All About the Year Ahead

January 4th, 2014

Three new books, I reported, were arranged to start in January, 2013. Little did I know that these would—on the plus side—be big projects, but—on the down—that they would pretty much be it for me last year.

For all the throwaway comments I have made about my uneasiness with ebooks and the tendency to make them with no fixed design, I begin to seriously worry that print for books really is on the decline.

On the other hand, I learned some during the past year about making ebooks. My noodling with Book Creator was a limited success as far as I went with it. It is definitely something I would consider for making a children’s storybook with children for the iPad. As for bigger books, perhaps not so much, as Book Creator—to this point—does not flow text, but rather works one fixed page at a time.

One big goal that I had had for a couple of years running was to work my first cookbook. That goal was met with The Marriage of Mushrooms and Garlic, published by Zumaya Publications. The next step is to work it into an ebook. Toward that end, I was fortunate enough to be give a heads-up by the publisher at Zumaya Publications, Liz Burton, about a tool she has used successfully for converting to ebooks, Jutoh. I got hold of Jutoh Plus and have started familiarizing myself with it and making the conversion. I plan to write about it in the blog shortly.

Aside from that, I am hard-pressed to list specific goals for 2014. As at the beginning of each year, I hope to make it my busiest year, with my largest earnings, ever. I want to continue working with self-publishers, as they generally offer the greatest chance of success when thinking out of the box. My continuing hope, however, is to meet more self-publishers determined to treat their books as more than do-it-yourself efforts that can be done on a shoestring instead of opportunities to produce books that at least cannot be distinguished from—except if they are better than—traditionally published books.

Time to make the new year what it can be.

Entry Filed under: freelancing,self-publishing,the business of freelancing

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. DANIEL CLARK  |  January 10th, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I have been recently laid off from my book proofreading job from a major compositor in the industry. I have been proofing for close to 30 years now, but too young to retire. The problem is ebooks, and I find proofing books to be the best job ever, but our business is declining and has been in service for 90 years. Our clients are a couple of the major publishers in New York. My question to you is, what should be my next move. I want to continue in this field, but think I may be in a business that is going the way of the dinosaurs, which is sad. Thank you for reading this and for any advice you can give, and I hope I can find something soon, without moving to NYC.

  • 2. admin  |  January 10th, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    I don’t know, Daniel, I’m a bit in a state of flux myself, unsure of which way the whole publishing game is going to head. It’s clear that both ebooks and self-publishing are on the rise, while print may be on the wane and traditional publishers certainly so. As a book designer, I may be feeling it somewhat more than you, believe it or not, because ebook design seems to be handled more as a commodity, pays what seems like pennies on the dollar, and (understandably) e-readers provide human readers with the kind of adjustability that–except for fixed-layout ebooks–makes design, well, moot.

    And you asked about your sitch. First thing is, your observation about your business declining is on the money. Jobs at traditional publishers, generally, are, I think. But the spectacular growth in self-publishing may open a whole new avenue if you want to take a shot at freelancing and can stomach being in business for yourself. My suggestion is not to give up your day job–freelance “with a net.” At least until you have something regular going. After 30 years, will you have a pension? With a pension, social security, freelancing could help you keep the same income while not working anywhere near full-time. That would be my thought–and, in fact, is the way I’m heading.

    Freelancing, of course, also has the advantage of not requiring you to live in any particular place.

    Then, too, you might want to consider expanding your skill set. Copy editing might be a logical leap from proofreading. That’s if you think you’re comfortable leaping. You haven’t said where you live, You might want to consider checking out EFA, the Editorial Freelancers’ Association. See if they have a branch near you. I’m sure they have classes that can get you to a jumping off point in copy editing. You might also want to check out Kathy O’Moore Klopf’s website–her Copy Editor’s Knowledge Base ( may be quite a help to you.

    Let me know your thinking on all this.

  • 3. admin  |  January 11th, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Daniel, I’m so sorry that I looked straight past the very first thing you said about having been laid off. You’d never know I was an old proofreader. Then again, it’s been many years since I did that work. Do keep me posted as to what you decide to do, which direction you try to head.

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