East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The return of Pinterest for Writers

I already did a post on Pinterest, and how it can be useful to writers.
Heck, I did two posts about Pinterest!
Well, there’s more.

avventurieriMy Italian-language non fiction ebook, Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo, my pulp-history overview of adventurers in Central Asia between the wars, is doing fine on Amazon – good sales, excellent reviews, nice Top 100 position.

But I get lots of requests for graphical contents – maps, photographs of the characters whose stories I’m telling.
It figures.

Now, putting graphical contents in a Kindle book is not that easy – and maybe not even worth the time and the effort, considering that older, cheaper readers (like the one I use) are not that good at displaying images.
Can you really appreciate a map of Central Asia on a 6″ b/w screen?
Old grainy pictures?
Very large, garish paintings?
Also, a graphically-intensive ebook can be huge – and Amazon charges you some extra cents for big files.
And finally, there’s the lengthy (and expensive!) matter of the rights to the images.

And yet, it’s the sort of content that would make my ebook more appealing to the paying public.

So, I did a Pinboard on Pinterest – pinning the maps, and the photos of the historical characters.
As hi-quality as possible, with Italian captions, in the proper order – so that as you read my ebook, you can browse the pinboard and meet the characters.

Not only this free extra web-content allows my readers to finally get a good look at those faces, at their leisure, on the bright, colored display of their device of choice.
It could also work for the undecided – now they can look at the pictures, and decide whether they’d like to purchase the book or not.
And it can be updated.

With the next update of my text, I’ll place a link and a short note at the very beginning of my ebook – and at that point, it should all be nice and fine.

I’ll certainly adopt the same strategy for my next non-fiction book – which, after all, is about Dinosaurs!
You’ve got to have pictures in a dino book!

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Free Adventurers Weekend

While of limited interest for my English-speaking readers, here’s news worth spreading: starting tomorrow, the 13th of September, at 00 am, Pacific Standard Time (7 am GMT), and for the whole weekend, my pulp-non-fiction ebook, Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo (Italian Edition), will be available for free on Amazon worldwide.
The Free Adventurers Weekend ends on September the 15th, at midnight PST.


New ebook out – on Kindle

kdp-amazon1Last week I published my first ebook on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Now, it’s been about two years since I started distributing my stuff in ebook format through the web.
After an initial, and not completely satisfactory experience with a popular Italian publishing platform, I decided to go the full independent way – setting my own ebooks, doing my own covers, publishing my ebooks through my blog as epubs, mobi and pdf files.
Free of charge, donations welcome – wishlist gifts too!

In the last 12 months, my ebooks have been pretty successful – considering the minimum of exposition (my blog readership is not exactly huge) and the fact that the laguage factor limits my readership to Italian language readers.
All in all, a few thousand copies of my ebooks were downloaded, and I have made… well, let’s say 50 bucks with half a dozen stories and three essays.

Actually, I made much larger a “revenue” with wishlist gifts from my readers (should I call the guys “fans”? I owe them big time.)

All in all, I am pretty satisfied with my self-publishing efforts so far.

So, why KDP?

First, because it’s there.
No, really.
I’ve tried a lot of options in these two years of experimentation, and KDP/Amazon was the obvious next one on the list.

Also, realistically, because of the exposition – publishing my books through Amazon grants me the widest possible audience.

In these two years of experimentation I’ve learned a lot, and I feel now I can offer my readers books professional enough to deserve a price tag and some guarantees.
My first Kindle ebook is in Italian, and is called Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo (Adventurers on the Crossroads of the World) and is the third, much expanded edition, of my most popular free/donation ebook – which is called simply Il Crocevia del Mondo.
It is a pulp-historical collection of facts about adventurers, scientists, crackpots, warlords and miscellaneous humanity on the Silk Road between the wars.

There’s some differences between the old book and the new – there’s about 40 extra pages of contents, three full chapters of material.
I used a professional editor, and a crew of beta readers.
I did a new, simpler but classier cover.

All these changes were done thinking about the KDP platform – if I want to face the whole wide world, and ask the whole wide world money, I need to clean up my act, and tighten my work.
Which I did.

Am I making tons of money?
At the moment, not.
A first review is in, and it is highly positive – but sales are still very low.
No sweat.
I like the experience so far, I’m learning a lot of new things, and it’s fun.
I’m planning a publicity push in the autumn, and I’ve got two other books almost ready for publication.

In the next few days I’ll probably do a tech-ish post about my first impact with the platform.
I guess someone might be interested.

In the meantime, back to the word processor – there’s more ideas to be turned into ebooks.