Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Website Extras

Someone recently asked about various extras on a website. I've done quite a few of these on http://www.sweettalebooks.com.

Twitter feed:

  • To add a twitter feed listing on your website, go to your account in twitter.  
  • Click on the circle with the gears (tools?) and click on settings.
  • Click on widgets and 'create new' (upper right-hand corner).
  • The tab for 'user timeline' should be clicked, with configuration under that.
  • Customize what you like for your widget.  When you're done, click 'create widget.'  Some HTML code will appear in the box to the right.  Copy and paste that into the code on your website.  If you're using Weebly or Wix, there's a way to add HTML code.  You'd add the code there.

Blog URL (RSS feed):

  • Go to http://feed.mikle.com/ and enter the URL of your blog.  If the website can configure it as RSS code, your blog titles and a short part of the blog will appear to the right.
  • Play with the details of what you like for your blog.  Don't forget to check out the advanced settings...they're easy to handle.
  • When done, click on 'select code' to the right, copy, and paste into your website.

Facebook feed:

I don't use this one, because it's the same, pretty much, as the twitter feed.  But you can find your Facebook feed as an RSS feed, and do the same as the Blog URL, above.

  • To find your RSS feed for Facebook, go to the page you want to have displayed on your website.  You might want to use your public pages you've created, that everyone can already see.
  • Go to https://www.facebook.com/notifications.  That page name should be mentioned on this site.
  • At the top, there's 'Get notifications via RSS.'  Click on that.  
  • Copy the URL for that page filled with source code.
  • Do the same steps as the Blog URL, using this new URL for the source feed.

I currently do the coding for my bookshelves in Excel, but will consider using javascript or something like that in the future.  I'll have to learn javascript first.  LOL!  

For my bookshelves, I set it all up in tables, with the titles, author names, and any other variable you'd see as something I can sort on.  I then sort it and bring it all into my web page.  So it's not easily transferable to someone else, but eventually, I'd love to have it streamlined.

SweetTale Books

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Journey Through CreateSpace Land...

Let me start back at the beginning...

I have 37 titles in fiction out on the Internet, all in e-reader format.  Life was tripping along happily, until my darling sister decided her book wasn't getting enough publicity or sales.  It's about funerals, which isn't really a fun subject for most normal people.  She decided people needed to read more about funerals in paperback (I'm sure there's a fan club for things like that), so she put it out on CreateSpace--with my help (and I had no idea what I was even doing).  She then decided it was so much fun, that she'd put her next book out.  But her next book?  She's working on it.  It's a diet book (which, in my opinion, are all like funeral books--something you wish you could avoid but can't).

Anyway, I learned a lot from my sister's endeavors.  Not to be outdone from her books, I HAD to put one out for myself, or I was certain to hear from my mother on our weekly calls how great my little sister was with books published--REALLY published since she could now read the books.  :: sigh ::  Mom doesn't have a computer and doesn't want one.

Thus, I'm working my way through the journey, from beginning to end, of using CreateSpace.  The book is by Eryn Grace (Christian romance) and once I actually jump through all the CreateSpace hoops, it'll be on Amazon.com and other sites.

The Cover:
Since I do my own covers, I started with the back cover, creating a pleasing picture of a cup of coffee with fruit.  Here's what the cover will look like:

The back cover is first, then the spine, and then the front cover.  I used cover creator to make this.  If you're having problems with your cover, set the dimensions of your cover to 1941 by 2945 and make the resolution 310.  Also, all the wording can't be centered.  There's a 1/2 inch border around the whole outside edges where no words can go.  Thus, move the words just slightly toward the spine and more toward the center of the book.

For the back cover, there's a barcode area where you don't want any words.  I took the picture on the back and flipped it horizontally, so the coffee wouldn't be covered with the barcode area.

For the spine, larger letters make for a better product, or so I'm told.

The Interior:
I set my page color to cream.  I was told it was easier to read on cream for fiction, but my sister used white, since she's writing non-fiction.  I'm sure Mom will have a comment about that, but so be it.  For the size, I used a slightly larger sized book and a larger and different font.  My book size is going to be 5.5 X 8.5, a little larger than the 5 X 8 inch standard book.

CreateSpace includes a template to use to set up the document.  To be honest, it's not for the faint of heart but once you understand it, it's not bad.  They use Garamond 10, but I changed my font to Linux Libertine 11 on a suggestion from a friend of mine.  Linux Libertine is a free font you can download from the web, and then right-click and press install.  It's a really pretty font and easier to read than Garamond.

Since I'm using a font that's not normally available, I'm going to turn my book into a PDF for review.  I'm editing ONE MORE TIME just to find little things.  At this point, I've been through the review process once, and will be going through it again with CreateSpace.

Other issues:
As for the ISBN, I bought a hundred ISBNs from Bowker a year or so ago, and used one of mine through my 'imprint' of SweetTale Books.  That way, I can get my books onto other bookstore shelves.  But I did notice if you use one of the CreateSpace ISBNs, you'll get your book in libraries and academic institutions.  Bummer.  I also have to wait for them to make sure my ISBN is right.  I entered the 13-digit ISBN, and it automatically linked it to the 10-digit one.

I'm currently proofreading the PDF they created for me.  You're allowed to do that online, download a PDF, or send a proof copy of the paperback to you.  I'm going to read this, fix things, re-review it, and then get a paperback sent to me.  Or maybe I should send it right to my mother, so she knows I'm a 'real' author.

I'm sure I missed some details here, but my goal, eventually, is to have all my books in paperback.  It'll take years, at the rate I'm going.  But it's a goal.

Markee Anderson

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Website Updates

So last week, Smashwords put out an announcement that Sony is getting out of the ereader business. (Here at Feb 6, 2014: http://www.smashwords.com/about/beta). Even though they'll be in business until March 20, I figured I might as well take the links off my websites (I do all my own websites).

I have quite a few websites:

SweetTale Books: http://sweettalebooks.com/
Markee Anderson: http://www.markeeanderson.com/
Andie Alexander: http://andiealexander.com/
Eryn Grace: http://eryngrace.com/
Kyra Myles: http://kyramyles.com/
Paige Ryter (currently inactive): http://paigeryter.com/

While working on the removal of those links, I decided that two of my websites needed a facelift.  Eryn Grace's and Andie Alexander's websites were both too dark.  So I lightened them up a bit, or changed things around.

I might change these again, in the near future, but for now, they're different.  Take a look and see if you like them.  I'm a real fan of lighthouses, so Eryn's fits me.  And for Andie, I figured a serene peaceful website is very different from murdering people in books.  LOL!

Have a wonderful week!  I'm writing like crazy right now, so I'm posting less.

SweetTale Books

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Singin' the Mid-Winter Blahs

It's February and that blasted groundhog HAD to see his shadow.  Bah-groundhog!  I'm just tired of winter making me tired.

So maybe it's time to think spring!  Turn on all the lights and dance like there's no tomorrow.  LOL!  I think it's also time to force a few bulbs (or buy some already done) so I have some spring flowers brightening up the room.

How about you?  What do you do to psych yourself up for spring?  If you say 'shovel snow,' I'm going to have to hunt you down and make you pay.  LOL!