I realize it’s been a while.
Stuff happens. Twitter, for one. Real life, for another.
Despite the social media whirl, blogging isn’t dead yet and it feels like it’s time to devote some attention to doing some writing, teasing out some deeper thoughts, performing some self-promotion…
Speaking of which…Over the break between semesters, I played with Apple’s iBooks Author to begin to get a grip on self-publishing e-books. The result was a slender, iPad-targetted book of photos that’s available free of charge through iTunes. Next step on the learning ladder is to figure out how to convert the iBooks Author version into formats that can be read by other e-readers. (I also have in mind creating a second photo book, this one of musicians, that explores some of the interactive features available in iBooks Author.)
I have mixed thoughts about self-publishing. It’s great for the ego and I’ve had some nice responses. But I’ve added to the clutter of self-published works that are filling up the virtual bookshelves of the various online vendors. It makes the task of finding books by browsing more difficult and time-consuming. Everyone has a book in them, we’ve always been told. Modern times mean all those books are coming out, some that I’ve seen without ever having had the benefit of a good editor or even just a proofreader.
Presumably, as happened with blogging, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and all the rest, the wheat-from-chaff sorting will take place, the cream will rise … choose your favourite cliché … and from the burst of what we used to call vanity publishing, new, strong voices will emerge and be recognized as whatever the e-book world’s equivalent of Google juice or trusted Twitter “editors” kicks in.
However you or I feel about this whole thing, self-publishing books is a logical extension of the DIY ethos that drives blogging and YouTube docs, Instagram streams and all the rest in this ragged, wonderful world.
I’m going to keep poking around in self-publishing, and I’ll pass what I learn along to my students.
Maybe I can convince them, along the way, that their best friend will always be a good editor.