Tuesday, November 30, 2010

eBook Authors: Render Your eBooks

Rendered eBooks
The eBook Author has the opportunity to add to the reading experience. The eBook conversion process must be much more than converting a paper book to a digital format. It must take advantage of the power of the electronic reader.

The eBook author is defined as an author who is writing directly to the eBook platform. You can read more about this concept in my blog: eBook Author: New Breed of Author.

As an author, you must think about the reader and what he can do with the added features the eBook allows him to use. You must add to your content something of value for your readers.

You should include in-book links to help the reader enjoy the content. The eBook’s advanced features should be exploited. And you should think about the future of the eBook and the software and devices and plan for the changes in your research and writing.

Your eBook must be more than just a copy of a paper book. You must render your eBook to set the content apart from the paper version.

Think about the reader
The eBook author should think about the reader when he is rendering his eBook. The object is to improve the eBook reading experience.

Picture the reader of a paper book and some of the things they do while they are reading. Let’s explore the practice of Read back.

Read back is the action of the reader to go back through the content to look up information. The eBook can make this practice an easy and quick process.

I am a typical reader and some of the things I would like to be able to do while I am reading are: (I have included the rendered eBook solution.)

1. Read back: I would like to look up the definition of a word or a term.
Render: This is addressed directly by the e-reader’s dictionary and encyclopedia if it is a common word.

2. Read back: I would like to look up the definition of a word or term coined by the author or that is not in the standard dictionary.
Render: You can supply information in the appendix and link to it using bookmarks. (see the in-book link section below)

3. Read back: I would like to see pictures of people, buildings and objects that I am reading about.
Render: As an eBook author, you can easily insert jpg files into the content during the rendering process and link to them.

4. Read back: I would like to actually see the locations that are referenced in the content.
Render: You can enclose Google Maps or better yet Google Earth snapshots. Just give them credit.

5. Read back: I would like to see an easy-to-access character tree.
Render: This is important if the eBook is large and has marginal characters that are revisited throughout the eBook.

6. Read back: Sometimes I would like a calendar of events so that I can keep track of where I am in the story.
Render: You can render a filled in calendar to support the reader.

As an eBook author, you can easily provide the reader these items by using the power of the e-reader’s links.

Use in-book links
In my eBook, Call Off the Dogs, I used four types of in-book links. In-book links are used to move the reader to content that is not online (no need to be connected to the Internet) but is included in the books appendix area.

The in-book links have an advantage because they do not interrupt the reader’s train of thought. This is important especially if the eBook is fiction. I have included Internet links to the example below for your reference.

The first type of in-book links I used were links which I called eBook Gems. The gems are terms I invented as part of the story.

For example, the main character, CIA agent Jonathon Stone, used a device to scan for bugs, GPS locators and bomb residue. It was called a waffle scanner(follow the link to view the description) because of the texture of the back of the device. Well this was a figment of my imagination so I inserted in the content a quick symbol link for the reader to view a broader description of the device. The reader just clicked on the symbol and reviewed the information. Then he pressed the Back button and continued reading.

The second type of in-book links were brief definitions from Wikipedia. The reader could click on an underlined link and view a short summary of the topic. (You need to give credit to Wikipedia to use this feature – see their guidelines on their site.)

For example, one of the locations used in the novel was Belmont Shore, California. (follow the link to view the definition and the credit statement) I enclosed a brief description from Wikipedia about the location and the area around Belmont Shore to inform the reader.

The third type of in-book link was a link to a map from Google Earth which showed the location of part of the story. (Again you need to give credit to Google Earth to use this feature – see their guidelines on their site.)

For example, Call Off the Dogs, is a novel about the Assassination of President Kennedy. It discusses Dealey Plaza (follow the link to view an aerial map) in Dallas where the assassination took place. I captured an aerial view of the plaza and inserted building references so the reader could visualize the scene.

The fourth type of in-book link was the insertion of a picture of an object to assist the reader in the visualization of the content. A digital picture (jpg file) was quickly added to the appendix and linked so the reader could view it.

For example, one of the objects in Call Off the Dogs was a reference to a Wild Hog Trophy. (follow the link to view the digital picture)

Also, I have included extra information to help explain the in-book concept. Follow the next link to the reader reference material in Call Off the Dogs. The section in the eBook was entitled the eBook Experience Notes.

