Turning Your Blog into an e-book

Back in 2012 when I had been blogging for two years, I had gotten to know the blogging community pretty well through top sites for bloggers like Copyblogger, which has since turned into a multi-faceted media and software company. I was struck at the time by the almost total disconnect between authors, who were learning…

via Attention Bloggers: The Future of Book Publishing Has Arrived — The Book Designer

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Copyright Law and Public Domain

‘New’ ideas are built on top of what already exists. 

Artists, authors, designers, and engineers may look like they are alone when they are working, but every creative knows that the things they produce are aggregates— with their own personal flair mixed in.

Like the famous Sagrada Familia it has taken five generations of builders to bring Antoni Gaudi’s grand vision to light. 

In the internet age, creatives turn to the worldwide web for inspiration— be it for photography, soundtracks or clip art.

Too many people believe that everything online is free. It’s not.

If you use media without proper licensing or permission, you could face a copyright infringement lawsuit, or get flagged on YouTube for improper use.

As a creative, it is important to understand how copyright works, what is protected, and when something is available for free use.

Copyright laws, in general, protect a creation from being copied for the life of the artist, plus 70 years.  After that, the piece enters the Public Domain. (SBTEA)

Public Domain works are 100% free for private and commercial use and do not require attribution.

Lawrence Lessig’s lectures and books help artists safely navigate the muddy waters of fair use. He is largely responsible for establishing an ever-growing community of photographers, artists, illustrators, videographers and musicians who support creativity by contributing current work to the Public Domain.

Copyright Law recommended reading.

Click here for Lisa’s extensive collection of public domain images, music, sound,  and video clips.

Work and Play with Voice to Text – Part Two – Three Steps to Better Writing Efficiency

Use Voice to Text and Speech to Text programs to increase your writing efficiency and accuracy.

Step 1. Set Your Smartphone up to take Dictation.

Talk to your smartphone anywhere and have it type for you.

*Note: You must have a Google account set-up before beginning this tutorial.

Step 2. Move your Google Docs Text into your Word Processing Document.

Step 3. Edit your Document by Listening to It.

Listening and reading involve different parts of the brain. By converting your writing (or manuscript) into an audio form, you’ll catch different mistakes than you would if you edited it by reading alone.

*For manuscript editing and book processing, I recommend multiple editorial rounds that focus on different aspects. In this instance, I would do the reading edit first then follow it with a listening edit.

In the video below, I show how to set up the Narrator app. in Windows 10, so that it will read your manuscript to you.

Here’s a free most-used Windows 10 Narrator Shortcut List pdf.

Check out part one of Work and Play with Voice to Text for a fun how-to create a robot answering machine message.

 

 

Work and Play with Voice to Text – Part One

At my house, we laugh when a robo call comes in. If the caller ID shows a number we don’t recognize, we let the answering machine answer it.  Our machine plays a Robot to Robot message.

Nine times out of ten, telemarketers hang-up before the message completes.

Here are the steps to use voice to text technology to make your own robot answering machine message.

Step 1. Type Message on your Smartphone

Type the message that you want your robot voice to speak. You can do this in any program that allows typing. I used the Quick Memo app. If you’d like to use mine, here’s the script from my message.

share buttonStep 2. Share your Writing with a Text to Speech app.

The app. that I use on my Android phone is Voice Aloud Reader.voice aloud icon

Experiment with the rate, pitch, and volume settings to make your robot voice sound the way you want.

Step 3. Record your Robot Message onto your Answering Machine.

Hold your phone close to the answering machine microphone. Play the message in the text to speech app. while recording it on your answering machine.

 

The Robot to Robot message is a fun way to reduce interactions with telemarketers, but it doesn’t solve the problem of eliminating the calls.

To cut down on your telemarketing call volume, register your land line and / or cell phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry (US Only). It takes about a month before the registry goes into effect.

In part two of Work and Play with Voice to Text, I will show you how to use speech to text and text to speech programs to make your writing and editing more efficient and accurate.

 

 

Preparing Files with Pictures for KDP – e-book

This is part two of an article discussing file preparation for seamless book file uploads to Kindle Direct Publishing also known as KDP (e-books). Click here to read about Manuscript Formatting PDF files for CreateSpace – Print Books.

