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Actually publishing to the iBook Store


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I am very pleased to report that my book is in the final stages of proof reading; "Book Keeping Home Truths" by David Hugh Ross. The embedding of pictures works well (thanks Steve) and there are links to a microsite which passes readers on to supporting videos on YouTube and enables them to download the illustrations in a pdf file and an Excel Workbook, both of which are password protected - the password being in the text of the book. The benefit of the microsite is that if I change the YouTube videos later, I can redirect readers, thus future-proofing the book a little. Also YouTube hosts the videos for free with the lure of a few pennies for me if they are watched enough

 

I have passed the epubcheck standard using epubcheck1.0.5.app, for which I must give Storyist the credit.

 

Having previously registered with the iBookstore and being in possession of 13 digit ISBN numbers, the next task is negotiating iTunes Producer. It contains the note "Help isn't available for iTunes Producer" ! It would appear that I have one shot at this process, since Apple don't seem to allow new editions to be given to readers - each change is a new publication to them.

 

The obvious dilemma is that when you export to ePub via Storyist, you get to incorporate lots of stuff which iTunes Producer asks for all over again. Let's take Cover Art as an obvious example. You can include it in Storyist but I guess if you include it again via iTunes Producer it will be duplicated? So perhaps I should map the duplicate items and leave them out until I get to Producer?

 

The final button in iTunes Producer is called "Deliver". I hope that when I push that scary one I will have everything in its proper place

 

Thanks again, Steve, without Storyist this point would be months in the future for me.

 

I have done some research before posting this, and you will find this and this of interest. This offers some comfort as it seems there is a Manage Books function available after you have uploaded. Perhaps this is where I can create discount coupons to allow Journalists free review copies?

 

It is comforting that a package must not exceed 4 GB - mine is only 43 MB. Also interesting that after submission one should expect to wait about 2 weeks. This implies that some human beings on the Apple side review content - not unreasonable since they allow self-publishing so freely.

 

I have downloaded David Gewirtz's "how to save jobs' and it is interesting that he has not numbered his chapters and that his Table of Contents contains the Section Headings along with the Chapter Titles. This is how I have ended up accepting that these things work.

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Hi David,

 

Thanks for the links. Please post one to your publication when it is available!

 

The issues that David Gewirtz encountered shouldn't be a problem for Storyist 2.2.1 users. In Storyist ePub files:

 

1) All items in the package are in the manifest (i.e. no un-manifested files). I added this check in 2.2.1 for someone who was submitting to iBookstore.

 

2) URLs are properly encoded.

 

3) The generated content passes epubcheck 1.0.5.

 

-Steve

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The obvious dilemma is that when you export to ePub via Storyist, you get to incorporate lots of stuff which iTunes Producer asks for all over again. Let's take Cover Art as an obvious example. You can include it in Storyist but I guess if you include it again via iTunes Producer it will be duplicated? So perhaps I should map the duplicate items and leave them out until I get to Producer?

 

Do you have an answer on this anyone?

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Hi David,

 

Do you have an answer on this anyone?

 

You probably know this already, but if you want to omit the iTunesArtwork from the ePub package, you can use the following command:

 

defaults write com.storyist.storyist STSOmitITunesArtworkFromEPub 1

 

Which other information are you concerned about duplicating?

 

-Steve

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I decided to publish and got so far only to be met by this message;

 

ERROR ITMS-5074: "At least one Contributor must have a primary role" at Book (MZItmspBookPackage)

 

I assume ITMS is iTunes Music Store and that MZItmspBookPackage is a reference to the file that is uploading. I have listed myself as Author and a friend as contributor but I cannot see where I can specify "primary role". Nor does Googling various combinations shed any light.

 

I know this is beyond the scope of Storyist, but I guess that nailing these problems will help everyone - ideas anyone?

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Hi David,

 

You don't mention if this error relates to information entered in the submission process or in a requirement for the metadata in the epub file. Can you tell from the context?

 

It sounds like it is related to the submission process. Do you have the option of entering a role for your contributor? If so, try adding it.

