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Creating Amazon KDP Paperback Book Covers Using Just PowerPoint.

by Anura Guruge


My book covers may not be stellar, BUT I believe in the time worn adage that you should never judge a book by its cover. My books, as some of you know by now, are idiosyncratic — & I would NOT have it any other way. So, it would be crazy if I didn’t design the covers myself. Yes, of course, I have tried the ‘cover creators’ provided by KDP (& others). I find that they kind of force me into a straight-jacket. But, to be fair, they have given me inspiration & ideas.

I used to create my book covers using Word. SMILE. I had it all nailed down. I used a TABLE as the basis for the cover. That way I could set the height & width of each cell — one cell for the front cover, one for the back cover & another for the spine. It worked, & I successfully created over 25 covers that way.

Then it occurred to me, one fine day, that it might be even easier to create a cover using PowerPoint. There were TWO points in favor of this approach.

  1. With PowerPoint you can specify a CUSTOM slide size (via the DESIGN tab) to the exact height x width dimensions you need (& in my case specifying that in inches). There are NO margins you have to contend with. So, once you get from KDP — via the HELP section — the cover dimensions (via a set of two TEMPLATES), you can just bang them in & BINGO you have a slide that is the right size. In the above example, for a 166-page, 10″ x 7″ book, the required dimensions, including the TRIM was 14.63″ x 10.25″. So, I created a slide EXACTLY to that size. No margins. You can see that above.
  2. PowerPoint’s built-in ‘Save As PDF’ works a treat. No messing about. You don’t have to specify any options or parameters. Just a straight ‘Save As PDF’. Within seconds you have a PDF to the EXACT dimensions you (& KDP) need. That is it.

Once you know how many pages are in your book, you can get a KDP cover template …

Click to ENLARGE. How to get the ‘cover templates’ from KDP Help.

The templates are downloaded as a .ZIP. No problem. Just click on the zip file & you will see two files inside. Just copy them & save them somewhere else. One of the files is a PDF. Check the PROPERTIES on this file to get the cover dimensions. That is what you use to set up your PowerPoint custom slide size. The other file is a PNG (i.e., image file).

Once you have created your PowerPoint slide INSERT the PNG file. It should fit the slide 100%. Exact size. You can now really use it as a template. Keep it as the BACKGROUND.

PNG template that you INSERT into PowerPoint. You can CREATE over it. Delete it towards the end or even just keep it in the background.

 


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by Anura Guruge

Irish ‘Catherine Ryan Howard’ Could Be The 21st Century ‘Agatha Christie’ — Despite Her Focus On Serial Killers.

by Anura Guruge


Click to access my October 2020 post.


As you can see I RAVED about her in October. Let me now confirm that I think she is absolutely bloody brilliant. Over the last few weeks I have finished listening to her “The Nothing Man” & “Distress Signals“. Both are BEYOND good. And the crazy thing is that I am not that much into crime stuff! But, she is quite the writer. I am in awe. I think she is exceptional. A rare talent. I am sure glad I stumbled upon her.

You definitely should check her out. You will NOT regret it.


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by Anura Guruge


‘The Passionate Journey’ (1949) By ‘Irving Stone’, About U.S. Painter ‘John Noble’ Was A Tortuous Read.

by Anura Guruge


My copy of the 1949 book.
Nothing that tells you what it is about!


Irving Stone books. Click to ENLARGE.


I class ‘Irving Stone’ as one of my favorite authors in that his ‘The Agony and the Ecstasyis one my most favorite books & I am also very fond of his ‘The Origin‘ & ‘Men To Match My Mountain‘. As is my wont when it comes to authors I know, I invariably pick up any & all of their books whenever I come across them — used, swap or just giveaway.

That is how I had come across ‘The Passionate Journey’. It was a discard from a local library. Since it lacked a cover, I had NO idea what the book was about! But, it was a ‘Irving Stone’ & that was good enough for I.

It proved to be about mentally-tortured American painter ‘John Noble’. I had never heard of him. I had to look him up. Quite the painter. Interesting style. Very powerful & compelling in a strange way. I do like his paintings. So, I am glad to have learnt of him. NOT a happy soul. Had mental issues & resorted to alcohol to try & mitigate them — though never successfully.

The book, though based on ‘John Noble’, is classed FICTION. A lot of it is just that. Made up, conjecture, embellishment.

This was one of his early work. 12-years prior to ‘The Agony‘. He had NOT hot his stride as a writer.

