Posted tagged ‘e-books’

Tips & tricks for self publishers – Part 2

15 February 2012

In Tips & tricks for self publishers – Part 1 I shared with you my insights into old school publishers and literary agents.

Assuming you have received your rejections – or more likely, no replies at all – you will now be ready to stick it up their proverbials and self publish.

So please find below Part 2 of my series which explains how to get started with an e-book…

Ryan the Lion on the Kindle

If you can use Microsoft Word, you can publish an e-book.

I started my foray by turning Ryan the Lion into an e-book via Kindle Direct Publishing (then called Digital Text Platform). I chose KDP for several reasons:

• I trust Amazon (the owner of KDP)
• Kindle (Amazon’s e-reader) has sold in the millions
• My e-book is automatically stocked in the Kindle Store
• My commission percentage is healthy, and
• I retain control over my work (to update it, set its pricing etc).

Oh, and it’s effectively free. Basically, Amazon sells your e-book and provides you with a slice of the pie.

Ryan the Lion ebook on Amazon

A caveat that you should be aware of sooner rather than later is that KDP is Amazon-only. That means your book won’t be stocked in Barnes & Noble, the iBookstore, or anywhere else. It also means your e-book will be in Kindle format (not ePub).

To remedy this situation, I concurrently published my e-book through Smashwords. I originally chose Smashwords because of their distribution deal with Apple, but I have since found them to be a pleasure to work with.

Ryan the Lion ebook on Smashwords

Smashwords can publish your e-book in multiple formats: HTML, PDF, Kindle, ePub, LRF and PDB. More importantly, however, they can ship your book to multiple retailers: Barnes & Noble, iBookstore, Sony Reader Store, Diesel, Kobo, and of course, Amazon.

I opted out of the latter because I had already created my e-book through KDP. I still prefer KDP for Amazon because they accept HTML as the content file, which gives me more control over the structure of the final product. If you aren’t familiar with HTML, you may prefer to forgo KDP for Smashwords.

Strangely, Smashwords doesn’t ship to the Google eBookstore. Nevermind, you can upload an ePub file to Google’s catalogue via their partner program.*

* Well, that’s the theory. I uploaded my ePub several weeks ago but it still hasn’t appeared in the Google eBookstore, despite my validating the file and contacting Google Book Support to resolve the issue. I’m starting to get the feeling it will never appear…

So now you know how to self publish an e-book, you are ready for Tips & tricks for self publishers – Part 3, in which I’ll explain how to self publish a paperback…

Tips & tricks for self publishers – Part 1

31 January 2012

Last year, I self published an e-book and two paperbacks.

Since doing so, I have received loads of questions from people about various aspects of the process.

Of course I’m only too happy to help, so please find below Part 1 in a series of tips & tricks for self publishers…

Lady reading at her desk

Old school publishers

If you can get an old school publisher to publish your book for you, I say go for it. They’ve got the production, distribution and marketing capacity that you and I can only dream of. So by all means, send your manuscript to them.

However, unless your name is James Patterson or Patricia Cornwell, your chances of getting picked up are almost nil.

You see, publishers are taking less risks on new talent and instead are sticking to their tried and true cash cows. I think that’s unsustainable and a sure-fire way to run a business into the ground, but that’s another story.

What I’m saying here is: Brace yourself for rejection.

Literary agents

Unfortunately, my experience with literary agents is poor. I found the several whom I tried to deal with to be unprofessional, ineffectual, and consequently irrelevant.

Of course, not all literary agents are like that. I just couldn’t find a good one, so I cut my losses. I figure if you want to work with clowns, join a circus.

Clown feet on a tightrope

Sometimes the only recourse for mere mortals like you and me is to self publish. Luckily, that’s really easy to do on the interwebs.

In Tips & tricks for self publishers – Part 2, I’ll show you how…

2011: A writer’s odyssey

6 December 2011

Wow! 2011 was a big year of writing for me, with 2 self-published books and over 40 blog posts.

My books are available on Amazon, and I have listed the year’s blog posts below for your convenience.

Thanks for reading!

Tag cloud

Social media

Social media extremism
Smash your wall
My Twitter hero
Who owns the photocopiers?
20 hot resources for customer-facing social media
LATI: A better way to measure influence on Twitter?
A circular argument
The big myth of social networking
Foching up social media

Mobile learning

The 4 S’s of mobile design
Mobile learning – Push or pull?

