ROWing to Doomsday

Hi everyone!

The year is winding towards its end and “doomsday” is only a couple weeks away. Not Christmas (although if you are one of those frantic shoppers it may seem like the end of days), I’m referring to the Mayan Calendar and the start/end of a long cycle year. For those that follow my Designing from Bone posts, a new one is coming soon where I’ll explore the Mayan myth and give some hints on how to create your own doomsday event. I’d also be interested in gift ideas for the Mayan Apocalypse if you have any suggestions (smile).

And on to the week:

I am working towards three “simple” goals:

1) Complete and publish my first “Ben” novella by March 2013.

2) Learn Calibre, Sigil, Photoshop and whatever else I have to in order to format my own epubs and covers.

3) Move this blog over to a site – and the various accoutrements that go with it.

The first Ben novella is moving along well. I had intended to be through the reverse engineering of the first draft this week but am still working on it. Some things cannot be rushed and I’d rather have this as good as I can get it before moving ahead. However, there are deadlines. Self-imposed ones, mind you, but I take them just as seriously. The current one: Complete the Second Draft by Dec. 23. At the moment, I’m on track to make that date, but just barely.

I didn’t get time for Sigil or Photoshop this week. However, I did spend time in Calibre converting all of the free PDF’s I’ve acquired in the past 18 months into mobi files. Something on the order of a hundred. I then added them all into my Kindle’s (software, not an actual unit). I now have my entire e-library on the desktop, iPad and Android smartphone. I’m working on a post explaining the how’s and issues involved with doing this – coming soon.

Goal three, the blog. Nothing this week, at least not directly. I have been looking over some of the cool blogs out there and brainstorming ideas for how I want the new place to look, feel and act. I’ve also been studying up on metadata and taking a long overview of CSS/HTML in preparation. My budget says I’m D-I-Y, which is how I prefer it anyway (smile).

Have the holidays affected your work flow? Do you use Calibre and, if so, what do you like and dislike about it? Have you done a blog transition and have any tips, tricks or horror stories to share? I’d love to chat with you!

Peaceful Journeys.

About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. β€œOnly the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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10 Responses to ROWing to Doomsday

  1. Good for you sticking close to your deadlines! Figuring out how long it would take for all the various components of writing, editing, publishing and learning was tough for me. I way underestimated and then was disappointed. I don’t publish my own deadlines any more! lol I do need to learn Calibre, too. I’m still getting used to Scrivener, yet though.

    Tip #1: Remember that moving from to will cost you your subscribers. WordPress has not yet put in place a method to transfer them. Initially, I left my old site open with a redirect post so subscribers could find me. It was open for 4 months. My stats suffered terribly during that time. So, I copied all my subscribers and their info, then closed down my old site. Stats went up again. Little by little, I’ve been contacting them to ask if they’d like to subscribe to my new site. Some have.
    Tip #2: Use a WordPress template. For DIY, it’s much easier to make it look professional and you don’t need to know a lot of CSS. Go to for hundreds of wordpress templates.
    Tip #3: You may already be planning this, but add some interactive pages to your site. With your blog topic and your book genre, you should have some cool choices.
    Have you ever been to ? I think she has the coolest interactive site ever! Of course she had a web designer create it, but still fun to play with!
    Wishing you another productive week ahead, my friend!

  2. Ryan King says:

    The 23rd is fast approaching but I’m sure you’ll make it. Sounds like you’ve got Calibre down pat or at least to the point where you can do it. But it’s nice having all your books on Kindle. I love how I can read on one device and start where I left off on another. DIY is the best way to go about it. I’ve got a site and I love it. There’s so much freedom to do anything that I want. The only downside I’ve come across so far is that many of the plugins on aren’t available for There are some that are similar but several don’t have a sister plugin at all. The key with installs is to have everything ready ahead of time. Get a host that supports MySQL databases. Install phpMyAdmin (if it’s not already installed on the host server). Create your db using phpMyAdmin. Upload the files to the directory you want and open up the URL to where you uploaded them. The install itself takes less than 5 minutes. From there, you just add/tweak what ever theme you want. I’m going to be working on a new theme myself soon. Good luck!

