Amazon Smashwords Createspace

What these three have in common is that I have to create a book format for each of these platforms. Amazon, of course, is for the ebook Kindle version. Smashwords has ebook distribution deals with something like thirty retailers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, etc. And Createspace, owned by Amazon, is for the paperback version.

I went through the grueling process before, and each platform is unique to itself. For Amazon I have to convert my book to an html file. Fortunately for me I know html code. So I’m able to create the CSS stylesheet, plug in my html tags like <p> and <i> and such. But doing this is a grueling process. Thank you Lord for Regular Expressions. Now mind you, I know very little about using Regular Expressions, but I was able to garner enough off the internet to put this feature to use. In simple terms, I used Regular Expressions to search for the start of every paragraph and to automatically plop a <p> there. <p> is html code for start a paragraph. Using the code isn’t too hard in an of itself, but having scour a 250 page document and get all those little tags in the right place is time-consuming. Except Regular Expressions make this soooo much easier.

So having been through the fire once before with my first nonfiction book Curveballs: Sweet & Smokey Down The Barbeque Trail, which took weeks, the process this time around for my 2nd nonfiction book, Note To Self: The Story of My Atlanta Scream, Holler, and Stomp, is much, much easier. To the tune of days rather than weeks.

For Smashwords they want a Microsoft Word document. Not too hard in and of itself, except they have a stringent set of rules that must be adhered to. Don’t follow the rules to a tee and their MeatGrinder program spits you out like bad spinach. And the the error codes are cryptic at best. Fortunately they provide lots of documentation and examples of how to do it. But the documentation can be overwhelming. But when all is said is done what the require isn’t that much, but it takes a lot to get to the point of figuring out that what they want isn’t that much.  But once my document makes through their Meatgrinder they do the rest, converting it into ebook formats for each retailer and then distributing those ebooks to them. No fuss, no muss. And the beauty is that if I have to make an editing change I simple make the changes I want to my single document, resubmit to Smashwords, and they take it from there. So in that regard it is truly one stop shopping.

And finally, for Createspace, I have to create a PDF document formatted to their specifications. Again, I have to follow their rules, which aren’t overwhelming, and they provide lots of templates to just plug and play. But again, the first time through the process is painstaking for even though they do their best to make it simple, it is still a process. But the end result looks spiffy. And making changes are easy, although their process is a bit on the clunky side, but that’s the way it goes.

As I said before, I’ve been through this process before with my first book. From that I have access to templates and tricks and shortcuts that has cut my time down from a head scratching weeks to a more than bearable days. Not bad.


My 2nd book, when?

Now that I’ve revealed the name of my 2nd nonfiction book, Note To Self: The Story of My Atlanta Scream, Holler, and Stomp, I’ve started the arduous formatting process. Since I self-publish my own books I do everything, and that includes formatting.

The bad news is that it is a precise, painstaking process. The good news is that since I’ve already gone through the process with my first book, Curveballs: Sweet & Smokey Down The Barbeque Trail, it isn’t as arduous as if I’d never gone through it before.

But here’s the kicker. I’ve edited and proofread my book a bazillion times…and I still find little errors here and there. Arrggghh! But the show must go on. So I’ll continue to format my book until I have it just right, and then go through and proof read it again.

Believe it or not I’ve made good progress. And just the other day the neighbor lady yelled, “When is your book coming out on Amazon?” I couldn’t answer her because I don’t know. I’m supposed to have a precise date to tell everyone, that’s what the big boys do. But I don’t.

My reasons center on all the little things that crop up when self-publishing, and I haven’t even talked to my graphic designer about a cover yet. Yikes! So my plan is to get everything in order, and then and only then will I have an idea about a firm release date. Besides, once I get it ready I gotta tell the world, right?

And so it is.

the inside scoop on Old Southern BBQ and Famous Dave’s

I recently chowed down on a half slab of ribs at Old Southern BBQ at 44th and France in Edina, Minnesota with my friend Tom, A.K.A. Talking Tom. As usual we chatted about many things while slugging down those ribs. From work to tennis to Simon Greenleaf (the famous Harvard Law Professor) to ribs to Famous Dave’s.

I had visited here about 2 weeks ago and learned that Dave Anderson, of Famous Dave’s fame had a hand in this, that this restaurant was the 4th to open and was a subset of Famous Dave’s. Or so I thought.

It had been my understanding that Famous Dave wanted to try some new recipes and along with a desire to offer fast casual restaurant service, as that is today’s trend. So under the Famous Dave’s umbrella the Famous Dave’s chain opened up their first Old Southern BBQ restaurant in Hayward, Wisconsin in 2015 (it says so on the wall). And added two more in the Wisconsin area before opening up their fourth in Edina, Minnesota, the one myself and Talking Tom were eating at. It should be noted that the original Famous Dave’s restaurant also opened up in Hayward, Wisconsin, those years.

