Oct. 1st There is no paper trail behind a digital book
TAKEAWAY: My digital book, The iPad Design: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet, began as blog posts in which I shared what I was learning about the iPad, one topic at a time. Eventually, there were enough piled up to string up as a book. The blue folder on my desktop became fatter, while there is no paper trail to file away on my bookshelf.
The iPad Design Lab book began as a series of blog posts titled The iPad Lab: it was an immediate reaction to whatever I would learn new on the iPad
The iPad Lab blog posts were illustrated with some of the earliest examples of news apps
Somehow, those editor’s notes and suggestions for correcting the original text on yellow stickies to the side of the copy were less intimidating than the old fashioned way: lines crossed over one’s text!
One day not too long ago, as I was finishing the revision of a chapter for The iPad Design Lab: Storytelling in the Age of the Tablet, I went upstairs to my office at home to dig into the manuscripts of one of my first books, Color in American Newspapers. There it was: a fat folder full of pages with corrections, two or three pages glued together, photos, my sketches, scribbles, etc. To look at that folder was to relive the experience of how that book came to be.
The thought occurred to me then: where is my “file” for this Storytelling book?
Immediately, I realized that there is NO physical folder as such to file items away under “manuscript” or “revised version.“
Instead, there is a blue folder on my desktop labeled The iPad Lab, and it contains the entire non-paper collection of original texts, corrected texts, illustrations and final versions of the chapters. Nothing tangible, but it is all there, nonetheless.It is there at the ready and it travels with me, and it does not occupy any space in the already bursting at the seams bookshelves that I keep at home in Tampa.
What it is, instead, is a combination of vaguely labeled files all of which begin with The iPad Book, followed by some indication of specifics after the colon: storytelling, economics, illustrations.
Instead of some editor’s handwritten scribbles of how the text should read, there are yellow stickies to the side of the text.
Perhaps the edited material on those yellow stickies is not as intimidating as an editor’s handwriting, in red ink, shown over lines that have been crossed as not good enough.
Stickies on the side of the manuscript appear more like “suggestions” to amend and to improve a manuscript than the definitive crossed lines with the required correction over it which are, well, so military and dictatorial, if you wish.
Once a line of our own writing has been crossed over by an editor who thinks he can say it better, that line is gone, forever deleted from the page, and our subconscious; but, the sticky to the side of the text appears more like a suggestion: If you don’t mind, would this sentence sound better if you altered the verb?????
Welcome to the world of digital publishing, where you don’t need to bring paper, marking pencils and, definitely, no red pens.
It is also a place where the editor can also leave the attitude at home. Those yellow stickies remind me of happy faces, sort of smiles that muffle the ouch of our seeing our own glorious writing substituted with someone else’s idea of how it could be better.
Perhaps authors of a certain age like me ponder about such changes in the way we transact business and write books these days.
What has not changed, however, is the fact that one must begin with a solid idea, and one must research that idea to exhaust all information on the subject.
One must be reporter, researcher, scholar and editor to get the goods together. Just like it was in 1981 and before that, too.
From blog posts to book
This book, The iPad Design Lab, began as mere annotations in my blog, which I titled The iPad Lab, because they represented just that: occasionally, I would translate my thoughts, observations and recently found information, into blog entries. After a while, there were plenty of them to inspire the book.
In the tradition of looking back to put all the pieces together in some type of folder that can remind me where it all started, I have spent part of my weekend reviewing it all.
I see things that I liked at the time that did not make it into the book, but I see plenty of what was originally there and is still a vibrant part of the book as published now.
I started one of the blog posts saying “the iPad is a definite game changer.“
Not a word changed here.
It still is, and the degree to which it will continue to change the game is probably greater today than it was two years ago when I first wrote those lines. After all, 65 million iPads sold so far with many more coming should be our best indicator that this is a platform with a future.
Previous blog posts about The iPad Design Lab
Designing and editing The iPad Design Lab
From print to digital: an author’s reinvention
1st Middle East News Design Conference
It promises to be a great program, and a historic one, too: the first SND Middle East gathering. Put it on your calendars: November 8 & 9, in Beirut, Lebanon. Sponsored by An-Nahar and SND.
For more information:
TheMarioBlog post #1107
Posted by Dr. Mario R. Garcia on October 01, 2012
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Dr. Mario R. Garcia
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