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Tag: Kitty Bucholtz

Home > ArchivesTag: Kitty Bucholtz

Tips For Reading ANYTHING (Almost!) on Your Kindle by Kitty Bucholtz

November 9, 2017 by in category Contests, It's Worth It, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Love at the Fluff and Fold by Kitty BucholtzI’m so excited! I’ve been waiting for years to write a book I thought was worthy of being entered in the RITA Awards (kind of the Oscars for romance novels), and on November 1, I entered for the first time. Yay!

One of the requirements for all entrants is that you must judge the first round. Okay, no problem, that seems fair. What I didn’t expect was the warning that you’d be judging five to nine books just for entering one book!

Now I haven’t done this before, so maybe (hopefully!) I’ll get some of the books in the next month. But entrants don’t have to get their books in until early January, and your judging materials are due back by early March. So I have to read a book a week!

If this is your normal reading habit, I’m sure it doesn’t sound too bad to you. But I feel lucky if I can finish two novels a month! And the only time I hit that level is if a) I have some really interesting, great books, and b) if I steal time away from other things I should be doing in order to read.

It’s not that I don’t want to read more – I have four delicious books I’m just dying to gorge myself on as soon as I can take the time. (Truly excellent books can’t be read a few pages at a time at night when you’re trying to turn off your brain and fall asleep. They need planned play dates.) But, like so many people, I have responsibilities I can’t ignore.

Additionally, this is the first year that the contest is going completely digital. Yay for entering the 21st century! But the books are required to be entered as PDFs only. Boo for staying in the 20th century! The last time I read a PDF on a Kindle as a judge for a contest was the last time I offered to judge a contest. It’s so difficult to read, it detracts from the enjoyment of the story. Not something you want in a book contest!

I was chatting with some other RITA entrants, talking about the best way to read all these books on an ereader or other device, and I decided to share what I learned with you.

As I mentioned, you can send PDFs and Word documents and other files to your Kindle. It used to be that you had to send them via a special email address connected to your Kindle. An address I never could remember. 😉 But Amazon created Send to Kindle to make the transfer process so much simpler!

(And here is the Help page with more information on it:)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200902880

On my Mac, the process is a simple drag-and-drop. I’m guessing it’s fairly easy on the other platforms as well. One thing to keep in mind – Send to Kindle for Mac will figure out the book’s title based on the file name. If the file name is funky, you’ll need to manually fix the title in the title box. Also, it always pulls the last author name I’d typed in. I think that means it just doesn’t pull the author name at all and you have to manually type it in (which is why I have to change it from the last book every time). The only reason these things matter is when you’re searching for a book by title or author on your Kindle or Kindle app.

PDF book to Kindle

PDF: Wide-format is hard to read!

Now since the RWA is requiring books entered in the contest to be in PDF format, I had to decide how I would create my PDF. I use Vellum to create my ebooks, and it doesn’t create PDFs. But Vellum requires a Word .docx file to start, so one option is to create a PDF from the Word file. But then each page would be quite wide. You’d have to manually move the page back and forth on every line. And it might also be just too small to read. (The problems I had the last time I did this several years ago.)

PDF book to Kindle sideways

PDF: Easier to read sideways, but still small

If your book is in Scrivener, you can save to a PDF, but I suspect you’ll have the same wide-format problem.

You ever think, “Maybe this will work, I’ll Google it but I’m sure you can’t actually do it this way”? Well, I wondered if there was any way to turn a PDF into a .mobi and fix the problem right there. Turns out – you can!

And once you turn the file into a .mobi (the format required on a Kindle or in the Kindle app), the file will be flow-able again. So you don’t have to worry about the page being wider than your screen. Yay!

Converted PDF to mobi

Converted PDF to mobi file

I’ve added some screen shots here from the Kindle app on my iPhone so you can see the difference between the two files. (Read the captions to see which file is which.)

First, I did some searching and then read some reviews to find a site that looked as safe as possible. (No one wants to upload their book or other intellectual property to a website that is going to send it out all over the web.) I chose this site, PDF Convert Online.

I followed the directions, uploaded my PDF (as I would if I just got nine books I have to read and judge!), and hit the convert button. (I didn’t click the green buttons to download the software. I clicked on Choose File in the middle, found my PDF file, then clicked the red “Convert Now!” button.) Fairly quickly, I got this message.

