Archives for posts with tag: e-books

Although this blog steadfastly keeps away from politics, that does not prevent commenting on a great partisan’s speech from a purely literary, couch-potato perspective.  This is especially true if the speech was a masterpiece, probably destined for history. The speech former President Bill Clinton made to the Democratic Convention last week was one of that kind.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton (Photo credit: SamCom)

A tremendous hit, it makes one wonder: Will it reverse old ideas and begin a new era? Will it be studied and memorized by students in the decades to come ?Here are seven reasons why I think it’s built from the stuff of potential greatness:

  1. Humor (Irony) It was so humorous that cheers, laughter and applause erupted from the crowd 132 times in 48 minutes. (Recorded in the New York Times transcript). Example:  “Every politician wants every voter to believe he (the politician) was born in a log cabin he built himself.” (Clinton attributed this quote to Robert Strauss, DNC chair, 1972-77)
  2. Content (Solid Research) The speech is full of facts, all checked out and found by a number of news organizations to be truthful. Only some phrasing was disputed. ( Example: “Since 1961, the Republicans held the White House for 28 years, the Democrats for 24. In those 52 years, our private economy produced 66 million jobs in the private sector — Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42”.
  3. Personification: Arithmetic As a Hero Readers and audiences love a personal touch. Example:  “People ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer: Arithmetic.”
  4. Logical Theme This is the most fundamental debating technique. Example: “The argument in Tampa went something like, We left him a terrible mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.”
  5. Figures of Speech (Contrast, Parallel Structure, Onomatopoeia) These profound yet easy phrases  show off Clinton’s great writing talents. Examples:  “Obama is a man who is cool on the outside but burns for America on the inside.” ” Republicans will double down on trickle down.”
  6. Historical Setting, Description Everyone can relate to reality. Example:  “People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.”
  7. Summation (Challenge) Two contrasting dreams or visions of the future are put into a nutshell so folks are moved to choose and act. Example: “We believe that ‘We’re in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘You’re on your own'”.

To watch President Clinton’s speech:

To read a fact-check article:

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It didn’t take long for the conversation to get around to e-books when we holidayed in Muskoka cottage country last summer. A university professor was actively engaged in publishing one in between swims. All that was left to do was the Index — and this was a problem.

Unlike paperbacks, the Look Inside This Book feature for Amazon’s Kindle books does not provide a Search box for individual words. The reader can only look at the Cover or the Beginning chapter.

In contrast, the problem of an index is no headache if you are publishing a paperback. It may not be necessary to have one. If the author chooses the “Look Inside This Book” feature on the Amazon catalog page, the reader can click on it and then click again to enter any word in the search box that appears.

For example, in my catalog page for A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void  in the paperback version (, if you enter the word “Indians”, 51 retrievals will pop up, “love” — 47, ” letter” — 37,  “canoe” — 23,  “cariole” — 14,  “Prince of Wales” — 3, and so on. This is a free service Amazon provides for authors and readers of paperbacks.

Could this possibly be offered to e-books too? Self-publishers don’t have the time to worry about indexes in between swims and canoe rides at the cottage.

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time reading this post. Please browse around and, if you like, write some comments.,,,,

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When you shower a new book writer with bouquets, you risk assisting at the birth of an infamous author‘s ego.

But praise and feedback are vital to a sensible author who learns to assemble them into a foundation for later sales.  Here are ways I’ve used for you to try too:

How to Make a Readers’ Comments List

1. Just say thank-you and smile until you have something in writing from someone you know who has read the book.

2. Don’t destroy any messages that come in from or via your first buyers. These will be from family, friends and others they lent their copies to.

3. Open a readers’ comments file in your computer. Enter all email messages and scans of letters that contain solid feedback.

4. Acknowledge all messages and include the phrase, Do you mind if I  quote you on that? People don’t mind, as long as they are quoted exactly and with no gaps. They are glad to be helpful and supportive. (If you absolutely must omit something in mid-sentence, insert three dots in its place:  “. . .”)

5. Delete salutations and personal sentences from entries, keeping the most articulate, focused excerpts. Here’s an example of the format I use:

“My flight out to CA was made all the more enjoyable because I read A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void ( on the way. I thought it was very well done – a very good read. It has real potential for a wider audience.” Chris Delmar, Westport, CT

Where to Distribute Your List Widely

6. Submit a few of the comments to your Amazon page, under Create a Review. This must be done by someone other than the author. The  review on is honestly entitled  ‘Comments Received Directly by Publisher‘.  These are serious, freely submitted opinions from legitimate sources.  For whatever reason, the writers were not able to send them in on their own. To take a look at what I’m referring to, click on this link and scroll down to the second review:

<a href=”//”>;showViewpoints=1</a>

This review has been a placeholder until I received independent reviews.  Now I  can remove it, as I did the ones on and

7. Print out a copy of your list and bring it when selling at bazaars or book fairs. Browsers will enjoy its gossipy interest. No one wants to be the guinea pig buying the first book.

8. Open a comments page on your own website. Paste the list in and break it down into sections (e.g. year received, reader’s country) to make it easier to  read. This contributes to the aura that a lot is going on with your book.

9. Choose a snappy quote from your list to give your next book  promo, tweet or advertisement a relevant, authentic punch line.

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time reading this post. Please browse around and, if you like, write some comments.,,,,

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Mount Wellington from Lindisfarne, Hobart

Mount Wellington from Lindisfarne, Hobart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since I have too many books and am getting on in years, I thought it would be a good idea to buy  a Kindle reader.  Downsizing to an apartment or a retirement home would be easier if I could carry up to 1400 books with me in my purse or one hand.

Shortly after my purchase, our church’s  annual Spaghetti  Dinner & Used Book Sale came up,  an event not to be missed, with the best sauce in the world cooked by two scoutmasters. I wolfed down the pasta, Caesar salad and cake, then, full of sales resistance, I approached the book tables.  I was here just to browse.

Moments later I fell for a fantastic  six-pound tome, still in its original royal blue and white dust jacket with a picture of a steamship on it. It was 11 1/2″ high, 8″ wide and 1″ thick.

Harry Price’s The Royal Tour 1901 is an account of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s nine-month world tour from the perspective of a crew member. The book is handscripted on heavy parchment paper with  170 exquisite, delicate, colorful  drawings of ships, people, animals, birds, landscapes, seascapes, ceremonial arches erected specially for the royal couple, charts, logs and imaginative title pages.

Small wonder I was ensnared, its contents were so relevant to me. The author is shown wearing a tropical ordinary seaman’s dress uniform, as my father wore in World War I. The HMS Ophir sailed from Portsmouth, UK, where my mother was born. Price’s Wikipedia biography says he was born in a caul, which is fabled to make a person drowning-proof, and so was my sister.

But more than that, I’m planning to publish an ebook on my husband’s and my road trip all around America in a Prius and I need to look at other travel books to see how they’re done.

Price must have known his book risked being a boring, repetitive, ultra-patriotic  paean to the British regime. He saved it by including his own illustrated story of going off ship and climbing up and back down Tasmania’s 4170-ft Mount Wellington in one day. It was an impossible feat but he had made a bet with his buddies.

When he reached the summit, he hoisted the flag he had bought before he set out. To plant it, he used  a stick he had found along the way and carried with great difficulty. He needed to produce proof of his exploit for the other members of the crew to see.  Unfortunately, it was a French flag because all the stores were out of Union Jacks, due to the Royal Tour.

Now that’s a story worth buying, even if you are already loaded with books and have no guarantee of always owning a coffee table.