Monthly Archives: October 2013

Always Negotiate in Good Faith

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book KahunaKeep Looking

I recently did a publishing tip of the day that detailed how looking for new opportunities can sometimes be clouded by individuals and companies looking to save money.  I wanted to delve more into this issue in this blogpost.  During the course of a career in publishing there will always be times spent looking for that next big opportunity.  The publishing industry is one that resonates with transience, because staying at one company will only get you a 2% increase year after year.  And in some instances the company that you are working for will give you no increase year after year.  In this environment of scaled back revenue and salary reductions, it is essential for hiring managers at other publishing organizations to be mindful that time is money and as publishing companies do not have time to waste, neither do the individuals who work within this industry.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere

One of the credos of the Five O’clock Club is to never stop looking for the next job.  Even if happy and contented in a current situation, never stop scanning the job listings and sending letters and resumes.  A few years back I decided to continue looking for positions in the industry and followed up on one in particular that was a fit for my experience level and academic credentials.  I crafted my cover letter and attached my resume to the e-mail and sent it out to the hiring manager at this particular company.  I was notified a few days later that the owner of the company would like to discuss my background and experience and see if there was a fit with this company.

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Corporate Speak

The discussions were frank, polite, and there was a very good connection between myself and the owner of the company.  Toward the end of the conversation it was requested that I submit my benefits and salary requirements before further discussions could take place.  I complied with this request immediately.  I was extremely happy that I was being considered for this particular position.  The position was at a higher level, but would also necessitate relocation to a different, much more expensive, part of the country.  Once I had submitted this information I expected to hear that either we would be continuing the discussions or we would not be continuing the discussions.  I was informed that I needed to have a conversation with the company’s financial person.  This all occurred after I had already sent in my benefits and salary information to the company.  Once I had a dialogue with the financial person, I was instructed that the owner wanted to have another discussion with me.  It was at that point in time that the job offer was tendered and I was asked again verbally what my salary requirements were.  I responded with the same requirements that I had already submitted via e-mail a couple of weeks prior.  At this point I was told that there was no way that the company could match that salary level and the best that they could do was roughly a third of the level I had already submitted.

Don’t Waste My Time!!

As I said in my YouTube channel publishing tip for the day, publishing companies do not want people wasting their time, and publishing professionals do not want companies wasting their time either.  If you ask me for the information and I supply it, then there is a tacit understanding that those are the criteria we are negotiating under.  For all publishing professionals and new people to the publishing industry, do not let hiring managers waste your time.  Get the range of the position in the first conversation.  You can say that the salary is negotiable, but ask what the previous employee that had this position was making.  Save yourself some time on the front end, and you will not regret the time investment on the back-end!

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Enhanced Ebooks: Could This Be The Future of Ebook Publishing?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/giving-up-on-enhanced-ebooks-too-soon/

What is an Enhanced Ebook Anyway?

I recently read the article on the digital book world website by David Wilk: Giving Up On Enhanced Ebooks Too Soon, and decided that this type of article was worthy of a blogpost on exactly what an enhanced Ebook might look like, especially in the world of reference publishing.  I think Mr. Wilk makes some valid points that publishers are hesitant to invest in this latest innovation in publishing technology.  I personally do not think that publishers will be shelving this formatting process, but it may take longer to become the norm rather than the exception.

In reference publishing the ability to incorporate video into the content would be an incredible boon for accelerating the learning process.  Not only could students read a speech by Churchill or FDR or Jack Kennedy, they could also click on the URL or thumbnail inserted into the content that would allow them to see the actual speech verbatim.  Also, video and news clips of historical events could be inserted as well and give the student a more accessible sensory experience to completely heighten the learning experience.  For a very long time I have seen this as the wave of the future for Ebooks.  Making the Ebook a multi-technical formatted content platform could have a wide-ranging impact on how well students learn material.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Move Fish?

