Adventures in eBooking - J. Kenner

Adventures in eBooking

The Demon You Know cover art
The awesome folks at Hot Damn Designs did this for me!

Well, folks, my ebook journey kicked into high gear yesterday (can you say “formatting”) and although I’m hardly the first to blog about it, I also probably won’t be the last.

So why am I going where so many have already gone before? A couple of reasons. One, I think the digital revolution is fascinating and a boon for authors like myself who have the opportunity to bring back series that fans love and miss. And I think that’s worth documenting. For another, I want a record of what I’m doing–what works and what doesn’t–because, and let’s just go ahead and toss out that M word, while I want to write more demon hunting soccer mom stories and more reluctant vampire stories and more superhero stories and more fill-in-the-blank stories, my mortgage doesn’t get paid by hugs and puppies. So it benefits me to not only get product up in the most time efficient way possible, but also to focus on and analyze what works regarding getting stuff out there to the readers, because if folks don’t know about the books, they can’t buy them (or snag them on a free day!)

I’ve mentioned before that I’m diving into the eBook waters. So why did I say the journey kicked into high gear yesterday? Because I am holding in my hot little virtual hands the actual Kindle version of The Demon You Know (and no, it’s not yet available to readers–this week is proofreading week). But for the first time since I started to stick my toe in, it really felt real! It’s a BOOK, people! Yay!!! (And California Demon and The Cat’s Fancy are both coming along nicely — they were scanned in and need more clean-up — but I think I should be calling them both a book by the weekend!)


Scanning: Thanks to the awesome Dee Davis for recommending Book Leaf Scanning to me for a scanning resource (and congrats to Dee! Her most recent book, Deadly Dance, is featured as Cosmo’s Hot Read!) Blue Leaf did an awesome job of scanning in the backlist books that I’m preparing to put out as eBooks.

Covers: There are some awesome eBook covers out there, and I feel so fortunate to have found a cover designer that really gets the tone of my books. I’ll be showcasing the other covers that are coming soon, but if you’re looking for help with covers, I highly recommend Hot Damn Designs!

Formatting: This is the biggie. And, frankly, it was the part that scared the crap out of me and kept me from spending the time to dive into the formatting aspect once I had my covers ready to go. (Well, that wasn’t the only reason. I had books under contract to finish, and kids to school and a mom to move, but you get the idea). Anyway, it turned out to be No. Big. Deal. At least so far. And by “so far” I mean that I’ve only done the formatting for Kindle, and only for the short story. But from the tiny test I did for The Cat’s Fancy, I don’t think the scanned books are going to present a problem either.

So what resource am I using? The same one I use to write my books: my beloved Scrivener. I can’t even begin to say how easy it was to go from document to finished eBook. Coming soon – a How-I-Use-Scrivener Vlog that demonstrates just what I did to get it to work so beautifully. In the meantime, give it a try. Hey, there’s a free trial period, so how can it hurt, right?

People: You really can’t discount friends and colleagues when slipping into an adventure like this. In addition to Dee, Julie Ortolon has been a huge help as I’ve tried to get my footing.


In addition to finishing up Book 6 of my Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (PAX DEMONICA) and cleaning up the formatting on the scanned backlist books, I’m now pondering timing. The demon-hunting short story is ready to go (or close to it). But when do I post it? Based on everything I’ve read and conversations I’ve had with folks smarter than me on these issues, I’m leaning toward a release date right about the time that PAX comes out, essentially so that the two can drive traffic together. That, folks, is tentatively scheduled for late May (PAX is an original work, so it has issues the others don’t have: revising, copyediting, etc. But we’re getting there!). I’m pondering using The Demon You Know as a contest prize in the meantime. Maybe one winner per week until release. Hmmmm.

So there you have it. My first eBook Diary entry. And many more coming soon.

Have you used Hot Damn Designs! or Scrivener? How about Blue Leaf? If you’re an eBook author, what are your favorite resources?

What do you think of the cover for The Demon You Know? And have you got any thoughts on the timing or eBook releases? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Sheryl Nantus

While I’ve been an ebook author and reader for years now, my husband’s yet to take the plunge.
He is waiting to make *your* book his first official ebook read. Yes, he’s actually jumping from print to ebook form for you.
No pressure.
Seriously, we can’t wait to see it happen – we love Kate and just can’t wait to see more adventures!


Ack! Now you’re just scaring me, LOL!

Seriously, I think that’s awesome! {gulp} Really, really awesome!!

David Stoddard

Hi Julie,

Now is here you help me rest assured that Scrivener can almost do it all when it comes to formatting. (including images and bullet points). I know MS Word has it’s issues with all the hidden magical code it puts in, so is Scrivener that simple?

Nope, can’t wait for the vlog. 😀


I haven’t done bullet points or anything like that, but my guess is that it’ll work great. do you already have Scrivener? You can just do a test book with all sorts of wacky formatting to see!

Kendra Mareva

Ooh, I’m really looking forward to watching your Scrivener video as I have been considering buying Scrivener for a while now. Not sure what I’ve been waiting for since the decision is pretty much a no-brainer. O.o
Anyway, so glad to hear your e-adventures have been painless thus far.


It’s awesome … truly! And they have lots and lots of videos on their site, so if you don’t want to wait for my rambling one, check those out! (Honestly, Scrivener should give me a kick-back, I talk about them so much, LOL!)

Tami Clayton

Congrats on everything! How exciting! I’m very much looking forward to your future post on Scrivener. I’m a relative newbie with it and while I find it very helpful so far, I know I’m only scratching the surface on what it can do.


Fab! Look for the Scrivener post next week. I think I’ll do it for the eBookDiary post on Monday … and that gives me the weekend to futz with the video/screenshot software!

Sara Walpert Foster

I’m with Tami. Can’t wait for the Vlog. I have had Scrivener for 1.5 yrs, think it’s fab but hardly use it for anything but collecting websites and word processing by chapter. Congratulations on going deeper into ebook territory. Keep us updated on your progress and keep telling us how easy it is. 🙂


I love the cover, and so can’t wait to read the book. It’s one of the best series I’ve read and I’ve constantly been looking to see when the next book comes out. You rock!!


Aw, thanks! I was bummed when Berkley orphaned the series. I think it’s awesome that the state of the world is now such that authors can keep a series alive. Just a few years ago, it would have been cost-prohibative.


Yay! How exciting. 🙂

I do like the cover. I’m a teensy bit concerned how the title would look in a black-and-white thumbnail (say, on a Kindle :D). I hope it would still be legible.

I’m taking baby steps towards self-publishing some of my work. I have a collection of shorts almost ready to go, but the self-doubt is staying my hand. *bites nails*


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