Micanopy is the oldest continuously-settled inland town in Florida. This cemetery was founded in 1826 and has been operated by The Micanopy Historical Cemetery Association since 1905. Shaded by live oak trees and decorated with many azaleas, it is a beautiful place - and quite large for such a small town.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Book Promotion: What Works, What Doesn't TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics
By Joanna Cabot
Thanks to Nate over at The Digital Reader for alerting me to this great blog post by author Lindsay Buroker.
Buroker runs through a number of Amazon ‘tricks’ which, for various reasons, are losing steam as powerhouse author tools. Some tools, such as tagging and keyword manipulation, never worked that well anyway because people don’t tend to search for books using those methods. Others, such as freebie promotions, are less potent than they used to be because of Amazon’s restrictions on these practices.
So, what was Buroker’s perhaps surprising conclusion? She points out that authors should not lose heart when these things happen, because all of these ‘tricks’ were based on gaming the system—and a career built on ‘games’ will not be much of a career at all. What does work, then?
“The good news,” Buroker says, “is that the legitimate stuff that’s always worked (releasing good books, gradually building up a fan base, collecting readers’ email addresses for a mailing list, and promoting the next book to those loyal readers while continuing to collect new ones along the way) still works and should always work.”
I applaud Buroker’s sensible advice to aspiring authors. However, I do think some of this ‘gaming’ stuff may have a place in this marketplace. There is just so much stuff competing for the average Web surfer’s attention!
GigaOM just ran a great article where they surveyed a handful of people about their YouTube usage, and one person, a teenager, said he went on YouTube for an average of three hours a day, after his homework. Three hours! That is time this guy is spending on justone website! It boggles my mind. There is so much content available—much of it free or of inconsequential cost—that the problem is not ‘Joe Average User would have nothing to read or watch if it weren’t for the indie people widening his choices,’ but rather, it’s ‘Joe Average User is so overwhelmed by the content he has already that he is reluctant to learn about new content even if it’s cheap, available and something he might enjoy.’ How do you market to someone in this era of exploding choices?
Even an outlier like me, a fast reader who can plow through several books a week, is feeling the pressure. I somehow got subscribed to a free trial at Zinio of a weekly entertainment magazine. My RSS feeds require about an hour a day of reading, some of which I do on the bus on my way to work. I have about 200 novels in my backlog from the old days of Fictionwise deep discounts that I haven’t read yet. There are some 400-odd library books on my to-read list. There are a handful of spiritual and personal development books I enjoy that feature daily assigned readings. There are another handful of books in French (most from the library) that I read to keep my language skills up to snuff. And as for the classics, which I will pay for (even if it’s in the public domain) if the version is nice—it’s often cheaper to buy the complete works than it is to buy the single book you might be browsing for. I could get a year’s worth of reading just from the Dickens and Trollope collections!
Ultimately, Buroker is right, and the truly career-building, successful authors will be the ones who build a good old-fashioned fanbase the tried-and-true way. But I think that sometimes gimmicks do help authors break through the noise a little and get that audience base in the first place.
Of the authors I regularly follow, I can think of only three who entered my radar after I had gone ebook-only—Cory Doctorow, who I found via his blog and who I first tried thanks to a free giveaway; J.A. Konrath, whose blog was recommended to me by my sister and who had a freebie available for sampling; and Blake Crouch, who is a Konrath buddy and had a sample in one of Konrath’s books. I have read other indie books, but most of them were one-shot deals. Most of those authors didn’t have websites or mailing lists or new books coming out regularly. They had a chance with me, and then they just … didn’t do anything with it. As a result, they’ve fallen off my radar.
Obviously, not everyone can be a Konrath and crank out a dozen books a year. But he is a prolific—and good—blogger (as is Doctorow), and so can stay on my radar even when he doesn’t have a new book out. I don’t know what the magic solution is here.
Is it fair that most authors, even good ones, won’t attract much notice without working hard at the PR stuff? Maybe not. But that’s the difference between having a hobby and having a job. If authors are in this to make money, they have to do the less-fun business stuff too. The market is more open than it ever has been, but it’s more competitive, too.
Use the tricks to attract attention if you need to—but then have a solid career-building plan to back it up. That’s really the message authors should be hearing.
An interesting look at book promotion. . .