Another area that would be hugely impacted by the advent of enhanced Ebooks would be the children’s book area.  If you can start producing electronic pop-up books where children can touch a character and an animated process would begin or make a character do certain movements, this modified touch-screen revolution would accelerate the learning process for those under five years old.  This children’s book technical revolution would be a leader into the learning process for the modified enhanced Ebooks referenced above.  Once children are comfortable with the process of touch-screen learning, this could be the foundation that will allow them to pick up information in a much faster and more reliable way.  The main thing about touch-screen learning would be that the element of fun would still be apparent as the child grows into an older student.  Any learning tool that can access more senses is pushing the envelope to a much broader and faster educational system.

If it sells, we will make it so…

The companies that produce the readers have not been moving in the direction of pushing E-books with enhanced features.  This may be due to the fact that Amazon’s Kindle Fire could handle enhanced Ebooks, the Apple iPad would be an amazing platform for enhanced Ebooks, but Barnes &Noble and the Nook do not have a platform that would support enhanced Ebooks very well.  As Mr. Wilk made clear in his article, Apple could lead the way in revolutionizing this technology that would fit well into an iPad environment.  These companies are the distributors for the Ebooks that the publishers produce.  If publishers started to produce a large volume of enhanced Ebooks the mindset might change with the device and distribution companies.  As with anything when dealing with large companies there will not be an impetus to move forward in this direction until there is a recognizable profit and revenue generating reason to make sure that these Ebooks can be used on these devices.

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Carnac Says:…

My prediction: It is only a matter of time before enhanced Ebooks become the norm.  It only follows that the technology has surpassed the expectations of the mass consuming market.  I leave you with this question:  If we have electronic books in the marketplace why would we want them to be mirror images of the print product when technology can take them in so many other different directions?

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The Book Kahuna Video Week in Review: October 21-25, 2013

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

Respectful Debates

We started out the week with a video response to the dust up surrounding my blogpost on Editors and Predators:

Be Controversial Sometimes

I took Jim Edwards advice and wrote a controversial blogpost that got noticed in a big way.  Thanks for that advice from the webinar Jim!  Here is the video:

Epub3

How this new file format will be the universal way to an HTML5 layout that will be universal in viewing on all reading devices within the next year:

 

A Kinder and Gentler Industry

It may be a Utopian vision but it would be nice if we all looked out for each other in this industry and didn’t always have a Machiavellian “I Win/You Lose” mentality:

Enhanced Ebooks

If we have an electronic format, why have it mirror the static format of a print medium title?  Some insights on this topic:

It’s been a great week.  More daily updates next week!

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“How To” Publish Your E-book For Amazon Kindle

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

I’ve heard that this is a really hot topic out there in publishing land, and I thought I might take a crack at putting some information on the table that may be helpful to anyone.  This question is one that is resonating throughout publishing and I can give you the answer in a very short succinct set of words:  Epub Files.

Production Functions

Anyone who wants to write the Great American Novel, or a Cookbook, or a How To book has a set of functions that need to be adhered to make sure the quality of the project is at a high level when it gets out into the marketplace.  Whether you are a self-publisher, a medium-sized reference publisher, or a McGraw-Hill or Random House, the finalization of the manuscript process begins with the manuscript review.  Now, the manuscript review is a checklist for anyone in the production field to make sure that all of the elements (frontmatter, text, backmatter, figures, graphs, tables, and halftones) are finalized with the manuscript.  If you are self-publishing, the resolution for the images should be at least 266 dpi, (dots per inch).  This higher resolution will not matter as much for the e-book, but if you ever decide to print your book either on a web or through a print-on-demand vendor such as Lightning Source, you’ll want the images in the final files to be crisp and accurate in the reproduction process.  Right now, we are dealing with a 1/c black title and not even thinking about a 4/color project.

