone? Let the Kindling begin!

See Also: Kindle the Gorilla
The Kindle Releases from NIAFS


Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Floyd, this is awesome. I don't have a kindle yet but I am very interested in all the research I can find. Smashwords has a nice formatting guide for free on their site. I can't wait to read your reviews of the books. I am kindling my books now but I would love not to fumble with it so much.

If you want to swap for a review, my new release The Thin Wall is available on kindle. I can send a word file or an html file. Not only would I get some opinion on the formatting, but I have never been reviewed by Podbram and would love to hang myself up as a pinata. I could use a little abuse. lol.

Without Ribbons said...

Good deal!

Looking forward to the report and your findings!