(Note: This post was originally published, in a slightly different form, here.)
I don’t have to tell you how much publishing has changed since the advent of the personal computer. In the last decade, that change has been massive. Now, it’s easier than ever to bypass traditional publishers and put your own books on the market.
It takes more than a good idea and a well-written book to translate into sales, though. You need to become an Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur. And that’s the thrust of APE by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. If you’re a technical communicator (or other writer) who wants to jump into the world of self publishing, APE is a must-read book. No matter what your level of experience.
Let’s take a closer look at APE and what it holds for you.
Friction. We run into it in all aspects of our lives. Sometimes we cause it ourselves. But more often than not, that friction happens. It slows us down and causes problems.
If you’re a freelance technical writer (or a freelancer or any stripe), chances are you’ll know all about friction. In all sizes — from the uncomfortable chair that you use in your home office to a slow internet connection to clients who decide not to pay you on time (or at all).
Battling that friction is difficult. But it can be done. That’s the thrust of Frictionless Freelancing by Aaron Mahnke. In the book’s 175 pages, Mahnke offers some valuable lessons and even more valuable tips and techniques for combating friction in your freelance life.
Let’s take a quick look at the book.
As the title of this post says …
Most of the posts in this space are now licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. That’s definitely a mouthful! But what does it mean? You can use the post that are under that license in any way you see fit — in their current form, as part of a remix or mashup, or as the basis of something else.
Let’s say that you do want to use one of our posts. Remember 1) to give us credit, and 2) refrain from using the content for commercial purposes. We’re a bit more flexible on the second point. If you do want to mention parts of a post in a book then feel free to do so. If you want to use one or more posts in their entirety in a book or similar work, please contact us to discuss commercial licensing.
The Creative Commons license doesn’t apply to all of the content in this space. The exceptions are our guest posts (the rights to which are held by the authors) and content that is cross-posted from one of the three blogs that Scott maintains. If you’re not sure about the license, look at the end of each post. The license that applies to it is in plain view.
(Note: This post is adapted from part of a presentation I gave at FSOSS 2011)
I don’t have to tell you how publishing, and preparing documents for publication, has changed in the few decades. Nowhere has this change been more pronounced than in the production of ebooks. Since the 1990s, ebook formats have bloomed like a thousand flowers. Many of them died on the vine, while others persisted or were overshadowed by newer formats.
One format that’s taken a dominant place among ebook formats is EPUB. You might be surprised, though, to learn that a number of people (including those in our profession, don’t really understand what EPUB is and how a file is structured.
I’ve been using EPUB for my ebooks and they generally outsell the PDF versions of those books by a margin of about 2 to 1. And I’ve found that a basic knowledge of the innards of an EPUB file can come in handy when troubleshooting problems with a book.
Let’s take a closer look at the EPUB format.
I blame Tom Johnson. Why, and for what? Several years ago, at a DocTrain conference in Vancouver, Tom did a presentation about setting up a blog using WordPress. That presentation, and a few conversations afterwards, convinced Aaron and myself to migrate our blog to WordPress.
And with good reason: WordPress is powerful, flexible, and can get you up and running very quickly. When working with clients of my technology coaching business, those who want to set up a blog usually settle on WordPress.
But WordPress can be daunting. For a new user, it can be difficult to know where to begin. For a more experienced user, but one without too many technical skills, bending WordPress to their will can be a challenge.
You can use any of a number of online tutorials or the WordPress Codex (the software’s documentation repository) to learn more about the software. But you’ll have to do a lot of searching. And the Codex is large and not as well organized as it could be.
Enter WordPress: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald. It’s a comprehensive guide to getting up and running with WordPress, and it goes beyond the basics (though the basics are well covered, too).
Let’s take a look at it.
(Note: This post was originally published on October 24, 2013 here)
Ever wonder what happens when 20 Open Source enthusiasts from around the world get together for five days? One of the things that can happen is that they write a manual. In fact, three manuals. Which is what happened that this year’s Google Summer (GSoC) of Code Doc Camp held at Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California.
Organized by Google’s Open Source Programs Office and facilitated by Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals and Alan Gunn of Aspiration, the event brought together contributors to the following projects:
- Mallard, a markup language used to deliver online help
- OpenMRS, an electronic medical record system platform
- BRL-CAD, a powerful design and modeling tool
Also attending were four folks (one of them being me) — referred to as free agents — who were unaffiliated with any project. Each of us was, however, keen to pitch in and contribute in whatever way we could.