I’m Ba-a-a-ck

I can’t believe it that I’ve been gone for so long! My apologies to all. Got bogged down in a lot of other projects, and drifted away from my first love: writing ebooks.

At any rate, I’m scrambling to finish several of my eleven manuscripts now in various stages of development. Unfortunately, the depth of some of my subject matter requires much research and ponderous after-thought during each book’s development stage.

Nonetheless, I’m committed to resurrecting this site with more helpful material. Please bear with me.

John O’Neill

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Cover Art Selected for My Next eBook

Here’s the cover image I’ve chosen for the sequel to my third eBook: There Are No Molecules in God, Book 2: The Inner Life of God. It continues the star field theme similar to the previous eBook, but adds to it the Holy Trinity theme depicting the God’s Inner Life content of this second volume of the 2-part series.

I’m more than half-way through the manuscript for this new eBook. 

Two Editions of My Third eBook are Published!

I have been notified that both editions of my new eBook, There Are No Molecules in God, Book One: God is One,  have been published. Surprisingly, Smashwords first approved it for sale, closely followed by Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing operation.

Smashwords has notified me that, according to plan, they will review my book for inclusion in the Smashwords Premium Catalog. That’s the tough part, but it is well worth the effort in order have my eBooks distributed to the Apple, Barnes and Noble Nook, Kindle, Kobo and Sony, as well as many other online eBook sellers worldwide.

It could be another two weeks, or more, before I hear whether or not I was accepted into the Premium Catalog  on the first try.

You can find this book’s promotion page on the two links below:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZFWEFK

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/57794

The eBook Waiting Game

I have uploaded two formatted versions of my third eBook manuscript and cover art, one into Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing system, the other into the Smashwords. com Meatgrinder system. It’s an agonizing time for a still-newbie.

In the Kindle system, I have cleared to “pending review” hurdle, and am well into the “publishing” phase. I am still not out of the woods; I might be informed of some things that require fixing.

In the Smashwords system,  I began in a much longer queue that with my two previous eBook titles, and am now in the automatic review stage, which will take a while, after which it will have to pass muster in the second review by a trained eBook editor before it goes on sale. Even then, I must await a final review before my book is accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which  is distributed to its most prestigious and most demanding eBook retailers.

Always, I am concerned about this because on my first two attempts to capture this prize, it took several tries before I accomplished it.

Now Here is a Professional eBook Cover!

In my April 27th post, I talked about experimenting with creating eBook cover art on MS PowerPoint.

Less than an hour ago, I received from my daughter, Meg, the file for her very powerful and professional cover of my soon-to-be-published third eBook, There Are No Molecules in God, Book One: God is One.


On seeing it, my immediate, spontaneous reaction blew me back in my chair! I could never have imagined such a dramatic title heading, so befittingly symbolizing God’s majesty and power.

I am in awe of her talent.

Do-It-Yourself eBook Cover Design

In an experiment today, I found that, in a pinch, I could design my own eBook covers for upload on the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and Smashwords.com publishing sites, using Microsoft PowerPoint.

It is no big deal. If I can do it, anybody can do it! Here is how:

On your start menu, click on Microsoft Works. On the MS Works Menu, click on PowerPoint 2007.

When you get to MS PowerPoint 2007, click on the design tab. On the Design menu, click on Slide Orientation, then on Portrait icon.

Next, click on the Insert tab, then on on the Picture icon. Then, in the Pictures Library, locate and upload the .jpg image for your cover.

In the Picture Tools mode that opens when you upload the image, you can “bleed” the photo off the edge of the cover by dragging the boxes on each side of the photo to the edges. When you click on the image, PowerPoint goes into Picture Tools mode.

When you click the Format tab in the Picture Tools mode, it offers many other tools to help you to work with your photo. If you want it to be background for your book title and author name, click on “Send to Back” in the Arrange section of the Format tab. Then text boxes will appear to let you format your title, author name and subtitle text. The text boxes are movable.

At this point, click on the Design tab to choose your text Theme.

For the fonts, I chose the Office Classics theme, which features Arial heads and New Times Roman text styles, after clicking the “Fonts” button to the far right of the Themes section. I chose to use New Times Roman all caps for my title and subtitle, and New Times Roman, caps and lower case for my author name.

