iBooks Author

Oncor Blog Presentation

Oncor Blog Presentation

An Oncor Presentation: Blogging 101

An Oncor Presentation: Blogging 101. This photo is linked to the book for iPad version of the presentation.

Recently I was invited to speak during a panel discussion at Oncor in Dallas.  I began a blog in 2004 using the name of TheDadsCenter.org. Somewhere in 2007 I began using my fabled name, @DaddyClaxton on Twitter and then bought the domain. The original “Daddy Claxton” was mentioned in a song by the late, Roy Claxton Acuff, who apparently changed the name from Carter or something else. As we created our business to build websites and now design and produce books for iPad and books for Kindle and Nook, came the development of this site.

This is the presentation I prepared for my 15 minutes. It includes helpful tips about blogging, including must-have plugins for WordPress and a  little bit about the history of blogging in general.

To download the book for iPad, simply go to this Dropbox address and download. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2269153/Oncor/ClaxtonCreative%20Blogger.ibooks)

To download the PDF version, here’s the link. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2269153/Oncor/ClaxtonCreative%20Blogger.pdf)

What Book Did You Read Last? How’d you choose it?

What Book Did You Read Last? How did you choose it?

How did you pick the last book you read?

How did you pick the last book you read?

The last book I read was John Ed Mathison’s When God Redefines the Possible, soon to be released for Kindle, Nook and iPad.  Today I was given a stack of books to read by a potential client. Yeah, that makes me a little different than most people. So how do you go about picking what to read next?

This past weekend I was going through some of the Lynda.com courses on e-Books etc. and stumbled on a reminder to do some connecting of other sites to GoodReads.com.  On their site I noticed a number of surveys they’ve been conducting.  Now these numbers aren’t scientific in nature–there is a huge non respondent biased, not to mention the vast universe of people out there who don’t go to the GoodReads.com website. But of the thousands who have answered the questions, the responses are quite interesting.

So how do most people who use GoodReads.com say they picked the last book they read? Well, actually, just like I did today. A friend said “Here, take a look at these.”  Most often there’s a different dialogue associated with such, I realize. “Hey, have you read…?”

Nearly 14,000 votes fell off to the next answer–they got the tips from GoodReads.com itself.

Seven-thousand more down in responses fell off to the third most popular answer–people found things in their bookstore.  Even fewer found them in a library. Just a few less relied on Amazon.  And then there’s the searing slap on the work of publicists–only 6 percent said they read a book because they saw something about it in the news media. Blogs didn’t do much better. Best seller recommendations were way down on the list, too.

So how do you pick a book to read?

 

The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

At Claxton Creative here in Dallas, we’ve done a number of print to e-Book and iBooks Author-generated conversions and one thing becomes immediately clear throughout this process–the print to e-Book conversion process shouldn’t be a matter of just replacing the print copy into digitized form.  No, it should be much, much more.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

eBook v. iBooks Author

On top of that, we take things a step further than most competitors we’ve seen online.  Yes, the EPUB formatted book can be read on many more devices than those built with iBooks Author, which only work on iPad and iPad mini.  However, the functionality of a book made with iBooks Author versus one in an EPUB 2.0.1 or even the “new” EPUB 3 format leave a world of difference in between.

We’d like to bang someone in the marketing department at Apple over the head for their lack in marketing the difference between the two. In the video below even, we’ve shown you the contrast between 3D imagery in an EPUB 3 book and that of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.  As we like to say, a book for iPad made with iBooks Author is like being in a museum where you’re supposed to touch everything.  Using 3D in an EPUB is like trying to play ping pong on a 1970s Atari on a black and white TV.  (Sorry Atari, but that’s pretty accurate. For clarification purposes, Atari was ahead of the time then.  EPUB 3 isn’t.)

