My goal this week was to create, from scratch, an interactive equipment manual for students and faculty in the college to access via mobile device. I admit, it was an ambitious goal but I felt it was obtainable, especially since my Einsteins had created most of the video and graphic material I needed.
I didn’t quite make the goal. I will have all the major components ready by the end of the day today – but I have some issues I want to resolve before I fully publish. Things I want to make sure I understand (like, can I re-publish and replace the book if I make changes after initial upload) before I place this project on the almighty Apple iBook Bookshelf.
If you are toying with the idea of creating an iBook – here are some pointers for you.
1) Use a word processing program to create the initial dialog.
iBook can import from Pages or Microsoft Word – this would have saved me a ton of time. Instead I wrote everything directly into the iBook document, sometimes jumping from manual to online information to reference material so I made sure I called the equipment specifications by the proper name.
2) Don’t be afraid to move ahead and return to problem areas later.
I know I wrote that I was going to worry about hyperlinks and page/chapter order when I was finished, but somehow I got side-tracked and spent almost a half a day on the bookmark/hyperlink dilemma. Which, by the way, is still not working properly.
3) Become a member of the lonely hearts club
Much time was lost due to interruptions for the other components of my job. If you are going to be a successful author head for that cabin in the woods, bring lots of music and food (so you don’t have to run to the store for supplies and end up talking to the clerk about the new video game coming out) lock the door and don’t emerge until you are finished.
4) Be prepared to change layouts or delete pages.
Another good reason to create the content in word first, if you need to re-shuffle pages or change the layout you will be able to re-import the original content from the word document. As it was I ended up recreating an entire chapter, which also put me off target.
5) Allow yourself to fail
I was so worried about meeting my goal that I spent way too much time in the office chair this week. This resulted in sore muscles, eyes, and some paragraphs of information that truly made no sense. Those have been removed.
In the end this will be a great tool for many applications. There are some updates I hope to see released soon (like ease of hyperlink – think iWeb style) which will make the process more smooth for future – I solved the end note problem (for my minor publication) by creating the old-fashioned footnote in the next and adding a separate page at the end with my ‘works cited’. I can tell you this is probably not something I would want to do all the time, but again, if I have created something in word (using footnotes) that may be easier.
Well there it is, barring any problems with publishing from Apple you should be able to download my e-book “The Hitchhikers Guide to Technology” early next week. Remember, it is a first time draft project, completed in a little less than two weeks so be kind. However, I would love to hear from you and get your comments or suggestions.