Walk my doggerel with me

Source

There's a book in every person and a poem in every heart. You and I are living in remarkably wonderful times – there are some new and very easy ways to pull the poems out and make whole books of them. For this, we have many people to thank, beginning with the folks who put the poems into us to start with. From there we can continue with our gratitude toward those many call “computer geeks.” They are the ones who figured out how to direct the energies of little helter-skelter electrons into orderly patterns and pathways that wander around inside of geeky gadgets and then emerge as numbers, letters, words, articles, whole books, and Internet Websites packed full of interesting things.

Those of us lucky enough to be in the right places at the right times, like here and now, can take advantage of our good fortunes. Using our computer tools we can write about the things we see, about the things we feel, and about the things we think. It is mechanically easy to do. That's what we can explore here – a little portion of the how of putting an E-book shell together, the cover along with some of its “front” pages.

So take a little walk with me to see what this E-book looks like as it is being put together.

Screenshot of U.S. Patent and Trademark Website's trademark inquiry page
Screenshot of U.S. Patent and Trademark Website's trademark inquiry page | Source

Coming up with a suitable title

Really good writers aim to get their readers to agree with them. Some cause that to happen by bludgeoning their readers with heavy facts and figures, strong arguments, and even by shaming them with unassailable logic accompanied quite often by insulting alternatives. Really, really good writers are those who cause agreement to happen without the readers realizing its occurrence. Those are the writers who get their readers smiling and nodding their heads, “Yes,” in unison with the writers' words. Some really, really, really good writers push this trickery even more – they make a statement which elicits disagreement from readers. It can be noted that some of the really, really, really so-so writers also practice such tricks. For example, I am not of an elite writing type. When I choose a title that boasts of a book full of doggerel, readers are going to disagree with me about that doggerel stuff even before they read the doggerel with which the book is stuffed. Do you see what I mean? (...or, as today's street talk goes, “'Hear what I'm sayin'?”)

Thus, the title I selected for this little E-book is “Walking my doggerel.

Even doggerels need rabies shots and a license

Just so that you will know, I have been over to the Website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (uspto.gov) where I made sure that the selected E-book title was not trademarked – and it wasn't. Now that I have chosen that title, someone can use it for corn flakes, space ships, or fake eye lashes, but they are too late to use it for E-books. I also looked at the title in search engines. If you replace the “my” with the word, “the,” you will find hundreds of duplications of the title on the Internet. However, the “my” version of the title looks to be free and clear of duplication.

Titles are of importance to your writings. It is a good idea to check out your titles before you publish whatever it is that you are putting together.

Cover art

Some writers are fortunate enough to also have skills in graphic artistry. Some, like me, have a difficult time trying to draw a straight line. For non-artists, me for example, there is not only hope, there is salvation. We can become graphic artists through our computers. That's the way I put together the first version of cover art for the “Walking my doggerel” E-book. I located an available photograph of a man taking his pet dog for a walk and turned that photographic image into an “oil painting” with an easy-to-use computer program, “FotoSketcher.” (down loadable from sourceforge.net). Here are some of the basic steps a non-artist can take so as to become an instant Norman Rockwell.

Screenshots when using FotoSketcher

FotoSketcher program Icon. This is the photo-to-artwork program used to make the "oil painting" cover art for the E-book
FotoSketcher program Icon. This is the photo-to-artwork program used to make the "oil painting" cover art for the E-book | Source
FotoSketcher screen used to simulate an oil painting from the original photograph
FotoSketcher screen used to simulate an oil painting from the original photograph | Source
Left panel shows the original photograph, and the right panel shows the finished "oil painting"
Left panel shows the original photograph, and the right panel shows the finished "oil painting" | Source
Text frames imposed onto the "oil painting "cover" with the frame boundaries showing during the cover production
Text frames imposed onto the "oil painting "cover" with the frame boundaries showing during the cover production | Source
Text frames no longer showing on the cover following completion of cover preparation
Text frames no longer showing on the cover following completion of cover preparation | Source

E-book pages – beginning preparation and assembly

I use Serif's PagePlus publishing software to assemble the book cover and its various pages. From this PagePlus assembly it is essentially a one-mouse-click deal to output the book in any or all of the several publication forms available to me through the mechanisms of the computer program. These include outputting the entire book – covers (front and back) and text pages with all of their graphics – as “paper-page” books, PDF (portable document format) books for viewing and printing using a variety of viewing and printing devices, HTML-encoded (hypertext markup language) books for viewing and printing via Internet-connected devices, and graphics (JPEG-format) slide shows having computer-controlled viewing attributes. One click on the system mouse is all you need to select each of those output modes.

