I’ve been lost in my own world and failed to notice until today that Massad Ayoob, my friend and one of BHM’s most important writers, was in a helicopter crash. He’s ok, thank goodness. Here’s the local story:
Tonight at midnight begins our largest ever Kindle eBook giveaway. It includes 6 eBooks and 9 eBook back issues. This giveaway will last for two days, Thursday and Friday, January 10 and 11. Here are the links.
FIVE KINDLE BOOKS YOU CAN DOWNLOAD FREE FROM BACKWOODS HOME MAGAZINE – You’ll want to SHARE this with your friends. We’ll give a FREE book each day of the week, Monday, Dec. 17, through Friday, Dec. 21. Two we’ve offered before, three are new.
Here’s my Santa Claus analysis of these free Kindle book giveaways: Our Kindle prices for these books range from $4.95 each (3 of them) to $9.95 each (2 of them). The average download of a free book, judging from our past experiences, is about 4,000 people. The math says that equals about $140,000 worth of free Kindle books we’re giving away.
It’s a hopeful day for America and for the capitalist system that spawned Amazon and its Kindle book reader when you can give away $140,000 worth of merchandise, have it cost you nothing, and end up making a little money from thankful people. Everyone benefits!
Thank you, Amazon, for thinking up this great idea called Kindle!
And Merry Christmas to everyone! – Dave Duffy at Backwoods Home Magazine
The main reason I don’t do radio interviews, or give public talks, is that they make me uncomfortable. I’m a naturally spontaneous person in person, but not in public. Call it insecurity or whatever, but a microphone makes me implode mentally, even though the interviews usually come off fine. I think I’m just a nervous person who is scared of a microphone and what I might say wrong.
Jeff Ferguson, my marketing guy, did an interview on a big AM radio station in Youngstown, Ohio, this morning. It went well, so now they want to interview me. Shit! To Jeff it’s no big deal, but to me it’s an “oh shit” type of deal.
My older brother, Hugh, could do these radio interviews easy. But he was a big time lawyer, a Staff Director and Chief Legal Counsel for a Congressional Committee for crying out loud, so he had the luxury of his position to calm him down. But it’s a different deal for me! I get interviewed as an unknown person, and every word that comes out of my mouth makes me look stupid or smart. That makes me very nervous, to the point I am relatively unproductive for the magazine in the several days leading up to the interview.
I’m working on this deadline in Corvallis, Oregon, rather than Gold Beach, helping Annie, who lives here. I’ve set up shop in a hallway of Oregon State University’s Memorial Union building in the center of the campus. Lots of background commotion, including someone playing a piano downstairs in the main lounge. My tiny, round table is located up the narrow, winding black iron spiral staircase, down the hall, and behind a big pillar above the Hall of Flags. The background sounds are my “zone.” Silence does not work for me. Getting a lot done here.
You can use your Kindle device to do this, or any of the various free apps for your Apple product or PC. Would appreciate your “review” of the book and back issues when you download them, and please let your friends know about this. It’s a very good price!
We’ve been doing all sorts of interesting stuff with Kindle, uploading a total of 20 back issues to the Amazon platform, plus uploading our all-time best selling book, Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide (EPSG). Within the coming week I expect we’ll have my book, Can America Be Saved from Stupid People, uploaded to Kindle.
To date, 15,194 people have downloaded four of the back issues FREE, as part of the KDP Select promotion program Kindle runs. This week I’ll probably let people download our EPSG book. This all has to do with getting the conversation going about BHM products on the internet.
And if you click on this link, you can see that, by at least one narrow measure for a specific category, we’re doing pretty well at an early stage in the process. This list has a couple of our back issues ranked No. 12 and No. 14 on the Amazon best-selling list, at least for this category.
I’m doing most of the promotion and announcing of our moves with Kindle on the BHM Facebook page. So if you want to keep up to date with it, you’ll have to check that out occasionally.
There’s a lot to learn but we’re on the right road.
We’ve been working fairly feverishly at the office this past week converting back issue Quark files to an ePub document suitable for upload to Amazon’s Kindle platform. We uploaded back issue no. 120 a couple of days ago and have seven additional back issues done but in need of proofing, which will be done Tuesday by Rhoda and Al. Then they’ll be uploaded to Kindle.
We are in the early stages of doing this work so it is taking us several days to complete each issue, but I think we can get that time down to about two days per issue, maybe even less. The difficulty lies in the many opportunities there are to make mistakes because you are dealing with a lot of formatting and coding that must be changed.
I’m using the only people capable of doing such intense and challenging computer work: young high school and college kids I’ve known for years. They include my son Sam Duffy, 17, a senior at Gold Beach High School, my son Robby Duffy, 19, a sophomore at Oregon State University, BHM employee Toby Stanley, 21, a sophomore at Southwestern Oregon Community College, Jon Werder, 19, a freshman at Linn Benton Community College, Jessie Denning, 22, who just graduated magna cum laude from Oregon State University, and Julia Denning, 21, a senior at Bard College in New York.
I’ve essentially set them up as an old-fashioned word processing (typing) pool with Al Boulley, BHM’s computer guy, supervising it. It took Al several days to train them in what formatting and coding changes needed to be made to get a back issue ready for Kindle, and now they do the work while Al supervises from the background and is available to solve the many perplexing problems that come up.
The kids are using several programs simultaneously to do this work: Adobe InDesign, Calibre, Kindle Previewer, and SIGIL. They go through stages from converting InDesign files to an ePub, then a mobi file. The mobi file goes through several proofing stages, usually done by our regular magazine proofer, Rhoda Denning, using Kindle Previewer. Then Al Boulley does a final proofing using SIGIL, which reveals all the coding so he can convert certain parts of the issue that have resisted all other attempts to convert it. I’ve decided it’s best that Al does most of the work in SIGIL because the risk of making a critical error within the coding is simply too great. Al is the only person on staff who could reliably recover from a critical SIGIL error.
I’ve also inserted myself into this process, learning all the programs and steps needed to convert an issue. It’s the only way I could really get a handle on how to set up the machinery necessary to accomplish the enormous task of converting 136 back issues to 136 eBooks. It’s very intense mental work, the type that threatens to make your head explode.
This is only the beginning. Initially we’re converting all the BHM back issues created using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. That will take us back only about three years, then we’ll get into issues created with Quark XPress, which means we’ll have to convert those issues to InDesign before starting the current conversion process. Quark XPress will take us back another 15 or so years, and then we’ll get into issues created with Ventura Publisher, the old desktop publisher I used to start the magazine. Al has already made a working copy of Ventura Publisher and will work out a methodology for converting those issues, which promises to be a formidable task.
It’s been a fascinating process so far. Al Boulley is the essential ingredient for accomplishing this. He figured out the process, identified the necessary programs needed to accomplish it, set up everyone’s computer, and taught the rest of us. He’s now the “go to” guy for solving intractable conversion problems.