  3. What Ryan said about I’m a web developer/graphic artist by day, so I went there from the get-go. Later I was asked to design a group site on – it felt like working in a straitjacket! For both this and ebook formatting, you’re on the right track by learning HTML & CSS first. I use Word, MobiPocket Creator, Calibre, and Sigil to format my ebooks. I create Kindle with MobiPocket first, then convert it to ePub with Calibre. Calibre is a good, easy-to-use converter, but the code it generates is very junky – I use Sigil to clean it up. Good luck!

  4. alberta says:

    Doing good there – cant help on the software – my wordpress is .com – not org. all the best learning it all:)

  5. Cate Russell-Cole says:

    Gifts for doomsday has to be a foolproof idea. If they don’t like the gift, they can only nag about it for a very, very, very short time. πŸ™‚

  6. Exciting that you have a novel coming out in early 2013! And wow, I’m seriously impressed by you converting all your PDFs into Kindle files. Good luck with learning Calibre.

    As for doomsday gift ideas, we should make the last days really count. If we go with a bang, have a great time with your beloveds before we’re all going to die. If you think we’re going out with a long whimper, all kind of survival gear would be good. Guides about surviving the zombie apocalypse (Bob Mayer has one coming out in December), canned food, chocolate for energy, flashlights, utility tools, warm clothes etc.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Marcia: I think the best we can do with deadlines is to take the best guess based on what we typically are able to do on each of the aspects of writing: design, drafting, editing, production, etc. If one needs to be changed, so be it – not many actual buyers are going to worry about whether something comes out when we say, they just want a good read. Thanks very very much for the resources. I’ll check out Patricia’s site fully, but from what I’ve seen to this point it looks fantastic! Not sure I could pull that off, but it does give me something to aim for down the line. The loss of subscribers is one of the top factors that has made me wait on doing the shift, and I have a strategy in mind that I hope will reduce the attrition, but things will be as they are. Good luck with Scrivener, one of my three favorite tools πŸ™‚

      Ryan: Wowzers! Thanks for the insights, I’ll likely be referencing your comment when I start working on the site. I have noticed how many standard items are not available for – then again, one of the reasons I want to go to .org is because all the cool plug-ins don’t work with the .com. Sigh, always a trade off. At this point I’m looking at using Blue Host that is WP-friendly. For theme, Genesis is top of my list for versatility and the “clean look.”

      Jeannette: MobiPocket Creator – see I knew there was a program I had missed, I just couldn’t find the note I had it written on. I’ll be adding that to the list and I like the method you use. I did notice how junky Calibre’s code was, some of the PDF’s I converted came out fine, others, well not so much, but they are readable. Thanks for the encouragement and insights πŸ™‚

      Alberta: Thanks!

      Cate: Yes, there is a bit of marketing wisdom for the end of days. No refunds before December 22? I like it πŸ˜€

      Reetta: Learning Calibre is fairly simple, it is learning how to clean up the code it produces that seems to be the trickier thing. But I shall endeavor until victorious. On doomsday, I have to admit that the “long whimper” has more appeal from the fiction writer standpoint – if everyone dies then who do we write about? By the way, on your list, don’t forget to bring a weapon πŸ™‚

  7. Julie Glover says:

    Great job, as usual, with ROW. Revamping your blog can be quite a task. I did start my blog out in Blogger and moved it to WordPress several months in. That was a pain, but manageable. Best wishes!

    Also, a friend of mine recently posted on Facebook the question of what people would want to do with their last two weeks if the Mayan prediction is true. My answer? Build a time machine.

  8. All good goals, Gene! I wish I had some clever trick to pass along, but alas, I do not. I’m a learn as I go kind of gal and sometimes I don’t learn too much. I was able to create my own blog using WordPress and for that I’m pretty impressed, but I don’t know how to do anything fancy with it yet. After a year you’d think I’d have more insight to pass along, but I’ve got nadda.

    Good luck to you in your pursuits!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. What Julie said about the time machine! *g*

    I only use Calibre occasionally, not completely happy with the library format (what it was originally intended for, after all). I create epub and mobi files with Scrivener and clean them up with Sigil. That’s turned out to be the easiest and most reliable method I’ve found.

    Good luck on getting your first ebook out as planned!

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