Listed under the “Ten Year Goals” category, writing a book has been on my bucket list for some time now. It wasn’t about publishing a book so much as it was about getting out something I am passionate about in a way that can benefit others. For this first book, “Travel the World – Come Back Alive,” is written to prepare travelers of any experience level for international travel. From basic baggage requirements to selecting body armor for entering hostile environments, it provides a vast spectrum of resources. It was developed as a result of my photojournalism work both domestically and across five continents, from real life lessons often discovered the hard way. One of the greatest challenges with historically traditional publishing is the cost of printing, an expense that makes your content relatively no better or worse aside from aesthetics and tangibility. Printing physical books is expensive, and inversely, less expensive per unit with a larger investment in physical copies. Often the writer has to front the cost, sometimes even warehouse the books, and then there’s physical distribution… In my case, I turned to Apple’s iBooks Author for iPad and Mac. The software is free for Mac OS X, and Apple uses iTunes as the distribution platform for the iBookstore: it is well established for music, movies, iOS apps, and now written content. Books under 100 MB can be downloaded over any data connection without requiring wifi. Publications designed in iBooks Author are limited to iBooks, but does not require an expensive ISBN number if the iBookstore is the only distribution channel used. Sourcing personal experiences and a catalog of over half a million photographs from all over our big blue sphere, I was able to write, design, revise, and publish a book in one rather intense month. Granted, the imagery and experience to write the book took over five years to collect. Learning the iBooks Author platform was fairly straight forward, but there are many deep features, some of which are a necessity to self publish successfully. The legal infrastructure is inclusive, another benefit of working with Apple and iBooks Author. Writing about something I’ve immersed myself in was, in reality, probably the simplest part of the process, and that is not to belittle the task. I found it as challenging to write this book as it was to complete a 1500 word feature on my work with ANCER in India, published this month (May 15th in Fine Living Lancaster Magazine). But the incredibly high number of occasions I thought the book was complete, only to find more errors, was unexpected. The most intensive investment of this entire process was completing copy and layout revisions. Once completed, the book was submitted for approval via iTunes Connect, which itself required sign up approval. iBooks Author walks writers through the entire process, but understand that some steps require a waiting period of up to a few days.
In my case, just four days after submitting my book for approval, came the most rewarding event: seeing the work published on iBookstore! And it looks amazing on an iPad.
My sincere hope is that this can be a valuable resource for many in anticipation of travel, preventing a host of challenges and setting travelers up for success. The book, “Travel the World – Come Back Alive” is available for a limited time at the introductory price of $1.99 on iBooks for iPad and Mac, and includes a PDF download for smart phones.