Once upon a time I signed up for the Apple Aperture forum to ask a few questions about my new found love that was Aperture. This was way back when even the best hardware had a difficult time dealing with Aperture's concept of real time RAW processing and adjustment rendering. Much to my dismay I couldn't seem to get a whole lot of answers or opinions that I hadn't already figured out for myself. What the heck, I started answering some questions here and there.
After answering the same questions over and over again I thought it would be a good time saving idea for me to just write those answers down somewhere - namely here on this blog. That seemed to work for some people but not for people that had not already spent some serious time in Aperture so I collected my thoughts and put them in some semblance of order. The birth of an eBook.
Instead of regurgitating the Apple supplied manual that described the "what" in no particular order I went a different direction. First off, I wanted to describe more about the "why" and show how various Aperture capabilities where related to each other, as opposed to merely just listing each of them. The second thing I did was do my best to find a balance between detail and concept. Personally I cannot stand documentation that is 90% move the mouse to the button and click the icon… over and over with 10% content. I like to think of my approach as "not for dummies". The last thing I tried to do is break up my eBooks into self contained topics and cover each comprehensively instead of the surface of the whole of Aperture. I also chose to distribute them as on-line only at a rock bottom price. The last thing I did was try NOT to focus on image manipulation as it may be the least important part of a photo workflow.
Fast forward a bunch of years and it seems that my initial approach was a good one for a lot of people as evidenced by the eBook's continued popularity and a bunch of others that are now taking more or less the same approach instead of the gargantuan printed tome of manual regurgitation that was the supplemental book market of yesteryear. This begs the question of "what's next" for my eBooks. Based on a ton of feedback from my readers here is where I am at…
- The content is fantastic but there are some typos and repeated words like and and etc.
- The screenshot image quality leaves a lot to be desired.
- They would be much better if they were and ePub for the iPad with book marks, etc, etc.
- There is a huge demand for a native german and french translation.
In my defense, I have done a ton of writing both recreational and professional but it has never been technical. Most of my experience is more along the lines of position papers, speech writing, and spin-doctoring. I am a terrible proof-reader. I depended on great proof readers to deal with the mechanical aspects like typos. I have been and still am more of a "message guy" not a dot the i's and cross the t's guy. I am a great fact checker and can assure readers that although there may be a few typos the facts are spot on as I painstakingly have gone through every section and manually verified everything written.
As for the screenshots - the lack of prettiness has everything to do with the tool that I choose to write the original manuscript in an the way that it chooses to render PDF's with images. I have a bit of time this summer that I could use to improve, enhance, and possibly put out an image adjustment eBook. My inclination is to kill a couple of birds on the existing eBooks and then move on to a new one.
Specifically I am thinking of going the route of publishing them via ePub and the iTunes store. To do this I would move the manuscripts to a new tool. In the process of doing so I would also engage a real proof reader to polish the text, spelling, grammar, typos, et al. Last but not least I would completely re-do the way the example screenshots and images are done as to make far more sense and provide better integration in the context of ePub's capabilities. After completion of that process I would also love to figure out how to partner with someone for native french and german translations, other languages if there is a demand as well.
My question to loyal readers and eBook customers is this…
Thanks for listening and if there is anyone out there interested in partnering up for a translation please get it touch. If there are other Aperture or even non-Aperture topics you would love to see an eBook from me on I would love to hear what they are.