I noted to Tom how the ribs I had a week earlier were a more brown muddy color and fall off the bone, as in fall off the bone. At that time, internally, sprouting from my own internal thought process I had declared them to be on par to Mark’s Feed Store in Louisville, Kentucky. And if you’ve read my posts or my book, Curveballs: Sweet & Smokey Down The Barbeque Trail, you know they are at the top of my list.

The ribs today were a little different, and closer to what I might get at Famous Dave’s, which made sense since this was an offshoot of them. So I thought. Tom and I talked about this, the differences between Famous Dave’s and Old Southern BBQ. We dissected the ribs, muffins, beans, mashed potatoes, potato salad, and rice too!

Here at Old Southern BBQ the muffins are muffin tops, i.e., just the tops of the muffins. Interesting, I thought, and rather ingenious, and soooo good. Tom didn’t like the rice, and he gave a slight edge to Famous Dave’s because he like their sides a little better. That’s one consistent feature of Famous Dave’s. Their sides rock! Those muffins the serve are beyond delicious, and their beans and corn and potato salad and coleslaw, oh my goodness.

But here at Old Southern BBQ those sides were of the utmost quality, but a bit different than at Famous Dave’s, which made sense given the goals of Old Southern BBQ to be different than Famous Dave’s. All of this led Talking Tom and myself to ask the waitress in curiosity about the history of Old Southern BBQ and the differences between them and Famous Dave’s.

Her words jumped and contained great enthusiasm. And this is what we learned. Famous Dave, as in Dave Anderson, has nothing to do with Famous Dave’s anymore. He owned just one Famous Dave’s Restaurant, and that burned down. He wanted to get skin in the game so decided to open up a restaurant based on his own childhood recipes. And thus, Old Southern BBQ was born. It’s there goal to experiment, why may explain why the ribs I tasted a week ago were a bit different than now, and I love the idea of trying new ideas and recipes.

Tell me that ain’t the greatest muffin ever. Look at ’em. We dove into the finer details of those muffin tops and agreed that a lot of people only really eat the top, that’s the best tasting, gooey, bendable, crunchy part of the muffin. I routinely eat only the tops of muffins, and cake and cupcakes too. I rip off the part with the frosting and gulp them down. Same with muffins. This got to the heart of the thinking of Old Southern BBQ.

I love that at Old Southern BBQ they are experimenting, and that Famous Dave himself is getting skin back in the game, and he’s coming with all 8 cylinders firing. It’s a win Talking Tom and Me, and you too…for all of us. Go get ’em tiger!


Final Edit

I’m doing a final edit on the 2nd book in my travelogue trilogy. It’s amazing that I still find errors after so many previous edits and so many eyes looking at it. Amazing. BUT, that is part of the process. And I’ll start filming my short little Big Reveal video so I can tell the world the name of this 2nd book. Stay tuned.


I’ve already made a short 1:41 minute video showing you the inner workings of the brainstorming process for the name of the 2nd book in my travelogue trilogy. If you’ve seen the video, click here, you’ll know that this naming business isn’t easy. So much to take in, so much to process, so much to think about, so much to decide.

But alas, I have decided! And I’m going to let you in on it by way of a new video showing The Big Reveal. Yes, fans, I’ll soon post that video so you, and you alone, will know the name of the 2nd book in my travelogue video. Oh, the making of this is a process. Much goes into it. I’m brainstorming ideas for it right now as we speak (really, just me speaking).

I have the general outline, but I need props people. I need a pair of aviator goggles like Dr. Poison wears in Wonder Woman (a fabulous movie, BTW). I think I got the helmet I need, just have to find it somewhere packed in all that crap in the garage. Scarf. Check.

Oh it’s going to be fun! Fun I tell you. So be patient. Don’t panic. I’ll keep you informed. An soon, soon that I’ll post it up on my youTube channel. Stay tuned.


Watch and see my innermost brainstorming processes in my quest for the ultimate title for the 2nd book in my travelogue trilogy. A true blue travel writing journey into the mind of … ME.

It’s Coming

Yes it is. I’m brainstorming ideas for the title of my new book coming out soon, the 2nd in my travelogue trilogy. And I need a title. So I’m doing a little brainstorming, a bouncing around of ideas. I’m not judging yet. I’ve made no decisions. The process must continue.

And to let you in on the fun, I’m creating a little video that lets you in on my process. Oh it will be fun. I’m finishing it off now, and tomorrow, Sunday, May 21st, 2017, I’m releasing it for your very eyes.

You’ll get to see my highs, and my lows. My ideas, all of them. I’m sure you’ll have your opinions. Don’t be shy on sharing them! I need all the help I can get, as you’ll see in my video.

Take Care.

A little brainstorming never hurt anyone

So that’s what I have done, and will be doing…brainstorming! As you probably know by now I don’t have a title yet for the 2nd book in my trilogy. I’m working hard to change that situation. I’ve already held a brainstorming session or two and soon, soon, you’ll see some of the results of that. I’ll keep you posted, stay tuned.