Tag Archives: publishing

Packt Publishing’s 10th Birthday Sale

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Packt Publishing is celebrating 10 years of delivering learning and information to IT professionals. To celebrate, they’re offering every eBook and video series they have for $10 a piece. Depending what subject you’re looking for, this could be a pretty big savings off of the regular price.

The only catch is, the sale only goes until July 5, 2014, so you have to act pretty quickly and stock up on learning material. This seems like a great time for me to start learning Unity…

Check out the sale here: http://bit.ly/1q8vtgN

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.

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?

Huge Sale at Packt Publishing

The good folks at Packt Publishing have notified me of a sale, that I definitely think is worth sharing. From now until January 3, 2014, every eBook and eLearning video on their site is just $5. So if you ever wanted to learn Corona SDK, Cocos2D, Objective-C, Java, Titanium, or anything else, now is definitely the time.

You don’t need a promo code or anything, just visit this link and buy up as many books as you can for $5 each.

Packt Publishing 50% Off Sale

The good folks at Packt Publishing have informed me that their 50% off all eBooks and videos Columbus Day sale is expiring tomorrow, so I thought you might like to know as well. Packt publishes a nice variety of mobile app development and other software eBooks that you can read on your iPad and Android devices. I’ve reviewed two of their books about Corona SDK in the past, and I’ve pre-ordered their book on Appcelerator Titanium app development already.

If you’re looking to pick up an eBook or video series, now is the time: Packt Publishing

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Corona SDK Application Design

Many of you came across my blog after purchasing my book, “Creating Mobile Apps with Corona SDK“, where I take you directly into creating your own mobile applications. I didn’t discuss a lot of coding background, though since I just wanted to get readers interested in actually creating apps to see how fun it can be.

Now that you’ve gotten your first taste of the power of Corona, you’re probably yearning for more, but books that cover advanced Lua programming can seem intimidating and daunting. Daniel Williams, the programmer of The Phrase Game and Finding Hope, has also written a book about Corona SDK called “Corona SDK Application Design“. In this book, Daniel discusses more of the technical aspects of Lua coding and takes you through step-by-step to create real-world applications. This is a great intermediate step between beginner programming books like mine and advanced programming books

Corona SDK Application Design starts out covering the basics like installing and setting up Corona SDK and then quickly goes into Lua basics like variables, if/then statements, for/while loops, tables and functions. You then create an app using the storyboard tool and widgets, which are key to just about every app created with Corona SDK. You’ll also create a jigsaw puzzle game app and then test it on an actual device. There’s no point having an app on just your device though, so Daniel covers how to publish your app to the marketplaces so you can start raking in the fame and cash.

The book runs about 98 pages, not including the table of contents, credits, etc., which is a good length to keep you interested without making it seem like you’ve got a dictionary of Lua code sitting on your desk. It provides key background knowledge of the points covered without going into painstaking detail about every word of code that you type. It’s written by someone who actually has a lot of apps out on the app marketplace, so Daniel writes from experience of creating actual applications. If you enjoy learning how to create apps without all of the fluff, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Corona SDK Application Design
Corona SDK Application Design