The Master List

  1.  Copyediting:  No matter how good you can write, there are standards and those standards are contained in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition.  Find a good copyeditor to go through your manuscript and give it a once over while maintaining the integrity of your written “Voice.”  Find a copyeditor that you like and ask them to get into the weeds with you to make your tome a well written, grammatically correct vision of information.  The copyeditor on a project can make or break your sales by giving you a project that will pass the scrutiny of all readers.
  2. Design/Composition/Layout:  For years publishers used designers who worked in Mac platform design software like Quark.  In the age of Epub files, Quark is convertible, but not in a very effective manner when compared to InDesign.  Epub files are Adobe based, and since Adobe always builds suites of tools that complement each other, composition should be done in InDesign.  This will make the final conversion a much simpler matter than anything converting from Quark files.  You could be using an HTML based layout program like 3B2, which will let you easily convert to XML based on your D-T-D (Document-Type-Definition), but supplying e-books to Amazon as an Epub file is the way to ensure it gets loaded and out for sales with an immediacy that will capture revenue streams quickly.  Other file formats such as Word.doc will work as well if you run them through an HTML filter process before you submit them to Amazon.
  3. Author Review/Proofreading:  No matter what format is the final, the manuscript must be proofread, and the author must review it.  Who would know the final product better than the person who wrote the title?  The proofread should be a word-for-word and not a line-scan.  Companies do not realize how much damage is done to a reputation when the consuming public finds typos in a project they just paid good money for.
  4. Indexing:   In the world of reference publishers, this is a key feature.  A bad index can turn an award winner into an albatross if the index is not as comprehensive as it should be.  The index should have all of the most important main entries in the book, and sometimes one or two sub-entries will help to create a strong index as well.  This step is supremely important if you are planning on publishing through dual format avenues:  POD and through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).  This step is not necessary if you are only doing an e-book since the content of an e-book is fully searchable on a Kindle.

For anyone looking to publish for Kindle downloads, the next step would be to set up an account on KDP.  Once you have this account set up, you con upload the e-book content and the cover art to Amazon through this account.  After you upload the files you will need to complete the metadata information to finalize this upload process.  Finalizing the metadata will be instrumental in generating a preview of your title on the Amazon Sales Portal website for your title to sell.  After the upload and finalization of the metadata, there may be a lag time of roughly 48 hours until your title is available for purchase and download.

For more information please refer to the Amazon site directly:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?topic=200260520

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It’s Alive!

Once you have gone through these steps and done all the final checks, you can have Epub files loaded to Amazon, who will do any conversion necessary on the files for you before they are uploaded for sale.  This is a very rudimentary set of points, but whether you are publishing an e-book or a print book, this same set of steps needs to be adhered to ensure your product is at the highest quality possible, on the schedule that you want, and on the budget that you want to pay.   These are Dr. Frankenstein’s notes that will be the basis for your creation… Build on them.

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The Power of Staying Positive

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

What, Me Worry?

I have often said that working in the publishing field is one of the most gratifying and exhilarating endeavors that anyone can imagine.  The feeling of triumph when a book project finally comes out and hits the consuming marketplace is indescribable.  Along with these feelings of triumph are the points in the publishing career when you are pitted against the feelings of inescapable defeat.  These feelings are most prevalent in the period after a job dismissal or lay-off.  As I have stated in previous blog posts, the publishing industry is one where you will get laid-off through no fault of your own.  How do you deal with this mental conflict?

Through personal experiences I can tell you that the feeling of elation you will receive once you have started a new business venture or secured a new position that is at a higher level than your previous position will be well worth the wait.  Since I was laid-off in February, I have constantly and consistently stayed positive in my outlook and I have continued to write on publishing topics and build a digital reference business based on my experience and academic credentials.  There are always times when self-doubt will intrude upon my point of reference, but I think back to other times that I was laid-off in the past and remember that you cannot appreciate the good times in your life or in your experiences at work unless you have walked through the valley of the shadow.  If all we had were good work experiences our emotions of well-being would always be at the same point and never change.  This can be a good outlook if the work experience is happy and rewarding, or just the opposite if it is not.