That is a lot of geeky tech stuff to digest, but it gets a lot easier to understand if you think of it as being simply this:

Select the way you want your book to be presented to the world. Move the computer screen cursor over to the one you want, click the mouse, and wait for the book to be produced at whichever output device you chose. Then, if you want yet another kind of book output, move the cursor, click the mouse, and do a little more waiting for your book to pop out that next way.

It sounds very easy to do. It is.

PagePlus working cover and four of the "front" pages of the E-book in progress. The text frames were placed by the writer and filled with word processor file text. "Foreword" and "Contents" are still empty
PagePlus working cover and four of the "front" pages of the E-book in progress. The text frames were placed by the writer and filled with word processor file text. "Foreword" and "Contents" are still empty | Source

The writing that goes inside the E-book

That is another situation altogether. Some folks call it “authoring.” As writers, you know all about that sort of stuff.- the head-scratching, the ceiling-staring, the dictionary lookups, and the rest of the whole business. What you have to write and how you write it are not really the concerns of this article. Here, we are dealing with the more mechanical things involved in giving birth to a viable E-book baby.

Here's how I go about the writing part of things.

Serif's PagePlus contains a very capable word processor part. I suppose that word processor, referred to by Serif as “Word Plus,” was the beginning of the whole PagePlus buildup and its many improvements over years of one version after another. You could open the PagePlus program and, using its default settings, type in all of the words of your E-book, one page after another. From time to time, you might toss in some graphics to go along with your text. It works much like a super-capable word processor.

Many writers, and I am one of the hopefuls among them, are used to doing their keyboard-pounding using one word processor system or another. For instance, I am used to the quirks and the wiggles provided by readily available “OpenOffice.org's” text writer software. It is fun to sit here and whack out words and paragraphs using “Open Office” because my fingers seem to get along with it nicely without a lot of brain intervention. The brain pushes the story and the story somehow comes out of the fingers and hits the keyboard keys without much mechanical direction needed.

Similarly, there are a number of additional word processors that are much the same as “Open Office Text” in their handiness of use to one writer and another. Word processing software goes way back to the beginning of time – computer time, anyway. I remember the first word processor program I ever used. Its name was “Spellbinder,” and that is what it did for me – I was spellbound by the thing. What really got to me, and it was an experience never to be forgotten, was watching “Spellbinder” check the spelling of a pageful of stuff I had typed in. As the program quickly made its way through the words of my new text, you could see its progress, word-by-word. When it found a word it believed to be misspelled, the program had a tiny hiccup and then went on along to the next words. When the spell check was completed, the document sat there on the screen as before, but its supposed misspellings were all highlighted and easy to see. That whole exercise was, for me anyway, the most amazing computer working I had ever watched.

As you can tell, I go back a way in this computer stuff, but it never ceases to amaze me how much it increases the raw power of what comes out of my mind and out of those fingers that chat with the letter and number keys on my ten-buck keyboard. Those of you, who like me, got here after swimming in the sea of the old Royal and Underwood typewriters will understand why it is that this computer stuff makes me truly bug-eyed with amazement.

What comes after the E-book cover?

So, whenever and however you choose to type in your text, there it will be. If you produced your initial text files with one word processor or another – or even with a simple text editor like “WordPad” or some other – you are done with that part of things. To get your text into a publishing system like the PagePlus that I use, you simply click on the “Insert” tab, select “Text” in the dropdown menu, tell PagePlus the name and location of your text file, and in it goes. By that time you have already corrected all of your spelling errors and mistakes of other kinds. PagePlus will be very happy to receive what you are offering. However, if you want to change something in the PagePlus collection later, you can do so right in PagePlus – or you can go back into your word processor file, make the corrections needed, and then re-install the word processing file into PagePlus.

Not everyone wants to produce their own E-book, cover to cover. The various producer-distributors such as Amazon, SmashWords, and others typically prefer to receive author-prepared E-books as word processor file packages, the graphics for which are separated from the actual text portions. Those companies do not want ready-to-distribute E-books from their writers. One such company even requests that authors send them JPEG-formatted photographs of each page of the proposed E-book instead of text and graphics computer files.

What we are doing here is to explain how you can put your own E-book together for your own distribution on DVD/CD, as HTML Website pages for viewing, for downloadable files (PDF or otherwise), or as graphics slideshows on DVD/CD, Websites, or download files that allow single-click page turning. These will be your E-books, start to finish.

Kind of makes a writer smile to think about such things, doesn't it?

