Adventures with KF8

I took our savings – the ones that are supposed to pay for the inflated taxes over our heads – and bought a Kindle Fire. My goal: to learn how to do KF8 format (for picture books), expand my knowledge, maybe increase my formatter’s wages. It’s five days later. I so regret buying this Kindle.

I’m not sure what it is. I think, first, the tutorials I’ve found – all of two – wanted to talk about super advanced things that I’m not ready for yet. Hey, guys, all I wanna do is float a text box over an image. You know, like we used to do in the days of Frontpage? Were you aware that Frontpage did CSS? Well, now you know. And I seen it. I seen it with my own two eyes, dammit, that someone did this in their KF8. I know it can be done. I even imitated the code as closely as I could.  It’s such simple code or so I thought. And it probably would have made better sense to me if I hadn’t seen it also wrapped in a long, strange JSON code involving region magnification that I’m just not ready for yet. Not when I can’t even get this basic down..

And I promise you I read the tutorials as carefully as my mind would allow. I printed them, highlighted portions, and tried very HARD to pay attention. The last part didn’t happen as much as I would like. I learn by doing. Always have done so. I need to just do, and by doing I figure things out. It’s weird. My grandparents didn’t believe me that I was this way and to this day I do not know the family candy recipe they insisted I only watch them make when they taught it to me. :-p The recipe died with them.

My kinesthetic nature is a real problem sometimes when trying to understand what someone else is saying by tutorial.  I need images (but please not Youtube. I HATE youtube tutorials). I need a physical piece of meat I can put grab with my teeth and tear into. And I guess because I’m self taught I also need baby steps in working towards getting to region magnification. But everyone else jumped from “here’s where you put your image” to “okay let’s learn how to do brain surgery!” and I’m left in the dust wailing, “Look guys! Most people who format their own books are NOT coders/hackers/intelligent computers offering fake cake, they didn’t go to class for it, they can’t afford to go to class for it, THEY DON’T HAVE THE BASICS DOWN! WAIT UP!!!

The tutorials were excellent tutorials. One of the fellows practically wrote a text book and put it up on his blog for people to find for free. Wasn’t that nice? I’d recommend his tutorials to anyone who wants to give it a shot – unless you think in pictures like me. Then I’d say take a look, tread carefully, don’t buy a new Kindle. =^-^=

So what do I do now? Hrm. I’ll probably poke at my online store a bit, maybe I’ll sell this Kindle (90% of my books are bought through Barnes and Noble), cut my losses. Think about finding another line of work maybe. It’s very plain to me the formatting world is starting to leave me behind. =^-^=

The moral of this story goes to anyone who ever thought of writing a tutorial: you’re writing a tutorial to an audience on the web who are most likely like me, and jumping ahead is going to cause problems. Take baby steps with them. Okay, maybe toddler steps. Then I won’t be tempted to review your tutorial as stereo instructions. (smile smile)

I have lost a lot of time and money on this venture – all for the sake of a client who needed some KF8 material. I regret that I am going to have to email them now and tell them my skills aren’t up to par. I really tried for them. But it just wasn’t meant to be this time. Maybe next time. This is life.

Oh, and on a side note, if you’re a photographer taking “historical” photographs, could you stop having your princesses, Victorian ladies, et al smile at the camera? It’s not realistic – I mean how many 11th century tapestries have you seen where everyone is smiling at the camera? Pose them, for the love of art. Create a scene. Give us some mood. Send me chocolate.