Praying Can be Very Helpful…

Spiritual well-being can always be a help in this regard.  If you have a religious/spiritual background returning to your church, synagogue, or mosque is always a good way to keep your positivity centered.  Since we are talking about publishing careers, books that enhance and extol the positivity of the spirit are plentiful and easily acquired through the public library.  Also, the time between jobs and business ventures can be used to increase one’s knowledge by reading voraciously about what is happening within the publishing industry or many business books that will give you better keys for future success.  Some of the business books I recommend are:   Stephen R. Covey:  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Robert Kiyosaki: Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale:  The Power of Positive Thinking and Napoleon Hill: The Law of Success in Sixteen Lessons.  These books can have a transformative impact on your career and keep you focused on the goals and successes yet to come.

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Change Your Story

The power of positive thinking can be an incredible tool but you must continually stay on target to keep your mind thinking of the next prize rather than lamenting some past that was lost.  If you do not like your present circumstances, dream big, and work to change your situation as quickly as you can.  A setback is not a definitive ending but could be the beginning of a success that was undreamed of previously.  The story is always yours to write and your mind is the eraser.  If the plot goes in a direction that you do not want, use your mental eraser to reprogram the story.  As human beings we have the ability to dream and work towards our dreams, but sometimes you have to be persistent in your thought patterns to overcome the adversities that block your path.  I know staying positive is not easy, and I do have my times when I question whether success will ever be mine again, but whenever I get those feelings I fight hard to expel them from my thought patterns and remember who I am and what I have accomplished in my career.

Always envision the end result, and every day do something that gets you a little closer to that dream realization.  Stay strong and stay positive!

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An Independent Publishing Editorial: Editors and Predators, Really?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

There are many people in the publishing world who continually look to organizations as predatory.  When an author decides to self-publish or is an independent publisher, with more than one are two books that they’ve published, they must be on the lookout for those who would take advantage of them and take their hard-earned dollars.  I agree that there are unscrupulous people who are looking to make a buck in any way possible.  Rather than be accusatory my suggestion for authors and self publishers and independent publishers is to get the educational materials and background needed to make informed decisions on who they should work with.

Accusatory Marketing:  The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

The current political climate of the country seems to have everyone pointing fingers at each other that “so and so” is a bad guy and you should not work with them.  This marketing through fear is a great strategy for those who practice it, but what are the protections against these accusers themselves?  Someone who has not been educated and informed has absolutely no way of knowing whether the information they are receiving from a predator accuser and the money they’re spending is well spent.  If one person is completely controlling the project, the individual author can only hope that that person has their best interests in the forefront as they are completing it.  Human nature would seem to point in the direction that there would be those individuals who actually do have the author’s best interests at heart but conversely there would be a large segment in the category of predatory as well.

Investment Strategy?

If you were about to invest in the stock market and someone had given you a tip on what stock to buy, you would take the time and energy to do some research on this particular stock before you invested any of your hard-earned money into this financial gamble.  If you had a problem with your car and one mechanic said it would cost you $2000 to get your transmission fixed, you would do some research and possibly go to another mechanic, if your car was drivable, to see if the cost that was quoted to you was accurate and trustworthy.  If you had a non-life threatening illness and one doctor prescribed surgery, you would take the time to go to another doctor to see if he agreed with the original doctor’s diagnosis.  Why wouldn’t you do this for your book project?  You do not have to be a publishing expert or pundit to learn the foundation of knowing how to examine and critique the various functions necessary to construct an e-book or print book.  Take the time to be involved in your project.  Ask to see all of the bids for the prepress and print aspects of your title.  Find out what the marketing is going to cost initially and find out what that marketing will entail.  You took the time to write the book, why give the keys to the car to someone else as you are nearing the finish line?