PDF to mobi online converter messageNot only was my PDF file converted to a mobi that I could then use Send to Kindle to read on my device or app, but the message assured me the file would be deleted shortly.

Excellent!

Mobi file with a larger font size

Now that it’s a mobi file, you can change the font size if you want.

Second, I sent the new PDF-turned-mobi file as well as the original PDF file to my Kindle app using Send to Kindle, and I made screen shots to compare them. As you can see, the PDF document is only readable when I turn my phone sideways and zoom in a little. If I zoom in more, I’ll have to move back and forth, left to right, along each line as I read. Painful. On the plus side, all the pages appear as they should, as if it were a print book.

But the PDF-turned-mobi file is completely flow-able. I can read it like any other Kindle file, I don’t have to turn my phone sideways for it to be big enough to read, and, in fact, I can use the Kindle controls to increase (or decrease) the font size. Yay! On the downside, the pages all flow into each other now as you can see from this screenshot.

Send to Kindle converts PDFs to mobi files

See the check box for the Send to Kindle app to convert PDFs to mobi files!

Now here’s the irony. I almost posted this article by telling you the happy news – you can turn PDFs into mobi files and upload them to your device using Send to Kindle – without realizing Send to Kindle has an option to convert PDF files right in the app! (See me rolling on the floor laughing at my enthusiastic ignorance! LOL!) I was looking for something else I wanted to tell you about the app (I forget what now) and just now found that handy little check box! Haha!

Yay! <still laughing>

I decided to leave in the paragraph about the PDF-to-mobi converter sites in case you have need of it for something else. (They convert all sorts of files one way and the other.) But your big take-away here – and mine! – is that when you have a document or book in PDF format (or if you have nine of them!), you can check the box in the Options area of the Send to Kindle app and automatically convert the PDF to a mobi file as it’s sent.

Awesome.

So go sign up to judge a book contest. The reading is now going to be easy as pie. And hopefully as good!

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!

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Never Give In

October 9, 2017 by in category It's Worth It tagged as ,

Once again, I’m in the middle of having no idea how my life will go in the near future. John’s job in New Zealand is over, and we are waiting to find out where we will live next. He’s interviewed all over the world, from Seattle to Stockholm, so we could end up anywhere. Meanwhile, we’re living out of four suitcases and guest room-hopping in Southern California.

Does that sound romantic? One of my friends said it did with a smile and a sigh. Consider it more deeply. I can’t make plans. I have no place to call home. I don’t have a recipe box or my usual kitchen appliances to cook what I’m used to eating. I don’t know how many groceries to buy because I don’t know if I’ll have to give them away soon if I buy too much. (We gave away over $500 of groceries when John got his last job because we didn’t know we’d be moving out of the country.) I can’t even buy many gifts because some would be too big to move, or would have the wrong type of electricity if we moved out of the country again.

Of course there are lots of positives as well! I’ve lived in other countries and seen beautiful lands and made amazing friends all over the world. I’ve seen my home country from different perspectives, which has helped me to understand the world a little better. I’ve eaten different foods and participated in different activities that I never would’ve known about.

But running a business as you constantly pack and unpack and move and move again is very difficult. A single move may cause you to have to pause your work temporarily, or work only on a laptop for a few weeks. But I’ve moved three times in the last year. (Hear my ginormous sigh.) When your life gets uprooted often enough, you may consider quitting and doing something else that you hope won’t be so difficult.

When I started writing this, I temporarily named the article, “Never Give Up, Never Surrender” because I love the movie Galaxy Quest. But I remembered a zippered pouch my husband gave me with a Winston Churchill quote on it, “Never, never, never give up” so I did a little research to share that with you as well.

What he actually said was:

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

Any of us can use those words to strengthen ourselves against what pushes at us, what seems to be attacking us. Never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Sound advice.

But it was another section of Churchill’s speech that made me decide to write this for you. Listen to this:

You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.

He doesn’t say more on this, but segues into the “never give in” part of his speech. [You can read the text of the speech here (with two added paragraphs that aren’t in the audio) or listen to it here.] But it made me think. Yes, we imaginative, creative types see so many possibilities in the world. We see kind people and angry people and imagine them to be life-givers and destroyers. We see beauty and ugliness and we imagine them to be fleeting and forever.

We can create a new future just with our imaginations. But what will we choose to create? Something life-giving or something destructive?