Informal learning

Viva la evolution
Doctoring the Informal Learning Environment

Content development

Toying with emotion
14 reasons why your multiple-choice quiz sucks
3 hot resources for best practice multiple-choice quizzing
The 2 sources of freebies
Australia’s Nobel Laureates
On the Money

Books and e-books

When is an e-book not a book?
E-Learning Provocateur: Volume 1

Awards and events

ElNet Workplace E-learning Congress 2011
I’m a Best Australian Blogs nominee!
When it rains it pours
8 interesting things at CeBIT
Everything connects at Amplify
Winners are grinners

Cartoons

Selective democracy
Where’s Waldo? – The Minimalist Edition
Foolproof hiding spot for your key
Recent changes patroller
Respect for Klout

Other

Top 5 things I hope not to hear in 2011
Observations of a Critical Theory newbie
The Parable of the Monkeys
Ode to the naysayers
The A to Z of learning
Learning vs Development
Eye of the tiger
Does L&D belong in HR?
When augmented reality isn’t
Psst…! 15 inside tips for sales reps
A question of leadership development
The unscience of evaluation
Clash of the titans

When is an e-book not a book?

16 November 2011

I read The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore today and I was gobsmacked. The e-book is filled with glorious pictures, marvellous animations and engaging interactivity.

Screenshot

Of course, this isn’t the only title that takes advantage of its medium. For example, Rob Brydon has added audio and video components to his autobiography Small Man in a Book, while the textbooks on the Inkling app include animations, quizzes and social study tools.

Inkling on iPadThe marketing copy for The Fantastic Flying Books calls it “an interactive narrative experience” that “blurs the line between picture books and animated film”.

Inkling “turns paper-based textbooks into engaging, interactive learning experiences while staying compatible with the print book for classroom use”.

All this got me thinking: where do we draw the line?

When is an e-book not a book…?

The definition of a book

To me, a “book” is a collection of written words that together form a story. The text activates the mind and fires the imagination. The process is often assisted by illustrations.

Of course, the definition of a book can no longer be limited to sheets of paper bound together. The relentless march of technology has ushered the concept into an electronic format. Arguably, the introduction of multimedia elements is a continuation of that evolution.

At what point, however, does the nature of a book transform so much that it becomes something else?

Semantics, semantics

If we replace text with an image, we call it a picture.

If we replace it with illustrated motion, we call it an animation.

If we replace it with a recording, we call it audio or video.

If we combine all of the above, do we not call it an online course…?

When you think about it, a media rich e-book is what a pedagogically-sound online course ought to be:

Rose• engaging
• interactive
• learner centered
• logically structured
• founded on storytelling

Sure, it’s linear, but so are many online courses! In fact, authoring tools like Lectora leverage the metaphor of a book – with terms like “pages” and “chapters” – to arrange the content. (Besides, I don’t think linearity is necessarily a bad thing, so long as the learner is empowered to navigate as they please.)

But it may just be semantics after all. In this digital age, when convergence is inevitable, perhaps labels become inconsequential.

As Shakespeare’s Juliet observed, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

2010: My blogging year recapped

28 December 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, I thought I’d take a moment to recap my blog posts during the year.

I hope you take the opportunity to read any that you may have missed.

Oh, and please leave a comment or two or three…!

Tag cloud for the E-Learning Provocateur blog in 2010.

Learning theory & instructional design

Taxonomy of Learning Theories•  Taxonomy of Learning Theories
•  Theory-informed instructional design tips
•  The two faces of blended learning
•  Style counsel
Style counsel•  Art vs (Information) Science

Informal learning

How to revamp your learning model•  My award-winning IQ
•  Online courses must die!
•  The ILE and the FLE in harmony
•  How to revamp your learning model
•  Open Learning Network vs ILE

Social media

How not to do social media•  Social media: It’s not about the technology!
•  Social media: Prevention is better than cure
•  The 4 lessons Kid Fury teaches us
•  I stand corrected
•  How not to do social media
Why Gowalla should merge with Foursquare•  Why Gowalla should merge with Foursquare
•  Sharing is caring

Knowledge management

Art vs (Information) Science•  Art vs (Information) Science
•  Erin doesn’t get it

Government 2.0

I stand corrected•  London, New York, Parramatta
•  I stand corrected

Blogging

Thickness of skin required•  Thickness of skin required
•  Greetings from the E-Learning Provocateur
•  Sharing is caring

E-Books

The age of the e-book•  The age of the e-book
•  The end of publishing as we know it

Engagement

The elephant in the room•  The elephant in the room
•  Shades of green
•  The Melbourne Cup: it’s not about the horses!

Events

My 1-liners from TEDxCanberra 2010•  My 1-liners from LearnX 2010
•  My 1-liners from TEDxCanberra 2010

Cartoons

Campus firestarter•  The ingredients of intelligence
•  Campus firestarter
•  A short history of spam
•  Thickness of skin required
•  Trending: Sydney
•  Selective tolerance

Confucius 2.0Miscellaneous

•  Confucius 2.0
•  Green e-learning
•  Honest football
•  The two types of augmented reality
Allergic to ATNA•  Swimming against the tide
•  Square pegs and round holes
•  Facts are a bitch
•  Smartfailing the vintage future
•  Allergic to ATNA
 

The end of publishing as we know it

10 April 2010

In my previous article, I pondered how we are – finally! – entering the age of the e-book.