To make them stand out against the busy background, in the Home tab, I chose the white color for the title and subtitle font, then superimposed the bright yellow over it. In the lower text box for my author name, I chose again the white color, then superimposed a bright red color over it.

To convert the MS PowerPoint slide into a .jpg image, after saving my slide as a PowerPoint file, I clicked the file orb in the top left-hand corner and selected “Save As”. When the “Save As” box opened, I move down the menu to the last choice, “Other Formats”, and when it opened, I clicked the downward arrowhead to the far right of the “Save as Type” box, and changed it from “PowerPoint Presentation” by scrolling down to “JPEG File Interchange Format”. Then I clicked on the “Save” button, and when asked if I wanted to save this slide or all slides, I clicked on “Save this Slide”. My cover art now was saved as a .jpg image.

Here’s how it turned out:

Preparing to Publish My Third eBook

I am in the last stages of publishing my third eBook in the Religion and Spirituality category: There Are No Molecules in God, Book One: God is One.

Right now, I am separating my source document into three, individually formatted editions, the Kindle edition, the Nook edition and the Smashwords edition. This is a new approach for me, since, in the past, I published the first two eBooks as a single formatted edition on all three sites — okay, so I’m a slow learner.

After seeing how poorly this method worked on different eReader devices, I decided to play to the strengths of the individual publishing systems by dropping the one-size-fits-all approach, and formatting each edition exactly as each publishing system recommends. It takes a lot longer, but I’m betting that the last products will be far more satisfying for all concerned.

I formatted the first edition for Smashwords since their requirements were far more demanding because they were working to meet the formatting needs of a host of different eReaders, especially Apple’s iPad tablet and the Sony line. I’m still not sure of how effectively the Smashwords “Meatgrinder” technology accomplishes all this.

Consequently, Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide, designed to create an eBook worthy of inclusion in the Smashwords Premium Catalog, distributed to all the major eBook retailers, worldwide, makes many demands of the would-be author/self-publisher.  There are the specified paragraph indents, the precise number of hard paragraph returns, the proper way to separate paragraphs, the rigid font size and style specifications, the particular requirements for the copyright page, and so on, and so on. All told, more than thirty tips on how to format my book to meet all the requirements of all Smashwords’ retailer partners.

Once I’ve exhausted every effort to follow each Smashwords instruction to the letter, I move on to formatting the Kindle edition, which requires a substantial overhaul of the Smashwords format. Both require saving the book’s content in the MS Word .doc format; both allow paragraph indentations, bold characters, italics and headings; both recommend avoiding bullet points and page headers and footers.

Kindle suggests a page break at the end of each chapter; Smashwords forbids it, suggesting instead, no more than four hard paragraph returns. Both recommend a manual proofreading after a preliminary automatic spellcheck and grammar sweep to ensure a professional manuscript, free of typos.

Regarding the front matter (Title page, Copyright page, Dedication page, Acknowledgments page and Preface, Introduction or Prologue), the Title page should be centered, with title on top and the author name underneath. Kindle then requires a page break before moving on to the Copyright page. On the Copyright page, I center-align my copyright information, then block paragraph the copyright data about my source for scriptural quotations in my book. Finally, I center the cover art copyright and design credit before applying the page break and moving on to the Dedication page. (If the book needs an Acknowledgments page, I place it before the Dedication page and separate both with a page break.) After adding a page break at the end of the Dedication page, I begin my Introduction to this book, instead of a Preface or Prologue, because the nature of this book’s contents begs a longer, more detailed explanation.

Prior to all of this, of course, I’ve formatted the text in the source document; but, even so, I’ll have to go back over the contents to re-configure it to meet certain Kindle requirements. (For example, Smashwords wanted “single” line spacing; Kindle prefers 1.5 line spacing.)

With regard to creation of the back matter (Appendices, Bibliography, About the Author, etc.), I pick this up from the source document, instituting a page break after each.

After I accomplish all of this, I’ll save the document in the manner prescribed by Kindle, then use the suggested MobiPocket Creator software according to the step-by-step instructions provided to convert my file into the eBook Kindle wants.

After previewing the results to see how it will look on the various Kindle devices, I will upload the .prc file, and, if all goes well, the book will go on sale at the Kindle Store 24 to 48 hours later.

After that, on to my Nook Edition.