Archive for June 2011

29 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st






Choosing the right publisher . . .



The Evolving “Engine”

Running Your App or Ebook




By Lee Foster

Some basic concepts about publishing your content as apps or ebooks are different from publishing in traditional printed books.

Understanding these concepts can be vital for many reasons, including your decision about which publishing partner you choose.

One such concept is that the publishing form will evolve. Not only will your content evolve, which is something you control, but your publishing partner’s “engine” running your content will evolve. Therefore, it is important to choose a partner whose software is on a promising trajectory.

For example, my three travel photo guide apps in the Apple iTunes App store with Sutro Media have just been re-released in an updated form. If you already own the apps, you will get automatic and free updates. The apps are San Francisco Travel Photo Guide, Washington DC Travel Photo Guide, and Berkeley Essential Guide.

The new releases have new content, which is my contribution. But the new releases also have a couple of major software advances from Sutro Media, my partners with the “engine” running my app content.

Now, for example, a user can view the app in both a vertical and a horizontal mode on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Think of the pleasure of seeing horizontal photos as horizontal. They are now bigger.

AND MAPS, TOO


A user can also now see offline or online the maps useful in locating photo locations and travel sites. Formerly, the maps were only viewable online. This is a huge matter in Europe, where the user can now see the maps without requiring any connectivity. The maps reside in the software on the device. This greatly reduces any data access costs a user might incur.

Sutro Media is also working hard to develop a “web based” version of their software to run my app. This would make the app accessible beyond the Apple iTunes App Store. This “engine” change could potentially open up further markets for my apps.

Sutro Media appears to be constantly evolving, on the cutting edge of content presentation. They need to be on the cutting edge to survive. I need them to be there to be successful.

Suppose I had chosen another publishing partner whose software looked good at the time of the original publishing decision, but whose software was not evolving further. I might be stuck with a software “engine” that became progressively irrelevant, compared to the competition.

This was not the situation in earlier print book publishing. When the book dimensions and layout were decided on, and the printing occurred, you knew the final results. Those results would last forever. There might be a need or desire to update the “content” as time went forward, but the publishing vehicle itself was fixed and not variable. Successive future printing would be “re-prints.”
This is not so with apps and ebooks. Future “re-prints” hopefully will have new and added functionality in the “engine” running your content, possibly opening up new markets.




--
Lee Foster

Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 549-2202
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide


01 Jun, 2011 | Posted by: st




Mark Coker, the Master of Ebooks

By Lee Foster

If you have ever dreamed of publishing an ebook, Mark Coker and his Smashwords organization is an entity you will probably want to know about.

A cluster of other authors and I had an opportunity to meet with Mark recently in the Bay Area of California, where he and I live.

Mark is now the largest distributor of independent authors and their books in the world. He owns an ebook conversion and distribution service, Smashwords, which you can see at www.smashwords.com.

He began publishing in 2008, with 140 books. This year, 2011, he will publish an incredible 75,000 books. By books, I mean ebooks. Amazon is now selling more ebooks than print books.

What he offers is a free tool, which he calls the “meatgrinder,” into which you put your text (and photos). When the product is ready, he can distribute it to many of the major ebook vendors, such as the Barnes & Noble Nook reader and the Apple iTunes iBook store.

He has not worked out a deal with Amazon Kindle, the biggest player. So you need to do your ebook with Amazon directly and with Smashwords for all the rest. However, his “meatgrinder” tool develops a file, called a MOBI file, that you can use for the Amazon Kindle effort.

Format your ebook carefully with Smashwords and you have an Amazon Kindle file ready to go!

When thinking of photos and ebooks, there are a few considerations. Keep your design layout simple because readers will choose their own delivery format, such as type size. So, make a photo an element in the layout rather than a fixed placement in a layout with wrap around text. Place each photo between paragraphs as if it were a paragraph in itself.

Accept that one main delivery system, Amazon Kindle for Kindle Readers, is now just black and white. However, Amazon Kindle for the iPad has color. Accept also that your gorgeous photo book may well be read on a smart phone. This is not a desecration, but an opportunity for you.

Mark sees the current era as a time of empowerment for authors.

“I want to unleash the great potential of authors,” he says. “Authors are amazing.”

Tools on his website can be downloaded for free and used even if you never work with him.

The most important is the Smashwords Formatting Style Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52. Format your book very carefully, using the Style Guide, to get the best “meatgrinder” results.

A second tool is the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305.

Study these two documents to bring yourself up to speed on the ebook revolution, which is now full blown.

We are in the midst of a pervasive cultural and technological shift. Ebooks are a manifestation of this paradigm change. Mark Coker is a major player. I will probably do two ebooks with him myself, as we look ahead.



--
Lee Foster

Foster Travel Publishing
PO Box 5715
Berkeley, CA 94705
510-549-2202 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
lee[at]fostertravel[dot]com
http://www.fostertravel.com

Travel writing/photos on 200 destinations for consumers and content buyers at http://www.fostertravel.com
5,000 hi-res photos searchable and downloadable at http://stockphotos.fostertravel.com
Two new photo travel guidebooks at http://www.fostertravel.com/book.html
Latest thoughts on travel at http://blog.fostertravel.com
Travel photo guide app on San Francisco at http://www.sutromedia.com/apps/sfphotoguide
Travel photo guide app on Washington DC at http://sutromedia.com/apps/DC_Travel_Photo_Guide
Travel guide app on Berkeley, CA at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Berkeley_Essential_Guide