A while back, I took a class about writing crafty e-books from the lovely Diane Gilleland at craftypod.com. She decided to take all of the information (and more) from the class and turn it into a book. So, it’s literally an e-book about writing crafty e-books.
What’s an e-book, you say? In this case it is a .pdf file that makes an 84 page book, with photos and links and more. Since I had taken the class and chatted with Diane a few times about other geeky things, she asked if I would review the book. Absolutely!
So, I really liked the e-book publishing class, but I think the book, Write, Publish & Sell Your Crafty E-Book, is even better. The book format appeals more to me because it is so self directed. I can read, highlight and make notes on the .pdf and have Google open in another window to check things out. I can print it out if I want to. I can skip ahead or back when I feel like it. It was also great to see concepts in practice – for example, I could see right away what she was talking about with clickable chapter links or the copyright on the bottom of the page because I had an e-book right in front of me with those very features.
Diane has divided the book up into 4 chapters, which are roughly: Things to Think about, How To Make It, How to Get it to Customers, How to Market it. You get a sense of Diane’s personality throughout – friendly with a little humor but professional at the same time – which makes it a really easy read. I also appreciate that she shares a lot of “things she has figured out the hard way”, real examples to illustrate topics she is talking about and why she makes certain recommendations.
Chapter One has a lot of really great tips to get you thinking about your own e-book project and making a plan. She encourages you to think in very specific ways about the audience for your book throughout the process. As crafty people/artists I think it is easy for us to get caught up in the “fun of creating” and forget about everyone else.
Chapter Two is probably my favorite section of the book. This is the “how to make it” part and is a really thorough list of not only all the parts of your book you should think about, but some basics of design as well. The beautiful part of this section is that a lot of the design suggestions and concepts could really be applied to all kinds of things you might self publish – single patterns, artist statements, exhibition postcards, class handouts. Making a really appealing and professional looking publication is a great skill to learn.
Chapter Three and Four are the technical “delivering it to customers” section and marketing. This is in some ways the most intimidating part of the publishing your own book process, but I think these two chapters are a good foundation with plenty of examples to help you “get it”. They are also packed with resources (e-books can have live weblinks!) to other places (articles, podcasts) where she has covered a certain concept or topic in more depth.
I am teaching a mini-class on publishing .pdf patterns for a group of the International Old Lace Society in August and I plan to have Diane’s book on my Recommended Reading list. (I am going to read it myself a couple more times before then.)