Thursday, June 2, 2011

May Links & Things

As I've previously mentioned, I backup my working data daily and the entire "My Computer" weekly, all to an external hard drive; that external hard drive, in turn, is also backed up daily and weekly to another external drive. But all of that means very little when the power supply decides to give up the ghost. Early Saturday morning, just prior to leaving the house for Baycon, I realized that I needed one more piece of information in preparation for my interview/chat and slide show presentation with Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio later that afternoon. I went to turn on the PC and, well, there was no "on" -- not even any noise, other than the click of the on/off button. So I snagged the info I needed from a book that just happened to be handy, and left for the con, knowing I would have to deal with a dead PC come Tuesday morning. Long story short, a new OEM power supply was ordered Tuesday, installed Wednesday (yesterday), and by last night all was as it should be (or should have been).

This is my monthly wrap-up of May's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern. Note, however, that not all of my tweeted links make it into these month-end posts. If you are new to this blog, and wish to catch up on my previous month-end posts, just look for the "Links and Things" tag in the right column.

  • Advertisement of the month:

    What concerns me in the ad are the words: "Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed." If anybody responds to the ad successfully, I would surely appreciate your sharing with us in the Comments section! (ad courtesy of Libi Kavanah's Facebook page)

If you haven't yet subscribed to's eBookNewser and GalleyCat blogs, which are delivered daily to your email inbox, then what are you waiting for?

  • Links by the number:

    From GalleyCat: "10 Nontraditional Ways To Promote Your Book." GalleyCat has collected 10 tips on self-promotion from a thread on the Amazon discussion boards. The tips, in turn, are linked to the author's specific explanation.

    From GalleyCat: "5 Free Formatting Guides on How To Publish Your eBook." This brief article mentions these five guides along with their respective links: Smashwords Style Guide, Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines, Barnes & Noble ePub Formatting Guide, Apple iBookstore Style Guidelines, and Calibre User Manual.

    Now that you have the guides, here are the tools, from eBookNewser: "Six eBook Formatting Tools." These six tools are mentioned, with their respective links: Calibre, Aspose, Mobi Pocket, Jutoh,, and BookGlutton.

    Okay, you have the formatting guides, the formatting tools, now you need to know how to publish -- from eBookNewser: "Five Tools For Self-Publishing Your eBook." Explained in this article, with links, are these self-publishing options: Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble PubIt, iTunes Connect, Smashwords, and
There are undoubtedly more eBook formatting guides and tools and eBook publishing sites, but these are worth serious consideration, and at least provide a baseline for further research.

  • Speaking of Smashwords, the site has a free eBook available entitled Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker. From the description: "This free book marketing primer provides authors easy-to-implement advice on how to market their books at Smashwords and elsewhere. It starts with an overview of how Smashwords helps promote your book, and then provides 30 simple do-it-yourself marketing tips. The book is useful to all authors, even those who don't yet publish on Smashwords." There are nearly 40 5-star reviews, and nearly as many positive, though unrated, reviews. The free eBook is available in a variety of formats. (via Rusty Fischer's Facebook page)
  • Author Scott Sigler provided a guest post on May 10 on Joe Konrath's blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing. Toward the bottom of the blog post, Scott explains how he got into self-publishing and built an audience, but the meat of the post deals with self-publishing a hardcover. Scott writes: "...if you want high-quality, collector's edition hardcovers, it's going to cost you. POD for that kind of book makes the price points ridiculously high. To do it right (and to actually have product cost low enough for a real profit margin), you need to do an actual print run. I didn't have the capital to do a book of that caliber, but I knew where I could get it. From my fans." And, there are more than 60 Comments. (via @jakonrath @lkblackburne)
  • Did you know that bOING bOING was originally a print 'zine? -- a zine that covered "comic books, cyberpunk science fiction, consciousness technology, curious phenomena, and whatever else surprised and delighted us." The folks at bOINGbOING (@BoingBoing) have published a free anthology, entitled History of the Future! containing some of their favorite interviews and articles from the 'zine, between 1989 and 1994, featuring Robert Anton Wilson, Rudy Rucker, William Gibson, Kevin Kelly, Marc Laidlaw, and Bruce Sterling.
  • From Yahoo! News: How about a USB stick-sized computer that can access the web and email and costs $25.00. "The diminutive device has a single USB input for a keyboard or mouse (or a USB hub to expand those options), HDMI monitor output, 128MB of memory, and an SD card slot for storage. The pint-sized PC is capable of web browsing, word processing, email, and many other standard computer features. None of this would be particularly impressive, if not for the fact that the device costs just $25." Seeing is believing. (via @MaryRobinette)
  • As the space shuttle program comes to an end, I'm looking for a motivator that will ass-kick this country back into space -- and it appears that motivation just may come from the Chinese. According to, on April 26, "Authorities in charge of the manned space program unveiled plans on Monday to build a 60-ton space station, made up of three capsules, and develop a cargo spaceship to transport supplies." Plans are to launch an unmanned mission toward the end of this year, with the space station scheduled to be completed by 2020. "The manned space program will lay the foundation for possible missions in future, such as sending men to the moon...." (via John Shirley's and David Brin's Facebook pages)
  • Lastly, if you are a fan of graphics, of posters, of the US Manned Space Program, then NASA has a treat for you: free, downloadable PDF posters -- lots of them! I'm particularly fond of the STS 131 crew PDF that looks like a Star Trek poster; and the Expedition 26 crew PDF that's a takeoff on The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover. There are 86 different items, some of which are available not just as posters, but as pop-ups, banners, etc. Thanks, NASA! (via (@BoingBoing)

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