Top 10 of the greatest books to read before you die – and they are free…

people reading on booksI’ve got my librarian’s hat on for this post. To celebrate the publication of my A Simpler Guide to Finding Free eBooks, I decided at 1 in the morning to write a post about the top 10 books to read before you die that are available for free. Little did I know it would take hours to compile and format! Still, the list below are novels you should at least take a look at with links to Amazon and the Gutenberg Project. While you can only get Kindle versions from Amazon, you will be able to download other types of e-books from the Gutenberg Project and of course they are free.

Here are my top ten picks:

1. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

One of the first and best romance novels of all time. Set in the 19th century by a writer from the 19th century, this is a read you won’t want to miss.

Get it now as:

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2. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

Rags to riches and unrequited love, this book has it all from the writer of Oliver Twist.

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3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë

Another classic romance, boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, split up, then get together again but this is one of the first novels and one of the best (or it wouldn’t be in this list!) Worth a look.

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4. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde

I read this story when I was about ten years old. This completely freaked me out as a child and so I recommend it for the next generation! Dorian Gray is a handsome man who sells his soul for eternal youth. He doesn’t lead a good life and there are consequences…

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5. The Mill on the Floss – George Elliot

This is a fast paced love story from the Victorian era. This is a tragedy so have a box of tissues ready.

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6. Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

Ah, Mr Darcy. Who hasn’t heard of the hero of this romance? This is the original of the  often repeated tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy.

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7. The Fall of the House of Usher & other stories – Edgar Allen Poe

An old crumbling, evil house, a sick relative, a death, this is a gothic horror which builds on previous horrors to a new level. The links below take you to the Works of Edgar Allan Poe, volume 2 but this is the book you are looking for.

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8. Vanity Fair – William Thackeray

Vanity fair is the opposite to the Brontës, as in don’t expect the straight happy ending. It is a more complex read but well worth it.

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9. Moby Dick – Hermann Melville

The hunt for Moby Dick has fascinated readers for generations. Will it captivate you?

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10. Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

The last entry in this blog post is a mystery. This is one of the first detective novels ever written and if you like the Mystery genre you’ll want to see how it all began. Even if you don’t normally like Victorian literature you might be pleasantly surprised with this one.

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Republishing with KDP – Customers don’t automatically get changes.

I’ve had a few problems moving from one edition of my Gmail book to another. I didn’t want to delete the other one as it sold well and was highly ranked. I would have to start from scratch. I tried putting a message in the original book to people who already bought it offering them the new one. I was expecting them to refund the book and get the new one. Turns out they weren’t getting the changes!

The reason I didn’t want to keep the old edition because the name was wrong (my maiden name instead of married name) on the customer facing details. It was fine on the KDP admin side and I had contacted Amazon a few times, it seememd sorted but would revert after a while.

Anyway, turns out if you have made changes and republish your ebook, you need to send an email to Amazon asking them to send the new file to your customers.

Here’s an extract from the Amazon website explaining further. Customers can also request a later version of the same book to be sent to them.

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3-16 Do I have to re-buy or re-upload my book to get the updated copy I re-published? If you’ve already purchased your book and subsequently revise the content and re-publish the updated version, you don’t need to re-purchase the book to get a copy. At this time, it’s not possible for publishers to receive the updated file without contacting KDP Support for help. We’re working to automate this feature and appreciate your understanding with our existing solution to manually send the updated content to your device.

We request your explicit permission, and will do the same for any customers who contact us to receive the updated content, prior to sending the revised file because the new version will not have previously saved Highlights, Last Page Read, Bookmarks, and the location of notes may not match. If this is acceptable, please email [email protected] confirming your permission and which title/s you’d like to have re-sent. Thank you.

Note: Customers who purchased the old content can also contact our Customer Service department to have the new file delivered.
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I hope this helps.

Ceri

Indie Publishing on Kindle – Part One

This post is for Ricardo from G+, who asked me to blog about this. :0).

I’ve published a few books on Kindle. While it won’t make you rich (unless you are very lucky) it will give you an enormous feeling of satisfaction for making someone happy or just helping a stranger who would find your books useful.

So what did I do?

First I came up with something I felt I could write about. I love my Android phone and was always trying out apps so I had my idea.

I then needed to format the book so it would look good in an ebook. Remember there are no page numbers in an ebook because everyone can change the size of the text and even spacings for comfort, so a page will have a different number of words for different people. I would recommend the Smashwords Style Guide (available from Smashwords.com funnily enough).

Another thing to note about is formatting, if you are using  Microsoft Word then try to use the styles function. Use this to space out paragraphs, headings etc. Your book will look so much better. Also this will have the added benefit of the ability to change all your headings in your entire book by changing one style.

Yet another aside. Think about how your images will look in greyscale. Kindles on tablets and phones are usually in colour but the ereaders are in grey. Even if they bring out a colour Kindle there are millions of the black and white versions which will be out there for a looooonnnng time.

So you have formatted the book, what next?

Upload the book to Kindle Direct Publishing of course. Remember to pay special attention to the tags as that is how people will find your book once it is published.

Pricing

Think hard about pricing. If you are writing a non-fiction book then have a look at similar books in the field you have chosen. How long are they? How much are they? Try to get the balance so that you are offering value for money.

For a fiction book, if the book took a lot of effort and a long time with a huge amount of editing then I believe selling for less than $2.99 is selling yourself short. I think more than this for a first time author is hubris.

Wait a couple of days and you are set.

Of course this is not the definitive guide to publishing with KDP as this would be a lot longer than a blog post should be, but it should give you an overview.

Ways to read ebooks on your computer (PC or Mac) – for when you don’t have a Kindle or iPad

Having recently done a Member Giveaway of  my ebook, Children of the Elementi, I sent emails with the book attached in the Kindle and epub formats. I was surprised that not everyone knew about Kindle for PC or Mac, so I thought I would do a brief post about the various ways to read an ebook on your computer.

Kindle Apps

The best software for reading Mobi files is always going to be using the Kindle software but there are several different versions.

Go to Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (whichever is appropriate) and click on Kindle on the left navigation bar. Choose Free Kindle Reading Apps. A page will load which will give you the option to download the app for your PC or Mac. Download and enjoy.

The advantage of using the Kindle Apps is that if you read books on your phone using Kindle but then read a little on your computer, if you bought the book from Amazon then it will synchronise how for you’ve got. This means you don’t have to mess with bookmarks, the software just opens at the point where you stopped reading previously. Brilliant.

You can read Mobis and PDFs using this.

Calibre

Calibre ebook software is not just a way to manage your ebooks, it also contain an ereader. You can pretty much read all file formats using this software. Its multipurpose.

Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Digital Editions

With Acrobat you can read PDFs and with Adobe Digital Editions  you can read Epubs and PDFs.

You CAN have the benefits of ebooks without ereader devices!

Please note: There are other ebook readers but these are the best in my opinion. This is not an exhaustive list. If you would like to find out more type ereaders into Google. 🙂