Monthly Archives: July 2013

EPUB3: The Turn to a Universal E-book Format

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/aap-supports-ambitious-epub3-plan/

I read with great interest and joy the post on the Digital Book World website that there is a consortium of publishers working through the AAP to make EPUB3 the universal format for e-book file delivery to distribution. To this I say, “Hallelujah!”

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

This move toward a universal format will make the CMS (Content Management System) and Dam (Digital Asset Management system) much more streamlined and compact. Right now, publishers have to finalize e-book files based on the constraints of the final distributor (the file identifier and formats are dictated to publishers by the final portal). This leaves publishers with archives of files that have various and different naming conventions that take up an inordinately large amount of space on their servers.

You may ask the question, “Why would publishers have that many sets of files archived?” There could be errors in transmission to the final sales portal, there could be slight revisions that need to be made and rather than doing the revisions in the master files and re-sending to each and every vendor, the files are individually corrected for dissemination. Each publisher handles this variation in different ways. Clean-up on file archives is a long and laborious process that cannot be done completely with automation. You don’t want to have the good files wiped clean with the previous incarnations. So in effect, files stay on servers until manpower dictates a more thorough review of what constitutes final product can be conducted.

Bottom-line: Making one format the law of the land will help publishers internally build digital platforms that are more efficient and cost-effective in getting final product to their customer base. This can only be a win/win for publishers/distributors and the buying public who will get a format that is acceptable on any and all reading devices. This last point is a key. If Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple adopt the EPUB 3 format as the file transmission of choice, then a huge glut in the transmission process is alleviated and the prices may see a reduction due to the simplification of the formatting and transmission process. Man-hours will be cut out of the process in separate reviews on different staging platforms, and the “one-size fits all” will cut costs all along the distribution pipeline.

In effect, going with BLU-RAY in (this case EPUB3) will cause a ripple effect within the publishing world that could see book sales rocket into the heavens the next few years. Also, since we know that all format types are symbiotic in nature in the marketing process, the e-book renaissance would also impact sales of audiobooks, and print books as well. The rising tide will float all boats and ensure that the profits recouped from this change in process will be noteworthy and far-reaching. With the reductions in costs that publishers will see due to streamlined delivery processes, and the increased revenues that they will see due to the much easier transmission of format to devices, we may see an increase and improvement in the content that is released to the public as well. Wouldn’t that be a big kick: If you could get books where you want, when you want, on a device of your choosing through the portal that you want to use, AND the quality of the content is much better due to more $$ available for royalties to authors who can actually put words into sentences? I think the answer will be: PRICELESS!!

Some distributors are concerned that EPUB3 may be the start of a crumbling of “Garden Walls” between themselves and their customers. To this I say: “Mr. Distributor, Tear Down This Wall!”

Publishing like it Oughta Be!  (Homage to the ’86 Mets!)

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Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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The Magic of the All-Star Game: I Saw Him Play…

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Now, there are sporting events, and then there are sporting events, but the MLB Mid-Summer classic is something I look forward to every year.  I will make no bones about it, I am a Yankee fan, always have been and always will be.

Baseball On My Mind 

I rushed home from my junior year in High School to watch Bucky Dent hit a homer over the Green Monster to crush the Fenway faithful in 1978, after the Yankees charged back from 14 games out of first place that previous July.  I ran upstairs to tell my parents the previous year (1977) that Reggie had hit another homerun in game six of the 1977 World Series against the LA Dodgers.  I cried with all the Yankee Universe after August 2, 1979 when the Captain, Thurman Munson, was killed in a plane crash.  I grew older watching a guy with the same first name who wore number 23, but oddly had his real last name replaced by “Baseball”, as in Donny Baseball.  Watching Don Mattingly play was the most poignant for me because we are the same age.  Watching someone excel at their craft and be a contemporary is a special bond between player and fan.

The Mets Get a Round of Applause

What I saw last night was the classiest send off in sports.  The Mets organization deserves a great degree of kudos for what they did at the All-Star game at CitiField.  If you don’t follow Baseball, then let me fill you in:  the “Babe Ruth” of relief pitchers is retiring after this season is completed.  He has 30 saves this season, and has converted 30 out of 32 chances, only the second time he has had this many saves at this point in the season in his career.  He has only blown 2 save opportunities.  He currently has 638 saves which is the most ever in Baseball history.  He has 42 saves in the postseason, which would be a good season for any relief pitcher, and is also the most ever amassed in the postseason.  His postseason ERA is under 1.0, (runners get on base, but they do not score).  More men have walked on the MOON (12) then have scored against him in the postseason (11).  He throws an array of pitches, but his bread and butter pitch is the cut fastball or CUTTER.  His cutter saws off bats for both left-handed hitters and right handed hitters.  He throws one pitch that he practiced to perfection.  He was the MVP of the 1999 World Series, the 2003 American League Champion Series, has been the Rolaids Reliefman-of-the-Year 5 times, and was the All-Star Most Valuable Player last night.