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Thanks to Devesh over at WPKube for putting together this super-useful list of resources for those first getting into WordPress. From books to blogs and blogs to themes and plugins, you’ll find plenty of awesome WP resources. Check it out!
A lot of magic happens around the kitchen table. It’s where we eat, share how our day went, sort our bills and read the paper. It’s where the girls do their homework and make art. This morning Audrey made a camera out of paper, glue and paint. There was no prompting from us and no asking for help on her end. She did it all on her own. I love that she felt inspired to do something and went for it. I love the way her face lights up when she’s in creating mode.
The details she included are my favorite. There’s even details on the inside.
What creative projects are you working on right now?
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Day One for iOS With PDF Export
Day One is my favorite journaling app for iOS and OS X. The app was chosen as Mac app of the year by Apple, and for good reason: both on Macs and iOS devices, Day One is a finely crafted piece of software based on an even more powerful idea – archiving your memories. From my review:
Day One stands out because it’s not a tool, it’s a personal experience. I can tell you what Day One does, and I can write about the things I do with it. But I can’t tell you how you should use it.
In November 2012, the app was updated with tags, search, and support for MultiMarkdown footnotes. Version 1.10, released today, brings a new option to export your entries as PDF. The update also contains fixes and other improvements such as a new reminder sound, historical weather data increased from 3 to 30 days (useful when adding old entries), and a new font option.
PDF export is interesting because it enables Day One users to get their journal entries out of the app and save them in a format that is more future-proof than Bloom's own file format. Available in the Settings, you can export all entries at once, or filter specific ones by date range or tag. In my case, I filtered entries tagged with my dog's name and emailed a beautifully formatted PDF full of photos to my friends. Exports are listed in the same menu and they can be deleted with a single swipe. Email exports can contain attachments up to 25 MB in size, but the app also comes with an “Open In…” menu to send PDFs to other apps like Dropbox and Google Drive (if installed).
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
In part 2 of Jeff Carlson’s series, he’ll teach you about how to tag your images, use groups and albums, and how to remove pesky, unwanted images.
3. Tag Images
Ratings will help you find images you deem good or poor, but that’s just one aspect of a photo. You want to be able to quickly locate any photo later, not wade through everything—even if you’re looking at just the good stuff. Keyword tags spotlight the content of your images, not just their quality.
Unlike rating images, however, assigning keyword tags is a bit more work (and a bit less fun), which is why many people skip right past this step. But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to tag many images at once, and speed up the process so you gain all the benefits later when you’re trying to find specific images.
I approach tagging in two steps. First, I recommend tagging photos in bulk as much as possible, assigning them broad categories like “vacation” or “camping.” (You can add more specific tags to photos later, if you want.) Then, I enlist the Organizer’s help in identifying characteristics such as poor exposure or blur, as well as locating shots with people in them.
To start, choose Find > Untagged Items and select a group of photos you want to tag.
In the Keyword Tags panel, type one or more tag names, separated by commas, into the Tag Selected Media field (called the Add Custom Keywords field in Elements 11). Click the Apply button to assign the tags to the selected images. Any tags that don’t already exist in your Keyword Tags list are automatically created. If you prefer to use the mouse, drag a tag icon from the Keyword Tags panel onto one of the selected photos to apply it to all of them.
Tags appear below each photo thumbnail. In this example, two tag icons appear because the tags belong to separate tag groups.
As always, I want the Organizer to do much of the work for me, so after I apply tags manually, I turn to two features that automatically assign some helpful tags.
First, the Auto Analyzer scans your library and applies smart tags based on what it finds in each image, such as whether shots are blurred, over- or under-exposed, and other attributes. You’ll find the Auto Analyzer option in the Preferences dialog. To access it, choose Edit>Preferences (Mac: Adobe Elements Organizer>Preferences). In the Preferences dialog, click Media-Analysis from the column on the left. Then, under the Auto Analyzer Options, check the Analyze Media for Smart Tags Automatically option. To scan your entire catalog, click OK. If you’d like to scan only a range of photos, select them and then choose Edit>Run Auto-Analyzer (Elements 8–10; Elements 9–10 for Mac) or File>Run Auto-Analyzer (Elements 11). Media analysis takes a while, so it’s probably something you want to run overnight, especially if you’re scanning a year’s worth of photos.