Think to the future
I am sure authors will start to render their back-list titles to add value to their writing. Although it is time consuming, the information gathering process for rendering can be incorporated in the research of your eBook.

I wrote Call Off the Dogs in MS-Word and put my research notes at the back of the document. When I was done with my first draft, I started adding bookmarks to the important items. That made the in-book link part of the rendering easy.

Enhanced eBooks are coming. We are starting to see them appear in selected books on the iPad. They include maps, graphs, pictures and video. Author information is expanded to give the reader an insight into the author’s thinking process.

As other e-reader devices come up to speed with their software and hardware, enhanced eBooks will one day be commonplace.

eBook Rendering is coming
But for now, rendering the standard eBook would greatly improve the eBook experience. The eBook author is the key. Remember you are in the creativity business. Rendering is an opportunity to set you apart from the traditional author.

I encourage comments and feedback on this. I believe this is an important concept.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Coming Soon on this blog:
Lessons For the eBook Industry – Study the E-Forms Industry Beginning- a CASE STUDY
This post will discuss the highlights from a case study I have written about the parallel of the eBook Industry and its transition from paper to digital to the beginning of the Electronic Forms Industry in the 1990’s.

This post originated from HBSystems Publications.
Posted by James Moushon

Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

To contact me directly, mailto: jrm@hbspub.com

Monday, November 22, 2010

eBook Author: The New Breed of Author

With the advent of the Kindle and the Nook, the readers of the world are endorsing the eBook in very large numbers. One of the next phases of the industry development will be the transition of the author from the traditional writer to an eBook author. They will write directly to the eBook platform and take advantage of the features and opportunities provided by the eBook experience.

Currently the industry is in a copy mode, taking a version of the printed document and converting it to an electronic form. To preserve the written work and make books more accessible is a valid endeavor but there must be much more to the eBook industry than to just make a copy of the paper book. The eBook author is the key.

First there are the want-to-be authors. They are the authors that are not published and feel like they are swimming upstream. Their creative juices are flowing with ideas that they want to be published. Self-publishing via an eBook may be their only opportunity to be heard. They need something to set them apart and the eBook may be their only answer. Traditionally without assistance from an agent or a publisher their chances are slim.

Then we have the published authors who are already published in a paper version. Their copy is converted to an eBook with the same look and feel of the original traditional book but their sales are mediocre at best. However they may have a better opportunity of success by adding something else to their creative ideas and the eBook may help them do this.

On the topside, established authors produce their paper version and they have a better time of it. They have almost instant success with the eBook version. Their name recognition carries the sale.

On the other side of the author spectrum are the Internet content providers. Their ideas and creativity drive the Internet. Their pages, blogs and communications are the centerpiece of the Web. Their content includes text, pictures, audio, video, links and on and on. The web surfer, the communicator and the information seeker enjoy their work equally. They write to the digital platform only.

Enter the ebook and its connection to the digital world. The eBook reader is enjoying the new phenomenon but there is so much more to give to the reader than a copy of a traditional book.

eBook authors must develop their skills or get assistance to embrace the eBook capabilities. They will meet the traditional author and the content provider in the middle somewhere by writing to the eBook platform whether it is the Kindle, the Nook, the iPad device or a regular PC. They will provide live links to the Internet with up-to-date information.

The traditional book is cast in stone. Even if it is republished, it’s only current the day it is printed. Picture a history textbook with the ability to be linked to a web site. You could virtually have a daily update to the eBook. Or the reader may have a subscription to a service that uploads to the Kindle the latest version of the eBook on a regular basis like news feeds and magazines currently do. The eBook author is the key to this.

I sat in on an eBook seminar at a BookExpo America in Los Angeles in 2001 when all this was getting started. One of the speakers was a writer who wrote travel guides about locations around the world. The writer spoke highly about the possibilities of the new eBook industry but the writer’s conclusion still stays with me.

“The eBook was the wave of the future but it didn’t have a place in the travel book industry.” The speaker missed the whole point. The travel book industry is the perfect place for an eBook. You can publish an up-to-date copy monthly with live links and include current pricing and everything. What an opportunity.

The eBook author can include maps, images, multimedia and reference materials to back up their eBook and make it a better reading experience.