 

I don't think this error is related to the metadata in the epub file. Here's why:

 

When you enter an author in the "Enter publication information" section of the export process, Storyist adds a dc:creator tag with the primary role of author as defined in the spec.

 

The spec for contributor metadata information doesn't mention a requirement for a primary role for the dc:contributor tag. In fact, it specifically defines a contributor as "a party whose contribution to the publication is secondary to those named in creator elements" and lists any role specification as optional.

 

If Apple has a non-standard requirement (and it wouldn't surprise me), you could try editing the toc.opf file (the screencast on the home page gives some instructions on how to do this with Springy) and adding a role to the contributor tag (e.g opf:role="art").

 

If you'd like, I'd be happy to take a look at your ePub file and see if I can see anything else obvious. You can eMail it to the support address.

 

-Steve

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Belay that, as I think they say in Star Trek. I changed my status to by (Author) and as I type this my package is uploading. Ooh Er, this is exciting !

 

I shall have to have a whisky (00:30 here in England)

 

00:40 and I have a big green tick

 

Package History is still greyed out in iTunes Producer

 

00:50 I'm still on the warm English Beer. I can see the book in iTunes Connect marked "partial delivery" which doesn't worry me as the link above says that this means I am in a queue and should be patient - I guess someone in a different time zone will have a look see at what I am trying to get Out There. I will keep you guys posted.

 

By the way it is only 52 days since I bought Storyist and I am not a full time writer - just a mild mannered accountant who has been preparing the book whilst watching Formula 1 on Sundays.

 

Steve, you are a God

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.... Steve, you are a God

The proof of the pudding, and all that.

We are on pins and needles, this side of the pond.

Do keep us posted.

And please don't forget to post a link to your book!

 

Occasionally Grumpy Minion

- Thoth.

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Thanks for the support, Thoth

 

iTunes Connect are telling me I should wait about 10 days for a 'quality check', which I am cool about as that was the experience David Gewirtz had. Fair enough that Apple should pay humans to look at what is going on the iBookstore. Interestingly (and it is a voyage of discovery as I go through the process) 'updates' only take a day to process. That suggests that the check is a technical one, not of content, and it is encouraging. The initial impression was that if I change a word that is a whole new publication, but now I suspect that I may be able to make alterations and corrections - I certainly hope so as that readers will be offered free updates in the way they are offered for Apps.

 

Being in possession of an ePub file, today I thought I would try my hand at Amazon's Kindle - bad move! Isn't it the way that when one tries non-Apple technology, the difference shouts out? There are posters on David Gewirtz's threads who disparage Apple, and he complains himself about no contact numbers and an non-intuitive interface. But the Kindle stuff is a different ball game - as we all say these days. It screwed up my artwork, uploaded my file and then said I could not proceed because of the errors marked in red - nothing red on the screen. But then I looked at the preview of the file that Amazon had converted for the Kindle and I was ashamed at what I saw.

 

I don't think I am going to bother with the Kindle or the Sony because I realise that my book would have to be re-written - they don't cope with hyperlinks and of course cannot interact with the internet.

 

Thus comes the realisation that in my first venture as an Author, I have embraced New Technology in more than just the medium on which my text will be read. With a little shame I realise that I have not composed a text, I have composed a "text plus" - must copyright that phrase. I admit that in the final stages of authoring I created some goodies that would only be available in the downloadable Excel workbook, and that the effectiveness of the text is greatly enhanced by the videos I link to.

 

Impure thoughts for an author? I jest, but since Apple has empowered iBooks in these ways we are inevitably seeing a merging of technologies, not just the translation of books from paper to screen. I suspect that this may be one reason why ebooks will thrive via the iPad where they have not on those worthy but grey creations from Sony and Amazon.

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Earlier today some friends of mine and I started discussing the future of self-publishing. It's always dangerous to discuss the future (Where is my flying car? My robot maid? My talking dog? Why are there no cities on the Moon or under the sea?) and most people have a poor track record, but for what it's worth, we all agree that self-publishing--once an exercise in vanity--has become fully respectable. Consequently, professional levels of proper detail are not only expected but are demanded (e.g., Apple's "quality check"). We're competing with the Big Boys now.

