Visuals are an important aspect of building platforms. Think about it. What is more likely to catch your eye on Twitter or Facebook? A few words and maybe a link, or a strong image that conveys a message?
There’s a reason for the idiom, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
With that in mind, I recently had the chance to try out a new graphics platform, called FotoJet. The folks at FotoJet were kind enough to give me a premium account so I could test out all their features. As a side note, you can sign up for a free account and use most of the features. But if you do choose to upgrade to the Plus account, for $4.99 per month, you get access to more editing tools and more content (templates, fonts, etc.).
I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first thing I heard about FotoJet was that I could use it to make posters. And that’s possible. It’s also possible to create collages, invitations, flyers, cards, and magazine covers, which you can download and print on your own. But it turns out to be a very useful tool for creating social media graphics.
It’s well known that a good book cover is a key component of selling a book (aside from having a great story, of course). But with so many books out there for readers to choose from (especially now that indie authors as well as traditional publishers are now making high quality book covers of similar caliber, according to Publishing Perspectives) what can make your cover stand out? Continue reading →
For indie authors, one great way to save money when it comes to publishing your books is to learn how to make your own ebooks. Personally, when it comes to creating ebooks, I recommend using Sigil, and I teach an online course on Udemy on how to use Sigil and other free tools to create your own beautiful ebooks.
Interactive, multimedia ebooks are starting to gain some traction. In addition to embedding audio and video, some ebook creators are experimenting with game elements, using GPS, and adding activities. Continue reading →
Last year, I published the first book in my series for beginners on how to make ebooks (currently working on the second, which will focus on fixed format, or children’s books). It was my second book, and I had learned a few lessons from when I published my first book.
This time around, I did everything right. Or so I thought. I had beta readers, a strong book description, a pretty credible author bio, at least some semblance of a marketing plan (I’m still learning), and I even ended up creating a companion online course that I could use for cross promotion. As an ebook developer and blogger, I even had the occasional person emailing me asking questions about ebooks. I was set.
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 →
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 →