Friday, June 10, 2011

It was the...well, you know the kind of times

An interesting experience, this pulling a book together and sending it on its way into the world. And rewarding too.

The raw material existed and a certain art and a certain craft went into the creation thereof. But that was, by no means, where art and craft ended.

Sixty-some photographs and their attendent haiku. Created over a couple of years. Now we can begin.

First was the task of pulling these photographs into one location and getting them all, in no order that god nor man could discern, into Scrivener - the tool chosen for book production. Four different phone cameras had been involved, each with its own quirks, including the 12MP variant that was my Nokia N8.

So, one of the tasks was to turn the photos into something resembling similar size and shape. Apart from the panorama shot, which was at least four shots stitched together, I believe I succeeded.

Then attach the haiku that had accompanied the photograph when initially uploaded to the Web, and sit back and think, "How on earth am I going to pull these into something coherent?"

"In the doing," as the Spanish might say. In truth, it took a day of thought before some "organizing principle" revealed itself. After that, it was a matter of drag and drop, rearrange, attempt a balance between the three sections, drag and drop some more.

So, art and craft needed here too. And what of the cover image? The title, "Haiku - Through a Lens", suggested itself, and by extension suggested the image. One dozen photographs of a camera lens later, I had the shot I wanted. A little cleanup in Photoshop got rid of the reflection of the phone camera in the camera's lens. I, briefly, considered the meta point this represented, infinite reflections of camera to lens to camera...but good sense prevailed.

Scrivener made the book creation, generation that is, fairly straightforward. Mobi, ePub, PDF - all possible with just a few setting changes. There are tools to preview the results and to examine the internal structure to ensure the ePub format is valid. I hardly doubted Scrivener's ability to create valid output - but it was reassuring to have it check out OK.

Then off to Amazon (.com, and .de) and Barnes & Noble - with some frustration with Smashwords (Scrivener providing the Word output as well). A book laden with so many photographs runs over Smashwords 5MB limit for input to their Meatgrinder.

Another time perhaps...

There is a certain level of wry amusement for me in the fact that I was unable to give 17 copies of the book away. But there is art and craft in book promotion too.

And I must learn it.

Thanks to all for the support given so freely.


  1. Do they actually call it Meat Grinder, in capital letters like that?

  2. My error, John. They call it Meatgrinder - and it's capitalized even if in the middle of a sentence, as used in "The Smashwords Style Guide" by Mark Coker - the Smashwords founder.

  3. Go join Goodreads as an author, then go to their giveaways section and add your book (but I don't remember if they require paperback only). You still need to see about Createspace color paperback anyway. (I'm I nagging you yet?) :)

  4. Thanks for the Goodreads hint, Laura - I can use all the help I can get.

    And the nagging...truth be told. :D

  5. Overall, it seems the production of your book went quite smoothly, no? Glad to know it. :)

    Great suggestion, Laura!

  6. That's a great insight on the creative process quite a number of times, sounds like it went smoothly enough.
    I'm so glad you got to do this, Kevin, it's a wonderful collection that I absolutely loved!

  7. @Mari - The production went more smoothly than I'd expected, Mari. I was helped by the fact that Scrivener undertook much of the heavy lifting. So I got mobi, epub and pdf output basically for free. Word output in a form Smashwords (with a little tweaking of the result afterwords) was also straightforward. The file size did me in at the end. It's an imperfect world. :)

    @Estrella - Glad you enjoy the collection - and thank you for the 5-star review on Goodreads. Greatly appreciated

  8. Kevin ~

    Feelin' the "AHA" moments and momentum behind processing a profusion past confusion to your gem of a book to be proud of and for. Title up there bespoke it all.

    Applause, man.
    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  9. Thank you, *Kate, pulling this book together was exhilarating - among other things :-}

    WIth Laura's promoting, I'm looking to get a paper version produced also.

    Thank you for the applause.

  10. Thanks for the free copy from the contest, but it was always my intent to buy your book. I bought it last night via the Nook and it looks great. I read it cover to cover in one sitting and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm sure I will revisit it on occasion. I even created a new shelf on my Nook, Poetry, and it is the maiden book shelved there. Nice job, Kevin.

  11. Thank you, Jon! That's going above and beyond - the purchase is greatly appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed the book. It's easily read at a sitting. I hope you get to populate your shelf with many other poetry books.