Icons of the programs, PagePlusX5 and Calibre
Icons of the programs, PagePlusX5 and Calibre | Source
The PagePlus X5 screen to be put into use if I decide to include a "slide show" of the E-book pages in the same publication
The PagePlus X5 screen to be put into use if I decide to include a "slide show" of the E-book pages in the same publication | Source

The making of a “better” E-book

Right at this moment I am having an internal debate about whether to make just a single form, a very conventional one, of the E-book. Maybe I should also include a handy alternative format in addition to the ordinary “read-it-on-the-screen” E-book format – like “PDF” or maybe Epub, Mobi, or the like. I am thinking of including a copy of the work as a slide show, perhaps with a timed progression of page images or one in which the reader simply does a mouse click to advance each page.

Once again, the computer geeks have come to my rescue. I am using that one piece of publishing software, PagePlus X5, (serif.com) to do any of those publishing jobs for me – or all of them. I can elect to also print the book as a conventional paper-page book or in the “HTML” format for publishing as Website pages on the Internet.. What is nice about having all of these choices is that a writer does not have to exercise them all at once. You can do so, but you do not have to.

Another piece of software that is potentially of use in this E-book making is “Calibre” (downloadable from sourceforge.net). With it a person can convert the E-book from one of about a dozen electronic page formats to another of those in common use. Right now there is no single standard format in use across all of the different E-book readers (including desktop computers and others). Having a format converter is a tool that E-book writers should not be without.

What happens after the E-book is published

Now you are likely tired from all of this walking. My doggerel has been tugging at the leash, not only on the way out to our walk, but particularly so once he got the idea that he was heading back home to his bowlful of kibbles and bits. He knows that whenever his E-book is done and on its own way into the world, his writer buddy will be in a good mood. That means some extra treats for him – maybe even a nice big dogbone-shaped biscuit or better.

That thought from our well-walked doggerel brings forth an idea for potentially another E-book, one that might even become more popular and of higher circulation than will be the doggerel publication. Think about a good E-book about doggie treats. Don't just think about it. Why not do something about it?

Five doggie biscuits? Why not? My doggerel earned every one of them
Five doggie biscuits? Why not? My doggerel earned every one of them | Source

More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

Silkekarina 3 years ago from Germany

This is the first time I have heard this explained in everyday language, thanks for that. I have written three e-books and they are all stashed away on my computer simply because I hate getting involved in complicated technology. This is probably even stranger because I used to be a programmer back in the seventies (have you heard about Assembler and Cobol). Nowadays I cannot keep up with rapid changing technology. You haven't got anything else up your sleeve to help simple folks like me, have you ?

Very useful hub, carry on the good work, and thanks again.


Pennypines profile image

Pennypines 3 years ago from Mariposa, California, U.S.A.

Label me as old fashioned if you like, but for me there is nothing like curling up with a good book in hand by the fireplace on a cold, wintry day


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Silkekarina -

Thank you for your interesting comment. You might like to go on back into the hub and review some new information I stuck in there just a few minutes ago - relating to text input and so forth. You may have a pile of E-books ready to roll stored in those files on your computer.

Gus:-)))


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Lucille (Pennypines) -

Curling up with a good book is even more fun when that book is the one that YOU authored (and maybe produced). I like all kinds of books, some of which were once paper-page books but are now readily available as electronic works. I stopped reading the local newspaper in paper form when its price jumped up to $2.50 for one Sunday copy - and it is on the Internet every day now at no cost to me. Further, I can't buy the thousands of classical volumes I can download free as E-books (many formats and audio, too) from www.gutenberg.org. Not having one of those special E-book reader tablets, I view those E-books here on the same computer I use to access HubPages. You can label me VERY old fashioned for liking lots of free books that my old arthritic fingers don't have to hold. AND, if by some chance I want to have a "hard copy" book to hold, I simply tell the computer to print a copy on the attached printer. The conservationists don't like me for that, but they can always grow some more trees with which to make more paper and also to make more oxygen before felling the trees for me to breathe. I am old fashioned enough to want to keep on breathing and keep on reading - both of which are easy to do in front of my little computer.

Please don't mind my teasing you about paper books. Get 'em while they are still hanging around. (Don't try to buy any at Borders. That book chain is gone now as many more will be, too.)

I guess what I am trying to say is that, as writers, you and I have to face the fact that our opportunities for our works being published can be seen right here on HubPages - but not in those vanishing bookstores and dying publishing companies. Like the armies' old muskets, the paper page books will eventually become interesting antiques. What's after E-books? How about books via telepathy? Who knows?

Keep smiling, Luicille. Enjoy those good books. But, if you write one, I suggest that you aim for an E-book unless you own your own book printing plant. :-)

Gus :-)))


travmaj profile image

travmaj 3 years ago from australia

Thanks for this - I'd probably rather go walkies than attempt it at the moment. But then who knows? E-books are the future and I guess sooner or later I'll attempt it. And I'll be checking back on your hub - so thanks for the initial inspiration.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hello travmaj -

Going "walkies" is far better than going "whackies." that has been told to me on good authority. It can be additionally said that inspiration less perspiration is insufficient to do the job (writing or otherwise). Preference for "walkies" over E-book-ing is understandable. All the same, the former gets your legs really tired out, while the latter can help the mind muscles grow stronger.

