Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The way to an ebook

There was a website where authors could submit their stories and people could buy them, with most of the money going to the authors.  Their setup was to show the last ten submitted stories in a category.  I had several scifi stories up, and they seemed to get ten new scifi stories every week.  So your stories didn’t stay too long in that listing.  One category they had was for essays, which I think only had one entry after a couple of months.  It wasn’t a popular category, but an essay would stay there for months which could be an advertisement for my other stories.

So I decided to write an essay, but on what?  Something I’ve become rather passionate about is space exploration, especially returning to the moon.  I see it as the best use for our resources, but unfortunately too many are excited by the flashiness of Mars, proclaiming it is the destiny of humanity to colonize, even terraform, Mars.  I had written a few articles on various websites about why Mars shouldn’t be our focus and decided to do more on the topic.

The essay I came up with was, “Why terraforming Mars will be a waste of time and money.” I spent a couple of weeks working on it, polishing it as best I could.  I then submitted it to the site.  They normally took two or three days to make sure it met basic quality standards before posting it.  But two or three days later, nothing had happened.  More days passed and I was starting to feel that something was wrong when they announced that they had been losing money and were closing the site. 

The essay sat on my computer for a few months as I tried to figure out what to do with it.  In the end, I gave it another polish and posted it on my PersonaPaper profile.  But a couple of weeks later, PersonaPaper announced that they too had been losing money and would close down. 

As you can see – at least, at the time I posted this – PersonaPaper is still up so you can read my essay.  But there have been other sites where I had posted my thoughts on the moon/Mars debate that had gone belly-up and had disappeared from the web.  Fortunately, I had made copies of my articles.  One day I thought, Why don’t I just put all these into one ebook, that way they’ll never just fade away on the internet? 

At first my idea was to just collect them all, do some light editing, and be done with it.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple.  Too many of my posts repeated the same things, or skipped over rather important issues.  In the end I basically had to write from scratch my essays in “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars.” My hope is to have it all ready so I can self-publish it on Kindle this weekend.  Next Wednesday is the anniversary of the first moon landing, and an ebook about why we should return to the moon should be out before then.  At least, it gives me a deadline.  Once it is published I’ll have another post about it with link to it.  Stay tuned.

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