iBooks Author Templates

Ebooks come in a few different formats. I write a lot about EPUB and MOBI/KF8 on this site, which are the formats used by pretty much everyone (Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google, Sony, etc.). But there is another format: iBooks (iba).

Apple sells EPUB, but the company also developed their own proprietary format in early 2012. If you have a Mac, you can download the iBooks Author program for free and design and publish ebooks to the iTunes store. iBooks are different from EPUB and MOBI in that you can create interactive elements with a drag and drop interface. iBooks also tend to look best with very visual books.

At first, I wasn’t too impressed with iBooks Author (read my post, “iAuthor“). But since it  launched, iBooks produced using the program have gotten more and more impressive. New services that cater to iBooks have also made the process of creating these ebooks much easier.

One site that stands out is iBooks Author Templates. Founded by Jess Barkell, the site offers 49 elegant templates. Jess kindly answered some of my questions about iBooks Author Templates. Continue reading

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Taking a Closer Look at Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 3.39.28 PMThere has been a lot of buzz lately around Kindle Unlimited, the latest service to enter the ebook subscription game. But what out of all the subscription services  I’d say that this one is the biggest game changer, and that’s because it’s an Amazon service.

After recently finishing Brad Stone’s The Everything Store, I have a feeling that right now, Kindle Unlimited is more of an experiment for Amazon, to test the waters of ebook subscriptions. They’ve probably been thinking about it for at least a year or two, when the phrase “Netflix for ebooks” started becoming popular. But like the other business models out there, I’m not sure it’s yet clear how profitable or successful subscriptions for ebooks are.

Amazon already has tried a few varieties of subscriptions, such as Kindle FreeTime Unlimited and even with the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). Kindle Prime users have access to KOLL, which allows them to borrow, for free, one ebook per month. The selection is fairly large, and it includes all ebooks authors have enrolled in the KDP Select Program. For those who may not know, authors who choose to upload and sell their ebooks on Amazon’s platform have the option to also enroll those books in KDP Select. KDP Select requires that the ebook be exclusive to Amazon for 90 day periods at a time, though that strategy no longer works as well for authors as it used to. Continue reading

The Black Chronicles, a New Type of Horror Transmedia


Transmedia–storytelling through multiple narratives and platforms–is a fairly new medium that continues to fascinate me (see my previous transmedia posts here). Horror author and filmmaker Oldrich Stibor recently founded the company Red Right Hand Publishing to create high-quality transmedia stories, starting with the project The Black Chronicles.

The Black Chronicles has many bonus features and elements of surprise. Stibor kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about his transmedia project.  Continue reading

An Interview with J. Boyce Gleason, author of Anvil of God


J. Boyce Gleason is the author of Anvil of God, an historical fiction novel about Charles the Hammer and his family. You can purchase your copy here. Continue reading

Authorly, Turn Your Book Into An App


Recently I learned about a new tool called Authorly, which can turn books into apps to sell in all the major app stores, including Google Play, iTunes, and the Amazon app store (see my post, “Turning Your Ebook Into An App“).

Authorly allows authors to easily create apps for their books, and make them interactive. And although I like the service, I do want to point out that the gap between ebooks and apps is closing, and ebooks in certain forms can also have interactivity. For example, enhanced ebooks (with EPUB3) can contain video, audio, and some javascript for interactivity. KF8, the newest ebook format for Amazon, can have hotspots, where you touch a certain area on the screen and it magnifies the text. And iBooks Author allows for widgets and almost endless possibilities for interactivity with javascript and HTML5, such as zooming images, scrolling sidebars, pop-overs, 3D images, questions within the text, and more. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Formatting Books in InDesign

Adobe’s InDesign is a wonderful tool. The software is expensive, though if you are a student or teacher you can get a slight discount, but if you have access to it I highly recommend using it.

InDesign can be used to layout a book PDF, as well as be the starting point for an ebook. Print books in particular require certain elements to make it look professional, such as page numbers and headers with the name of the title and author. However, inputting this information can be tedious, unless you take advantage of InDesign’s master pages feature.  Continue reading

New Subscription Ebook Service: Forgotten Books

Example Cover How To Get What You Want

Ebook subscription services are slowly proving themselves. The three current major ones, Oyster, Scribd, and Entitle, are all growing, in both number of subscribers and number of books offered.

And they are not the only services out there, as I outlined in my post, “A Brief Overview of Subscription Services” (The Digital Reader also wrote about Blloon, a new subscription service with over one million titles).  Now another service can be added to that list: Forgotten Books. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Making the Most of Twitter Profiles


Twitter recently changed the layout of profiles, which creates a lot of opportunities for authors. Lynda.com has a very helpful database of articles, including a recent one called “Make the Most of the Twitter Profile Page.” It goes over in detail the changes in Twitter headers.

Below is an excerpt: Continue reading

Indie Authors: Marketing Books With Videos

With digital media, indie authors can now take advantage of videos to help grab the attention of readers and sell their books.

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while, and there’s a lot to consider. Videos can be used in multiple ways, such as teaser trailers, snippets of scenes, author interviews, and even chats with big groups. They can be simple or complex, free or monetized. Continue reading

Poetica, A New Editing Tool


Very recently, a new tool for editing called Poetica (that I’ve been waiting on for nearly two years, since I first heard about it at Books in Browsers) launched.

Poetica was created to bring the elegance and trust of paper editing to the digital world. As you can see in the image above, editors can add annotations, comments, and more in different colors. The interface is slick, and meant to promote a collaborative experience. Continue reading