 

So what's next? Will YouTube begin "quality checks" once they start attracting full-length movies to their site? Will their videos become competitive with what we see distributed to theaters? Will written screenplays be a bonus add-on for the video? A friend of mine predicted an on-line service that will create a (low budget) video from your script for a nominal fee. Groups of writers will gather to create their own web-site theaters and TV networks.

 

I suspect that your current trials, David, are only the beginning.

"The future's so bright, I have to wear shades."

- Thoth

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We can now put our stuff Out There with few filters or restrictions. The previous models for this are the Internet itself, music and YouTube.

 

But websites still advertise themselves on TV, and Simon Cowell still dominates the Charts (you guys in America are about to experience his X Factor). My book is about to be available, but it will only be a success if it garners attention.

 

So professionals will still have their place in this latest "New World"

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...My book is about to be available, but it will only be a success if it garners attention.

So professionals will still have their place in this latest "New World"

"O brave new world! That has such people in it!" - Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is the morning of 18 August here in England, 16 days after I uploaded, (the process is estimated to take 10 working days) and at last the little green dot appeared against "Bookkeeping Home Truths". A search of the store shows it is there.

 

Now searching is the first issue. If you type in elements of the genre "Small Business & Entrepreneurship", my name (which appears as David Hugh Ross as there are so many other David Rosses) or elements of the title, you find the book. But NOTHING comes up under "Spreadsheets" or "Book Keeping".

 

I wonder if this is a problem with Metadata at the iBookstore because the tags I inserted via the export from Storyist to ePub do not appear in the Metadata page on iTunes Connect.

 

Giving copies away for review

Apple seem to give no guidance on this and I have by the way received no emails from it about the whole process, which is driven within iTunes Connect - no complaint from me about this, just an observation. The Web suggests that if you publish an App you are given 50 Coupons with a 28 day expiry for distribution to reviewers. There seems to be no equivalent for iBooks, and I cannot find any previous comment on the Web.

 

So how do I let others review my book - how do I even get a free copy for myself? I suppose I could make it downloadable from my own website and send reviewers the link but it seems that would have to be my export from Storyist, not the one from Apple because a. that copy would be tagged by Apple as purchased by me and b. I cannot see how to get it out of iTunes! That leads on to the comment that I don't think Apple has altered the file I sent it, just checked it out - on which by the way the latest Publisher User Guide give some info.

 

Summary

Today is a Big Day for me, and I will tell all my family, friends and customers. If you guys want to view the related videos, here is the launch page

 

But I am left at the point that I am a Self Publisher, with no experienced machine behind me and lots of unanswered questions. As I said earlier in the thread, just being on the iBookstore will not make me a publishing success - people have to know about the book, and if the iBookstore's search facilities are so poor, how will it be found?

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Hi David,

 

Congratulations!!!!

 

Giving copies away for review

So how do I let others review my book - how do I even get a free copy for myself?

 

I can tell you from releasing music on iTunes, there is no way for media providers to get or gift free copies, as you've no doubt surmised. If you want a personal copy from the iBooks store, you'll have to purchase it. If you want a reviewer to have one, you'll have to give them the Storyist export, or if you really want them to have it from the iBookstore, you'll need to give them an iTunes Gift Card for the amount of the book. (with music and video, you can "gift" someone a specific product, but you can't do that with iBooks yet. I'm guessing that feature will come in the future)

 

 

But I am left at the point that I am a Self Publisher, with no experienced machine behind me and lots of unanswered questions. As I said earlier in the thread, just being on the iBookstore will not make me a publishing success - people have to know about the book, and if the iBookstore's search facilities are so poor, how will it be found?