Already we are seeing an acceleration in the sales of e-books, which I expect will correlate with a resurgence of reading as an informal learning activity.

But I suggest that another, less obvious, effect of the e-book phenomenon will be a resurgence of storytelling as an informal teaching activity.

A lost art

Storytelling is as old as language itself.

Thirty thousand years ago, the Australian Aboriginals used Dreamtime legends to share and retain knowledge from generation to generation.

Stories such as The Special Platypus and The Little Flying Fox taught their audiences the virtues of modesty, identity and tolerance.

Western culture also has a rich storytelling history. For example, fairy tales such as Hansel & Gretel and The Ugly Duckling taught their audiences the virtues of love, dignity and respect.

But somewhere along the journey we lost our way.

What happened to the storytelling tradition of my culture?

Sure, we still tell stories in the form of books and movies – in fact we’re inundated with them – but I’m not alone in feeling that the big publishing houses and film studios of the world have hijacked the art of storytelling for the sake of pure entertainment.

Cash is the modern religion, and formula sells.

Light at the end of the tunnel

As e-books become more accessible, the act of reading will inevitably become more popular. Schlock will still be on the menu, but so will be enlightening tales with authentic messages.

For example, stories like Oh, the Places You’ll Go! will eventually join the other Suessical classics online and find a whole new generation of bookworms to inspire.

But you don’t have to be a famous author to get published online. Gone are the days of struggling writers submitting their work to arrogant publishers, only to receive knock back after knock back. (And don’t get me started on literary agents!)

These days anyone can publish their own story – easily.

Insert plug here

I decided to put my money where my brain was.

Ryan the LionIn the tradition of Aboriginal legends and European fairy tales, Ryan the Lion is a children’s story that explores themes of identity, tolerance, and self approbation.

Ryan is a lion cub who acts like the other animals in the jungle because he thinks they are cooler than he is. In doing so, however, he attracts their ridicule.

As Ryan grows up, his mane gets longer and his roar develops. Soon he attracts admiration, and he feels pride in being himself.

The DIY revolution

Ryan was ridiculously easy to publish.

There is a plethora of self-publishing services out there, but I decided to go with Digital Text Platform for several reasons:

Amazon.com•  I trust Amazon,
•  Kindle has sold in the millions,
•  My e-book is automatically stocked in the Kindle Store,
•  I can create hardcopies via DTP’s sister service, CreateSpace,
•  My commission percentage is healthy, and
CreateSpace•  I retain control over my work (to update it,
    to set its pricing etc).

Oh, and it’s effectively free!

Smashwords

I have since published Ryan the Lion via Smashwords too for similar reasons, but principally because of their distribution deal with Apple.

Macmillan’s stoush with Amazon was a walk in the park

The moral of this blog post is: I’m happy because I’m empowered to tell my story, and my target audience is happy because they can access my content at the press of a button.

The only ones who aren’t happy are the big publishing houses. Just wait until they realise the world’s storytellers don’t need them any more.

The age of the e-book

4 April 2010

For about a decade, people from all corners of the globe have been saying “We are now entering the age of the e-book”.

Whenever I heard someone say that, I couldn’t shake off the analogy of the real estate agent saying “Now is a great time to buy”.

It just sounded empty.

Something in my gut told me that it simply wasn’t true. And you know what? Year after year, e-books never took off, despite all the exciting forecasts and fanfare.

However… is the tide finally turning?

The new players

A myriad of reasons have held e-books back from mass popularity over the years.

Cottesloe BeachThe most obvious one is that lots of people (and I’m one of them) prefer reading real paper books.

You can pack them easily, you can read them on the beach, you can scribble notes in them, you can knock them around, you can lend them to your friends, they don’t need recharging, and you never get radiation-induced eye strain.

But another big reason has been the lack of suitable reading devices. Sure, you can read e-books on your laptop or on your smartphone, but it’s not a lot of fun.

Enter the Kindle and the iPad. The former is a purpose-built e-book reader, and I would argue that the latter is too.

The Kindle and the iPad.

OK, so a couple of cool e-book reading devices are finally on the market. Does that in itself foretell a revolution in e-book readership?

No it doesn’t, but this does:

Amazon and Apple have sold millions of Kindles and iPads.

Not hundreds of thousands. Millions.

With so many people owning an e-book reading device, it’s only natural that they would want to read e-books.

And when they do, they might realise that although they still prefer paper books, e-books are actually quite handy.

Reading eBook on MRT


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 516 other followers