iBooks Author changes a lot, but not everything

Apple has just announced iBooks Author for Mac amidst a whole host of other announcements destined to further shake up the publishing industry.
iBooks Author gives the everyday you and me a simple, drag and drop interface with which we can create multimedia, multitouch books. That’s books without an ‘e’. Apple has decided that it’s time for the ‘e’ to go. Books are books, however you read them.

Anyway, this launch is incredibly exciting, especially for people who want to self-publish their work. I want to publish my novel traditionally, but I can also see lots of ways that I might produce and publish content using iBooks Author, especially the sort of stuff I already produce and publish here on Write for Your Life.

The technology may be moving forward and the old publishing industry may be falling further and further behind, but there’s still one thing that I want you to remember in all of this excitement: be professional.

Self-publishing has previously suffered because many authors put their work out in a hurry. Whether through lack of knowledge or not having the finances, too many people publish work without getting it edited and designed by someone who knows what they’re doing.

In recent years, this has been changing. More and more self-publishers are investing time and money in making sure that their work is polished and professional. This is a good thing and long may it continue.

What iBooks Author presents is a way to produce a professional-looking book using a pre-defined template, which means the author doesn’t have to pay a designer to do it for them. But being a designer is a real thing. It’s a profession. To become one takes years of training and experience.

All I’m saying is this.

Please, do take a look at iBooks Author and feel free to use it to publish your work. Seriously, it looks fantastic. Just don’t forget to be professional. Don’t think of it as an easy option and if you can, hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Or at the very least, get them to check it before you share it with the world.

Essentially: always present your writing in the best way possible.

  1. Well said Iain! I was astonished to download a free ebook on book marketing the other day to find that it was full of formatting errors. I felt beyond embarrassed for the author.
    If independent fictions writers want to get taken seriously then we must join forces to ensure that what we put out there is the best that it can be – whatever the genre.

  2. I totally agree. I think that there are still way too many self-publishing authors who forget that how their work is presented counts for so much. You don’t have to be a brilliant writer to care about it enough that you get those sort of things checked. I’m afraid some people put work out there in a rush and with dollar signs spinning before their eyes.

    1. I can see a huge potential in being able to launch relatively cheap books as an introduction of yourself as an author, then being able to build from there. If you can get the first book out and selling it should make it slightly easier to repeat the process.
      However, there is a danger that ‘authors’ with unrealistic self-consciousness will continue publishing novels or books or whatever without putting real effort into it. If this happened there would, excuse my choice of words, be a shitload of worthless books in there.

      Unfortunately I can’t see any way of quality controlling books, both due to the amount of time they take to review and the amount of opinion they too often are reviewed with. Neither Apple’s capacity nor its competence will suffice in this area.

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