My new book…Love Your Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet
My new book
is now available for purchase in the Kindle store for $2.99. In keeping with the style of the book, here’s a splinterview (where I interview myself) about it.
Q. Your new book just went live in the Kindle store…how do you feel about that?
A. Actually, surprisingly happy. Not that I shouldn’t be, but I feel good about it…I think it came out pretty well.
Q. Were you worried it wouldn’t?
A. I was really trying to get this one out quickly…I wanted to get it out before Black Friday, for people who were getting Kindle Fires then. There’s always that pressure when you give yourself a deadline…I prefer to just keep tweaking things over time. When I used to do databases, I remember someone coming to me and asking me if the database was done. I said, “It’s like Disneyland…as long as there’s a dream, it will never be finished.” The person looked at me quizzically and said, “But can I use it?” I said, “Sure.”
Q. Does rushing compromise the quality?
A. It maybe compromises the length. The way I wrote this one, I’m pretty happy with it. It’s meant to be the breaking information…it’s not like a research work I crafted over years.
Q. Have you ever done that?
A. Honestly, no. I’ve always loved walking into a chaotic situation and improvising. I once prepped a two day class on a BART ride.
A. That’s the subway system in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was managing other trainers, and somebody reported in sick…so I headed over to do the class. It was also software I’d never seen…Pagemaker, I think. Anybody who looks at my works knows that graphic design is not my long suit.
Q. And how did the class go?
A. It went fine…I think I got perfect satisfaction scores from my students. Of course, I didn’t have to know the whole class when I started. I remember another time I had to step in with some software I didn’t know. I was joking later saying that I wanted to say at 10:00, “Well, that’s all I know. Let’s take a twenty minute break, I’ll learn enough to get us to lunch, and then we’ll come back.”
Q. How can you possibly teach something you don’t know?
A. It helps to know something, but that’s a common misconception…people who are really good at something are often really bad at teaching it. Teaching is a skill unto itself…it largely has to do with figuring out what is important in a subject and getting other people to understand it.
Q. Okay…let’s get back to the book. It’s about the Kindle Fire, right? How much do you know about that?
A. Oh, writing about something and standing up in front of a class are two very different things. I got my Kindle Fire on the first possible day, November 15th…I preordered the day it was released, and paid extra for one day shipping. I started writing the book ahead of that. I published it on November 20th…five days later, The book is more than 20,000 words. It’s the traditional equivalent of about an 80 page book.
Q. Hadn’t you said you wanted to more than that?
A. I did…I sort of foolishly started out wanting to write 100,000 and then 75,000 words. However, this ended up being a good length. I think people will get their $2.99 worth’s out of it.
Q. What did you leave out?
A. Well, I’d like to do more resources and recommendations…more of the appendix stuff. I didn’t get into reaction to the Kindle Fire by other people. I did, though, go through every menu option, and give people some good tips as well as the big concepts. I found out some interesting things along the way.
Q. Like what?
A. I didn’t know you could put a password on the Kindle Fire. Some people have been worried about other people seeing the webpages they visit. You can clean them up, but this is easier. I also suspect people are going to keep confidential information on there, like financial records. This will protect that, to some extent.
Q. Anything else that stands out?
A. I now love the Pulse app! I hadn’t used it before, but it’s a great way to read blogs. I also found out how to remove webpages from the Carousel, and a lot of little setting things. One odd thing, which I don’t know enough about yet, is why there are international settings for the wi-fi. Is wi-fi different in Japan than it is in the USA? I don’t know.
Q. What don’t you like about the book?
A. The cover! I don’t have one right now. That’s always been a problem for me. I’m willing to pay somebody to do one…I just haven’t gotten that all worked out yet. That’s going to hurt the sales, for sure. I’m going to try again to get that going, and once I get something, it may take a couple of days before it shows up in the Kindle store.
Q. Nothing about the content?
A. I could probably have proof-read it more carefully. I suspect it’s in pretty good shape…I did run a spell-check and skim over it. And as I mentioned, I’ll probably add some material to it…nothing substantial, though.
Q. Should people wait to buy it until it’s done?
A. It will never be done. (smiles) I think it’s worth the money as is, myself.
Q. Do you think other people will think that?
A. My guess is that it will do pretty well. I told my family I’m guessing I might sell two thousand copies or so by the end of the year. We’re not supposed to reveal our sales figures, and I’m not…I’m just speculating ahead of time. Oh, and I guess I should say “licenses” instead of “copies”…that’s how it works for e-books.
A. What happens next? Do you go on a publicity tour?
Q. (laughs) No, nothing like that. I’ve gifted a few copies to people…other Kindle bloggers, mostly. I may do some more of that, but I do pay for each one.
A. You can’t send them free copies?
Q. I could, but it’s more complicated for them. I like them to be able to have the Kindle services with the book…back up of notes, Whispersync. It’s also not that expensive. I pay the $2.99 up front, but if they do get the book, I get a lot of it back in royalties. If they don’t…well, I’ve sent it to people I like. If they get something else, that’s okay. By the way, I noticed that you can now choose a delivery date for Kindle store books. That’s a wonderful improvement…you don’t have to buy a book the same day you are giving it.
A. Are you going to send it to people you don’t know?
Q. Maybe…it’s hard for me to push myself out there too much.
A. Why? You don’t seem shy.
Q. Oh, I’m not. I just…want to keep my writing in perspective in my life. I went the whole “I’m going to be famous” route with something else, and it was just too much time away from the family. I like the level I’m at now…the writing is justified in the time I spend on it, but it doesn’t consume my relationships. Having the blog is great! I feel like I have more people I know socially that way, especially the commenters. I honestly really rely on that. I hope people review the book, and people stumble across the reviews. It changes the dynamic for me if I’m hawking it.
Q. Why did you want to do this interview, then? Isn’t that hawking it?
A. Not really…this feels like my circle of friends. It’s people that I think may want to know about the book, and they may want to ask me questions about it. I won’t keep bringing it up. The Fire will be part of the mix here, but I have some other Kindle things I”m already thinking about covering. For example, I want to know more about this thing with Penguin and the public library e-book lending. I’ve written to the publisher…we’ll see if they get back to me. I’ll list the book in the appropriate places, and I won’t ignore it…but I’m not going to write the title on my forehead, either. (smiles)
Update: I have now uploaded a cover, and I took some of my readers’ suggestions and made it a flame. You can see it on the book’s Amazon product page, and it will probably take a day or so before you may be able to see it on your Fire. I’ve also gone through and did some proof-reading. I can’t upload that for another day or so, and then it will be a couple of days before people who already bought it can get it (as I understand the way Amazon does it now). I’ll be testing that on my Kindle Fire, and I”ll let you know. I think I”ll have to remove the book from my Fire and download it again from the archives to see the changes. You may have gotten notifications about a new edition of a book you bought before…I don’t think this will be like that, I think you’ll just get the new version when you redownload it from the archives (which is free to do), but I’ll double-check.
I’m also very pleased with the response! It’s already #1 in a couple of categories, and as I write this #812 in paid books in the Kindle store! Given that there are over a million books there, that’s pretty good. I’m starting to get reviews on the page. One four-star review did mention a couple of typos. I think that’s reasonable to say. When I get the corrected version uploaded, that should help with that. I was actually pleased at how few errors there were, given the accelerated timetable to get it out.
Thanks to everybody who has bought one already! It makes me feel good to know that people are making that choice.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.