Edited and produced 2 paperback books for sale

Technologies Used: MS Office 2013,  Sublime text editor, Gimp

Samples: (Coming soon)

Dates: 4/2013- 10/2013

References/Testimonials: Amy Valentine (author)

Although my primary interest is publishing ebooks,  I have played an instrumental part in publishing paperback copies of 2 books with Createspace.com

The first book was a 250+ page  technical book about open source software which was supported by a previous employer. I did all of the production work (except for cover design). I did all of the writing and most of the editing as well. I wrote one edition in 2010 (and described it thoroughly here).  Between 4/2013 and 9/2013 I did a thorough rewrite of the same book, adding several chapters and providing more reference material.  I used the same docbook xml to PDF production method I used for the first edition to produce a PDF suitable for printing by Createspace.

From 9/2013 to 10/2013, I did substantial editing of a personal memoir. I provided technical and marketing advice to the author. I also produced the book in two different book formats (Kindle and .epub)  and in a PDF version suitable for printing by Createspace. For the paperback edition, I customized a commercial MS Word template and ensured that everything met the Createspace specifications. For the ebook edition, I produced a Kindle format and tested it for usability on the most popular Kindle platforms. I also produced a general epub for Barnes and Noble and the iPad.

Producing a 246 page technical book

Technologies Used: XML Oxygen Author, Docbook 5, SnagIt, Subversion,  XEP PDF Processor, Personal Brain mindmap software, iAnnotate PDF, Visio

Samples: Here and Here. (More available upon request).

Linkedin Testimonial: CEO Alan Runyan

Dates: 2/2010 to 9/2010; 2013. 2nd Revised edition from  5/2013 to 10/2013.

I wrote a 246 page technical book User’s Guide to Plone 4. It was a total rewrite of the prior edition (which I  helped to edit). For the Plone 4 edition, I wrote 100% of the content (including the interior artwork, layout, glossary and index). Besides the cover art and technical review, I did the planning, formatting and organization of the content, plus most of  the editing. I did it as a work-for-hire with my previous employer, and provided camera-ready copy to Amazon’s Createspace for print publication. (A PDF version is also for sale at a reduced price).  The target audience was the beginning/intermediate  end user for Plone, an open source content management system.

I wrote the content entirely in an XML language for publishing  called  Docbook 5. I wrote an XSLT customization layer that used the XSL-FO Docbook stylesheets for producing a PDF. In this customization layer, I specified layout features, title page features, font defaults and simple XSLT transformations to make the content presentable.  I used the XEP PDF processor from RenderX. Using the SnagIt tool, I made print-ready screenshots and did light editing of graphics for it. Through experimentation, I devised a method and minimum requirements for producing graphics. Using diagrams I also created original diagrams to illustrate workflow states in the Plone content management system.  Also, I had to import a small amount of information from the previous edition which was produced using LaTex.

The subject of the book was already something I was relatively familiar with. I’d written Plone documentation for Enfold for 2 years, but for this project, I had to identify newbie issues and explain lots of areas that typically give problems to end users. Plone 4 was a major version change with new features, and my company’s goal was for the book’s release to coincide approximately with the release of the software. During the writing of the book, I was working with “beta software” and had to deal with numerous bugs, interface idiosyncrasies and things which had never been documented. To gather information, I did a lot of testing on my own, but I followed developer mailing lists and user forums for information. During the whole process, I filed about a dozen bugs with the software project.

Here are some details about the overall production process:

  • Outlining and Information Gathering using Personal Brain mindmapping software. I chose chapter subjects after extensive discussion with Enfold staff.
  • Regular checkins into a subversion repository using Tortoise SVN.
  • Although I worked mainly from home, I gave project reports weekly with Enfold managers.
  • We did project tracking using a customized version of JIRA. I assigned questions and tasks to Enfold developers, and Enfold people assigned tasks and bugs to me. Technical review & editing were managed 100% on JIRA.
  • I used Oxygen XML Author to author the XML directly. Even though it supports a WYSIWIG view, I decided to use iPad’s iAnnotate app to do proofreading and edits directly on the PDF (which I would later transfer to the XML).

“What’s New” Software Guides

End User/Intended Audience: new customers & existing customers wishing to upgrade.

During my work at TI, I produced two “What’s New” guides. These were 8-10 page documents that were released on the website whenever there was a major release.

These two documents provide a user-friendly view of the new features in the new software product. The aim was to make a persuasive case for upgrading.

To obtain the information for these documents, I used existing online help which I created (along with other team members) during the early phases of product development. Later, I worked with the product’s marketing team to figure out which features to emphasize and how they would benefits to the user. I drafted the original document but amended it several times during the draft phase to incorporate suggestions from reviewers.

Tools used: Initially, we used an in-house Unix-based content management system to generate PDFs. Later, my company started migrating all their documentary repositories to be XML-based, so for the second one I used the XMetal XML editor to produce structured XML content (using an in-house DTD) which later was transformed by the Astoria XML document repository into PDF content.