Today, I’m tired. Bone tired. Soul tired. I don’t know how to have the strength to get through the next few months. But I don’t have to get through the next few months. I don’t have to decide now whether I believe the near future will be a blessing or a curse. I only have to decide what to do and how to feel now. In today’s box.

where is my life goingIn today’s box, I only have to post this blog, go to church, and move to another friend’s guest room. In today’s box, I only have to buy groceries for the next few days. In today’s box, I only have to try to relax and enjoy a Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow I will figure out what is in the new “today’s box.”

Even Jesus preached this wisdom when He said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

I suspect that an upcoming “today’s box” will include looking for a substitute teaching job, something that can be started and stopped with a moment’s notice. Will I give in to the impulse to quit trying to make this writing business work? It’s tempting.

But I can use my imagination to see the world being a better place when people read my fun, encouraging, uplifting stories. I can imagine other writers being inspired by me to not quit when they listen to my podcast, read my nonfiction books and articles, and listen to me teach them what I know.

And I can imagine myself choosing each day to believe more in the good than the bad. I can believe more that we can make the world a better place, not allowing my imagination to see the world sucking the life out of me.

We have more power than we realize. We must use it. To encourage ourselves, to encourage others, to choose not to quit trying to make the world a little brighter because of what we do and who we are.

Decide with me today – never give in.

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!

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Trying New Things with Kitty Bucholtz

August 14, 2017 by in category It's Worth It, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Not new in the world of publishing, but new for me. The last few years have been crazy in my personal life, so even though I’ve learned a lot about how to move my writing career to the next level, I haven’t been able to implement any of the changes.

Until now.

Love at the Fluff and Fold by Kitty BucholtzI’m excited that I’m about to release a new book! And for the first time, I’m not publishing it as soon as it is ready. I emailed my newsletter list and included the first chapter and the cover so they could start getting excited about the new story/series. Immediately, a few of my readers wrote back saying they loved it, best book yet!

Thanks to a gentle push from a friend, I decided to put my book on pre-order for the first time. I set up the pre-order with the practically-final version of the book on KDP, iBooks, and Kobo. (Barnes & Noble didn’t have a pre-order option at the time I did this, so I prepped the book to be ready to hit the Publish button the day before I want it to go live.)

I emailed my list a second time, left Chapter One at the bottom in case readers missed it the first time, and gave them the links to the pre-order on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K., Amazon Australia (my newsletter service lets me see where subscribers are from), iBooks, and Kobo. Within a day, I had my first seven pre-orders – yay!

Another first that I’ve wanted to do for a year or two is to create a beta readers group. I finally got that up and running on Facebook a few weeks ago. I have nineteen beta readers who are reading an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book that I put up on BookFunnel.

They’ve pointed out typos, offered a few suggestions, and they’ve given me enormously satisfying positive feedback about the book. They’ll be posting reviews on the first day of release so that new readers will immediately see that others liked the book.

I also finally created a Facebook group for all the rest of my readers! I’ve been frustrated with my Facebook author page and the fact that if a reader posts on my page, it’s almost hidden along the side. It’s ridiculously difficult to have a conversation that way. So I created a group that is attached to the author page. For the first time, I can easily chat with my readers and engage with them in a way that will help them to know, like, and trust me. You can see – and join! – my readers’ Facebook group here.

The other thing I learned is that although readers can’t post reviews to Amazon until the book goes on sale, they can post them to Goodreads as soon as I added the book to the site. I created a listing for the ebook, sent a link to my beta readers, and the first four people who had finished the ARC posted their reviews!

Then I created a paperback listing on Goodreads and set up two Giveaways, one for five books to be given away in the United States only, and one for two books to be given away everywhere. I would’ve gotten these up earlier if I could have, but they’ll go live a week before the book’s release.

I’m also going to try to get the paperback edition up on CreateSpace before the official release day. Once the book is live in any form (i.e., the paperback even though the ebook has its own release date), readers can leave reviews. So if I can get the paperback live and available for sale before the official release day (for the ebook), I can tell my beta readers to please leave their reviews immediately. Then it will look like the book releases with reviews. Awesome!

The last thing I’m doing for the first time is something I hope to never do again. The book’s release date is the day after I move! Yup, movers come pick up our stuff, then we clean the house and turn in the keys, and the next day my book goes live. While I’m staying for a few days at a friend’s house, before an international flight. Limited time, limited Internet access, limited everything. Well…we’ll see how it goes!

