Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sample Sunday

It’s time for Twitter’s Sample Sunday, so here is a sample from Anyone Can Make a Kindle Book


Are you a real graphics person? Do you know the difference between d.p.i., p.p.i., and absolute pixel size? Do you know what the term “resolution” truly means? Do you know why it’s O.K. to scale a graphic down but not up? If you cannot answer these questions, get some professional psychiatric help because you want to try to be a writer help with any graphics that you may want to include within the pages of your book.

If you do know the answers to all of those questions, then I need to tell you only a few things about the graphics in a typical Kindle book. The most important one: they are all what’s known as “inline.” The best way to think of an inline graphic is to treat it as if it’s a separate paragraph. Inline graphics move up and down the page as text is added and deleted above them. In a standard Kindle book none of the images are stationary on the page with text that flows (that is, that “wraps”) around them. Those are known as “floating” graphics and the standard Kindle code doesn’t support them.

An inline graphic can be aligned just like a paragraph, too: left, right, and center, but, unless you know what you’re doing and have a good design reason to do otherwise (as I did with the graphic ornaments that were used in this book for the chapter- and section headings), make all of your graphics centered on the page, just like a centered paragraph. They look better that way. All of the screen captures in this book—more than 100 of them—are centered like that.

All of your graphics should be in JPEG format. You may read various places that Amazon allows a few other formats for images, but which formats are allowed where—on the cover or the inside pages—can get confusing because they’re not all the same. JPEG is the one format that can be used both places. Don’t complicate things unnecessarily. Keep it simple. Amazon prefers your cover to be JPEG, so keep everything JPEG. And make sure that they’re uncompressed (more about that in Section 7.1: Size Matters).

That section speaks specifically about the cover of your book, but those same guidelines also pertain to any images that you add within the pages of your book, where you have the added choice of being able to shrink those images down to the size that you want them to be. Images can be added (using either the Insert > Picture menu or the drag-and-drop method) right into your manuscript, and, prior to conversion to HTML, shrunk to almost any smaller size on the page that you choose. This is one of the best reasons to check your Kindle book with the “Kindle Previewer” or an actual Kindle device, to make sure that the graphics show up at an acceptable size on the Kindle screen: not bigger than you want and not too small to be seen clearly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Love Libraries

In honor of National Library Week, April 8–14, here is a video of my children at the library.