This book was HARD to read. Though not a very long book it took me nearly 3-months to read it. It would put me to sleep — though the story was quite interesting. So, unless you are interested in ‘John Noble’ you should give this book a skip.

I have nearly all his books. Must try & read another later this year or next.


A ‘John Noble’ SAMPLER from the Web.


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by Anura Guruge


I Am Skeptical As To The ‘Validity Of The Fibromyalgia Blood Test — The So Called “FM/a”.

by Anura Guruge


I only heard of this test, “FM/a“, via a radio commercial, this week. I was immediately intrigued. As some of you may know, I know a fair amount about Fibromyalgia given that my ‘Central Pain’ book deals with it in much detail.

What worried me about this test is that we now know that fibromyalgia is a central nervous system disorder. I didn’t think we had any tests that could detect such disorders.

This test claims to test immune system imbalances. I, at least for now, am skeptical.

This test is supposed to ‘rule out’ other diseases. I am not sure I buy that.

The folks promoting this test — for MONEY, of course — have EXTENDED what was the original SCOPE of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia was about distributed, widespread pain. These folks have extended this to include symptoms of DEPRESSION as well. Given the EXTENDED scope a lot of folks — mainly women (alas) — will fall into the ‘dragnet’. I am sure that MOST in this vulnerable group will LIKE to be told they have fibromyalgia. To them it would be a relief, a vindication. I know. I have LIVED with ‘fibromyalgia’ — though I do NOT have it.

There used to be the 11-point DEFINITIVE TEST for fibromyalgia. That has now been DEBUNKED. Even the original creator of it, a supposed doctor, has admitted that he was wrong. Tens of millions of American women were told they had fibromyalgia based on that 11-point test. Well the test was FAKE.

So ….

I am not convinced.

Check out my book. You can read it for free in many places. SMILE.



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by Anura Guruge


Amazon’s Kindle KDP (i.e. ‘Direct Publishing)’ Is Badly Logjammed.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. I published the Kindle edition 2-days ago.


Just a heads up.

KDP is logjammed.

It is NOW taking 10-days or MORE for ‘Look Inside‘ to get activated. I know. I spoke with them in November about this. Yes, it used to take less than 24-hours. Not now.

Phone support is still available & they REALLY do try. But, what they can do ‘on-the-fly’ is limited. EVERYTHING has to be submitted, in batch mode, to the ‘Back Office’.

Publishing still works. I published the Kindle version of my ‘The Conclave’ book in hours. SMILE.


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by Anura Guruge


 

Converting A Tightly Formatted Print Book Into An Acceptable eBook Is Hard Work.

by Anura Guruge



Printed Pages


People just don’t appreciate the work, effort & time involved. Yes, converting a NOVEL without any pictures, tables, lists & FANCY formatting is TRIVIAL & can even be done automatically.

NOT so with my books. SMILE.

I like tightly formatted print books & I REFUSE to ‘sell’ those that buy my eBooks short. I will not give them a SHODDY, unacceptable version.

Though I always charge rock bottom prices for my eBooks (typically just $0.99) I still insist on giving the reader the BEST that I can deliver.

So, yes, I am working on the 518-page “The Conclave” book.

This is the LARGEST book that I will have published as an eBook.

I have been working on this conversion for weeks. SMILE.

It is NOT fun being I.


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by Anura Guruge


 

“The Two Pope”, 2019 Movie, Pure Fiction — Rather Than Faction &, Moreover, Riddled With Technical Errors.

by Anura Guruge



Beautifully crafted, well acted movie though the MAIN storyline is pure, unadulterated fiction.

The primary crux of the story, the 2012 meeting between the then pope, Benedict XVI, & the future pope, viz. Francis, in Castel Gandolfo did NOT happen. Period.

Yes, in December 2011 ‘Francis’ (then Bergoglio) would have, per Canon Law, had to have tendered his RETIREMENT, by letter, to Benedict XVI. That was because he had turned 75. The retirement would have been from being the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. This is rote. All Bishops, irrespective of standing, must tender a letter of retirement upon turning 75. It is up to the pope to accept & there are instances when the pope might take 5-years to do so. The retirement would NOT have been a BIG deal. Bergoglio would NOT have disappeared from the Church. He could have still carried on his work in Argentina, albeit as a CARDINAL — a retired Archbishop. I think we have about 40 cardinals in this category as I write.

Plus, though it was rumored he was runner up in the 2005 conclave, Bergoglio, in 2012, was by no means the favorite to be the next Pope — especially not so in Benedict XVI’s eyes. All that was rubbish.

