by Michael Dymmoch
...for a change.
In the last few months I've spent a lot of time listening to writers who've put their out-of-print books on Kindle and Smashwords. Some have even gone to self-publishing their dropped series as e-books. You can check out Joe Konrath's bog, A Newbie's Guide To Publishing, if you're interested in pursuing the subject.
My reason for bringing it up is that my first book, The Man Who Understood Cats, came out so long ago that my current computer couldn't read the electronic copy. I don't even have a drive that could handle the floppy disks. I tried having two different computer gurus scan them for me and got back files of gibberish. (Something like this: Sunseô waó onlù á reprieve¬ ninå houró tï rest¬ tï recover¬ � buô onlù á temporarù postponemneô oæ thå momenô mù opponenô � woulä deliveò thå coup®.)
You have to have a clean, recent-release-version-of-Word copy or an HTML version of your novel to publish electronically. And I wasn't up for retyping a 244 page novel. So I started asking around for a company to scan the novel for me. Found Blue Leaf Book Scanning. The company offers "a non-destructive scanning process [that] converts virtually any size book or document to any file format, including searchable PDF, eBook (Kindle, Nook, Sony...), audiobook (mp3), and editable text-based formats such as Word, RTF, and TXT." If you're willing to sacrifice a copy of the book to be scanned, they charge less.
On June 20 I paid on line (through PayPal) to have Blue Leaf scan my book. I got an email receipt immediately.
June 21, I sent a (3rd printing) copy of the novel (media mail with tracking) to Blue Leaf.
On July 7, I received a Zip file containing: copies of the novel in Kindle format, HTML, PDF, and formatted (for commercial printers) and unformatted Word versions. All for under fifty bucks!
Another scanning company I contacted quoted $199 for fewer formats.
That makes me a very satisfied customer.
On another note...
I'm a world class procrastinator. Which is why I'm just getting around to mentioning a great (for crime writers) website I first heard about in January. Carolyn Friedman blogs on The Forensic Science Technician. Besides her own article, 8 Body Parts Forensic Scientists Use to ID a Body, the site contains links to other intriguing topics:
• About The Skully Wannabe Blog
• Top 50 Homeland Security Blogs
• Getting to the Bare Bones of the Gormogon Killer
• Top 50 Forensic Scientist Blogs
• It ain’t CSI: What It’s Really Like to Be a Forensic Scientist
• The 50 Best Safety and Security Blogs
• The Top 50 Self Defense Blogs
• 100 Online Brainstorming Tools to Help You Think Outside the Box
• 50 Fascinating Online Psychology Tests
• DIY CSI: 20 Awesome Forensics Gizmos and Gadgets You Can Buy
• Top 20 Free Tools to ‘Hacker Proof’ Your Inbox
• Six Files the US Government Keeps on You, and How to Obtain a Copy
• 8 Body Parts Forensic Scientists Use to ID a Body
• 50 Germiest Places in the World
• 30 Scary Food facts you need to Know
• Top 100 Blogs for NFL Fans
• 50 Fascinating Documentaries for Forensics Science Junkies
• 15 Ingredients in Cosmetics you should Know About
• 100 Fun Twitter Feeds for Serious SciFi Geeks
• 100 Best Websites for Science Teachers
• 100 Blogs Every Science Student Should Subscribe To
• 50 Best Ecology Blogs
Check it out.