The entire definition of a book has changed
How have things been revised: This piece you are reading did not appear first as a book in the traditional sense. These paragraphs were first released as the first posting of a new series on my blog, The Skilled Workman, in April of 2011. There was a link to a free downloadable PDF version at Scribd. The intention was a fully developed book after I was given the complete vision to share. I ended up with six of these postings, as I recall. The book which resulted from this process was a synergistic improvement to the process. The first edition of Writing In InDesign was released through Createspace to Amazon at the end of July, 2011.
But a whole host of new options came into play as soon as that first part was posted on my blog. I made a downloadable PDF for Scribd. I tweeted about it. I shared it on FaceBook. But if I thought it would help, I could have easily released a Kindle, an ePUB, and several other ebook variations. I could have also offered it as a printed booklet. The new paradigm of publishing enables me to easily offer it in a wide variety of formatted options to attract and communicate with various types of readers. Most of these options are free. All they take is a little bit of effort on my part. But the final results are much better than what could be done in the old paradigm. The capabilities change weekly.
Desktop publishing has reached its potential
I clearly remember how excited I was in the early 1990s when I realized that what I had been doing (designing printing materials as an art director of a large commercial printing company) with a team of forty highly skilled people and millions of dollars of equipment could now be done by a single person working at their desk.
It is true that I have taken things a little further than most by designing my own fonts, doing all my own illustrations, and so on. However, the concept is clear and the freedom to communicate in words from your computer is exhilarating. Books, blogs, ebooks, brochures, emails and much more can be directed to your readers to help communicate the message you have been given.
A teacher/trainer/prophet/leader can now have a world-wide influence from his or her office. We are no longer limited by locale. As a practical example, The Wisdom of the Tanakh and the Gospel of the Messiah can now be presented to the entire world, and the author can help the people he or she is called to serve no matter where they live. More than that, it can be done professionally and compellingly without the immense barriers erected by traditional publishing.
Here are some of the things that have changed in publishing since Y2K
- Printing is now just an option: The multi-million dollar printing presses have become an output option. The same is true of the expensive bindery equipment. All of the front end design and preproduction processes are given to us as software to be loaded into our computer and used in our office.
- It’s all part of InDesign and Photoshop: They are now part of the creative process leading to many different types of fulfillment. The art department and prepress department of the printing companies are long gone as are the $100,000 copy cameras, the $500,000 scanners and color separators, the extremely skilled (& expensive) typesetters, layout specialists, camera operators, film assemblers, and all the rest. We, the document creators, now control all of that.
- No expensive proofs: Before the digital revolution a true proof, an actual copy of the finished product, cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Now we can simply have a single copy of our book printed—usually for ten dollars or less. Plus we can print proofs of individual pages for pennies. Distributors like Createspace now offer inline digital proofing. The ebooks are used as their own proofs and revised as necessary.
- Lengthy lead times are eliminated: I can remember the shock when my first book was published. It took so long to actually get it into print. It was common, back then, to spend a year writing a book and then another year to get it actually printed and released. This is the old paradigm.
- Now I write fully formatted: So, as soon as the book is finished, I can give it to the proofer, and it can be released within a day or two. I released one last Thursday and now have print, ePUB, and Kindle out and available.
- No minimum orders: In traditional publishing, just setting up the plates to be printed cost at least $50 a page and usually closer to $100. Plus you had to run a couple hundred copies through the press to get the first usable copy. Additionally, there was no real way to bind a single book on a practical level. As a result you could easily spend a thousand dollars to get the first copy of each sheet of paper (which usually held four to thirty two pages of a book) and less than fifty dollars to get the next 2,000 copies as they were printed at 10,000 to 50,000 copies an hour. You no longer need to print hundreds or thousands of documents to get the cost per unit price down to the place you can afford. You can print a single book.
- Not limited to brick and mortar bookstores: This is why they are all dying. You can publish what you need when you need it. You can service a very small niche effectively and profitably. You can use the mammoth online bookstores to distribute your documents and books—as well as email and your own Websites. You can even serialize your new book in your blog—getting reader feedback as you go. All you need to do is give your readers a link to the finished book in Lulu, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble for them to get a copy.
- Not limited to print: You can offer your book in the iBookstore on the iPad, NookBooks at Barnes & Noble, the Kindle store on Amazon, Kobo Writing Life at Kobo, at Scribd, and many more ebook venues.
- Changes and corrections are normally free: You are no longer dependent on your copyediting budget to get a professional book. You can upload a new version with typo fixes without interrupting the availability of the book. Once a book is released with an ISBN#, you can still change everything except the title and author of the book. But even if you want to change that, all you need to do is publish the book as a new book or a new edition. You can leave the old book for sale if you like, building separate readerships for similar content.
- Targeted editions are no problem: You can make specialized versions for various movements, denominations, synagogues, churches, areas, countries, and/or targeted audiences with little effort required.
- Existing pieces from multiple books and documents can be assembled for special programs: you can take your work and make it into a custom curriculum or special presentation at the conference or service to which you are called to share your work.
That’s what this book is: It is a targeted version of my basic digital publishing writings directed at authors, non-fiction primarily (though this knowledge will help a novel just as well). There are many things here that would not appeal to non-writers or that they could not comprehend. I am using pieces from InDesign 7.5 On-Demand, Practical Font Design, Publishing with InDesign, & Introduction to Digital Publishing—as well as pieces from various blog postings, gift designs, and so on. It is a natural extension of my life and work as an illustrator, typographer, art director, font designer, author, teacher, and publisher.
It’s a brand new world!
- Books, even ebooks, need good tools (InDesign CS6) (bergsland.org)
- How to self-publish an e-book (reviews.cnet.com)