I just put my book CARS AT SPEED-Classic Stories From Grand Prix's Golden Age, on Kindle! It won't take effect for a day or two but if the book interests you, keep looking for it. CARS was quite a big book of it’s type in 1961. It went through seven printings and was reissued in 2007 with a new introduction by me. In those so-called Golden Years the drivers raced almost always on public roads lined with trees, houses, embankments, fences, and they died like flies, four my first year on the circuit, at least two every year after that, out of never more than about sixteen in all. These young men were my age, some had become friends, and I suffered each time. My personality changed. To be so close to so much death so early in life is not a fun thing. That’s in this book too.
Putting it now on Kindle took many tries and I managed it finally only with major help from my granddaughter Morrighan, who persisted even after I had given up. Today's picture of an author at work is not what it was in Hemingway's day, or even in mine. I saw a joke recently, a photo of a toddler in diapers with a phone at his ear and the caption read: “No no, Grandma. Listen. You click on…”
In a few days I will attempt to put CARS on The Nook. Twenty two of my books are now on Kindle, which supposedly has 60% of the E-book market; for all of mine I set a price of $5.99. None yet have been put on Nook, which supposedly has 30%, so I have do it. Try to do it. Another adventure to come, I’m sure. Various degrees of agony to look forward to.
People think the publisher does all this for you. If they do, they collect at least half the royalty, if not more. But I never sold E-book rights to my books and now I’d rather do it myself. First you scan the book’s cover and put it aside. Provided you think you know how to do this. Not as easy as it sounds, either. Then you send the original book to a scanning company to be scanned. It comes back as type script but full of typos, for scanning machines are not perfect, so it must be proof read and if you’re an author who doesn’t like to read his own work over and over again, this will be a chore. Next it must be put into the only font the Kindle will accept (12 pt. Times New Roman) and the front matter typed in (Copyright, ISBN number, price, plus a short synopsis of the book, and more), and the size of the chapter headings decided upon and put in place in the text (these choices are restricted too). Then Kindle’s form must be filled out—it’s fairly long, fairly complicated and must be exactly right. Then you upload your cover, then the text itself. Then you preview the text. In the case of CARS, however often I tried, the margins came out uneven, cockeyed. I tried E-mailing Amazon twice for help, heard back twice from somebody in Madras, and gave up. It took a week and darling Morrighan to figure out why the margins were off, and get it right. Most of that time I was in despair.
My Kindle books are selling regularly, steadily, but not spectacularly. Great for my ego, not so great for my retirement fund. But most of them were out-of-print, earning nothing, so it’s all gravy. And it’s a brand new market that maybe will explode in my favor. One day. Maybe.