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It’s been over three months since I released my first ebook Insights From Beyond the Lens: The Art & Craft of Landscape Photography , and the feedback and response has been overwhelmingly positive to say the least.

To date it’s been downloaded over 3,500 times, with the ratio of iPad to PDF roughly 50/50. I was honestly surprised by this, but I guess that just shows how many people are buying and using iPads for reading. In fact the reason I made the iPad multi-touch version was because I think it’s a better reading and learning experience than pdf. With the release of the new iPad mini, I think this trend will continue to grow as the price point gets lower and lower for iPad’s in general. I’ve decided all of my future ebooks will be designed as a multi-touch version for iPad first, and then I’ll convert to pdf and Kindle.

It’s also been downloaded in over 20 countries, although mostly in the US as I expected. In fact, the first day I published it, someone from Belgium emailed to ask when it would be available there – incredible. It’s amazing to me that the ability to write and distribute a book all over the world from my desktop was unimaginable just 10 years ago. It has certainly opened my eyes to the tremendous potential that ebooks offer, and publishing is definitely a big part of my future as both a photographer and instructor.

Reviews

Below are a few reviews of the Insights ebook – I also recommend you check out their respective websites for some great photography and resources.

Writing Your Own Ebook

If you have any interest in writing your own ebook, there has never been a better time to self-publish. The technology and tools are readily available, and the internet is your gateway to finding your target audience regardless of where you live. Here are some of the tools I use to write my ebooks as well as some resources.

Writing

  • Byword – my prefered plain text and markdown writing app, simply great for both the desktop and mobile. I use it for the blog as well, and I’m using it right now.
  • Scrivener – simply a brilliant app available for Mac and Windows for long form writing. I use it for ebooks and other lengthy writing projects. From Scrivener, I transfer it to iBooks Author or Apple Pages depending on the final destination. It can also export epub format for the various ebook readers on the market.

Research

  • Evernote – my digital filing cabinet. Everything goes into Evernote where it syncs between my desktop and iOS devices. I maintain a dedicated notebook for each writing project, and just dump ideas, quotes, photos, and other snippets of information. When it comes time to write, I have a nice database of reference material.
  • Mr Reader – great iOS app for keeping track of all the blogs I read on a regular basis.
  • Zite – another great iPad app for discovering articles on a variety of topics

Layout and Publishing

  • iBooks Author 2 – the app that creates the magic on the iPad. Amazing multi-touch capabilities that provide interactivity, image galleries, and lots of other cool features I’m just starting to explore on my new ebook.
  • Apple Pages – When I want to layout pages for pdf or epub format, Pages is a great choice, especially if you don’t have Scrivener.

Finally, here’s a great resource with lots of info on ebook writing and publishing:
How to Write and Publish eBooks

I hope this is helpful for anyone who’s intersted in pursuing more writing or even publishing an ebook. I really think writing is a skill that complements photography extremely well, especially if you’re trying to market and sell your own work.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave them in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!

RR Jr

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This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Thanks Robert for the great blog post and the accomapanying info. It is timely–I was preparing to contact you with questions about how you created your ebook. I self-published a “hard copy” book and want to do an ebook next–possibly a photographic companion to the first. (Too expensive to self-publish the book with photos).

    I am going to check out your resources –I may get back with you with questions from that route. I loved your ebook and love your work! Your images cause me to want to be there–in fact, I feel like I am almost there!

  2. I don’t even have a website yet, but I do have evernote! I use it frequently for the same ideas you mentioned in your blog. I feel like I was ment to be a part of the creative arts. That it is my true calling. However, it has been a very long time coming. I have literally thousands of photos and written pages but that’s all I’ve really done so far. It took me far too long to discover this in myself but now that I have, your blog and truely free education is very much appteciated. In fact, so far, the information you provided and Photzy, the apo that lead me here, have been the most informative and useful sites I have vome across. So thank you again for helping me to reach into myself and believe that I can do this!

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