Tag Archives: writing

iBooks Author

After reading the recent article about iBooks Author in The Bookseller, I decided I would blog about my user experiences.

I downloaded iBooks Author soon after its launch with a view to launching a range of iBooks. I thought it would have more features than it does and so, for a month or so, I was struggling to get it to do what I wanted.

I still haven’t managed to recreate the image of the interactive books that I expected it to be able to produce but along the way I have learned how iBooks is best utilised!

In my opinion iBooks Author is an extremely useful and essential free tool for creating digital books for iBookstore and I think it is best suited for specific educational/ information tools and simply reading.

I was hoping it would have more features to create more personally interactive children’s books.

I would like to see Apple create updates or add-ons which can provide some super-duper interactivity for use in children’s books, perhaps simplifying animation software somehow. I would definitely be at the front of the queue for more widgets… Apple might also want to consider charging for extras (with free trials).

If anyone from Apple is reading this – I would love to test anything you are working on to improve the iBooks Author with a view to making it even more useful!!

The Pros to the iBooks Author are:

It is very user friendly.

Apple do not own the rights to the content of your iBook. (As I understand it…) but they do own the format in iBooks – which means you can create in iBooks Author and sell on iBookstore, but if you want to take the content to other digital platforms you have to reformat it.

The interactive widgets are user friendly, albeit very basic.

The Cons:

The lack of ability to save to different digital formats (again Apple – something I am sure people would be prepared to pay for the option, as it saves time and effort!).

Limited templates (though I think you can download others online now).

Limited Interactive widgets.

Conclusion:

All-in-all if you haven’t already downloaded iBooks Author, I would advise you give it a go!

If you don’t fancy trying it yourself, VixenUK offers iBooksAuthor conversion services (initial consultation is free)!

Leave a comment

Filed under Apple, Author, books, digital, ePub, General publishing, iBooks, Uncategorized, Writing

I want to help Freelancers

I have had many people ask me why I want to build a business with freelancers instead of employing a team of workers.

Both have their merits and I agree that a dedicated team would be a more stable (but costly) option – knowing that I have someone on hand to do the job when it lands.

However, I have spent my life as a freelance worker and I know the benefits.  I also know it can be a very lonely place. Never-more-so than a freelance starting out in the publishing world.

When I started out, the one thing I was wanting was FEEDBACK.  I spent 8 months submitting manuscripts to various Publishers and Literary Agents – it was a thankless task and after the 6th rejection letter, I started to wonder if it was ever going to go anywhere. I was prepared for this however; I had read all the books that tell you how to send successful submissions, how to write a successful covering letter and synopsis, as far as I was aware, I had done everything to the best of my ability but I was still getting rejections. Was the work not good enough? Would they prefer it if I send it without illustrations? These are questions you never get answered when submitting work, so I decided to network, go and talk to people face to face… where to start?

‘Start close to home’ I thought. The London Book Fair was imminent. I registered (not fully understanding what it meant when it said it was a rights and licensing fair – I soon learned). But there were still publishers there, I could finally get someone to look at my book and be able to see for myself, their reaction! Body language! Never underestimate how powerful it is.

The London Book Fair, regardless of the fact that it was not the ideal venue for an unpublished author and illustrator, was the greatest experience of my publishing career. Within 2 hours I knew I had potentially successful product, but I had packaged it wrongly!

It was from this point on, that I decided that I want to help other freelancers stride more confidently into their future. I wanted to provide a support network that gives feedback, not just me, but from other freelancers in the network.

When I set up VixenUK I decided I would dedicate a sector of my business to developing the VixenUK Freelance Community (website coming soon).

I understand, first hand, how difficult it is to get into creative businesses (having worked in 2 of the most difficult to break into) and I also understand that many creative people don’t know how to network and sell their work. Some simply don’t want to, they’d rather focus on their creativity.

Selling your work and selling yourselves as the worker is an essential part of getting jobs but… you are the creators not the sales people! Which is where I can help. You simply have to ‘sell yourself to me’ – get me to buy into your work, skills, desire and prove your work ethic is something I can sell on and I will!

I am blessed (some may say cursed) with the knowledge and ability to be both creative and business-minded, however, even though I posses these skills, I find it is impossible to do them at the same time which means I spend my time flitting between the two… selling myself, my business and products, and then having to develop them (sometimes the other way round). I need a team of people I can rely on to be creative when I am out selling and bringing in the contracts. I am finding that the more contracts I attract the more I am having to multitask business and creativity and it is becoming more difficult to find the right balance.  I realise I cannot do this alone I need to delegate some work!

If you are a freelance (in any field of work) wanting to find out more about the work and support VixenUK can offer please send me your CV via the email link on this website: http://vixenuk.co.uk

I look forward to hearing from you.

by Victoria Southgate

Leave a comment

Filed under General publishing, Uncategorized