Working With Print Authors

We often are approached by print authors who are ready to make a digital book and our first question to them is how much video do you want to add to your book?  We ask that knowing that our recommendation to them truly is going to be to make a book for iPad because the functionality, the file size, just the look is so much more alive and vivid than anything we have yet to see on a Kindle or Nook.  We have a potential client we’re trying to help understand this concept as she wants to do a series of YouTube videos and put them on a website for free. It’s our recommendation that instead they be added to a book for iPad because it will help make the book even more spectacular than what we already are talking about.

Besides, why give something away for free when there’s going to be high production costs and, more importantly, you can include it in your book for iPad and make some money back from it?!?!

Are You Wanting To Convert From Print to Digital?

If you’re ready to convert your book there are a series of questions you should be asking yourself.

  • What visuals can I add to my book to make it come alive?  This means video and still, hi-res pics.
  • Your book (for iPad) should include video. What videos could we shoot for your book to add a dimension that is presently missing?
  • What interactive charts or graphs would you like to include in your book that your printer said would cost too much to print and they didn’t want to expend the extra pages to include? We can do that on one page now, at a high resolution and they can be very cool.
  • What website pages would you like to have embedded in your book and let your readers visit without ever leaving your book?
  • If you could add digital magic to your book, what would you like to add?

If you know the answers to some or all of those questions, then we’d like to talk to you about making a book for iPad, and of course, doing an EPUB version.  Yes, more people will be able to get your book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but the one they get off Apple’s iBookstore will be the one that will make most people’s mouth’s drop and want to know what you can do next.

Let’s talk.

Balance Ragged Lines InDesign Layout Stopping Full Margin Layout

Balance Ragged Lines InDesign Layout Stopping Full Margin Layout

We’re working on the layout of John Ed Mathison’s EPUB version of When God Redefines The Possible, now completed as a book for iPad and nearly ready for submission to Apple.

But our wonderful client also wants versions for Kindle & Nook and so we’re working on an EPUB version as well using InDesign.

But there was a problem in layout that happened from importing the text.

Adobe PDF

The manuscript we received from the client was in the form of a PDF.  It had to be copied and then loaded into TextEditor on the Mac and from there, loaded into iBooks Author and then over into Adobe’s InDesign for EPUB formatting as you can’t go from an iBooks Author format to EPUB.  It just doens’t work.

So when we imported the document from TextEditor into InDesign, it soon became apparent that there was something amiss.

And after some time in Lynda.com videos, I finally sent it to one of my InDesign gurus and asked what was up.

The answer came back quickly.

Turn Off Balance Ragged Lines

With Preview on, this became immediately apparent and quite honestly, this is something I never would have found without asking.  There simply are thousands of options within InDesign and sometimes, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’d never find it.

So for future InDesign layout work. If you have paragraphs that are not going the width of the page from margin to margin, try turning off the Balance Ragged Lines option in Paragraph Styles.

Here are two photos of how this fixed the problem.  Before and then after….

Balance Rugged Lines On

Balance Rugged Lines On

And After

Balance Rugged Lines Off

Balance Rugged Lines Off

 

As you can see, the lines of the first two paragraphs now go all the way across without wrapping.  Even with Show Hidden Characters On, there was no indication of what was causing this issue.

 

 

Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

press club dcAttached is the link to my book for iPad, which was my presentation to the Press Club of Dallas on March 2, 2013.  Feel free to download the book. Once it’s on your desktop, drop it into iTunes and then sync your iPad.  The file is about 130 MBs so it will take a few minutes to download.  To use on your iPad, you will need at least iOS 5.1 and iBooks 2.

 

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Congratulations Apple on iTunes U 1 billion downloads

Congratulations Apple on iTunes U 1 billion downloads!iTunesU

At Claxton Creative, we’ve been working to generate content for iTunes U for our clients and studying ways to enhance this ever-expanding form of e-Learning.

Classes on iTunes U are free. That drives some learned professors mad as they don’t understand the revenue model shift. Usually, people pay the school for a seat in a class and class numbers are limited and then there is the sale of recommended books and all.

With iTunes U, that model is changing and let’s just be fair to say there are some in academia who have resisted the shift to this revenue model. That’s probably putting it mildly.