In my eBook, Call Off the Dogs, I include internal links to author definitions of unique terms used in the eBook. I call these “eBook gems” named after the link symbol used in the eBook. The reader just clicks on the gem symbol and a brief definition of the term appears on the screen. I even include links to in-book Wikipedia information to assist the reader in understanding the story. Although eBook devices have dictionaries and encyclopedias available, sometimes author-coined terms and in-book information will help further explan the content.

The eBook author will start writing in a more snapshot method rather than a straight linear process. These chunks of information will be linked together to convey the story or idea. This method will allow multiple story lines and maybe a better read if done properly.

For example, the back-story in a novel could be greatly enhanced with the ability of the reader to explore more than the base story. Call Off the Dogs, which is a novel about President Kennedy’s Assassination, could direct the reader to more information about Dealey Plaza in Dallas or to the French Quarter in New Orleans where the main character, Jonathon Stone, searches for information about another gunman in Dallas besides Oswald.

Another opportunity for the new eBook author is the creation of companion eBooks. These would be eBooks written about the same topics as the original eBook but with more detailed information. With the ability to switch back and forth between eBooks, I can see a large opportunity for students and Education in general with this option.

Although there is no substitute for good content, the added features the eBook brings to the table, will be used by the eBook author to enhance the reading experience.

What are your ideas? I will try to respond to all your comments.

Jim Moushon

This post originated from HBSystems Publications .

To contact me directly, email: jrm@hbspub.com

Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Coming Soon on this blog:

eBook Author: eBook Rendering
This post will discuss the process that is much more than converting a book to a digital format. If you want to include the mark “eBook Rendered” on your book, you should read this posting.

Friday, November 12, 2010

eBook Author: Wearing Two Hats

This is the eBook Author’s initial blog. I have created this blog to assist eBook authors in writing and developing eBooks. My blog will discuss how the eBook author fits into the evolving eBook Industry and the many opportunities that exist.

Some of the topics that are on the blog’s drawing board are:

The new breed: the eBook Author
eBook rendering and what that adds to the eBook Experience
A comparison between the startup of electronic business forms and eBook industry
The power of in-book links and how that enhances the reader experience
A case study of the self-publishing of an eBook on Amazon

A regular feature will be: How Surefire Book Publishing, a hypothetical entity, is reacting to the new eBook industry

I am currently wearing Two Hats. I am a fiction writer and a computer consultant. I have spent the majority of my adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.

The writer part of me has just self-published an eBook. I recently went through the complete eBook process from writing the novel to the creation of the eBook to publishing it on Amazon.

My eBook, Call Off The Dogs, was not a scanned version of a traditional paper book but was converted directly from a Word document to the Kindle format. You can view a sample of the book by visiting HBSystems Publication web site. While you are there you should look at the concept of in-book links inserted in the content. (This concept will be discussed at length in a future blog.)

Because of my experience I was able to use computer tools to manage the writing project like designing a database to keep track of the sections or chapters and their word counts, the main and secondary characters, the storyline and so on. Call Off The Dogs is based on history, the Assassination of John F. Kennedy, so keeping track of dates, times and places was important.

The publishing part was enhanced by creating a program that automated the Kindlegen process. With one click I was able to create a mobi file and view it in the Kindle For PC software. This program and ideas will be shared with authors in future blogs.

When I am wearing the Computer Consulting hat I am developing systems to help businesses move from paper to digital. I have extensive experience in the paper to digital conversion process starting back in 1993. In the coming blogs I would like to share with authors some of this knowledge. I will explore the relationship of my experience as it relates to the eBook author and the eBook industry in general.
(For more information on my background, see the About Me section of this blog.)

What do you think about this blog concept? I will try to respond to all your comments and include some of the good ideas in future posts.

I will be excepting guest blogs and writing comments about other blogs that are related to the eBook experience.

To contact me directly, email: jrm@hbspub.com
My self-publishing company is : HBSystems Publications
Or better yet subscribe to this blog and get all sorts of information that will assist you in becoming an eBook Author.

Coming Soon on this blog:

eBook Author: New Breed of AuthorThis post will discuss the changing role of the author and the large opportunities the eBook presents to him. If you want to be an eBook author, you should read this posting.

Book Information
Call Off The Dogs
By: James Moushon
Published By: HBSystems Publications
November 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4507-4529-1 ASIN:B004AYCTI8
Available at Amazon in eBook Format
Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

Genre: Fiction, Alternative History

This post originated from HBSystems Publications.