Blog & Site Updates

11.12.17 Now I have started my art print project. The way it works is, you order a print and then you will be sent a confirmation email with a link to download it so that you can print it out, just like the ebooks. It turns out that some of the PDFs are so large in bytes that they cannot be emailed; naturally it's just better to get it directly once you have paid for it. The images are derived from some of the art I have created in the last 30 years, and there will be more once I have had a chance to photograph the rest. To me this is almost better than doing art fairs. Some of those shows are expensive, so it will save me some money to set up a gallery on my own. I hope you like what you see. ♦

11.09.17 It's official: you must order any print book by December 8 in order to receive it by December 24. This is the deadline established by my printer, not me. Anything ordered after that is subject to the vagaries of the weather and whatever timeline they have decided on for ordering after that. Shipments are likely to be slower. If there is a major snowstorm like there was last year, the printer may likely shut down to wait it out. I am working on ordering copies in order to have a supply over the winter months. But if I run out, I'll probably just shut down the product page to stop orders. I hope not, but it may happen. More news later. ♦

11.08.17 So now, in an effort to streamline the whole process, I spent several wee hours of the morning trying to work with PayPal's Express Checkout. I worked with one page on this site, but the new button was visible for a split second. I checked the coding and I copied it exactly, and I tried making client IDs for the buttons, but no go. The coding is all in Javascript so all I had to do was to fill in the information where it was supposed to fit. I gave up after 3 hours of painful inputs.
     I am sticking with my original buttons, which do work, and hoping for the best. About all I will do at this point is to change the button image, which could stand some upgrading. More later as it happens. ♦

11.01.17 Update: because of my work with other marketing sites, I now have the ability to give buyers download URLS instead of delivering the ebooks by email. I had been struggling with this situation for months because some of the files are not supported by my email server; they are too big to send. But now, as buyers purchase a title I can just give them the link to download the file in the confirmation of purchase email. As I work with other marketplaces it will be a boon for those that don't support uploads for storage against a sale. Either way, it is now easier for everyone. BooRah! ♦

10.27.17 Another decision made: I moved the fiction and nonfiction book pages into the 1st level so that there are not too many levels of links. In many cases it is good coding to use only 1 or two levels, because the Google bot has a hard time parsing them. Thus far I have had to recode my other site just for that. In theory I will be working on Swords of The Dragon's Blood this weekend, so it will be ready to publish by November 15, if possible. I am still ruminating on the cover design so that will take some time. ♦

10.25.17 Today I had the unique experience of including text files of book excerpts, which appeared fine until I encountered one which, despite all efforts, kept coming up as a 404 message. After agonizing over the coding all day, I called in to my server and found out 2 things: file names should be in all lower case; and the folder heading should be contained in the link. The funny thing is that all the other text files came up anyway. On the advice of the senior tech I took steps to fix the coding, and discovered that all it took was a trailing slash removed from all files which were in a folder. All should be copacetic now.
     I have also added a new book to the line up in nonfiction: The Wonder of Space And Time, which is a compendium of past illustrations from my fanzine days, along with information about my techniques and what materials I used. All these were created during the days when the internet was primitive and people still read things in print because there was not enough space in memory to store them online. I expect to publish it in the spring because I am still working on Swords of The Dragon's Blood and am still determined to publish it in November. What day I am not sure of, but I expect before the Thanksgiving weekend. Meanwhile, please read the excerpt I have posted on the page.

10.23.17 In the last few days I have been busy revising the book pages by dropping all numerical references in their urls. It just did not make sense to have a number; I used to use ISBN numbers but then I also sell the PDFs and EPUBs, and the EPUBs had their own ISBNS. So, just the titles from now on. The catalog numbers appear next to their formats. As for the ISBNs, I am sure Google would like to have those but I have not found a way to display them as yet. I may be forced to post them on the pages as small addendums so that the Google bots can find them. More news later.
     Update: OK, that took about an hour to do. Now Google can find the pages. ♦

10.17.17 Today I tried uploading the file for the title's cover and the module accepted the file, yet the same problem happened. The upload module for that title refused to go through the proper steps to continue the process to revision. So I did some research and discovered that the "upload link" patch which keeps appearing shows the wrong email address to submit things to. There is not even an attachment link. So I emailed the main company at their email address and also filled out a complaint through the Better Business Bureau. Hopefully that will fix the problem. After that, it is only a question as to whether I continue to use that service for future publications.
     Update: Just a few minutes ago I went into their site to see if anything changed and it had. Everything is copacetic. The new cover is reflected on the page already, so things are going smoothly again. ♦

10.16.17 In an effort to improve the appearance and quality of my books, I revised several covers to my fiction books and one nonfiction book. All passed through but one, for some unknown reason, and I have found out that my printer service had some "browser issues" when I called them to complain. Well, I cleared my browser cache and tried again. The revision solidly refused to pass through. After about 10 times in trying I gave up and decided to try again tomorrow. Hopefully they will have fixed their little problems by then. It's not something to panic over; however, the title in question has been a good seller.
     I am going as fast as I can to produce the EPUBs I mentioned in my last entry so that you can have the available option. I think my nonfiction books with pictures will have to be produced as text only, since the software's generic e-ink setter cannot support images. If you want the images anyway, I recommend the PDFs since they are basically digital versions of the print books.
     I have been informed that the deadline for ordering the print books for sale is December 8 in order to arrive by Dec. 24. After that I cannot guarantee delivery on time. I will post the deadline on each product page closer to the date. The ebooks will be available without interruption. Remember that you have to order them for email delivery or I can't send them to you. In theory you can upload them into whatever device you use.
     More news as it happens. ♦

10.11.17 Today marks the introduction of this blog, which it has been pressed upon me that maintaining a blog of some kind on this site would prove beneficial. Since I have been working hard on creating my books and associated products I guess it is incumbent on me to keep my readers informed on recent developments.
     Well, that was an epic fail. Distribution through Bookbaby proved to be a waste of time and money. So I have closed my account and opted to use free open source conversion software to create my epubs. I have put up additional buy buttons for those on the site, and I have not finished doing this yet so please be patient. So far, so good, and I am looking forward to orders since my print books are beginning to pick up in sales.
     I have begun changing some of the books' covers since I gather the reason some are not being sold is because of the covers. Perhaps they were not minimalist enough, because recently I have seen that new books on the market have the simplest, most basic and non-artlike covers I have ever seen. And they have been doing well, apparently, since a few have wound up on the NY Times bestseller list. My nonfiction is doing well; the covers were simple to begin with. But the fiction is another kettle of soup. So changes are in order.
     I have purchased the latest edition of Roxio media processing software so that I can create newer and better videos, and as I change covers I would have to create new videos anyway. The last program I bought, Adobe Premiere Elements 15, did not function as I expected and was too complicated to use. It was as if Adobe built planned obsolescence into the program, and why have to time slides off the timeline? That I will never understand. Anyway, I am pleased with the new software, as all the bugs in the previous version have been ironed out.
     I am still working on Swords of The Dragon's Blood. I am also beginning my research on Science Fiction Films of The 20th Century - The Early Years, which I anticipate will be published in December 2017 or early 2018. So I can't claim to be bored. ♦


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