Learning About Online Publishing

Eventually, you’ll likely read absolutely everything in electronic format. As e-book readers like the Kindle and Nook (too many to list) become more popular and the cost of producing paper-based products continues to increase, people will naturally gravitate toward the less expensive medium. Yes, many older people, like me, will continue to enjoy at least their fictional reading in paper format, but even the most steadfast amongst us has gravitated toward e-book format for professional and technical reading.

Besides saving trees and reducing costs, e-books make it possible to bring many marginal topics to market. An aspiring author can self publish books that a publisher might not be willing to touch because the perceived profit margins are too low. Articles such as Bestseller Success Stories that Started Out as Self-Published Books point out the times when publishers simply got it wrong. The book idea really produced a great book, but the publishing staff didn’t know it. Of course, self-publishing can also produce atrocities that can hardly be called literature. The book publisher has acted as a kind of testing ground for book material in the past, but that era has passed and now the consumer must filter out the good from the relatively large flow of bad material.

There are many sites online that tell you about online publishing and getting your work self-published. I personally started with Creating an e-book: Tips on formatting and converting your document. It’s a comprehensive article with a lot of great tips that just about anyone will find useful. A problem with many of the resources you find online is that they’re oriented toward a particular genre, device type, publication method, or content type so that the advice is less useful than it could be.

However, my favorite new source of information for everything to do with e-book publishing is The Electronic Author. The material on this blog is published by someone who actually does output a number of e-books each year and has a copious number of books to his credit, Wallace Wang. In fact, I recently reviewed on such offering, Math for the Zombie Apocalypse. So, unlike many other places you could go for information, this blog really is run by someone with a considerable amount of experience.

The point I’m trying to make is that if you do plan to self-publish the next great American novel, you need to research the required techniques before you make the attempt. Otherwise, you could find that your book doesn’t sell well (or possibly at all). There are a lot of resources out there for improving your product. Everyone who wants to read your book also wants to see it in a usable format. Let me know your thoughts about self-publishing at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.


Review of Math for the Zombie Apocalypse

Making learning fun is something every author struggles with and few authors achieve. Math for the Zombie Apocalypse is one of the few books out there that actually make a mundane topic like mathematics fun. The essential content of this book is the same as the content for any beginning math book you have ever read. There is no way to get around the requirement of having to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. However, this book accomplishes its task with panache.

The reader is instantly engaged in a favorite topic of children today, avoiding zombies. Of course, it’s one thing to say that you want to avoid zombies, but it’s quite another to actually accomplish the task. Throughout the book, the reader is asked how he or she would prove their mettle against hoards of zombies roaming the land. The answer is to use math to figure out how to stay alive while less skilled acquaintances become zombies themselves.

Of course, the book is meant entirely in fun. The humor is grand and of the sort that children will enjoy immensely. However, the result of reading the book is that a child sees a useful purpose in learning math—even though this purpose is quite fictional in nature. Most math books out there are dry, humorless tomes filled with mind numbing repetition that will lull the most stalwart child to sleep. There is no reason that a child can’t learn new skills in a fun-filled environment. Before the reader realizes it, he or she has learned new and useful skills.

Fortunately, this isn’t the only book the author intends to write. You’ll want to wait to see the new additions to the for the Apocalypse series, but for now, make sure you check out Math for the Zombie Apocalypse, especially if you have a child that is having a hard time learning the basics. This is the sort of book that I wish had been available when I was growing up and one that I hope others see as being a valuable way to get kids interested in an essential topic. The press, teachers, parents, and even a few students complain about the low scores children achieve in basic math today, but this book does something about the problem.