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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

SLIM*THRILLER: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Awkward half-arsed technical considerations prevented publication of SLIM*THRILLER. Problems. That's what I meant to say.
   I tried my best, and worst, to overcome the technical difficulties. The story makes use of diagrams and maps built using drawing shapes in Microsoft Word.
   Those diagrams weren't supported in Amazon Kindle. Now they seem to be. Not entirely to my satisfaction, but at least each map is no longer visible only as a black rectangle.
   I tried all sorts of tricks, dodges, pieces of legerdemain, sleight of programming, and nonsense.
   Every year, since I started putting out Kindle books, I returned to the unloved monster and tried to build up its strength with kind words and acts of computer magic.
   No go.
   Until now. All writing is experimentation. And so. Whether or not the maps, clues, diagrams, and buildings are supported...
   The repellent fact remains. Even breaking the story into four volumes, the files are unwieldy. Just trying to preview one book broke Amazon.
   It doesn't matter if I use the Microsoft material or if I generate my own image files off those earlier diagrams. There's a lot of stuff on file. And I'll go purple in the face on top of the blue that's already there, if I try yet another annual review and trudge nowhere.
   So, what to do?
   My solution is to restructure the tale so that it survives without those images. I'll drop hyperlinks in there, leading from the story to a dedicated blog. That blog will house the original visuals, recreated as bonus material.
   Result? The files drop drastically in size, and I can preview my books before they go on sale - without snapping the Amazon Bookshelf under the crushing weight of what went before.
   It's a fiddly solution. No more and no less fiddly than all of the other so-called solutions I tried, it's true. We'll see how it goes.
   If it means publishing, I'm all for that. The writing lab survives each blast. And that's the main thing.
   Upshot? I have a story sitting at a loose end. My INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS contains excerpts from SLIM*THRILLER, running to 5,000 words...
   If I want SLIM*THRILLER to appear in Kindle Direct Publishing, that material has to go from the INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS. Exclusivity, and all that.
   I'll drop my loose end story in there as a replacement. The new piece is 10,000 words long. Readers get more for their cash in buying a slightly-expanded anthology.
   Why must SLIM*THRILLER feature in KDP, with its exclusivity terms? Even with all the diagrams farmed out to a dedicated site, the files are still long...
   The story is divided into four sections. Breaking the book into four volumes is a neat solution. Will the public go for that? All writing is experimentation. Self-publishing is a mad science lab. Quite right, too.
   If I put the book in KDP, I can offer the first volume free. Will a serialised approach work? Only one way to find out.
   It's better to publish a mad science experiment than leave it lurking on a hard drive for want of perfect technical solutions.
   Time to use the technical solutions left to me, now that I've exhausted all of the others.
   This means revisiting the story again. Much to do. Recreating maps. Setting up an easily-accessible blog site. Revising INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS. Publishing one massive story in four volumes of 100,000 words each, give or take.
   Annual review of SLIM*THRILLER. The last one. I'm for publishing the damned thing within the year.

2 comments:

  1. I had an issue like this when I was reworking all the Stepping Stones books. I think I had to save everything as a gif file for them to show up. I don't know. I bought this book about kindle and photos and then trolled it until I found answers. Can supply said book info if you want it.

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  2. I have a book on Kindle and photos, and it provides tips on keeping the costs down by using compression. Even that won't help here. My solution - dumping the images onto a dedicated blog and hyperlinking from the book to that blog - is miserly and Scottish in keeping the Amazon data transmission cost down. If a book costs £4 and the data cost is £0.10, that's acceptable. But if the data cost from including images suddenly jumps to a quarter of the book's price, something has to go. I think shunting the images to the side, off-book, is the answer. It costs me a hyperlink, and not an arm and a leg. Nearer the time, I'll conduct tests on the blog angle and see if that is practical. Ultimately, if it isn't something I can do, I'll add description to the story to lessen the need for a diagram or a map. It's been a real puzzler, down the years. But I think I am getting there, now.

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