E-books are, in essence, web pages – complete with links. Once your file is uploaded to KDP, it is converted into a MOBI file. A MOBI file is an elastic thing that changes size to fit tiny smartphone screens and large tablet devices. Page numbers don’t exist in MOBI files.

When including images in your e-book, there are several considerations to take into account – especially when doing file set-up for children’s picture books.

childrens self healing empowerment book
Toby Bear and the Healing Light, by Lisa Boulton

Image & Text Arrangement

Should images be kept separate from the text, or should words go directly on top of the pictures? I’ve seen e-book formatting both ways.

Although full-color pages with text on top of artwork are lovely in printed books, it doesn’t translate well in an e-book.

  • If the text is placed on top of an image in an e-book, it becomes part of that image and, therefore, is not stretchable.
  • If the text is placed separate from the image, the reader can then pinch or enlarge the word size to fit their needs.

I opt for functionality over beauty – text and images separate.

Image Size for e-books

Images should be sized at or near 400 px X 600 px at 96 px /in for an e-book.

*Note: Images that are too large waste server space, take a long time to download and frustrate readers. 

Folder Structure

There are several files and file folders that must be structured according to KDP specifications for smooth, error-free uploading.

*Note: Before beginning this process, save all your work in a sperate place. You can return to this file if something goes horribly wrong.

1. Create a folder with all of the images (sized appropriately) that will be inserted in your book. Give it a name like, ‘e-book images.’

2. Create a new folder. Give it a name like, ‘MyZippyNewBook.’

Image & Text Placement

3.  Begin inserting images into your finished manuscript.

Inside your Word Document, place pictures by locating your cursor where you want the image to go then, Insert -> Pictures.

*Note: Do not use the Copy / Paste function. The images will show up in your workflow but when you go through the next step, the file will be corrupt.

4. Once the images have been placed, you are ready to turn your manuscript into an HTML file. (*Note: For good measure, save an additional copy of this file in another location before continuing.) To do this, choose File  -> Save As. Where it says, Save as type: choose Web Page, Filtered

*Note: At this point MS Word will start gifting you pop-up warnings. Don’t be afraid…just do it…it works.

5. Save this new file in the empty folder that you created and named ‘MyZippyNewBook.’ Close the document.

*Note: the formerly empty ‘MyZippyNewBook’  folder will now contain your ‘manuscript.html’ file and images.

inside file to be zipped
Billy Jean, Armadillo Queen by Megan Scott

 

6. Navigate back until you see the closed ‘MyZippyNewBook’ folder, right click on it and Send To -> Compressed (Zipped) File.

Upload Zip File to KDP

7. Once the folder has been Zipped – it will look like a duplicate folder to zip fileMyZippyNewBook folder – but this one will have a zipper on the folder icon. The Zipped folder is what you upload to KDP.

*Note: The zipping process marries the images with the text. 

*Note: If your book has no images, graphics or jpeg files, you can skip the zip step.

Manuscript Formatting PDF files for CreateSpace – Print Books.

 

Manuscript PDF Settings for CreateSpace – Print Books

Programs are like bicycles, scooters or skateboards.  If you don’t use them daily the skills get a little rusty. Here are my notes (for me and) for you on how to set up a PDF file so that will upload seamlessly to CreateSpace.

Your manuscript is edited and completely ready to go in MS Word. To upload it to CreateSpace, it must be converted into a PDF file that embeds the fonts.

Before you begin, you should have entered all the information necessary to start a book project within CreateSpace. In this process, you will have chosen a size for your book. CreateSpace will provide measurements of that size. These exact measurements are what you will enter when setting up your PDF document.

Example: A standard book size is 6″x 9.” CreateSpace provides the measurements 15.24 x 22.86 cm. This will need to be converted to mm by moving the decimal over one space to the right. The numbers you will enter on the PDF set up is 152.4 x 228.6 mm.

  1. Within Microsoft Word, Click on Print
  2. Change the Printer Setting to Adobe PDF
    save

File Print

3. Click on Printer PropertiesPdf property settings

4. Change Default Settings to: PDF/X-1a:2001

5. Adobe PDF Output Folder: Click on Browse to direct it to where you want the PDF file to go (this should be a file folder that you can navigate to when CreateSpace asks for which file to upload).

