An Update: Forest Fires and Formatting

Hi, folks! I’ve been a tad quiet. Just want everyone to know, I haven’t forgotten you and I have some fun posts planned–including some boast posts I hope will inspire you to make your ebooks even more spectacular

In the meantime, don’t forget to get your entries into the very first Ebook Formatting Contest. The deadline is June 20th. Rules and information are here. I am looking forward to seeing some beautiful ebooks.

I also want to apologize for my slow response to queries this week. I live in a part of Colorado called Black Forest (so named by German immigrants who thought it reminded them of home). Unlike the Black Forest in Germany, Colorado is semi-arid and forest fires are always a possibility. Right now the fire danger is very high. I had to leave my house this past week. I’m back now. My house and property is fine, but not everyone was so lucky. Many are still under mandatory evacuation. Over 400 homes were destroyed. The fire is now well on its way to full containment and they expect it to be out by the 20th. Fire fighters are my new heroes. Those men and woman are amazing.

fireI think I answered all questions that came my way, but if you didn’t get a response, resend your email and I’ll get to it.

Stay safe, everybody!



June Indie Ebook Formatting Award

Drum roll, please… Announcing, the very first Indie Ebook Formatting Award!


Indie writers, your ebooks are real books. You’ve poured your heart into the writing. You’ve given it the best cover treatment you can.

What about the formatting?

It’s time to find out who’s the best of the best (at least until next month. :D). Maybe this will do for indie ebook formatting what Joel Friedlander’s (The Book Designer) monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards does for indie covers.

Because there is only one of me, I have to put some limits on it. Depending on how this goes, I might be able to open this up more in the future.


  • Kindle ebooks, only. Entries must be submitted as either MOBI or prc files.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • The ebook must be currently offered for sale on Amazon.
  • The entry must be submitted by the writer. (or in the case of multi-author anthologies, by the editor) The ebook does NOT have to be formatted by the writer.
  • The contest is limited to the first 25 entries (I have to figure out how much time it will take to properly judge this contest, so this rule is subject to change. I will post a notice that submissions are closed if and when I receive 25 entries)
  • Deadline for entries is June 20th, 2013, OR until 25 entries are received, whichever comes first.

How will I judge? Four areas based on the same criteria I use to judge the quality of my own ebooks.

  1. Technical. Does it work? Each entry will be loaded on three Kindles: A Fire tablet, a Paperwhite and a Keyboard. They’ll be run through their paces.
  2. Navigation. I’ll test the internal navigation guides and the producer-generated external navigation guides. This includes internal and external hyperlinks.
  3. Professionalism. Proper use of printer punctuation, layout, structure and attention to detail.
  4. Style and Design. While the above are objective criteria, this is entirely subjective. I’ll be looking for “reader-pleasing” design and innovation.

What does the winner receive? Bragging rights for the formatter, of course. That’s a prize above pearls. The winner will be able to display the award badge on their blog or website. Let the world know YOUR ebook is beautifully formatted.

So what do you think? Proud of your ebook format? Think it’s a winner? Submit your MOBI or prc file and I’ll be the judge.

To Enter the June Indie Ebook Format Award:

  • Send an email to:
  • Put June Ebook Formatting Award in the subject line
  • Include a link to your ebook on Amazon
  • Include the name of the formatter (that’s you, if you did it yourself)
  • Tell me what program(s) were used to format and convert your ebook
  • Attach a copy of your ebook file in either MOBI or prc format