What disturbed me much was the rank technical errors to do with the conclaves. Those should not have occurred. Easy enough to have got right. They could have JUST checked one of my books. SMILE. (Yes, the “The Next Pope 2011” book was still good & accurate.)

Let me just list a few of the most egregious.

  1. They do NOT, let me REPEAT, do NOT, use ‘bingo balls’ to keep track of who has voted. That is so, so stupid. The cardinals vote per their precedence — which is also how they are seated. They get up, in a row, one-after-the-other, & go place their ballot. You don’t need bingo balls to keep track. All can see the cardinals voting in sequence. Where they got that was STUPID.
    …..
  2. The new pope does NOT appear on the balcony as the Habemus Papam is being announced. In 2013 there was a 30-minute gap between the Habemus Papam & Francis appearing on the balcony. In 2005 the gap was shorter BUT there is an interval, so that banners can be draped, before the new pope appears.
    …..
  3. The new pope CERTAINLY does not, causally, pick up his new white zucchetto from a shirt box in the Sistine sacristy as he is leaving it. There is a ceremony in which the white zucchetto is presented to the new pope by the Secretary of the Conclave! That was stupid.
    ….
  4. In 2013 Francis did NOT say “May God forgive you for what you have done in my regard” at the Conclave. He said it much later, in jest, over dinner. It was John Paul I, in 1978, who said it at the conclave. Jeez.
    ….

IF you really want the TRUE in-&-outs of how a pope is elected check out this book.


This is the book. Available on Apple, Amazon, etc. etc.


Snippets from the book.

Click to ENLARGE.



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by Anura Guruge


 

Listening To A Book, Especially On Amazon ‘Audible’, Is Profoundly Different To Reading It.

by Anura Guruge


Click image to explore Amazon ‘Audible’.


Some of you may have already worked this out, but it has only SLOWLY dawned upon me. OK, to be fair, I ONLY started listening to Amazon ‘Audible’ books in September of this year. So, it has only been a few months (3 to be precise) though I have gone through, as you can see from top image, 13 quite ‘hefty’ books.

I had listened to books on CD & even tape in the past — but at least 15-years ago. Much has changed in those years. That, I appreciate, is one of the reasons I am so enamored with Audible. Today’s book are not just read — they are acted out. One of the books I listened to, “The Liar’s Girl“, had 3 people reading it to do the various voices. It is no longer a monotonous reading. They act out the reading. So, they kind of add LIFE to the book & characters.

It is no longer JUST the author, BUT now — with the Audible books — the person reading it! That person needs to get nearly as much credit — & they do!

It is also the case that WHERE I listen to my books is different. That adds to the allure. I only listen, through noise cancelling FULL HEADSETS while I am walking. So, very few distractions. It is even better than listening when you are driving. I can concentrate — & I do.

I have come to realize that some books are better listened to than they would be read! I think I get through listened books faster — mainly because I am a notoriously SLOW reader. Much of that is because I like to reread sentences & paragraphs. I love words, I love structure, I love writing. So, when I read, IF I come across good writing, I reread it for the pleasure.

That I am now thinking that some books are better listened to than read is a revelation to I. To I, that is profound. So, it is now not just content. It is presentation. Forget judging a book by its cover. It has become judging a book by how it is read aloud to you.

I am still formulating my thoughts. I am putting this out to get you to think. Get your thoughts. Think about it. Thanks.


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by Anura Guruge

I Have Just Discovered British Authoress “Rose Tremain” & I Am In Absolute AWE.

by Anura Guruge


I have just finished listening, via Amazon ‘Audible‘, to her book ‘Restoration‘, in a kind of spellbound awe. Given the language (which is often extremely crude) & strident style I had just assumed it was written by a man. That is one of the drawbacks of LISTENING to a book rather than holding it in your hands & reading it. It is easy to overlook who the author is. And I had not listened carefully to that part.

Wow. I am hooked. I just got the sequel ‘Merivel’ on ‘Audible’. I plan to listen to a few more.

Please check her out or at least read about her. She is 77 & still very much alive & active. Has been made a Dame. Good for her. I am glad. She is so clever & talented. I am in AWE. Just amazing. Please …. do yourself a favor.


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by Anura Guruge

Just Ordered Obama’s Latest Book: “The Promised Land”.

by Anura Guruge


I was vaguely interested BUT, as always, I have a huge backlog of books to read & I knew that I wouldn’t get to this in months … if that.

But, wife was interested & that was good enough.

Ordered it, as you can see, from Amazon. Getting it on Sunday. SMILE.


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by Anura Guruge

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