 

Possible marketing ideas:

  • Start a blog. Start serializing parts of your book. Be sure to use SEO (search engine optimized) meta-words and the like.
  • Start a Twitter account. Promote yourself there, use hashtags so that your entries are searchable (#accountingadvice and so on)
  • Start a facebook "fan" page (this is different from a personal "profile" account, which you use to snoop (er, chat) with your friends and family.
  • Start posting in/on self-help accounting and other related forums. Don't just come in and start advertising your book, but give people useful advice, and put a link to your book in your signature. You want to get yourself known as an expert, and then people will check out your book just because they trust you (this is slow going, it's taken me 7 years, but this is how I've sold nearly 12,000 books on Logic Pro. Word of mouth from forums.
  • Start online Ads. You can start a small text advert using Google AdWords for very little, start a Facebook ad, etc.
  • Ask all your friends to write reviews of your books on the iBooks page, on their web pages, etc.
  • Publish your book on the Kindle store, and start an Author page on Amazon.com.

 

All these things take time (well, except online ads). Basically, to effectively get the word out (aka "marketing") takes time and money. If you don't have a lot of money, you'll have to put in the time (and conversely, if you can pay a marketing firm to run a campaign for you, you can be hands off after the design of the campaign).

 

Hope that helps!

 

Orren

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Congratulations, David.

 

I know it can be a pain (oh, how I know - I've done dozens) but getting on the Kindle is worth the effort. The numbers are finally coming in on ebook sales since iBooks went live. Joe Konrath says 100 ebooks a month vs 200 ebooks per day on the Kindle. I'm getting the same feedback from my clients, one of whom says <0.5% of his sales are on iBooks (<1% on Kobo, 3%-5% B&N, the rest all Kindle).

 

Hot ebooks like bestsellers may have respectable numbers from iBooks but midlist and/or self-published works ... not so much.

 

Ted

 

Edit: typo on Konrath's numbers

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ted,

 

I know it can be a pain (oh, how I know - I've done dozens) but getting on the Kindle is worth the effort. The numbers are finally coming in on ebook sales since iBooks went live. Joe Konrath says 100 ebooks a month vs 200 ebooks per day on the Kindle. I'm getting the same feedback from my clients, one of whom says

 

Hot ebooks like bestsellers may have respectable numbers from iBooks but midlist and/or self-published works ... not so much.

 

Hopefully, the pain is now somewhat less. Storyist now exports Kindle editions in addition to ePub.

 

-Steve

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  • 3 months later...

I am sorry I have been away so long. British Accountants have until 31 December to file Company Accounts and 31 January for Personal Tax Returns. What with getting my book up there and the death of a close friend in the Summer, I found that I had to really knuckle down in the Autumn to meet my responsibilities to my customers.

 

With no PR at all I have 'just' sold 4 copies of my iBook (one in the UK, two in the US and one in Canada, so I am an Internationally renowned author!) - it illustrates that Publishing Houses DO have a role to play, but on a more positive note, I received a small payment from Apple and though the profit may be tiny, it IS a profit, and there is no reason for it not to grow, with no limit of time.

 

I dropped by today and see that Steve has added support for the Kindle, which has only recently become available in the UK. I had a very poor experience of trying to upload to this device some months ago, but it seems both Steve and Amazon have moved on a lot since August, so I will try again after my filing deadlines are met.

 

A key part of my book is the links to videos hosted by YouTube. I guess that this is a feature which the iPhone and iPad support, but which the Kindle does not.

 

Also, it is apparent that one can sell books as pdfs. iWeb and eBay have moved on marvellously here - I will be exploring selling the book on eBay with html snippets embedded in my website.

 

I am very encouraged by the whole self-publishing thing. It is of course true that sales volumes are likely to be small, but once we have mastered the technical problems there is nothing to stop us from repeatedly putting our creations out there - you have some thoughts, you publish them - some people may pay for them. If they buy, we profit, if not, there is no loss beyond our time. A VERY different option to old-style self-publishing which would involve an up-front investment in physical stock and all the promotional and distribution costs.

 

And having Amazon, Apple etc on our side as well !

 

Exciting times ahead - Happy New Year to you all.

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