Making a book for Kindle has it’s ups and downs. The truth is, your book might not always come out the way you want it to in the end. Much of the time it all boils down to formatting, and how good you are at it.
I have used a program to format my books called Kindle Writer 2. It is fairly good, but for my latest book I just could not figure out how to get the cover to appear on the first “page” of my book, no matter how I did it.
After much experimentation I know I will get it done, but that is life! Another thing that happened was a quick glance at the first sentence of the introduction had a duplicate word. Fixed-now time to upload it. I’m only human, but that gets to me. Don’t want to make a wrong move on the first thing people will take note of-the introduction!
Dictation is one of those things that I have been wanting to do, but have been hesitant for many reasons. The first, and most important of these, is cost. Transcription is not free. Yet, the cost seems, to me, justifiable if I can get a first draft in hand.
A first draft is like an already built house. You can do a lot with an already built structure. Knock out a room? Sure. Paint the walls a different color? Go ahead. Make the kitchen a bedroom and the bathroom a gym? It’s your house. Which is what a first draft is, it’s yours. Having one is often all a writer needs to get their butt in gear. If you have a first draft you have a chance. Blank paper is worthless.
So even though I am a fast typist and good at organizing my thoughts dictation seems like a good way to really get the ideas down. Whether those words will build a good story are up to the editing process I employ more than what the first draft means. NEVER, EVER, show people your first draft of anything! At least give things a once over, or thrice over or whatever until you feel the ideas are at least polished and not the gravel of your imagination. Show people at least pebbles, smooth things out as best you can.
The trouble with dictation-as I started out saying in paragraph one-is cost. Someone or something has to transcribe what has been said. Software has come a long way in both price and performance, that I can not deny. The caveat is that software relies heavily on the internet, is a big expenditure initially and you have to be around a computer in order to do it. I don’t have a smart phone (what? You don’t have a sma—-are you serious? My father has a smart phone-why not?……), no I do not. So there is a chain which means I have to be at a compy.
Transcription services use people to type down what you say verbatim. I am sure they are not 100% accurate, that would be hard to believe, but they are still higher in accuracy than software (don’t argue, it will be true even for the next few years I think). They are a bit easier on the funds initially because they are pay as you go. They will use any audio format you can upload, which means you can use an IC recorder, a phone, a tape recorder and transfer to a file. Then they do the rest for money of course.
What about transcribing yourself? Good idea, but there is a time issue. I can talk longer and faster than I can type and let’s face it-paying someone saves time. I know: I have been transcribing a trip I took with my niece and nephew to Kyoto this summer, 7 hours of audio, and after weeks of transcribing I have only gotten an hour and change finished. I should probably do what people in the country side do-farm it out to others!
So that transcribing experience was not all negative. It showed me that audio has a lot of power and is useful. Also I have been reminded through the examples of others. Winston Churchill dictated everything he ever wrote. Dan Brown dictates his first drafts. In the Magnum PI first season Episode they portrayed Robin Masters, the fictional writer in whose estate Magnum lives, as dictating all of his stories. This reminded me of trying to do it again.
I’ve heard good things about the web sight iDictate and am looking at trying their services. They seem pretty competitive and are very helpful from what I have heard. I may have to bite the bullet, it’s better than leaving it in the chamber anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
What do you think about dictation? Good, bad, tragic? Leave a comment, would love to hear from you.
After much work and even more wait I have released my third novel, Gold River City 100, on Amazon. It is probably up on your countries Amazon sight so go have a look, right now, go on and make that search.
You might be wondering why release a book on the 28th of September? What is so significant about a day that happens to be in the middle of the week? Well the 28th was the day I started writing what would become this book and in honor of its completion I thought what better day to birth it than on the day I started.
What does the 100 stand for in the title? This book has 100 chapters! Each one a short story set within Gold River City, which is my fictionalization of the real city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan. It is the city where I fell in love. Not only with my wife, but with the county as well. So the book is an amalgum of life experiences, fantasy, action, and drama from the scooped out heart of my loving memory. I hope you enjoy it, truly I do.
There is something interesting about watching a TV show that was on when you were a youth. Now that you’re older you understand the story much better (I would hope), you can see all the episodes in order of their appearance, and you can read much more detail about a show at places like Wikipedia. It deepens the experience from the viewer’s perspective I think.
Thus it was that I watched the full first season of Magnum PI. There are points that can be said between the pilot and the following episodes, but suffice to say everything works very well as a show. There are no major problems in continuity that aren’t cleared up in some way through the stories. But a few episodes stood out.
Don’t Say Good-bye is an example. The episode follows Magnum as he tries to unravel the mysteries surrounding a blind woman’s daughter and her own accidents around the house that could take her life. The acting, and script are excellent and believable if I can use the word.
Another one that stands out is Never Again…Never Again about Nazis and Jews. The final scene where Higgins and Magnum talk on the beach is surprisingly good. And that is what I mean about being impressed. The show, through out this first season anyway, had excellent writing and character development. There are good twists and touching lines that help me see why actors and writers got Emmys for the show.
There was one episode that I actually remembered from my childhood (Skin Deep). It involved the death of an actress who appears to commit suicide on camera at the start of the show. I remembered the part where Magnum watches through all of the tapes to find the missing taped scene.
Another major, not to be overlooked, point of this episode was the Vietnam flash backs the characters keep having. It is what makes Magnum, TC and Rick deeper characters. It even seems to be part of Higgins persona, though he doesn’t convey the same flash backs shown with the others. It make them human, and shows the horror of war at the same time. The final lines of the episode end with a lie.
Magnum-”TC, do you ever, you know, think about Nam?”
When clearly they do, and often. It was poignant and understandable and realistic. Sure Magnum lives a glamorous life in the guest house of Robin Masters, an author who dictates all of his novels, and who rarely visits. He drives a Ferrari 308 GTSQuattrovalvole and nearly every episode he is cuddling a beautiful woman, rescuing one, or both. Yet he is haunted as a Vet and this does help balance out the fantastic with the horrific.
So it was a good week of watching a couple of episodes a day. They remind me of the 80’s while at the same time showing me what TV can be like without shoveling in violence, sex or lurid details. Good writing is timeless-which is what good TV should be.
Hi everyone out there in the world wide web, I wondered if that would get your attention or not.
Truth is I had a good day of work and I was hoping your did too? I am not standing on my head anymore, by the way, I started seeing spots and thought maybe I’m too old for this sort of fun.
Truth is I want to encourage you. Cheer up, don’t get down. Sometimes if feels like your standing on your head, but there is hope in living life one day at its best. And keep writing, never stop that, just keep writing!
Which is what I did. My newest novel Gold River City 100 will come out tomorrow. Please check it out!
I am proud to offer my next book for pre-order starting September 25th! Check it out at Amazon!