Meanwhile, I’m putting together Amazon ads for the book (not a first, I’m already running them for two other books), and getting the last newsletter ready that will go out on release day. This is the most amount of work I’ve ever done to have a true book launch. I’m excited!

I don’t expect to sell hundreds of copies the first day; instead my hope is to learn how to do everything, how long it all takes, and create a streamlined process for the future. Then I’ll create a book launch calendar for myself for the next launch.

Exciting times! I’ll let you know what happens! 😀

 

Kitty Bucholtz author photoKitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. WRITE NOW! Workshop, her website where she teaches and offers advice on self-publishing and time management, is under renovation. Look for the new website near the end of 2017!

 

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Encouragement, Inspiration, Motivation; Oh My! by Kitty Bucholtz

August 9, 2017 by in category It's Worth It tagged as , , , ,

Kitty Bucholtz is traveling today, so we’re running an article from our archives.

Kitty will return on the 14th for her August post.

I’m taking a page from Michael Hyatt’s playbook and trying to write ALL my blog posts for the next week or two in ONE day. Whew! The good news is that I get to write all day! Haha! The other good news is that with my brain focused on one thing, I’m writing better blog posts, though I’m not sure if it’s taking me any less time. (Maybe if I do this regularly it will go faster, but not yet.)

The other interesting thing is that my posts are becoming somewhat thematic as I write them all today. Everything I’ve wanted to write has to do with encouragement in one form or another. (Due to the luck of what day the 9th fell on this month, because that’s my blog day here, I have three posts hitting three different websites today!)

From a writing perspective, I want to encourage you to keep asking “Why?” John and I went to the East Valley Authors annual writers retreat last Saturday and had a great time. But on the way home, one or the other of us would start muttering, “Oh damn…” Laurie Schnebly Campbell taught two workshops on character motivation for the whole day, and it was startling to suddenly realize what you thought was your character’s motivation was just your author reasoning. It was a great day and Laurie gave everyone a lot to think about.

It also made me reconsider my own motivations. Why am I doing what I’m doing? And as Laurie said, “And why is that? And why is that?” After some work, you get another “sudden” revelation about the real why. Whether it’s for your character or for figuring out yourself, it’s good stuff.

When you are feeling tired or disheartened about your writing career, I want to encourage you to ask yourself why. The initial answer might be, “I write so slowly, I’m not getting many books out.” Or “I’m published but not selling many books.” Or “I self-published to make more money and I’m not making much.” Whatever the first answer is, ask yourself why about that. Why do you write slowly? Why aren’t you selling many books? Why do you have these expectations about money? And why is that? And why is that?

As you keep going deeper into the “why?” follow-ups, you may find your deepest motivation is something entirely different. Maybe it’s not money or fame that drives you, but a craving for respect from a significant person in your life who values money or fame. Maybe it’s not storytelling that drives you write, but the need for an inexpensive creative outlet. Who knows? You won’t even know until you start asking these questions.

I’ve learned some difficult things about myself over the years. Not having financial success makes me feel like I haven’t moved away from my poorer, other-side-of-the-tracks roots. I do write to tell the stories in my head, but I mostly write for the same reasons I teach – to connect with others and share what I’ve learned and entertain them in the process.

Knowing these things helps me understand why some advice from other writers works for me and some doesn’t. For instance, the “write every day” advice or the people who say “I have to write every day because I can’t not write” – that doesn’t inspire or motivate me because I can get the same high from teaching, and I can write every day for weeks, then not at all for a month or two, and I’m still quite happy. Up until recently, I felt guilty about that! I thought I had to feel the way “everyone else” feels in order to be “a real writer.”

I hope this helped you think about your career from a new perspective. If you’re interested in a more spiritual bit of encouragement, check out my “7 Steps to Building a Great Business and a Great Life” post on my author website. And if you’re giving some thought to quitting your writing, read “If You’re a Writer in Need of a Cheerleader” on Writer Entrepreneur Guides where I teach and share on writing topics.

Good luck! You can do it!

 


Motivation | Kitty Bucholtz | A Slice of Orange
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss LovesickA Very Merry Superhero Wedding and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, “Superhero in Disguise,” are now available at most online retail sites. You can also find more advice on self-publishing and time management for writers at her new website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.
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