Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesdays with Stacey: A Desk Chair Chat

Apple’s New Savory Treat: iBooks Author

Okay, so some of you won’t receive word of this post until Thursday (I’ve discovered there's a delay for my email subscribers) ... but let it be known that here I sit on Wednesday (hence the running title), with a tea and leftover homemade scone from our (at home) Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, typing in a British accent (just play along), and thinking how brilliant it would be to flip through a book on my iPad about the Royal Family (I can’t help it, I’m an anglophile), complete with photos, slideshows, and video content.

Lest you think I’m dreaming, the technology for such a book is actually here! (If you already knew that, pretend you just found out and are extremely excited, ok?)

You may not care a hound or a buck about the monarchy, but take a leap with me and imagine the possibilities ... they’re quite endless, actually. Non-fiction, children’s books, fiction, textbooks – and don’t even get me started on cookbooks or other guides or how-tos on myriad topics – all interactive ... all full color ... all incredibly brilliant!

“How, how?” The crowd chimes and sways with anticipation. Well, I’ll tell you ...

In a scone-shell (stay with me), you can download the free Apple iBooks Author app from the iTunes store, start a new project, take the content of your book and paste it in, and from there build a completely interactive version that can be read on the iPad (yes, that’s the only way to view an iBook as of now, but iPad sales are consistently growing, so don’t let that deter you!). Then, when it's polished and ready, you can upload it to the iTunes store for purchase, just like an e-book!

Want a slideshow here on this page? Drag one in. Love to show a video to accompany this recipe or demonstrate a how-to? Pop it in there. Wish the text would wrap this gorgeous photo that’s perfect for the context? Desire some audio on this page to share a sound bite? Want to give a quiz at the end of a chapter? You get the idea. It’s all possible!

Now don’t get me wrong. From a designer’s standpoint, it’s not a complete cinch; as with any book design, it takes time to get the flow and spacing just right, the colors chosen and tweaked, the interactive media in the correct format and placed perfectly, the vision to come to fruition in its best light (I admit, perfectionist is my middle name ... as any designer's should be!).

But the result? Remarkable! Worth the time and effort? Without a doubt!

I just designed two iBooks for my New-York-Executive-Coach-Extraordinaire client, Ora Shtull, whose book The Glass Elevator: A Guide to Leadership Presence for Women on the Rise comes out in September. After doing her indie-pub print version together, we’ve embarked on these iBooks projects, and I can’t tell you how much fun they are!

Seriously, imagine having the author – in video format – right there in your book, talking directly to you, sharing her wisdom, advice, directions, experiment, or the like in a personal way within the context of the chapters ... or picture learning an instrument, encountering periodic video content on how to play certain notes ... or learning from an iTextbook, where your quizzes are programmed and scored right before your eyes ...

Now I’d say that’s the clotted cream and jam on the scone right there.

Questions about creating iBooks? Feel free to ask me! Post your comments or inquiries to start a conversation ... and stay tuned for today's announcement of my 1st-week subscriber contest winner!

Write from the heart,

Stacey Aaronson is a professional Book Doctor who takes self-publishing authors by the hand and transforms their manuscripts into the books they've dreamed of—from impeccable editing and proofreading to engaging, audience-targeted cover and interior design—rivaling or exceeding a traditional house publication.

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