No matter your choice - have a fun day today...

Gus :-)))


Fossillady profile image

Fossillady 3 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

Howdy Gus, So now that you published your E-book, how do you go about marketing it Gus? I remember when you collaborated with your friend and put it out there for free. Am I right?


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Kathi - You have a good memory - for E-books, anyway. The two of them that you are thinking about were the first one, "101 Dumb Poems," and the second one was the book of Sampson Veteran's tales. They were done through the FEBP (Free E-book Project).

"Walking my doggerel" is another one, not yet assembled, that will contain many of the little poems from my hubs here on HubPages (excepting those in the "Dumb Poem" book. Don;t yet know what I'll do for distribution of "Walking..." Probably put a copy onto one of my Websites and invite my HubPages buddies to download it.

Gus :-)))


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Love your title, Gus, and you are a sweetheart to share all this learning with your Hubbuddies.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Good Doctor bj (drbj) -

Anything for the troops. Wouldn't it be something if I were to be able to get a big title loan now? :-)

Gus :-)))


kulewriter profile image

kulewriter 3 years ago from Florida

Gus, I would recommend Smashwords.com for getting e-Books out easily these days. They have "Meat Grinder" software that takes your Word doc entry and either okays it to further processing or kicks it back to you to correct specific errors. Their downloadable instruction guide to use before you submit as easy to learn and free.

I would also suggest that you place an asterisk next to "doggerel" and early on in your text define it -- more readers will be able to go past that term and read on if they understand it. Personally, I like it in a wry way.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Hi Ronald (kulewriter) -

Your advice is good advice for people who want to sell their E-books out in the wide world. Some folks might want to avoid "merchandising" of their books through outlets such as Amazon, Smashwords, or others. This article explains a "do-it-yourself" method of producing your own E-book in the mechanical sense of things. I did mention submission of ordinary word processing files to companies such as Smashwords - and, for writers who want to write their stuff and pass it along to one publisher or another, word processing and graphics files work well.

I had thought of defining "doggerel" here in the article, but decided to not do so, believing that any writer worth their ink understands its meaning. If not, a quick click to www.dictionary.com should illuminate the word nicely.

I value your comments, and I believe that others will, too. Thanks.

Gus :-)))


kulewriter profile image

kulewriter 3 years ago from Florida

You're welcome, Gus. For me, the courtesy of a definition, if not a glossary, outweighs the idea that my readers can look it up. In a way, for me it offers an opportunity to give my readers more than what they might expect. ;-))


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

I don't know how old you are Sir Gus and when you starting 'writing' in life but I would guess you were born to write. And I see/read it through a gentleman who has been exposed to a lot of life experiences.

Your wit and wisdom is peerless here at the Hub in my humble opinion.

My dad would have loved your writing - I've said that many times before and I actually just said that to another writer here - Alastar Packer.

So my dad is in fine company with two world class gentlemen writers like you and Mister Packer. And even his son learns a thing or two as well. My theory is if you're gonna learn then learn from the best.

I sincerely hope all is well with you my friend these late days of winter.

Sending you warm wishes as always from Colin and his puddy-tats, Gabe and Tiff at lake erie time canada 8:25pm


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy "epi" (epigramman) -

Well, lets go on down your list of "I dunno's." (1) I was born to laugh. (2) Yes, I have kicked around some and managed to get away with a whole lot of stuff. (3) My wit, if doubled, would make it up to the "half-wit" level. (4) My age is "middle." That is, I am of the Middle Ages, fortunate to have escaped both the black plague and the "rosies." (5) You may be related to my bride. She had a cat, now departed, that also had the name, "Tiff" (short monicker for "Tiffany.") Tiff was afflicted. She ate the plastic ends off of my shoelaces all the time. Maybe that's how she engineered her departure.

Take care of yourself up there in the cold country - remember to wear your muffler when leaving the cottage. OK?

Gus :-)))


Sweet Epistles profile image

Sweet Epistles 3 years ago from From the Heart of God

There's a book in every person and a poem in every heart....I love this phrase. You seem to be writing all your life...

Thank you for this great Hub. I have learned something new today!

God bless.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA Author

Howdy Sweet Epistles -

As you mention on your profile page, words stick around some, don't they?

It is to be hoped that what you learned today is as useful to you as whatever it was that I learned the other day from writing this article. That's kinda like two for the price of one, isn't it?

Gus :-)))

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working