Running a small ebook publishing company as a side business

(If you are looking to hire someone for editorial or ebook production, check out the rate sheet of services I offer.)

Technologies Used: XML Oxygen Author, Docbook 5, MS Office, Docbook XSLT stylesheets, Gimp, Audacity,  Sony Vegas Pro 12

Samples: Author Website

Dates: 8/2010 to present

References/TestimonialsJack Matthews (author)  , Amy Valentine (author)

Since 2010 I have run a small ebook publishing company called Personville Press. So far, I have published 7 ebooks already, with current agreements to publish 4 more. I do this during my breaks between jobs and contracts, but I also work on these projects to a lesser degree when I am working full time.  This is   a “fledgling business” which I expect to grow over time.

On the business side, I:

  • Negotiated publishing terms  with the author and wrote everything up in a legally enforceable contract.
  • Set up a (rudimentary) accounting system for tracking royalties and transferring payments to the author.
  • Created marketing strategy and identified potential audience for the product.
  • Wrote press releases, product descriptions and announcements for online stores,  blogs and social media.
  • Hired talent as needed for illustrations, actors, studio engineers.
  • Evaluated ebook distribution channels for  reach and revenue potential.
  • Set up a customer relationship management system using market data I have personally collected.  (In progress)

On the technical side, I:

  • Created a Docbook XML-based toolchain for producing ebooks.
  • Researched ebook standards and implementations from the different devices and distribution channels.
  • Wrote  simple XSLT customizations to optimize the ebook file and a CSS template appropriate for the ebook and device.
  • Tested ebook templates for the major devices and ebook platforms.
  • Ran a promotional website for the author.
  • Set up a turnkey shopping cart solution for customers to buy digital files directly.

On the editorial side, I:

  • Selected and proposed material for the ebook.
  • Wrote prefaces and relevant supporting  material.
  • Queried author for clarifications  and offering editorial suggestions when appropriate.
  • Set up a workflow for editing and producing an ebook (Basically, MS Word –> Filtered HTML –> Docbook XML –> Epub files).
  • Proofed text thoroughly and submitted files and metadata to distribution channels.

On the multimedia side, I:

Producing Instructional Web Demos

Tools Used: Adobe Captivate 3, Audacity, Gimp

Samples: See the Screencast Page

Screencasts  are effective ways to walk users and customers through configuration and daily use of software.  In many cases, they can convey the series of steps for configuring something more easily than a page of written documentation.

At Enfold, I prepared two different kinds of screencasts.

First,  I prepared two in-depth tutorials about how to use Enfold Proxy (an integration tool for Windows System Administrators).   The product itself had a good interface and was easy to use, but many system administrators  had problems with the underlying concepts of how Internet Information Services (IIS) worked with web applications.  To address this I prepared a tutorial screencast which covered the core concepts of how to deploy a Plone web site on IIS.    A second in-depth tutorial  covered  advanced topics about how to integrate different kinds of web content inside the same host on an IIS site.

Work Involved: These in-depth tutorial screencasts were several minutes long  and included audio.   I identified   a learning objective, created  learning scenarios,  wrote a script,  recorded animation with Captivate, edited audio with Audacity, synchronized   audio with slides and corrected continuity errors.

I also produced several simple screencasts without audio. These screencasts were used to demonstrate how to perform simple tasks in a content management system called Plone. Some  were shown at product demonstrations to clients. The goal was simply to show how Plone  focused on accomplishing simple tasks within the content management system.