About the course
During this month, you’ll polish an existing finished work or work in progress, format it for ebook (and possibly paperback), and evaluate its potential audience to decide whether it would be appropriate to distribute free to a select group of people or to offer for sale commercially.
Specifically, we’ll look at:
- Targeting your market: Are you writing for your own class or institution, or for the general public? What kind of person would buy your book? How can you make your material appealing to that market segment?
- Formatting your work: How can you convert your document to standard ebook formats (.epub and .mobi)? What adjustments do you need to make to maximize the ebook format? How can you handle images and audio? How does print-on-demand work for paperbacks? (Note: in this course, we’ll be primarily looking at ebook creation, because that can be done free of charge with a shorter learning curve. Formatting interior files and covers for paperbacks is more time-consuming to learn. Elements such as cover design can be outsourced, but that would require paying someone outside of this course.)
- Beta reading, editing, and feedback: Participants are expected to give and receive honest, useful feedback about one another’s works. Come with an understanding that every piece of writing can be improved, and be open to receiving assessments and suggestions, and be willing to offer the same.
- Distribution: How do you know when your work ready to sell? Where and how should you sell it? Is it appropriate to distribute it some other way? And if so, how and where?
- Marketing and Publicity: How can you make the world aware of your work? What is a reasonable price for your work?
Course requirements: You will need these things:
- A way to read ebook files on your computer, tablet, or phone. Software for reading ebooks is freely available online to download; we will discuss some options on the first day of class if you do not already have something.
- A legal copy of Microsoft Word. Other word processing programs might present challenges for formatting and conversion that I cannot solve. If you’re willing to take that risk, then you may; but you must acknowledge that it’s possible you will not be able to complete some tasks, including the final creation of your book.
- A willingness to problem-solve. Working with different computer systems and software means that unexpected glitches and challenges turn up. Almost all of them are solvable, but it can take some discussion and hunting for solutions and trial and error. Proactive problem-solvers will be happier writers. Note that I am more familiar with the Macintosh OS than I am with PCs; but I will have plenty of resources available for you.
- A commitment to doing things legally—including not appropriating text or images that are copyrighted. By taking this course, you agree that you have the legal right to publish any and all text and images that you use in your works.
- An understanding that some resources will be mentioned that cost money—such as photo databases. You are not required to use any of these, and we will discuss free workarounds. However, I am going to point out those resources that I think are top quality, and some of them are not free. Whether you purchase any additional software or subscriptions or services is entirely your choice and will not impact your ability to finish this course.