Christmas From A to Z: eBook

Today I did my first attempt at an interactive eBook. The links below should take you to a pdf of the book. I kept it pretty simple with just a link on each page to jump to the page with the entire tree to search for the symbols of Christmas. I think it is sized for viewing on an iPad so let me know how it works on that or other devices you try it on.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas this week!

A to Z eBook

A to Z eBook

 

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Your Guide To Self-Publishing

I’ve been on the look out for information on self-publishing lately so we I saw a link to Your Guide To Self-Publishing I clicked on it right away. Christian Cawley has complied a lot of good information and food for thought in this free guide. The guide is well-organized and easy to understand. If you have an upcoming story project that involves publishing take some time and at least skim through it, then stop and read those areas that you need more information in. It will be great to refer back to DOABLE Sidebar LDOABLE Sidebar Dwhen questions arise later.

The Many Faces of E-books and Self-Publishing

DOABLE Sidebar DYesterday I talked about printed books. Today lets jump into e-books. There are so many e-book formats and it is rather overwhelming. But I came across this article, “3 General types of eBooks”, that brings some order to the confusion. If you divide e-books into groups by function you have:

  • basic: this is an e-book in its simplest form, basically just an electronic version of a print book
  • embedded: this type of e-book can have sound, video and animation as part of the content
  • interactive: this is the ultimate type of e-book, more of an app than a book in many ways.

So how does all this effect your decisions in creating your own story project? I would think that many book story projects could easily been converted into basic e-books. There are many cost and sharing advantages to this. In its simplest form exporting your finished book to a pdf document takes just a few seconds in most software that you have created your book in. This works great for view the book on a computer but not so great for tablets or e-readers. This is where things get more complicated. You will need to pick an e-book format depending on what platform your book will be read on.

Doing an embedded e-book means developing more content than a printed book. You will want to add sound and or video etc. While an interactive e-book takes a whole new set of skills to complete. Not suitable for a first story project or even a second unless you already have the knowledge or the resources to tackle that project.

For “My Grandma Mary” book, I plan to publish it as a basic pdf e-book shortly after the print version is available. Then I want to figure out how to format it for the iPad, Kindle and Nook. I know that Blurb has an option to publish your book to iPad for a fee. I’ll have to look into that too. Part of that project may be adding some interactive elements such as sound and links on the hidden images. I’m excited to learn about how to do this and I’ll be sure to share it here.

What are your feelings on the shift from print to e-books? Do you have an e-book story project in mind?

 

step one: decide with the DOABLE Approach to Telling Your Family’s Tales

Step One: Decide

If you have made it this far there is a good chance that you have decided that now is the time to commit to doing a story project. If you are still on the fence keep reading and hopefully you will be inspired to take on the challenge.

So how do you go about deciding just what this story project is going to be about? There are many ways to get there but we will help you through the process. You could be lucky enough to already have a person and/or project in mind. If so skip down to decide on a focus. If you already know what you want your story project to be about you can probably skip to Narrow the scope. Be careful about skipping all they way down to Pick a Medium because if your story project is too broad you might get discourage and give up before it is complete.

QUESTIONS:

A good starting spot is to ask yourself why you want to do a story project? From the BYUtv series called The Generations Project they asked these questions to help people find their why:

  • What do you spend a lot of time thinking about?
  • What do you hope will happen to you in the next year or two?
  • Tell us a story about a life changing experience.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in your life now?

It is good to let these question percolate in your mind for a few days. Make notes and notice where your thoughts go. Listen to your intuition on what story project you want to do now.

Try looking at your family tree or start listing names of people in your family.  Here are some more questions that might help you decided on your story project:

  • Is there someone you are drawn to?
  • Is there a time in history that you are interested in?
  • Do you know an ancestor from that time period?
  • Is there a place in your family’s past you would like to learn more about?
  • Have you considered doing a story about your own life?

Again it might take you sometime to settle on a person or place or time that you want your story project to be about. Being thoughtful during this step will reap big rewards later on.

NARROW IT DOWN:

At this point you have probably come up with several possibilities for story projects. If one has come to the forefront then you are ready to move on. If not ask yourself more questions until you feel good about one. File your notes away for future projects. Just because you don’t decide on that project now doesn’t mean you can’t do it in the future. Chances are the project you have in mind is still rather broad in its scope and too big to tackle in a reasonable amount of time. Now is the time to narrow it down. Let’s say you picked a person. Now is not the time to take on telling their whole life story. Unless you are different from most of us you don’t have time or the experience to succeed in that kind of project. Instead pick a time frame to work on first. If you really do want to do that life history then keep that in mind and design this project to become part of that big future project. It is easy to think we can eat the whole elephant or maybe just one of his legs. A huge key to success in learning and sharing about our family stories is to break them down into palatable pieces.  Don’t try to write “War and Peace” here. A short story is more what we are after. Down the road if you want to you can combine lots of story projects into your “War and Peace”.

FOCUS:

The next step is to bring focus to your story project. Go back to your “why” and how it relates to this project and what you want to do. Can this project be broken down into smaller pieces? You want to have a very tight focus on what this project is and how to accomplish it. I have a tendency to dream up the most elaborate projects but it is important to keep them from getting out of hand and grow into something that is difficult to get done and might not really carry out your purpose any better in the end. Now is the time to be honest about your available time and resources. It is better to break it up into several smaller project. You gain a sense of accomplishment which the completion of each story project.

Make notes and write a good description of what you want your story project to be. Give it some time and some serious thought. Always keep in mind who you plan to share your story project with.

MEDIUM:

Finally you want to pick a medium for your story project. Is it a book, an eBook, a video, a slide show, an audio, a song or something else altogether? There are lots and lots of possibilities. For many story projects once the first project is done it could easily be shared in another format. For example a book can be converted to an eBook. It might also be the basis for a video or slide show. Start with just one medium but keep in mind that other projects could spin-off from the original story project. Browse through our project ideas for some inspiration on the possibilities.

Are you still with me? Then it is time to move on to step two!

Enhanced ebooks – Cookbooks

by Aruna Khanzada

Here is some more info on Blurb‘s new enhanced ebooks. I think it sound intriguing  add sound and video to a book. I can’t wait to try this out. I wish I could drop all my other projects and play around with this. The video below is about Aruna Khanzada who has made more than 200 Blurb books. She describes what inspired her to write her books. I am inspired by her story.

Curry Base Video

Curry Base Book Preview

 

Make a Free Ebook

Blurb recently introduced the option to make your traditional book publishing projects and to entice people to try it they are offering the conversion for free for the next three days. Starting October 18, 2012 the charge will be USD $9.99 for each book. Go here to get more information.

I hope I can take a few minutes in the next three days and try this out. Have you used a service like Blurb to do an ebook. The closest I’ve come to doing an ebook is creating a pdf document. I know so little about this that I’m not sure the differences. Blurb’s ebooks are for the iPad.

 

Enhanced Ebooks

I love the idea of the ability to embed media like video in the context of a book. Ebooks have that potential. In the next few years I believe that we will see the power of ebooks come into their own. I can’t wait to explore to learn the skill and explore the possibilities of this medium.

image from Robert Leslie’s book Stormbelt

I found an interview with Robert Leslie, a photographer know for his photographic journeys, about a resent project he calls Stormbelt. You can find the interview here on Blurberati Blog. I’m intrigued with the idea of having both a print and digital version of a book. It is an interesting project that I think you will enjoy.

Stormbelt Book Preview

Stormbelt Ebook Preview