Mariano Rivera is 43 years old.  He is universally loved and respected throughout Baseball.  He has always been about the team, and shirks personal tributes or accolades until pushed:  A Humble Hero!! He is one of the truly good guys in the game and everyone says he is a better person then he is a ballplayer, and you can see from previous what kind of ballplayer he is.

The Greats:  He Is One!

I’ve seen some great players play live.  I’ve seen Wayne Gretzky play many times with the Oilers, Kings, and Rangers.  My first Baseball game ever was to the Yankee Stadium bleachers where I saw Mickey Mantle in his last season.  I wish I would have seen Michael Jordan play, and in an even more wistful “field of dreams”, Lou Gehrig.

People always told me, they saw Babe Ruth play, or Sandy Koufax, or Jackie Robinson…  I saw the “GREAT” Mariano Rivera play, and for decades into the future, this will be a question asked from sons to fathers and grandfathers.  He is better than good, he is the BEST!  I saw him play…

Publishing like it Oughta Be!  (Homage to the ’86 Mets!)

CLICK HERE!!

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Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple (Fines) and Chevrolet…

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

In thinking about topics for this blog post, I started looking at what is happening in the publishing industry.  Apple lost their collusion and price-fixing case, the Yankees are languishing in fourth place in the American League East, summer hours should be well in session on Fridays in the New York Publishing scene, and the mid-summer slow-down is well under way across the publishing business as a whole.  Nothing hit me as a topic that would really stand out from the crowd, until I thought about a conversation I had with my mother a few weeks ago.

Mom Knows Best

My mom had been going through some of my papers from when I was in elementary school and reminded me of one that I wrote when I was in the third grade.  I would imagine the assignment had to do with visualizing a storyline with plot build-up, characters, and a final conclusion.  My choice of story centered around 3 intrepid characters battling the forces arrayed against them to stop a flood that would ultimately prove fatal if allowed to occur without any incidence of prevention.  The title of my piece: “A Day in the Life of a Rice Krispie!”  Sheer brilliance at its core, the title tells you everything you need to know.  There will be laughter, remorse, vindictiveness, and then, of course, hunger leading to Snap, Crackle, and Pop.

Why is it so easy to come up with topics when we are young, and much harder to think of things we want to say when we are so much better equipped to say them?  Does imagination rest exclusively in the mind of an 8-year old who must have had a good breakfast that morning?  No, I think the reasoning is much deeper than that.  Someone who has a love of writing must enjoy reading their own writing and then they will have little or no personal defeat if someone else decides they do not like it.  Writing is an art, no different from painting, composing music, sculpting, or architecture.  Putting words to electronic medium is a canvas that needs to be fostered and nurtured throughout a life.

Blog, Blog and Blog Some More

The new medium of blogging has made the writing process all the more interesting in this day and age.  Now someone can riff on any topic they deem important, and find a niche audience immediately of like-minded individuals.  Forty-five years ago when I wrote that little story, there was no way to foretell that eventually I would be able to share a small slice of third grade, with a multitude of readers that I will never meet or see in the course of my daily travels.

I make this suggestion because blogging would seem to be a unique tool to see if there is an audience for your literary tome.  Instead of writing a book and going through all the motions to have it published as an e-book, or a print book, put excerpts on a blog as separate posts, and see if you get a response.  You can set up a survey page to see if there are questions on the topic, this would be a way to gauge the probable interest and future sales when you do publish.  Also, writings on a blog are copyrighted and cannot be pulled and re-used without express permission of the original writer.  Re-blogging leaves all of the original author information intact in the piece and does not infringe on the author’s copyrighted materials for usage.

Survey Suggestion to Save Publishing Money…

One suggested route for being published, write a blog and see if anyone picks up on it and finds you.  Watch the movie “Julie and Julia”, I have to admit that this movie had a big influence on me writing and moving forward with this blog.  It may work that way for you as well.  Find your passion, blog on it, and see if the followers come running.  It may save you some full-on publishing expenses in the long run!

I do not believe there will be a movie made based on my blog…

Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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Publishing Webinar: What Are Your Top 2 Publishing Questions?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

I NEED YOUR HELP!!

