I don’t know if I’m the only one seeing a white page on the site, but since the upgrade to 6.11 in Drupal, I’ve had problems accessing all my sites. The problem could also be my hosting, and I’m currently exploring the possibility of moving. However, the problem has become much, much worse with the 6.11 upgrade. If you’ve had problems accessing the site, let me know.

I now have seven Drupal installations, though two are “stealth”. One I’m using to write my new book. I stripped away all styling and then designed a Drupal theme that supports ePub. I’ll be adding a second theme that supports Mobi/Amazon, and possibly a third that supports a PDF book. One of the advantages of being comfortable with XHTML is that you can take your mad XHTML markup skillz to the eBook world with only a little effort. Once I’ve published the book, and know the themes are working 100% I’ll upload them to the Drupal theme site, for people who want to use Drupal to write eBooks.

I will say that self-publishing is a different world now. There are so many resources. One wall I hit, though, was getting an ISBN. I could swear these were free at one time, but now, ISBNs in the US have been “contracted out” from the government to a privately owned monopoly.

You don’t need an ISBN for an eBook, though some sellers prefer ones. But if you’re going hard copy as well as eBook, which I am, you’ll have to have one. You can also “borrow” an ISBN from some distribution companies, but they don’t recommend this approach, because you’re then stuck with them as publisher. You can also buy a single ISBN, but it’s a lot cheaper just to buy a block of ten, and then if you need a new ISBN for another edition, or a new book, you have it.

It’s just that having to buy an ISBN wasn’t a cost I was expecting. Again, these are free throughout the world. Only in America do we contract what should be universally accessible to monopolies. How else to explain our cable systems?

Regardless of the unexpected expenses, there’s something very rich, and satisfying, about having some control in all aspects of my book. O’Reilly is a good publisher, and the company has been generous with me, but I’ve always felt out of the loop with my books. For instance, I didn’t know my books were going to be published to the Kindle until after the fact. I didn’t know they were all being released as DRM free ebooks on the Kindle until after the fact. I’m happy about the books being offered DRM free, but I sure would have appreciated a quick note before hand.

(Not to mention having some say in the cover, formatting, and subtitles…)

No, the success or failure of a self-published book is really dependent on the author. This is both scary, and wonderful.

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