Saturday, September 22, 2012


September 22, 2012

Who would have thought it could be so difficult?

Having published the print version of The Battle of Chibi (Createspace, 2010) I thought it would be a breeze to produce an e-book version.  Well, it is harder than I thought.

I loved learning about the process of writing a book.  It had to be well-written, of course.  There ought not to be any mistakes, grammatical, typos, or worse; I understand.  There should be consistency in the format of the pages and of the paragraphs; naturally.

Wouldn’t it be the same for e-books?  Well, not exactly.  The text for print must be the same and consistent through-out, so the best format is Adobe Acrobat which produces "pictures" of each page, as it were.  But in an e-book, the text has to flow and wrap around regardless of the size of the font or of the page.  Needless to say, page numbers are worse than useless and an index that cannot refer to page numbers, well!  As for Adobe Acrobat, just forget about it.  On the other hand, it would be nice for the reader to find roughly where he or she needs to be so it is highly recommended that the Table of Contents has links to the different chapters and chapter-like elements.

As it appeared from the existence and recommendations of various style-sheets that different electronic publishers could be very different, I thought it would be a more complete education to try to publish the e-book on two web-sites.

The first site I used required all the items I mentioned two paragraphs earlier.  This exercise was like proof-reading except that it included the “cues” to the publishing mechanism regarding paragraphs, font styles, etc.  There are no more than a dozen of these things that one has to learn in addition to the items required for a print edition.  So it was relatively simple to send this to an automated process on the publisher’s web-site and in a day or two the process was done.  A couple of problems were flagged for correction and then we were done-done.

The other site proceeded as smoothly except that the publisher’s web-site kept sending me what I thought were mixed signals.  Specifically, it would tell me that the conversion was complete and I would find upon proofing it that it was not.  So I tried again, and again.  Since each attempt took about three weeks, I decided that three times was enough.  I “simply” paid to have this done for me.  I don’t regret that decision one bit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Promoting The Battle of Chibi

Sept. 19, 2012

This is an attempt to promote The Battle of Chibi  as an e-book.

It is available for FREE at Smashwords through Sept. 21.  Available in all e-book formats.

I hope it will be available as a Kindle book the following week Sept. 24-28, also for free.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

It's the Law

Humanity of Justice

I have created a separate page for reviews but this book by Burke E. Strunsky is worth a Post (since I have recently discovered the difference between the two on Blogger).

The author makes a passionate plea for improvement in the American criminal justice system.  He believes fervently that it works and requires only a little fine tuning.  In making this case, he shows a fine eye for the details of marriages growing stale, the horror of child molestation, the paranoid public mind-set that allows for children to accuse adults of this, the fine lines that must be made and perhaps crossed in the pursuit of justice, as for example in the case of the application of the death penalty in California, or of "clergy-penitent" privilege, and the practical difference between the right to bear arms and the too easy access to a hand-gun when in a moment of "diminished capacity" or extreme rage.

The examples are told with great power of description and characterization; the case histories have provided for the often twisting and unexpected plots.  But ultimately this is an attempt to explain; it is non-fiction written powerfully. Except that it does not persuade.

It is not for lack of passion.  Perhaps a reader might be persuaded that the American judicial system works and needs only a few tweaks with better argument, more organized reasoning.  In the end, this reviewer is not persuaded that lawyers and the legal system is about justice.  The author quotes Oliver Wendell Holmes who might have the last word on this.  He famously told Felix Frankfurter on his way to the Supreme Court that he/Felix would not go to uphold Justice but to uphold the Law.   That is, as lawyers like to say, the gravamen of the issue.  Additionally, it will not be so easy to regain the public trust in the system as the author passionately desires; it will, alas, be impossible to cure the system of its apparent indifference to human tragedy.

But it is bracing to read this book.  The author is one lawyer that has not given up.  Perhaps he will continue to campaign for limitations on handguns, reduction of truancy, more and better resources to be provided to Child Protective Services.  Perhaps, more law-makers will read his book and be persuaded to a similar approach towards the Law.

Four stars out of five