The time has come to get some feedback from people who check in and read my blog.  I am asking all of you what you think are the 2 most important questions regarding the content publishing industry at this point in time.

The questions will be answered at a webinar in August and if you posed a question that is used you will receive a copy of the e-book for free.

Email me with your name and questions to:

thebookkahuna@gmail.com

Subject Line:  2 Publishing Webinar Questions

Thank you for your help!

The Book Kahuna

Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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Publishing Leaders: Can’t live with Em, Pass the Beer Nuts!

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

CHEERS to you!

Some of you may recall this scene from Cheers.  Norm Peterson is perched on his bar stool as Woody asks, “How are things going Mr. Peterson?”  I’ve taken poetic license with the response for the purpose of this blog post, but the original answer from George Wendt was, “Women:  Can’t live with em, Pass the Beer Nuts!”

This same attitude can be rampant in our daily lives as we walk and work through our careers.  What makes a great leader?  Or Boss?  Or Supervisor? Or Mentor?  I’ve looked at this question from many different angles, and I have put together a list that I think encompasses what a superior leader brings to the table for his staff and subordinates to emulate and follow:

By the Numbers

  1.  Trustworthy:  This is a must. The boss must be a trusted entity in the command structure of the corporate structure.  If the circle of trust is broken and the staff feel that the boss has his own back over theirs, then there is a downward spiral in the future of this department and group of co-workers.
  2. An Anti-Micro-Manager:  If you work for someone who is looking down over your shoulder all the time, you are not going to be in a position to put your best work out on the table.  Also, as has happened to me in the past, supervisors hire people to take the brunt of the workload and run with it.  If the boss then turns around and has to oversee every decision or bit of information that goes through the department, then the staff is being professionally undercut by this lack of faith in the pipeline of subordinates and delegation.  Companies do not have the cash resources to focus so intensely on avenues of work interactions.  Stop it and delegate effectively.
  3. The Bully Boss:  The boss who holds you out of meetings looks for new ideas but then shoots you down when you make a suggestion because it’s not theirs.  “Yes, we want new suggested paths to sell and get things accomplished, but it better look like it was our idea when all is said and done and you were merely the cog that brought this great idea in a very raw and uncut form to our attention!  We had to do all the real heavy lifting to get this suggested path into a workable pipeline.” Nope, this is not on the list for a good leader… Ah, Yeah…NOT!
  4. Ability to Delegate Effectively:  People are hired at different skill-set levels to get work accomplished.  If you are the hiring manager, then back up and let the people you hired do their thing and make you look good.  I’ve seen too many insecure supervisors who flip-out because their staffs are actually working closely together and getting priority work accomplished with little or no input.  GOOD!  You hired good people!  Bask in the glow that you were able to ascertain good talent from the pool.
  5. Be the Supervisor who trains the next staffer to fill your own shoes!  It’s the supervisor who asks, “But what happens to me if I do that?” that you want to stay away from.  If you train someone to fill your shoes, then obviously you are moving up in the organization into someone’s shoes further up the road.  The difference between the manager who gets this straight out, and the one who asks the question, are light-years apart in temperament and style.

Remember:  Don’t be THAT #3 guy!

Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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Book Publishing for Independents

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The world of publishing has its share of snake-oil salesmen dressed up in the role of “helping” you get your book published.  Stay vigilant and be prepared to keep your wallet in your back pocket.  There are some universal, fundamental rules you should be aware of when you try and get your title published, and this blog post will serve as a primer for you to have a basic framework going forward.

The Universal Rules:

