Finding the Tools You Need to Create an eBook – Part I

Image: I made this one.

When I started on this journey I assumed the learning curve might be steep.

The many services available to make your eBook come true all make it sound like write it, gather it, and push a button.

I am not finding it that easy at all.  eBooks, and eBook services come in many flavors and colors, and being of the old school, “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”, I find myself being a bit more careful around this technology.

For starters, there are several on-line organizations that promise to help you get your eBook put together, published, and sold.  That sounds great, but of course there are costs involved.

Some months back at a weekly blogging workshop I co-host in Sunnyvale, California, we had the “Chief Inovator” of FastPencil come and speak to us.  Mike Ashley knows his business.  He created Fast Pencil because, if I remember correctly, his mother wanted to write and publish a book.

FastPencil caters to both eBooks and Print.  One of the features they claim to have is the ability to import a blog.  So I’ve tried.  Several times. 

Image: marilynch.com

The first time I tried was the day after Mike came to speak to us.  The application failed totally to pull in anything from my (this) blog.  I tried again, several times, and the failures happened constantly.  Thinking it might be my  new muscle-computer which was running Windows-7, I tried the same process on three other systems I have as backups.  The failure occurred consistently.

I contacted Mike directly to let him know that his application was failing, and true to his word, he got back to me in a day.  We exchanged another email or two, and he decided that his technical guy, Jeremy McNevin would get back to me with an answer to the problem.  That was over a month and a half ago.  Still no word.

I tried FastPencil again today, to see if it had been fixed, and it had, after a fashion.  You are now able to pull in a few pages from your blog, but the posts are truncated rather than full, and of almost no value at all.

It is disappointing that the first attempt I made at creating an eBook from my blog failed so miserably, and that FastPencil does not seem to care enough to even answer questions.

I like Mike.  I wish him well, but I cannot recommend FastPencil at this time for making an eBook out of a blog.  Their software does not work, and they are unresponsive to questions and pleas for help. 

To be fair, I have not looked into FastPencil’s print book operations, as I’m not ready for such a project at this time.  For all I know, that part of the business works just fine.

I will continue to look for reliable and responsive solutions to the actual work of converting your blog to an eBook.

I won’t give up.  Don’t you give up, either.

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4 responses to “Finding the Tools You Need to Create an eBook – Part I

  1. On Poetic Interaction, I just started writing a (very short) story of the 60’s. It was to be the basis for further comment/development. But after a few posts, I reconsidered the idea for trilogy anyway., and gave up on the concept. To my understanding, there would be too many ‘blogs’ needed to make such a large ‘book’. Think I’m repeating myself. Oh well! You are fortunate to have all that computer experience. Trust yourself. You will publish.

  2. Thanks! You are talking to Nina aren’t you? You two should share your knowledge. (and then pass it on to us like this 🙂 )

  3. Pingback: Finding the Tools You Need to Create an eBook – Part I (via Uphill Writing) « Life as a Writer and Artist

  4. Check out blog2book.com – I had a friend use it to make a hardback book of her blog and was thrilled how well it worked. I couldn’t tell if they did eBook, but it couldn’t hurt to try. They might have the tools to pull your blog info into a pdf and then you can use a service like Lulu to make an eBook.

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