The Hardest Part Of Writing My New Book

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The hardest part about writing my new book was the editing and proofreading. There’s no getting around that part of the process. You can’t automate it, you can’t do it in ten easy steps, and you’ll feel like the job is never done.

Fortunately I had a few people help me with the proofreading– particularly my sister-in-law who read the book three times. She’s not a professional proofreader, but she has the necessary patience and attention to detail to see mistakes that I overlook, and because I tend to focus on content rather the typing and grammar mistakes.

I could have also used a book editor, but the rates were too expensive. So I tried my best to make the content of my book very browsable. I tried hard to write the book as a guide, so that each time readers open the book they can get an idea or two for journal writing and apply those ideas in their Day One journal. I worked hard to sharpen the sentences, use lists, and interactive image galleries so that readers don’t have to read the book from cover to cover.

As for editing and proofreading, I chose to print the pages of my manuscript and do the first proofread on paper. I have a hard time proofreading long documents on my Mac or laptop, and sometimes even proofreading on the iPad can be difficult, though I did just that several times. Reading on paper helped a lot. It provided a way to view the content in a slightly different way. The printing, however was a little expensive–about $12, which is more than the cost of a typical ebook. I mostly stopped using pen and paper about five years ago. I don’t even own a printer.

Anyway, I hope in the proofreading process we caught all the errors. With so much content being published these days, it’s easy for prolific writers of books and blog posts to miss small typos and other errors. And thus that’s why I highly recommend getting or hiring at least one dedicated proofreader. It’s very difficult for the writer of a book to proofread, or even adequately edit, his or her own writing. In fact it’s almost impossible.

Why I’m Publishing My First Book Using iBooks Author

Inspired by David Sparks (aka, MacSparky), co-host, along with Katie Floyd, of the popular Mac Power Users Podcast, I am finally writing a book finishing a book that will be published using iBooks Author. David has published four books using the platform, most notably, Paperless.

I wrote a review of iBooks Author when it was first released in 2012, but back then I had no actual idea for writing a book using the platform. But as I listened to David talking about using the platform for his Paperless book, I realized how appropriate it would be for a book I was thinking about writing.

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The tentative title of my book is, Starting From Day One: Using Digital Journal Writing To Enhance Your Life. Part of the book will be about using the the journal writing Mac and iOS app, Day One, and the second half will include strategies, suggestions and tips for journal writing. I’m very excited about writing the book, primarily because it’s a subject that I have written about before, and because I think iBooks Author provides the perfect platform for the purposes and content of the book.

The following are some of the reasons I’m publishing using iBooks Author:

  • The design of an iBook is similar to an interactive website or digital magazine, both of which read great on the iPad.
  • A true iBooks book includes interactive features, such as image galleries, short videos, short keynote presentations, “quizzes,” sidebar content, and a glossary. These features are most useful for a textbook, but they lend themselves perfectly to an how-to tech book.
  • I think users of the iPad will feel right at home reading and using an iBooks book because they are accustomed to tapping on photos, watching videos, and linking to other resources. One of the drawbacks however to the iBooks reader is that it doesn’t include a built-in web browser, so when you tap an external link in an iBooks book, it takes you to the Safari web browser.
  • As with its other media creation software, Apple has made it reactively easy to bring text and other media into iBooks Author for laying out and creating a book. There are several websites for purchasing well designed iBook themes (I’m using a theme from GraphicNode) which cuts down on the design costs for self publishers.
  • Finally, producing a book in this platform gives me complete control over its content and publication. I don’t have a publishing company setting deadlines and cutting costs (e.g. color photos and printing costs), and I will earn 70% on each book sold.

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My goal is to finish the book by the end of May, and spend most of the summer trying to promote it. It’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on in quite some time.

Guide to Preparing and Holding Online Meetings

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My free PDF guide to preparing and holding online (e.g. videoconferences) meetings is available through MakeUseOf.com. It covers popular online meeting websites, tools, and iPad apps, and it provides strategies for making the best use of online resources. It also cover the basics for creating a meeting agenda and how to establish roles for effective meetings. You can download the guide as a PDF or read it online.

I’m Now Writing for Apple Magazine

Apple Magazine 1For over a month now, I have been writing for a new publication titled Apple Magazine. No, it’s not produced by Apple itself, but it is a beautifully designed publication currently distributed by Zinio, the worldwide digital newsstand and bookstore company. Apple Magazine can be purchased downloaded through the free Zinio magazine app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

Because Apple Magazine is solely a digital publication, it can offer a lot more content, minus the paper, ink and publishing costs. Subscribers get more for their money because Apple Magazine is a weekly publication, released every Thursday or Friday in the Zinio app.

The only magazines that I subscribe to now are ones I can download and read on my iPad. The size and orientation of the device is perfect for magazine reading, and best of all it means I don’t have stacks of paper issues taking up closet space in my home office. It also means that when I subscribe to a magazine on the iPad I don’t have to wait weeks to get the first issue.

Apple Magazine enables me to write longer and more detailed articles about Apple related hardware and software. But best of all, it is great to see my writing laid out in professionally designed pages, unlike the simple webpage and blog postings that I usually get published in. Don’t get me wrong, I like writing for web publications, but magazines still seem to offer a more professional edge.

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Some of the topics I have written about so far for AM include “iPad vs. the MacBook Air,” “iPhoto for the Holidays,” “Using the New iOS 5 iPhone Camera Features,” “Automating Your Mac”, and “iPad at School.”

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Apple Magazine is a startup publication and thus it needs subscribers. In a few weeks the publishers will start providing free trial downloads, but in the meantime you can buy single issues through Zinio for $4.99; 12 issues for $39.99, 26 issues for $49.99, and a full year subscription for $89.99.

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Bring Media Literacy and Popular Culture to the Classroom

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If you’re a teacher or educator of any discipline, and you want to really engage your students and help them think critically, then you should integrate popular culture and media literacy into your courses. No one escapes our media entrenched society. Media and popular culture help shape our values, stereotypes, prejudices, and political views. Media is both a powerful story telling institution and a means of information consumption. But it is also a tool to manipulate and misinform those who uncritically consume it.

During my years of teaching, I used the pedagogy of popular culture and media to teach writing, reading, and critical thinking. My students analyzed advertising messages, wrote essays and research papers on controversial issues related to violence in the media, gender stereotypes, bias in the news, and the art and power of story telling. Every student was engaged because they all shared experiences and opinions of popular songs, movies, televisions shows, teen magazines, and video games. Even when I had to teach classic novels such as The Great Gatsby, we studied the work alongside watching Oliver Stones’ Wall Street—both of which focus on class and the American Dream.

Thus, I’m a proud to share the publication of Rethinking Popular Culture and Media, which includes two of my previously published articles (“Seventeen, Self-Image, and Stereotypes,” and “Examining Media Violence”) about how I used media literacy in the classroom. I’m honored to be published alongside the progressive teachers, activists, and educators like Bob Peterson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Bigelow, Linda Christensen, Wayne Au, and Herbert Kohl.

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My Essential Guide to Digital Photography

Today, MakeUseOf.com published my, Essential Guide to Digital Photography.

It’s jammed packed full of useful information for all type of photographers – from beginners photographers to advance photographers.
Inside, you will find information about:

  • The different types of digital cameras to choose from
  • What digital camera is right for you
  • What to look for when buying your digital camera
  • Accessories that you should have for your digital camera
  • Features that you should know about your camera

But wait, there’s more. There are also 5 beginner exercises for you to complete to help you become a professional photographer, and helpful instructions and information about editing your photo’s to make them even more magical.