Archive for October, 2012

Continuing Education

Add comment October 27th, 2012

It isn’t all making books and finding paying book-making projects. I really do find myself with an insatiable need to expand on the skills I already have, as well as a need to learn new skills. So as we wind down preparing for the approaching hurricane—preparations which I hope wind up much ado about not so much—I am also thinking about what work I can take with me should we evacuate to a local hotel.

Falling back to a method of organizing my thinking about work that has served me well in the past, I wrote a to-do list:

  1. blog piece on my Continuing Education
  2. read The Lost Sigil Ebook Editor Manual
  3. read Designing for Magazines
  4. read Magazine Design That Works
  5. repurpose Burleson Century as an ebook in Book Creator for iPad
  6. make an epub and then MOBI file of item 5 for Kindle consumption
  7. blog piece on the repurposing of Mishka as an ebook in Book Creator for iPad

The first item is self-explanatory, so I won’t belabor the point by discussing it … except to say that, about now at 6:55 PM EDT on Saturday, October 27 I am cautiously optimistic—call it a “hunch”—that the storm will somehow not be as bad as the potential thy are predicting. But I am also superstitious enough to worry about being cocky and daring a comeuppance that involves a really horrible weather experience.

Finding the manual I would most like for learning the ins and outs of Sigil—“a WYSIWYG ebook editor,” according to Google—required a stretch. I really wanted a printed book or a PDF that I could print. I suppose I have no complaints about reading it in the Kindle app on either my iPad or my MacBook Pro when al I am doing is reading. But once I get to working and I want it opened to refer to, that means viewing it on the laptop and working on the iPad. Or vice versa. Anyway, I still like print books, even though there’s no quibbling over the appropriateness of a book about making ebooks being an ebook.

The two books on magazine design have been beckoning for awhile. For years I have ignored magazine design in favor of books because so much of magazines are simply advertising … even articles. And years ago, the only in-house design and layout work I ever did was on display ads for a supermarket paper, leaving a bad taste about ad work.

Once I have some sense of what to do with Sigil and how to do it, I plan to plunge in with a project, making an ebook in Red Jumper Studio’s Book Creator for iPad out of the files for the print edition of Burleson Century, a book for which I created the cover and interior design and layout earlier this year.

Lastly, another blog piece, this one about the iPad ebook I already created from the children’s book Mishka: An Adoption Tale, for which I did cover and interior design and layout a few years ago.

If we’re hotel-captive a couple of days, this all this will certainly keep me busy learning some new stuff. If the electricity stays on.

Should I Self-Publish?

Add comment October 9th, 2012

That is the question.

I mean, not from me. But it is the one I hear more and more from authors.

While you might think that’s a sign that self-publishing is still seen as the ugly stepsister of book publishing, I am here to tell you it is nothing of the sort.

More and more people are not merely considering, but actually taking, the self-publishing route. I really believe that, in large part, self-publishing has lost the stigma of “vanity publishing.” In my experience, this is so much so that, over the last three or so years, aside from the rare academic press book, I have worked exclusively for self-publishing authors.

To a person these self-publishers understood they had chosen to go into business as publishers. And that is the first thing such authors need to grasp. After that, they make the leap to realizing they have gone into business as publishers, and as businesspeople need to put operating capital into their publishing companies. If an author understands that this need exists, I think he or she may be in very good shape to succeed as a publisher. Then comes the difference between publishing and self-publishing.

The principal reason an author self-publishes may be a determinant in whether or not the choice is well-made. I do not necessarily hold out a great deal of hope for success when the self-publishing author tells me their prime motivator is to not share the proceeds from their book sales. Likewise complaints that traditional publishers did not appreciate their work leave me cold.

Give me the author who believes in the book he or she has written and wants control over choosing an editor, designer, and proofreader in order to continue the care they took in writing it. This is the author, the self-publisher, who will appreciate the need to invest not just time but capital in their work. This is an author who ought to self-publish.


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