  1.  Get your manuscript copyedited.  I cannot stress this enough.  No matter how well you can put together the King’s English, you need to have someone with a background in structure and syntax look over your manuscript to make sure you have a well focused and constructed tome.  This is a crucial step, and can be completed electronically in a Word.doc with the track changes function turned on.  Remember to pass protect the document before you send it out to your copyeditor to ensure accurate editing functions and call outs signifying the original structure as compared to the edited corrected version.
  2. Get a Top-Notch compositor/typesetter/designer that is working in Adobe InDesign.  Compositors previously worked religiously in Quark, but with the advent of Ebooks, Quark has given way to the Adobe Suite of products for finalizing layout and getting to an Epub final file.  If your comp works in InDesign it will be that much easier to get your book published on Amazon and the iBookstore.  Also, in advanced cases, vendors are using HTML based composition programs such as 3B2 that are a much easier format for Ebook conversion at the end of the final layout process.  I would suggest targeting a final Ebook format, with files available for a print version in a Print-On-Demand or traditional print variation through vendors such as Sheridan Books Group and the Ingram umbrella organization Lightning Source. (If you do a print version you will need to get an ISBN, and register your book with the Library of Congress and request CIP data (Cataloging-in-Publication) data to be inserted into the copyright page of your book.)
  3. Proofreading:  I cannot stress this enough…  YOU NEED TO HAVE A QUALIFIED PROOFREADER (Like Me) go through and do a word scan, not a light line scan, but a word scan check on your typeset pages.  You as the author, also have to go through and do a word-for-word proof check on your typeset pages for any egregious subjective errors that may have been missed in the editing process.  The Proofreader set of pages and your author set of pages will be integrated into one set and given over to the compositor for the final correction cycle.  If there are a large amount of corrections, you might want to see a revised proof to check that the corrections were made.  If the correction pass was fairly light, then you can let it go through to final files as it is.
  4. Indexing:  not necessary for an Ebook, but extremely important for a print book depending on what the subject-matter of the book entails.
  5. Cover:  a professionally designed cover will be very helpful in getting the sales results you want to achieve, but there are alternatives out there.  The final decision will always depend on whether you have an audience that is readily willing to purchase your book no matter what.  There are some very nice 2-color type only covers that can work very well to get your message out to the mainstream.

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Project Management:  You have your book project completed, but you do not have the time to walk through all the steps and find the various vendors at prices you can afford to pay.  You need help, and you need someone who knows the publishing industry in all facets, backwards and forwards.  The Book Kahuna recommends finding someone you know and trust to take your book project to the next level.  You can be part of a group that pays a subscription rate.  You can get hands on information through one-on-one coaching and consulting.  Stay tuned and follow The Book Kahuna for more tips and my upcoming publishing webinar at:

http://thebookkahuna.com/

Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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Laptop Millionaire-Boulder in Retrospect…

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

A New Profit-Making Venture…

This past weekend was one of fun and adventure.  I’ve been thinking about how I can monetize my publishing background into some operational structure that can provide long-term cash annuities for my lavish lifestyle (watching the NY Yankees on MLB at $24.99 per month!).  You may laugh at this but my Ipad has a better picture then any television in my house!  So I took the advice of my best friend Paul and his son Dan and we headed off to Boulder where we went through the 3-day “Laptop Millionaire” seminar produced by Mark Anastasi, Steven Essa, and Corinna Essa.

Eyes Wide-Open

I cannot say enough nice things about Mark and his team.  With over two hundred people in the room, Mark, Corinna and Steve were always available to chat with the audience which made the feel of the 3-days more like a close knit team then a college science lecture.  The information was packaged in a way that was readily understandable.  If you are a devotee of Robert Kiyosaki, Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, and Napoleon Hill like I am, you already know that the way to get customers and teammates to have complete buy-in to your system (or product) is to build a basis of trust.

If you can achieve this level of trust, the attendees will be able to see your vision.  Mark achieved this and went well beyond.

Dan Kurtz:  A Life-Changing Weekend

The highlight of each stop on the “Laptop Millionaire World Tour” is when one participant from the audience is given the opportunity to work closely with Mark and Steven on a Webinar presentation that will be given on the third day of the seminar.  Although yours truly got on the stage and made it to the final few, with my ideas about helping small-medium publishing companies and self-publishers traverse the rocky seas of electronic/digital authorship, my best buddy’s son was chosen to give the final Webinar on battling Google and navigating the various changes, pitfalls and pratfalls in SEO.

I could not be more proud of Dan.  He put together a presentation that rivaled any webinar I have seen in the past.  He was well-spoken, knowledgeable, and humble all at the same time.  This trifecta is no easy feat, and Dan pulled it off magnificently while garnering an unheard of standing ovation when the presentation was finalized.  I’m hoping Dan’s ticket has been punched for bigger and better things in his career.  I know he has been an invaluable asset in helping me set up my blog and web portals and hopefully will be giving Paul and I some pointers on how we will get the sales module pumping with products in the very near future.

Getting to work…

Tomorrow I receive my copy of The Laptop Millionaire from Amazon.  I already have an e-book on sale through Amazon:  The Electronic/Digital Revolution in Book Publishing:  History, Industry Perspective (Print and E-book) and “How To” Publish Your E-book for Amazon Kindle, and another product that is ready for launch.  Stay tuned for my webinar, it will be taking place before the end of the summer…

Procrastination is your worst enemy, grab life and make it happen.  I’m doing it, and you can as well.

Time to light this candle and blast off to the next level…

As Bono says, “It’s a beautiful day, don’t let it slip away…”

What are you going to do today to become empowered and take control of your life and surroundings?

Follow me on Twitter at:  Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna

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