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Learn, Live, Earn

I’m not passing judgment on anyone in the publishing industry that is making an effort to help authors get their titles completed.  I am just making the plea as Sy Sims used to say on the old men’s wardrobe commercials, “An Educated Consumer is our BEST Customer”.  Educate yourself into being the best publishing customer you can be.  Your checkbook, wallet and credit cards will love you for making this investment in your own project of intellectual property.

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The Week in Review: #Vlog Style: # Innovative Publishing Tech Leaders, #CIPA Meeting on 10/19/13, #Stay Positive, #E-book Versus #Print Book, #Editors and #Predators, Really?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

Innovative Publishing Tech Leaders

I started off the week with a review of Deanna Utroske’s article and interview on the Digital Book World Website:  How Creative Tech Leaders Shape Publishing:

CIPA Meeting on 10/19/13

I then gave a great overview of what Joyce Miller and Jon Tandler would be discussing at the meeting on Copyrights, Fair Use and Permissions…

Stay Positive

On Wednesday I laid bare all the facts that made my previous week and Toastmasters assignment so chaotic:

E-book Versus Print Book

On Thursday I gave information on why you should do your E-book first and THEN do your print version if the income stream from the E-book will allow:

Editors and Predators, Really?

On Friday I thought long and hard about those who point fingers…  An educated author is our best customer:

All in all, a great week to be in publishing.  Sign up for a subscription and don’t miss a day of Daily Publishing Tips.

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Editors and Predators, Really?

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book KahunaIn every industry there are those people who have nefarious ways and would like to separate you from the money in your wallet.  I know there is a website dedicated to questionable practices in the publishing arena, and I would like to weigh-in on the direction an independent author can go to protect themselves from those people who want to charge higher fees to complete the book production process.  The website I referred to details those so called predators who will gladly separate an unsuspecting author from their hard-earned dollars.

I agree that in any industry you’re going to have good people and you are going to have bad people.  This is the same dichotomy of life wherever you go.  To continually hear talk about the predators that are out there is a great marketing tool using fear as a way to build more sales and more participation in a given program.  I think the current political climate has put many people in a position where they would like to see the fear marketing take a backseat to actual information and education.  We don’t have to work as adversaries in this publishing climate because there is more work to go around for everyone.  Two times in the past 15 years I have been unemployed and have gone through the Five O’Clock club to get back on my feet and into a job situation.  I always remember the painting that they have in the offices with the following statement:

The Garden of Life is abundant, prosperous and magical. In this garden, there is enough for everyone. Share the fruit and the knowledge. Our brothers and we are in this lush, exciting place together. Let’s show others the way. Kindness. Generosity. Hard work. God’s care. 

Since I have been through this program twice I always remember these words and think about them as I go through my work life, whether in an office/corporate situation or self employed.

The best thing an independent author can do to safeguard against unscrupulous practices is to become a better customer of services to complete their production product.  I suggest that all self or independent publishers go out and educate themselves on the process before they even start talking to anyone about how to get their book completed.  I am not recommending that you take the time to go and become a publishing professional, but it does behoove you to have a basic understanding of how the process is completed and better still, an understanding of what things cost.  As Sy Sims would say on the old men’s shop commercials, “An educated consumer is our best customer.”  This is the way to make sure that your book project and experience will be one that you can look back on with fondness and a feeling of exhilaration.  No one in publishing wants to see anyone hurt, betrayed, or defrauded of intellectual property or actual treasure.  A publishing process should always lead to an outcome where all involved are happy with the results.

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I am not judging anyone who uses the fear of predators to get business; I just think there are other ways to express a desire to help people then through fear and accusations.  I also believe that the author should have a very large part in making decisions that will impact his/her fiscal well-being.  I do not think a centralized system where only one individual has oversight over all of the bidding processes and submissions is commensurate with keeping the author as an equal partner in the finalization of his project.  The author should always have the last say in what green leaves his pocket, and that is inclusive of the credit card green as well.

My message to authors: become an educated customer.

