Tag Archives: book

Maddie Bear Comics Now in iBooks & Paperback!

comics

The Maddie Bear Comic Strip Collection Volume 1 is now available for the iPad and Macintosh via iBooks and in paperback format.

The iBook version includes: 93 Comics with Interactive Author’s Commentary, Behind the Scenes Sketches, and bonus video.

The paperback edition includes: 93 Comics, 82 Pages, Author’s Commentary, and Behind the Scenes Sketches.

comic

Maddie Bear’s Birthday iPad App: FREE!

This is the month of my daughter Maddie’s birthday. To celebrate, I’m giving away Maddie Bear’s Birthday for iPad for free for a limited time. Some of you may remember the days when the birthday kid in school would bring in cupcakes to celebrate their birthday. This is Maddie’s version of that, everyone gets a free iPad app. If you could leave a review as a birthday gift to her, it would be very appreciated.

Image

Maddie Bear’s Birthday: iPad App Giveaway!

Maddie Bear’s Birthday was just released for the Apple iPad! To celebrate, the first 20 people who purchase the paperback version get a free promo code for the app. Here’s how to claim your free iPad version:

  1. Purchase Maddie Bear’s Birthday from Amazon or the autographed bundle from MaddieBearBooks.com
  2. Use the “Contact” button on MaddieBearBooks.com to e-mail your receipt of purchase
  3. Await your free promo code for the iPad version

You can either give the promo code to a friend, or use it to have both the interactive and paperback version for you and your kids.

MBB-Screen1

Maddie Bear's Birthday for iPad
Maddie Bear’s Birthday for iPad

Review: SketchBook Pro Digital Painting Essentials

I recently had the chance to read through SketchBook Pro Digital Painting Essentials by Packt Publishing. The book is an overview and how-to guide of Sketchbook Pro digital painting software by Autodesk. It’s written for the computer software version, but many of the tools and techniques may be transferred over to the iOS and Android versions as well, just the user interface will be different.

Copyright Packt Publishing
Copyright Packt Publishing

If you’ve wanted to try Sketchbook Pro, but were too intimidated or weren’t sure how to get started, this book is a great starting point. It goes through all of the tools and how to modify each one to suit your style of drawing and painting. The book covers everything from the interface to layers to sketch and coloring. It is an in-depth starter guide to Sketchbook Pro and how to get started with the software.

However, it is important to note that this book does not teach you how to create specific pieces of art. The book does tell you how the author created each part of a specific piece that is shown, but it does not give you any step-by-step drawing directions. If you’re looking for a book that takes you through the process of creating the artwork shown on the cover, this is not it. If you’re looking for a book to show you how to use and create the tools necessary to create works of art, this book is definitely worth checking out.

Overall, SketchBook Pro Digital Painting Essentials is a great starter book to anyone interested in using Sketchbook Pro. It gets right to the heart of the subject without presenting you with unrelated filler.

Maddie Bear’s Birthday: On Amazon!

I’m very happy to officially announce that the first installment of my new children’s book series is available on Amazon.com!

Maddie Bear's Birthday

amazon-logo

I’m also offering autographed copies through www.MaddieBearBooks.com. Each autographed copy comes with (3) 3″x3″ Maddie Bear Stickers and a small, hand-drawn character sketch. I’m not sure how long I’ll be offering the autographed copies, it depends how long I can keep up with the demand of drawing and coloring the sketches. I’m hoping to get the first batch mailed out by early February depending on Amazon’s production time.

Autographed Copy

Please note that if you’re purchasing the autographed copy, there’s a section to enter to whom the autograph should be addressed. It’s pretty small on the PayPal site, so it’s very easy to overlook.

paypal

After you’re done reading it, I’d really appreciate if you could write a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Thank you to everyone for your support and for everyone who has bought a copy and spread the word.

Now onto the iPad and Kindle Fire app versions…

The Perfect Pillow: Now on Amazon!

I’m happy to announce that my iPad/Kindle Fire children’s book app has been converted into a softcover book and is now available on Amazon.com! If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get it with free shipping, or if you’re not a Prime member, you can still get it shipped to you for free with an order of $25+. This is a much better price than the $14.99 Bookemon originally wanted to print it at (read my previous blog post).

My next step is to finish the first book in my series, Maddie Bear Books and get that published through Amazon as well.

tpp

CreateSpace vs. Bookemon

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve created a few children’s book apps and am currently working on a new series. I took one of the books, “The Perfect Pillow“, and converted it into a paperback version through Bookemon.com. I liked Bookemon because there wasn’t a minimum order quantity, you could assemble your book on their website, and have a book ready to order in moments. However, I wasn’t thrilled about the price, nor was I happy that anyone could read the book in its entirety without purchasing it. That lead me to look for alternative publishing methods, one of which is CreateSpace.

CreateSpace is Amazon’s Print-On-Demand (POD) branch where indie authors can take their book, upload it to CreateSpace.com, and have it available to order through Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com. When a customer orders the book, CreateSpace prints it and then ships it out (Bookemon is also POD). This saves on costs since there aren’t a stack of books lying around that may or may not sell. I received the proof of my book from CreateSpace today, and would like to give you the pros and cons of both companies.

The Perfect Pillow
Bookemon (Top); CreateSpace (Bottom)

Pros

The advantage of using Bookemon (at least for children’s books) is that you can upload your finished artwork page-by-page to their website, drag and drop items as needed, and have it ready to go very quickly. The print quality is very nice with a thick glossy cover and pages that are also glossy and substantial to the touch. The learning curve is pretty small, I didn’t run into any major issues trying to figure out book assembly.

