Publishing eBooks For Fun, Education, And Profit


By Brian Wu – SI Guides

Indie publishing means authors can focus on the niche subjects they are passionate about. Brian Wu, of SI Guides, shares insight on educating children with niche stories about illnesses.

Thanks to today’s technology, it’s easier than ever for artists to create. Singers and song writers can create new music and connect directly with fans for feedback. Painters, sculptors, and crafters design unique creations that are available for sale online. Once again connecting their work directly with fans. No middle man required. It is the same for writers and we’ve seen an explosion in indie publishing as a result.

There are several thriving digital marketplaces for independently created eBooks, written by people who, for a variety of reasons, have shunned traditional publishing methodologies, striking out on their own. This is good for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it removes barriers to what has traditionally an exclusive club.

Let’s face it, under the old paradigm, unless you convince a well-connected agent to work with you or you’re lucky enough to know someone in the business, chances of getting published were slim to none. If you compare the number of manuscripts submitted each year with the number of new books released, then subtract titles by top tier authors, your chances are somewhat better than winning the lotto, but not by a lot. It’s a lesson in frustration.

Many of the subjects indie writers focus on are designed to appeal to smallish niches. Far outside the mainstream for traditional publishers to take a chance on. This kind of publishing is essentially “long tail” publication, and works the same way that long tail keyword marketing works in the realm of internet marketing.

logo5The good news is that there’s an opportunity in long tail. Our Storybook Illustrated Guides (Si Guides) mission, for example, is to craft stories around various children’s illnesses. The stories teach children about their condition, empowering them to conquer it. To be a part of the solution. We do that by painting a story for them with words and pictures of a little boy or girl with the same illness. We tell the story about how they became sick, what happened when the illness manifested itself, and the ways in which the children in the story were able to play an important role in beating it.

The twin engines of empowerment and entertainment are a compelling mix, striking a balance between a story that engages children, keeping them interested, while simultaneously filling the book with hard hitting, practical tips for symptom recognition, treatment, and management. We offer a way to educate the young minds, providing much needed assistance to their parents and caregivers.

The world of digital publishing has opened a great number of doors for legions of aspiring writers. Not everyone will find a market for their voice or for the stories they want to tell, but the fact that anyone can try is truly an inspiration of beauty that we’re proud to be a part of.

2011-10-04 10.16.04Brian W. Wu, founder of SiGuides, is currently a 7th year MD/PhD candidate on track to finish his PhD in 2014. While studying to become a Sports Medicine Physician, Wu continues to pursue his interests in writing and entrepreneurship.

Brian has a talent to write about complex medical topics on a level that children can comprehend, and believes children should be empowered with knowledge to understand medical conditions they acquire. He hopes that with this knowledge they can learn to take good care of themselves and lead full lives.

Brian values the ability for all ages to learn from the power of storytelling and wants to share his love of science and medicine with the world through the art. If he can help just one person then he knows the project has been worth the effort.

For more information about SiGuides or Brian Wu, visit or email

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How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 5): Read Aloud Code

In this series on how to create a fixed format ebook, I have covered how to setup a fixed format ebook, how to add images, how to place text, and how to embed fonts. In this post I’ll go over how add read aloud functionality to your children’s story. I recommend this only for fixed format children’s ebooks, because it can be tedious adding all the extra code (and children’s books are nice and short). Continue reading

Indie Authors: Finding Support in Writing Forums

Writing can be a difficult task, but it doesn’t always need to be a solitary one. Sometimes authors need feedback, support, or conversations with other empathetic writers. Here is a list of online writers’ forums and groups of writers who meet in person: Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 4): Embedding Fonts


So far in this series, I have covered how to setup a fixed format ebook, how to add images, and how to place text. In this post I’ll go over how to embed fonts, to make your ebook even more unique. You can use this trick for both fixed format ebooks and reflowable ebooks. Continue reading

Comparing the Ebook Submission Process: Self-Publishers v. Publishers

I recently wrapped up a freelance project with a small publisher, where I uploaded/submitted ebook files and metadata to Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google. In the process, I thought about the similarities and differences between how a self-publisher would go about distributing an ebook versus a publishing company that is submitting files themselves instead of using an intermediary such as Ingram.

One of the biggest differences is that regular publishers have the option of also distributing and selling enhanced ebooks. However, currently only Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble accepts and sells enhanced ebooks. For this particular project, I worked with standard ebooks and enhanced ebooks which contained video files.  Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 3): Placing Text


In the last two posts of this series, I covered how to set up a fixed format ebook and how to add images to a fixed format ebook. In this post I’ll cover how to place text on specific parts of a fixed format ebook’s “page,” which includes placing text on top of the image. Continue reading

Ebook Review: Imago

Imago_coverImago by Jack Reyn

An ancient legend. A deadly race.

The clouds of war gather over a world bitterly divided by science and religion. As steam locomotives thunder past the temples of Norse gods, and religious extremists terrorise the industrial powers of Europe, three very different people are pulled into a sinister conspiracy.

For Julian Harvey, a government agent tasked with controlling religion, a simple murder investigation becomes a fight for his life against a dark cult that threatens to plunge Europe into chaos.

For Freyja Barrett, a bounty hunter for hire, a secret breathed by a dying priest leads to a race against time to find an ancient relic of legendary power.

And for Zoe Rousseau, a devout believer, her preparation for initiation into an underground cult becomes a test more lethal than anything she could have imagined.

In a world where ancient pagan religion flourishes in an age of rationalism, all three will find their deepest beliefs under attack in a desperate struggle for survival.

Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 2): Adding Images


In my last post on creating fixed format ebooks, I covered how to set up your files in Sigil so that ereaders and tablets know to treat your ebook like a fixed format ebook. This post I’ll talk about how to treat images in picture ebooks. Continue reading

Ebook Review: Apocalypse, Diary of a Survivor

Diary_Survivor_coverApocalypse: Diary of a Survivor by Matt Pike

“I guess it was inevitable – the end of the world we know – the end of humanity.

Finding out early was a gift, surviving impact night was a miracle, living to tell the tale, well, that was the price I will pay, forever.

There’s no going back now.”

Award winning author*, Matt Pike, takes you on a journey to the end of the world and beyond, as told through the eyes of an Australian teenager, who records his experiences day by day in a survival diary. From the social chaos in suburban Adelaide in the lead-up, a night of total global catastrophe and the aftershocks as community and humanity crumble around him – the world changes forever. What’s left is a place where the conditions can kill you just as easily as the other survivors.

Everything our teenager relied upon for survival in the pre-disaster world falls apart – utilities, community, environment – the only things that can keep him alive are his resources and resourcefulness.

*2013 Global Ebook Awards: Gold Medal – Teen Literature Fiction for Kings of the World Continue reading

An Indie Author’s Insights On Winning Book Awards


By Matt J Pike

Matt J Pike is the author of Kings of the World and Apocalypse: Diary of a Survivor (stay tuned for a review of that excellent book). Pike won an award for his book Kings and has agreed to share his insights on the process.

Hi all,

The wonderful Sabrina has asked me to jot down my experiences when entering my first ebook – Kings of the World – in a book awards competition last year. So, here goes. Continue reading