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Publishing Tech: Innovative leaders

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/how-creative-tech-leaders-shape-publishing/

I read the article on the Digital Book World Website by Deanna Utroske:  How Creative Tech Leaders Shape Publishing.  This was an interesting article because it was an interview between Andrea Colvin, who is the Vice President of Content and the Executive Producer in the Book Division at Andrews McMeel Publishing (amp), and Anne Kostick who is the program director for the digital book awards in Foxpath, IND.

Ms. Colvin had some very interesting comments on the state of publishing and how the electronic/digital revolution is impacting how publishers are getting consumables to market.  Ms. Colvin’s remarks about every book being a journey rang very true in my mind as well.  Ms. Colvin seemed to echo the sentiments of Stephen Covey, that “you always begin a project with the end result in sight.”  The fact that publishers are now taking it into their own control to look at the electronic products first and then spin off the print products afterwards is going to revolutionize the process of how print books and e-books get completed going into the future.

Thinking about just how far we’ve come since I first got into the publishing industry, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to say that we have gone from Kitty Hawk to the Sea of Tranquility in the space of roughly 35 years.  We’ve gone from paste-up and negatives, blues and hot type, to Creo-to-Plate, desktop publishing, and e-books.  The fact that we have gone this far this fast only gives credence to the realization that sometimes the human imagination will outstrip the ability of technology to keep up with what we want to do.

Even in publishing in the electronic digital age there are times when all of the advances and innovations are not enough to build a product that reflects the innermost projections of human dreams.  This point was made very clear when Ms Colvin related the information about how they cannot get a puzzle book into an electronic format.  The fact that someone so intimately tied into the technological advances of a forward-thinking publishing company would admit this fact, is extremely refreshing and shows that publishing leaders can admit that they do not have all the answers while simultaneously innovating and maintain their corporate structures on the razor’s edge of advancement.  She also related that although the upgrades in the e-reader devices were a welcomed advantage to content dissemination, the same advances were tantamount to creating more difficult process pathways for project finalizations.

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True publishing leaders in the tech field, editorial field, production/manufacturing field, or digital and electronic products field are the first to mention that what they’re doing is an overall team effort.  Mapping and planning what features would work best for the outside consumer marketplace is the most forward thinking trait any publishing leader can engender.  It is a pretty amazing time to be working in the publishing field.  Technology is changing at a breakneck speed and new innovations in layout and file formats using Epub-3 with HTML5 capabilities will begin to get content into the hands of anyone with an E-reader device very shortly.  The new formatting over the next few years will mean that published content will be transmissible and accurately interactive on any handheld device inclusive of iPads, iPhones, as well as the standard e-reading devices such as the Kindle and the Nook.  This change to Epub-3 with HTML5 will go a long way toward becoming a universally accepted standard taking us well into the next decades.

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Real innovation and publishing leadership is measured by how well the individual reacts when confronted with problematic and adverse conditions.  I would say Ms. Colvin is one who fits this description admirably.

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The Publishing Week in Review: #7 Habits, #Online Learning, #Paperless Workflow, #Commuting on the LIRR, and #Bulk

Don and Derek

The Book Kahuna and his Corgi, Derek!

The Book Kahuna

I started off the week discussing the book by Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

 

I then gave you an overview of Online Learning from My Experiences in the Pace University MS in Publishing Science Program:

Wednesday was the day for a discussion on creating a Paperless Workflow using Adobe products and electronic/digital process:

On Thursday in conjunction with my 100th blog post on WordPress I gave an eyewitness view of commuting to the Publishing Capital of the World on the Long Island Railroad for 16 years:

Friday I gave a short overview on the explanation of Bulk and how you calculate bulk in a bookmaking process:

All in all, it was a GREAT week for Publishing and related discussions.  I am looking forward to making more video Vlogs for next week and beyond.  Don’t miss a single video, become a subscriber to my YouTube channel and get all that The Book Kahuna TV has to offer.

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