As you may know, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of serving as the managing editor of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell since 1999. It’s been hard work, but it’s also been very satisfying — in the years that I’ve been at the JCF, we’ve produced fifteen books (closing in on thirty if you include the ebooks), over forty audio recordings and a really wonderful fifteen-hour video series. Of those books I was talking about, seven were brand new, posthumous titles — on three of which I was the titular editor. (You know. The guy on the title with the author.)
Now, the JCF is a not-for-profit, but it hasn’t been run the most such groups are. We’ve tried to the best of our ability to have the work pay our way. We don’t have an office, nor are there any employees — all of the work is done by a handful of independent contractors (like me) and volunteers. We’ve always taken donations, and sometimes we’ve had to be a little more forceful in our appeals due to a cash crunch, but there haven’t been any major donor campaigns, no chasing after grants, no bake sales. The idea was not to let the tail wag the dog.
There comes a time, however, when a major capital expenditure is bound to come up. In the case of the JCF, we’ve been getting by on a jury-rigged website for about eight years. It’s never been perfect — but at this point, the plaster is falling off the walls. We’ve tried to find low- or no-cost ways to create the kind of vibrant, useful site that our associates need, but finally came to the realization that we needed to raise :gulp: $65,000 in order to make that happen.
So this is where I turn to you — I know that you’re shocked — and ask that you help us continue to fulfill our mission to “preserve, protect, and perpetuate the groundbreaking work of Joseph Campbell.”
This is the second in my series of blog posts about ebook creation. It was originally posted on Joel Friedlander’s wonder resource site, TheBookDesigner.com.
Last time I talked about just what an ebook is — a website in a box. Ebooks come in a number of flavors, but for the purposes of this discussion I’m going to stick with the most common and most malleable format of ebook, the ePub file that is the basis of all of the major retailers’ ebook offerings.
There are four basic ways to create an ebook (that is, an ePub file):
Saving from a word-processing or page-layout application into ePub format
Using a conversion app or online service
Hiring a designer
The trade-off among these methods involve quality, time, and price. As the old saying goes, you can generally pick two. In order to get all three, you’re going to need to become an ebook maven yourself, which will take a fair amount of time, but which will allow you to control all of the variables yourself. Let’s look at the options, and you can see whether that’s the road you want to take. Continue reading 4 Ways to Create an Ebook→
It is difficult to know whether the elegiac mood I felt while reading The Shepherd’s Crown was due to the book itself or to the fact that the fifth Tiffany Aching novel (and forty-first Discworld novel) was in fact the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s final work.
The Shepherd’s Crown focuses on the young witch Tiffany Aching as she comes fully to find her place both in the non-hierarchy of the witches’ world, in the land of her birth (the Chalk), and in her own life. She finds herself pulled between two steadings, the districts for which, as a witch, she is responsible for doing “what needs to be done” — whether visiting the old and sick, birthing babies, or protecting the inhabitants from supernatural invasion. And, as the book begins, a supernatural invasion does in fact loom: Nightshade, Queen of the Faeries (whom a nine-year-old Tiffany defeated in the first book in the series) finds that the boundaries between her world and Tiffany’s are weak, and she is planning large-scale revenge. Discworld faeries have much more kinship to the Celtic sidhe than to the cute winged creatures of most children’s books or than to Tolkien’s aristocratic elves: they are(literally) glamorous, pitiless creatures who take delight in mayhem ranging from spoiling beer and stealing sheep to kidnap, torture, and murder.
Recently, I was honored to have been invited to post on Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer on the subject of ebooks — a subject I love talking about, having been designing ebooks since 2010. (In this industry that makes me practically an old-timer.) This is the first of a monthly series of posts on the subject. It was originally released here.
There are lots of very complex questions when it comes to ebooks:
text and image formatting,
different file formats,
various workflows for creating ebooks,
and much more.
For this post, before we get into the more esoteric issues of ebook design and publishing, I’d like to start by defining the subject: just what is an ebook?
This may sound like a very simple question to answer, but it isn’t as straightforward as you might think, and being able to answer it correctly will make many of the thornier issues of creating ebooks just a bit easier.
This past Saturday at BAIPA, I led a roundtable about the reasons that every independent author and publisher (as well as every “dependent” author) needed to have an active presence on Goodreads.com. It was one of three roundtable sessions at the time, and I assumed that most BAIPA folks (who are pretty savvy) would already know most of what I had to say. I was surprised to find that not only did they not, but they were very hungry to hear about the world’s largest book review site
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