CreateSpace is great because it’s through Amazon, so you have an enormous potential customer base. They will also assign you an ISBN for free if you don’t already own one for your book. The card stock used for the cover is very similar to that used by Bookemon and you can choose glossy or matte. I’m also able to offer the book to customers for $5 less (shipped) through CreateSpace than I was through Bookemon. Also, if there are any mistakes in the book that will make it look bad when printed, each proof is looked at by someone at CreateSpace and you’ll receive a detailed report telling you what you need to fix. This was very helpful, I had issues the first two times I submitted my files.

Free ISBN provided by CreateSpace
Free ISBN provided by CreateSpace

Cons

I don’t like Bookemon because as I said before, it’s more expensive ($5 per book) than CreateSpace. I can’t see too many people willing to shell out $15+ for a small indie children’s book. Also, there’s no incentive to buy books from Bookemon since they let visitors read the entire book in the preview. Not sure why you’d pay for a book that you can read for free on the site that’s trying to sell it to you. You can avoid this by making the book private, but then you have to buy a bunch of books yourself upfront and hope you can sell them on your own.

The only issues I can see with CreateSpace is that it’s a little more difficult to get the book to them. There’s no option to upload images and assemble the book on their site, you have to export each page and then covert it into a single PDF file to upload. This might not be a big deal for a typical novel, but for something like a children’s book, it’s a bit of trial and error, especially when it comes to full-bleed cropping and print size. Also, after you approve the proof, it takes a week or so to show up on Amazon.com.

Differences

I originally drew the book at 1024×768, which is the resolution of an iPad 1 (the primary device I targeted back in 2011). For print sizes, I had to look for dimensions that were similar when exported at 300 dpi. Bookemon’s closest version is 7.75″x5.75″ and CreateSpace’s closest is 8.5″x6.25″.

Bookemon provides more of a true spine to the book whereas CreateSpace’s spine just looks like the card stock is bent around the interior pages. Bookemon prints at more of a true color of what you see on the computer screen and CreateSpace’s colors are darker. This is probably because you build the book on Bookemon’s site using an RGB profile and CreateSpace you need a PDF that’s print-ready at CMYK.

Bookemon’s pages are glossy and CreateSpace’s pages are a matte finish. I’m not sure which I prefer to be honest. The matte finish makes you feel like you’re turning real paper book pages and the glossy pages feel a little plasticky. With younger children, the glossy pages might be easier to clean sticky fingerprints off of though, so glossy might be better.

Bookemon (top) - Lighter colors, glossy finish ; CreateSpace (bottom) - Darker colors, matte finish
Bookemon (top) – Lighter colors, glossy finish ; CreateSpace (bottom) – Darker colors, matte finish

Verdict

Overall, I think I’m going to go with CreateSpace for my upcoming Maddie Bear book series. It allows me to offer the books at a better price to customers, the books can be found on Amazon.com, and you get a free ISBN. Now that I’m familiar with the CreateSpace publishing process, I think it’ll go more smoothly next time.

Poll

I’m considering writing a book that explains my process of writing/illustrating a children’s book and then converting it into an app and softcover book. Would this be something you’d be interested in reading?

Book Review: Corona SDK Hotshot

Today I’m going to review “Corona SDK Hotshot” by Nevin Flanagan, which is published by Packt Publishing. If you’re a regular Corona user, you’re probably well past the “Hello World” style tutorials that are available in most coding books, but you may not be ready for expert-level books, either. Corona SDK Hotshot is a great intermediate level book that assumes previous knowledge of the platform and lets you create 10 different game apps.

Corona SDK Hotshot

One thing that I noticed from this book that is different than most, is that the author first shows you how to layout your game idea. Instead of just throwing you into the coding, you first first think about what you want your game to do, how will it function, the screen order, etc. to properly plan out the app. This is good practice for new game developers to draft out their ideas and properly layout the game plan instead of just jumping right into coding and artwork.

Atmosfall

The variety of the games that you develop in the book is nice, ranging from tapping enemies before they get to a certain point, jet shooter-style, RPG, and even a translation app. I think my favorite example was chapter 5’s game, “Atmosfall” because it reminded me of “Vapor Trail” for Sega Genesis (I’m aware that I may be the only person that has ever played this game before). It’s a top-down view game of an aircraft that shoots enemies that also shoot at you, not a new concept, but still entertaining.

The examples aren’t just about the finished product, though. Through the process of building the games, you learn about integrating multiple touches, loading music, algorithms, Game Center, etc., which can help you build games that integrate these features and do not necessarily follow the examples given. Again, this book is not for total beginners who are new to Corona SDK, it assumes prior knowledge.

Overall, I thought this book was good from a standpoint of someone who understands Corona SDK and Lua and wants to create a variety of game types. I picked up the PDF version to read on my iPad while traveling and on my Macbook when I was ready to code. If you’re interested in creating gaming applications, it’s definitely worth checking out.

The Perfect Pillow: Print Edition

My first children’s book app “The Perfect Pillow” has been selling by the thousands for the Kindle Fire and iPad, but my friends and family that don’t own tablet devices were never able to read it to their children.

Last night, I decided to convert it to an actual paperback book so I could keep a print version around the house for my daughter. You can pick up your copy using the link below:

The Perfect Pillow
by Greg Pugh
The Perfect Pillow

I ordered my copy last night, I’ll post pictures when it arrives.