How does a professor make money doing an iTunes U course?  They have an interactive book, preferably one we’ve helped them make for iPad and they use it as the resource for the class. To take the class, a student needs the book for iPad, which can be bought seamlessly through the Apple iBookstore. The more people who take the class, the more who need the book for iPad. Simple formula.  No standing in long lines to register for a class. No meeting with your counselor.  Easy.

It’s also this form of delivery that’s changing the overall method of teaching, and we’ve talked about that before much here on ClaxtonCreative.com. For teachers who do not yet understand, the traditional stand and deliver model of teaching is fast becoming a thing of the past. Self-paced learning, user-centered-learning, are new terms that are catching on in use and meaning.

At Claxton Creative, we are a part of this move to change the educational system for the better and for the future. This is the learning of tomorrow already happening today.

Are you a professor with a tome you need converted to a book for iPad, complete with video, interactive maps, charts and graphs? What if you could have your students using your book and not being able to advance to the next chapter sequence until they have demonstrated mastery?  Yeah, that’s what we can help you make a reality.  And who benefits from that? Your students, and ultimately, your wallet.

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Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar

Life Is Good When You’re The WOW! At An Apple Genius Bar CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

Since I bought my first MacBook Pro on Oct. 11, 2007, I’ve had my share of opportunities to visit the Apple Genius Bar at Northpark Mall. If you don’t know, it’s one of the smallest stores in the Apple Store inventory, but also one of the busiest.  This is where I took my One-To-One training with Adopho Cantu and learned so much more than I could ever have hoped for. Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 12.13.17 PM

Today I was in attempting to do a restore of my email lost last Tuesday after applying a Rule to Mail because a spammer had sent an email from the address < @>.  We were trying to use Time Machine to restore Mail to where it was before that fated rule change. (We didn’t get it to work either.)

But as we were going through the process–I’ve also spent about an hour on the phone with Apple Care–the Genuis started asking about what I do and then I got to whip out the iPad and show her Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya, Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta’s There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse, and lastly, Dr. John Ed Mathison’s When God Redefines the Possible, a work in progress.

When the Genius started manipulating the 3D image of the Rio Azul mask that’s in the book, her response was Apple Genius Cool–“SHUT UP!”  (I wasn’t saying anything.)

Before I knew it, I had three other geniuses looking at the books and doing the same thing.  Genius One kept saying, “I am showing off my customer!”

Now like I’ve said, I’ve had my share of Genius Bar visits, but this was the first time I wasn’t the one in awe of what was going on.  It was the Geniuses.

We talked about how one before in Northpark I’d showed the books to a sales rep who told me, “It’s so cool for us to see things like this, because we send stuff out of here in boxes all day long, the tools you need to do cool stuff.  It’s fascinating for us to see how it’s actually being used.”

And so this is another tribute and thank you to the Genius, sales and One-to-One training staff of the Apple Store at Northpark Mall in Dallas, Texas.  Without my One-to-One training from Adolpho, who is no longer there, there’s no telling how far behind I still would be. And what a great memory to have–SHUT UP!

 

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Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget? CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

For more than a year now I’ve been working on a sister project–TheWondersExpedition.com and trying to help share some fascinating discoveries I’ve noticed in the study of amazing places around the world.

And to begin telling that story in digital book form, and also online, I’ve been in the process of building various forms of art in Photoshop and Illustrator and trying to decide whether files should be straight vector files–(I’d love to be able to do .SVG but iPad won’t support it) or go for Photoshop creations rendered out as .PNGs.

Clearly I want to be able to tell the story of multiple sites around the globe and use the continuous scrolling effect to help share the findings.  Ultimately, this will require creating some sort of parallax-looking animation that makes it look like the world is turning, day is going from day to night, and cool places are popping up into view as the world turns, along with some sort of geometric lines, trig formulas of sine and cosines, and probably a kitchen sink, too. while I’m at it.

That led me to really look at two creative tool options tonight.  After Effects or Tumult’s Hype, now available as version 1.6.0.

