Boombox Mix

BACK IN THE ’80S some rap or hip-hop act, might have been the Beastie Boys — could have been anybody — put out a story that they always did a gut check on a track by doing what they called a Boom Box Mix. That is, they would optimize the track to be played on your ordinary ghetto blaster. And they would take the tape outside and play it on any random boombox they had while they played ping pong and drank beer. It was, as explained, a quality-control measure, to ensure that their music was suited to the environment in which their audience would listen to it.

Today, I got a boombox mix on It’s Dolly’s Birthday.

I finally figured out all the magic words and incantations to get the manuscript from Scrivener to Open Office Writer, through Calibre, and into a format that would “play” on a Kindle and look right. Not thrilled with Kindle’s default font. And there are apparently ways to change it, but it’s really too much of a hassle if you can’t make Kindle deliver your book in your font, which you can’t do — you can only display your ebooks on your Kindle with your hacked font (and at that, your font will be selected from a small universe of available typefaces), so there would seem to be little point.

And, I do want to say that that band — whoever they are — got it right. Checking your work on the preferred platform is important. In ebooks, you want to be certain that your pages start right, that your inter-paragraph spacing is right, that you don’t have and odd mix of “Normal” text and — for example — Courier (which will display on a Kindle, if you’re not careful), that you have page breaks before chapters, and all that.

It also helps A LOT to be able to read the thing on the eventual device your readers will use, to make sure that it sounds the way you mean it to.

No wordage today, but learned a lot. Worth the lost time.

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