When the analysis is complete, a purple tag appears beneath the photos; hover over the tag icon or double-click the photo to reveal what the Organizer found. You can then select a smart tag in the Keyword Tags panel (called just the Tags panel in Elements 11) to view only photos with that tag, and remove or hide shots that are problematic.
The other tagging tool I use is the Organizer’s feature for locating people. If you’ve used the Organizer’s people tags before, you may be rolling your eyes that I would suggest a feature that has the potential to suck away vast quantities of free time. If so, I offer a suggestion: Tag only the handful of people who are important to you. Don’t worry about maintaining an encyclopedia of everyone who’s passed before your lens.
In Elements 10 and earlier, click the Start People Recognition button in the Keyword Tags panel, or choose Find>Find People For Tagging. In Elements 11, click the Add People button in the task bar at the bottom of the screen. The Organizer locates photos with faces in them, and asks you to identify them.
The advantage of this feature is that once you’ve successfully tagged folks, the Organizer does a good job of identifying them in other pictures—with a little manual work on your part. The next time you add a batch of photos to the library, run the Find People for Tagging (or Add People) command on the newcomers. This time around, the Organizer identifies possible matches and gives you the option of excluding ones that are incorrect. When it asks you to identify other people, you can click Cancel to skip the step (unless you want to include those folks, too). Later, when you’re looking for an embarrassing photo of your brother, you can quickly bring up everything he’s in.
4. Group Images into Albums
I think of albums in their analog incarnation—paper books that contain a selection of photos pulled from a shoebox (or drawer, or cabinet, or steamer trunk). As such, I find myself creating albums only for specific events that I want to refer to later, rather than trying to organize everything into discrete albums.
When I do create an album, though, I like this trick: Instead of creating an empty album and then dragging photos into it, select all (or most) of the photos first, and then click the Add (+) button in the Albums panel and choose New Album. Everything selected is added to the album, so all you have to do is give it a name and click Done.
A digital album doesn’t need to have the same permanence that a physical one does, however. I mentioned earlier that it’s best to finish rating photos before editing them to avoid getting bogged down. Here’s a tip: Create a temporary album and, as you review, add photos that you definitely want to go back and edit, so you don’t have to scan your library again later on (even if the images are already set apart by their star ratings). This approach lets you stay focused on organizing, and gives you a handful of images you can start editing when you’re done.
5. Remove Unwanted Images
And now we come to the “clean up” portion of the new-year cleanup. You can push toys into the corners of your room for only so long before you run out of space or can’t open the closet door. Although it’s unlikely you’re going to run out of disk space for your photos (and you can easily buy a larger hard disk), the clutter can get in the way.
Using some of the techniques I’ve outlined, identify the photos that can be deleted, hidden, or archived. If you want to deal with the rejects in one step, create a temporary album into which you can sweep the photos you locate using the following options:
- If you haven’t already, locate duplicates.
- Use the smart album or saved search you created to view all unrated photos.
- Click the name of a smart tag, like Blur, to review only those shots to see if they’re keepers (with interesting potential) or just shooting errors you want to remove.
How you act on these files is a personal choice. I used to think I should keep everything, just in case that out-of-focus shot of the top of my shoe might turn out to be a masterpiece of surrealistic color. In that case, hiding the photos is the solution: Select the images and choose Edit>Visibility>Mark As Hidden. This command effectively removes them from your library without actually trashing the files.
However, even in an age when hard disk storage is relatively cheap, I realize I don’t need to keep all my crummy photos. To remove them, select them and press Delete. You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to remove the images from the catalog and given the option to also delete them from the hard disk.
Or, there’s a middle-ground option. Create an archive by dragging the photos from the Organizer’s window to a new folder on your desktop (or on another disk or network volume) and then delete the originals from your catalog.
Clean Sweep for a New Year
Whether you’re actually sorting photos at the start of a new calendar year or just stealing time during a long weekend, you’ll end up with a cleaner library that contains the photos you want to see, organized in ways that make it easy to locate specific shots. Most important, you won’t have a chaotic library waiting for you when you start importing new batches of images.
Jeff Carlson is the author of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11: Visual QuickStart Guide (2012; Peachpit Press) and all editions of the book back to Version 5, as well as The iPad for Photographers. He’s also a columnist for the Seattle Times and believes there’s never enough coffee.