Can You Use Hype To Create A Parallax Animation For An iBook Widget?

The answer to me right now is–I don’t know.

What I did tonight was create a Hype file with the dimensions of 2048 px by 1536, the size of an iPad 3 screen/retina screen. Just trying to see the whole screen on a 17-inch MacBook Pro, early 2012, requires me to shrink the View down to 50 percent and to shove my timeline as far to the bottom of the screen as I can stand.  (That’s not a complaint, it’s just the way it is.)

Just for starters tonight, I went ahead and in Photoshop created a round ball designed to rotate from the center point at the bottom of the animation.  I didn’t do the math, but through a process of lines from each respective corner, then a line down the middle and then a line from the bottom center line to the top left and right corners got me a measurement of about 1555 px.  I set the ellipse tool to form a perfect circle by holding down the shift key when I created a round “globe” in a file that was 3710 px by 3710 px. This way, as the globe rotates in Hype from the center spot at the bottom, there will never be a point where the viewer won’t see either blue for the atmosphere during the day, and black for simulated night time. Mind you, I’m not worrying about anything fancy line stars and the moon right now.  I just want to get the global atmosphere spinning. (Later will come additional layers of stuff.)

Trying to create a rotating "Atmosphere" using Tumult's Hype.

Trying to create a rotating “Atmosphere” using Tumult’s Hype.

With a two-layered .PNG the file for just the atmosphere right now is 39 MBs.  HUGE!

And needless to say, when I put it in the timeline of Hype and then set it to turn 180 degrees in 20 seconds, it really made the MBP, with 8 GBs of RAM, start to creep.  At one point, I could see block pixels where there are none, as the earth’s atmosphere turned from day to night.  Not good.

So at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday night, I’m calling it a day to rethink this as I sleep.  I’m beginning to wonder if Adobe’s After Effects isn’t going to be the better place to do this, but then it is destined to become a .mov and not an interactive HTML5 widget.  So I ponder.

Anyone else done this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

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Claxton Creative Publishing Books For iPad Wth John Ed Mathison

Digital Book Publisher Begins iPad Project With John Ed Mathison Ministry

 DALLAS DIGITAL BOOK PUBLISHER DESIGNING INTERACTIVE BOOKS FOR JOHN ED MATHISON MINISTRY IN MONTGOMERY, AL

Former Alabama Governor’s Press Secretary Teaming Up With Storied Frazer UMC Minister To Bring ‘When God Redefines The Possible’ Book To Life

CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1MONTGOMERY, AL—Claxton Creative, LLC of Dallas, led by former the former press secretary of two former Alabama governors, Thursday announced it has begun producing digital book formats of Montgomery’s John Ed Mathison’s recently published print work, When God Redefines The Possible.

Mathison’s book, which is 109-pages in print, contains more than 50 chapters of colorful and important ministry lessons and encourages readers to see that God is still doing miracles, even in today’s turbulent times.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

When God Redefines Possible by John Ed Mathison.

The digital format for iPad will include a series of videos, interactive photos and illustrations, end of chapter quizzes, puzzles, Internet social media components and other ways to help broaden the reach of one of the Southeast’s most recognized United Methodist Church leaders.

Versions also will be produced for readers using Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, as well as the Samsung Galaxy and Microsoft Surface.

“John Ed Mathison has been a recognized leader in ministry for nearly a half century and even today, he is on the cutting edge of using technology to help spread the word of God,” said Donald Claxton, owner of Claxton Creative in Dallas. “The use of digital books will make his work available to anyone in the world with a computer, tablet or smartphone. Now that’s really an example of God redefining possible.”

John Ed, who served 36 years as Senior Minister of Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, said he is excited to begin this new phase of his ministry.

“I have said before that ‘it is easy to have a Gutenberg mentality when we live in a Google reality.’ and taking this next step, to convert my writings and teachings into a digital format so that people around the world can share and interact with each other through the social media tools and interactivity functions within the book is an example of where ministry must grow in order to reach those needing and yearning to hear the word of God,” Mathison said.  “I’m excited for the potentials this brings for ministry. God really is redefining the possible.”