6. Adobe PDF Page Size: Add a custom setting using the measurements that you got for your book at CreateSpace.

 

And there you have it!  Good luck and happy authoring.

Click here to read about How to Format KDP files (e-books) with pictures.

book-863418_1280

Pixabay.com: A Powerful Free-Source for the Serious Blog, Tweet, Book or School

Inventers dream of ways to solve problems. Computer Science and IT guys solve problems by building a crowd-sourced website that supports dreamers all over the globe.

Problem: Wizzley.com authors being cited for using copyright protected images found on the web.

Solution: Pixabay.com

As Pixabay’s front page stated for years – it is a ‘repository for stunning Public Domain media.’ (As of this writing the site hosts 500,000 images and 1,000 video clips.)

Crowd-sourced, images and videos are uploaded by members. All media is released under a Creative Commons CC0 license which means that it is completely free for personal or commercial use.

Photo by Deog Yeon Hwang - Pixabay user:lalalife
Photo by c – Pixabay user:lalalife

‘Stunning’ is not an over exaggeration of the media quality on Pixabay – it is first-rate.  

Established in Germany, Pixabay’s worldwide popularity continues to grow. To date, 1.4 million user accounts have been created and over 1,500 new images are uploaded every day. With over 10 million visits per month, the site is outshining competing sites such as fotolia.com and pixelio.de.

Users from the United States account for almost 30% of the site traffic followed by Germany at around 8%. Brazil, Britain, France and Japan are at about 4%.

Income for Pixabay is generated by optional ‘gifts’ from its users and from Shutterstock and Google ads. Site founders, Hans Braxmeier and Simon Steinberger prefer to keep the layout and design of the site as clean and uncluttered (by ads) as possible.

As one explores the site, ‘coffee’ buttons are noticeable. By clicking on these, donations can be made to the image author or to Pixabay. “Coffee” buttons on the artist page go to the artist and those on the download page go to Pixabay.

What keeps Pixabay’s good mojo going? Once the site users discover the outstanding image quality, the plethora of subject matter available and the site’s ease-of-use, they soon find themselves wanting to participate in the global community of sharing.

The Pixabay Founders
Hans photo strip
Hans Braxmeier, Germany

Hans is the founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied computer science in Ulm (Germany), and has launched several web projects.  He has donated over 18,000 images to the site.

“The main focus of Pixabay was never to make a lot of money. The focus is to give something like Wikipedia back to cool users,” says Hans Braxmeier.

simon

Simon Steinberger, Germany

Simon is co-founder and CEO of Pixabay. He studied chemistry in Ulm (Germany) and finished his PhD in 2011. During this time, he started working in the IT sector and developed various websites.

Editor’s Choice award media is awe-inspiring! These are the best and greatest Pixabay photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos. Media for this award is selected by our team members.” – Simon Steinberger

Comments from the Pixabay chat forumsdebbies books

“A personal thank you [to Pixabay.com]. I now have two books on Amazon thanks to this site. I always wanted to write books for kids but had the issue of how to illustrate them. Now I am using images from here and a few of my own.”

Debbie Walkingbird, Oregon

“A huge thank you to all of the generous and talented Pixabay photographers! I manage a blog for a small animal welfare non-profit and you make my life so much easier!” – MsLisaJo

“Pixabay gives me a great place to have my work seen and used and hopefully that exposure will lead to eventual sales elsewhere. Taking pictures that I think are great but just sit in a hard drive doesn’t cut it. I would much rather people see, use and enjoy my work.” – Jim

“I find that initiatives like Pixabay (and many others) are a great way to keep culture flowing enabling others to build on and create new exciting works. For me, being in the academic world, this is a great resource to find new images for web design and illustration of work materials.” –José R Valverde

DH allen books“I used Pixabay images and clipart as artwork for book covers and on my blog. Wanted to say thank you to all who images and clipart I was able to use for these ventures. Pixabay and you guys are the best!” Smile – D.H. Allen | Writer, Traveler, Photographer blog

 

 

As Pixabay Member, Steve Buissinne of South Africa puts it, “Across the world people speak in 6500 languages, but we all see in only one. I think that donating images contributes to a more interesting and fulfilling life for us all.”

Related article: Pixabay Member Spotlight