Claxton said his firm, based in Dallas, is working to schedule a video production schedule with Mathison and to begin the digital design process for the book.  Release of the book is slated for March 2013.

Claxton is the former assistant press secretary to the late Alabama Gov. Guy Hunt and former press secretary for Gov. Fob James. He moved from Montgomery in 2001 to become the communications director for the Dallas Independent School District, then the 12th largest school district in the nation. In 2012, his company began producing books for the iPad, including Dr. Mark Van Stone’s interactive text 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya and There’s A Zombie In My Treehouse by Ken Plume, John Robinson and Len Peralta of Atlanta.

Claxton Creative, LLC

Claxton Creative is a Dallas-based full-service public relations firm focused on the development of interactive, multi-touch publications for mobile devices worldwide. The company was founded by former Dallas ISD communications director, Donald J. Claxton and is supported with the assistance of Fort Worth Author Ron Rose, Dallas author Will Manning, Birmingham, AL editor Larisa Lovelady, Ally Stephenson of Huntsville, AL, and others.

John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

The John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries was formed in 2008, as John Ed reached the mandatory retirement age of the United Methodist Church. The ministry is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The mission of the ministry is to bring honor and glory to the Kingdom of God by training leaders for Kingdom work. John Ed actively speaks to churches, conferences and leadership training programs on a local, national and global scale. More information is available at www.JohnEdMathison.org.

 

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The Barnes and Noble Lost Sale From Today

The Barnes and Noble Lost Sale From Today CC Yellow Books Circle 60 by 60 TR 1

I needed a work book TODAY.  I was in Barnes and Noble in Lincoln Park in Dallas and had it in my hands.  It was a book about ePublishing in Adobe’s InDesign.  Stamped on the back of the book was a price of $49.99.  I checked the B&N website and they listed a price break of $30.06 as an “online only” sale.

ePublishing with InDesign CS6: Design and produce digital publications for tablets, ereaders, smartphones, and more

ePublishing with InDesign CS6: Design and produce digital publications for tablets, ereaders, smartphones, and more

Thinking surely they’d still want the sale, I went to the front counter and pleaded, “Look, I really need this book today.  Can you give me the $30.06 online only price?  I’m standing here with $100 in my hand and I need this book TODAY.  I can’t afford to wait 48 or more hours to get it in the mail.”

The clerk said he couldn’t save me the $20 price break. In fact, he emphasized that the book wasn’t $49.99.  He reminded me that I also was going to pay sales taxes on the book. Add 8.5 percent. To his credit, he did suggest that if I went online today and ordered the book that B&N might could get it to me tomorrow.

But look back at that first paragraph, B&N.  I needed the book TODAY.

Isn’t it sort of ironic that the book in question, ePublishing with InDesign CS6: Design and produce digital publications for tablets, ereaders, smartphones, and more, is about how people just aren’t going to bookstores and paying gobs of money for books anymore when they can get them DIGITALLY?

Now admittedly, for this sort of book, I still like to have a printed copy in my hands. But because of B&N’s bullishness today, they lost the sale completely.

And they lost the sale to AMAZON for $28.28.

As you can see, I bought the Kindle edition of the book for my iPad at a cost of $30.11. That’s with sales taxes added.  It was $28.28 base price for the digital format.  And I got it TODAY.

So before I get back to reading my new digital book, I wanted to remind Barnes and Noble about how they lost the sale of a $30-50 book today because of their inflexibility.  And I got it TODAY.

My new book on iPad.

My new book on iPad.

Reminds me of that scene from Friends with Benefits where Jamie is Skyping the recruiter from Amazon about luring Dylan to come work for them from GQ magazine.  She asks the Amazon guy if Dylan would leave GQ for Amazon and he responded, “Who knows.  People do still do dumb sh**, like pay full price for a book at ….”

TODAY, I wasn’t one of them.

I wonder how many other sales Barnes and Noble lost today because of the same thing……

 

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