Using iTunes Producer for iBooks upload

Just a quick note on iTunes Producer use.

  • Log in with the client account – not your own!
  • Have a copy of the book cover ready – 1440px on the shortest side. Note: landscape vs portrait – it’s not clear yet. I’ve just tried landscape, and will report back how that goes.
  • Get ready with your categories: Pick BISAC then drill down to where you want to be placed in the catalogue.
  • Have a description ready, and the page count.
  • Have the .epub, or .ibooks file(s) ready – you’ll need a sample file too! 10% of the book is fair.
  • Know your prices – this is where you’ll be able to set it for all territories. I picked everything (DRM free) and set the price for my UK value (£2.99) which worked out as $4.49. You also have to set a print book price: this is compulsory, so I picked £11.99 (even though there isn’t a print book).

That’s it. Pretty easy. I’ll feedback later as to how the upload and position in the store fares.



Launching into iBooks (Author)





After yesterdays full jump into Calibre, today saw none of it. Today was all about picking up my MacBook Pro and mucking about with iBooks Authors. I’ve used this software once before to create a book for the iPad and loved working with it. All day long I’ve been refreshing my memory, digging into the templates and dropping a rough PDF into it. I managed to get a lot done very quickly. 11 pages of my rough book conversion, tbh. I say ‘rough’ because, I’m keen to rebuild my entire book twice. Yes, twice. Why? Because I want to really learn to bash out a book in ultra-quick time, and I believe version 2 will be better (more consistent) that version 1. 

That’s dedication for you! What better way to learn, than on the job 🙂 

I might get some time to work on it more over the weekend, which I hope I can do, because I came over and said to Avila, how much I loved, loved, loved, working with iBooks Author. 

I feel like it is a great culmination of my skill set: design, development, creative writing, technology and software. I feel like I want to turn this into a full service and promote now. 

As for yesterday’s Calibre work, that’s going to sit on the back burner for a while – need to prioritise this iBook first! 

Lovin’ it – Mark 🙂


bring human emotion online

Don’t confuse things by giving me options, we’re all looking for an emotional connection.

Nothing online taps into that. How long has the emoticon been around? How long has it been used, missused, and ignored. People want their emotions to been seen and heard – where is it? why don’t we have it? its one of the most basic human functions surely? We can’t operate in a real world without it, yet its been skipped from every single online invention since the web began. Are we all missing something here? Have we all lost the plot, by getting excited by videos and photos?? Why aren’t people thinking about tapping in to the value of human emotion? Think about how people need it. What they do to show it, and give me that – don’t give me an option. I don’t get the option in the real world. Attach it, to my profile, make it right and make it work and watch those millions and millions of people jump on it and want to be part of it.

You cannot exist without emotion – unless you’re online. Get with the program people. 

The new brand you:
Certain things we adopt with alarming speed. Leaving people everywhere playing catchup, kids deciding for themselves whats good and bad and in the time it takes to send a text killing a brand name dead, wiping out entire platforms and causing a chaos theory shift like a South pacific tsumani.

The industry takes a massive hit in revenue, research companies make staff redundant as their predictions fall by the failing wayside and suddenly people are chasing vague micro trends with all the success of fishing for tadpoles.

If ‘they’ decide, that newspapers are dead, then goodbye print. Books are a waste of space and the latest technological development coming out of Japan is the latest Christmas must have. Where are we to go? What are we all chasing? The old days of being told how things were, in safety of Tomorrows World, or John Cravens Newsround gave us stability. We could grasp the finite future, we could prepare, we could see far enough ahead to plan our route to move into it, or away from it. But now we’re being driven into it whether we like it or not. If we don’t have a piece of technology, we’re dead. If we have a piece of technology but don’t use it, or worse, don’t know how to use it, then we’re equally dead. Wheel me in to a nursing home now and feed me soup through a straw.

Its chaos out there. We’re chasing chaos. Its a brand new Chaos theory we’re chasing and being pushed towards. You think you don’t fit in this world now? you wait 20mins. Sony are about to launch a new service that destroys everything that you’ve every thought about the way we communicate. Microsoft haven’t produced a super light weight Windows 7 version for nothing. Googles Android is public, Nokia’s new free unlimited music service – in a blink of a marketing print run, the face of music has shifted from a ‘buy this’ to a ‘have this – we’ll pay for it’.

Brand loyalty is more than just a marketing saying. People are valued again for as long as they don’t uSwitch their content straight out in to the hands of the next 5 min strong competitor. What are we doing? Where are we going? Who is steering us now? Its not a question of which ripple do we latch on to, but where the hell are the ripples coming from in the first place, who is starting them? and should the momentum even be listened to?

If the kids are on the cutting edge, and they are starting the ball rolling, should we steer them? Away from what they want and into what we need from them. Today’s news report, showed an advert describing kids as vermin that are being hunted and shot, to keep the numbers from spiralling out of control on the streets. They are the ripples that we’re chasing to control whilst trying to keep up with. Companies are no longer listening to the buying power of civilised media driven trends, but generating content and products and services reacting to the 5 mins fancies of kids that don’t have a clue what they want from life. But as long as there is a revenue stream attached, its all good. Or is it?

Should society pull itself back into line and stop pandering? Is the democracy of the Internet, killing everything that made sense of the world? not only will old people feel detatched from this world, but the middle aged too. If we don’t chase down and put some degree of control on this digital world we’ll be picking up the debris for decades to come and there won’t be a politician in sight to point the finger at.

Design for what is missing:
For a digital business to succeed today, not only must the content be visual, free, customisable and reliable, it needs to be instantly accessible, all content contributions need to be exportable, I need to be able to invite who I like, block who I like and delete every piece of shrapnel with no hint of an IP address. Forget about being practical and having longevity and being useful. The longtail police don’t care. Slap a donate button on there and live for the next 10 years in the Cayman Islands off the sale proceeds to Yahoo.

You’ve got an option to ride the wave with your self destructive email address, false ID and stream the whole thing down to a filter system of online contacts that have yet to be thought about. No login for the past week which hasn’t been authorised by your Google calendar? Adios, terminate everything and format c: We need an ejector seat, a poison pill online that allows us to go through and delete all. Wipe the net and start again. Its all a big game right?  this isn’t our lives? surely? Our lives are real, and physical and confrontational where we have to be responsible for our actions? and full of emotion whereby guilt exists for real and we can hurt people, not by deleting their avatar, or spamming their inbox, but by making someone cry.

Emotion is the missing link. We need the web to reconnect with human emotion. We should be heading towards a free online, democratic, contributory community where will emot for others around us. We are notified if they have been hurt, if they cry, if they are confused and regret and feel guilty. It should be public and it shouldn’t be deletable it shouldn’t be controlled by us, it becomes real. The Internet and its participants, becomes beautiful and responsible, we are human again online and restricted by everything we do because there are direct repercussions to our actions.

We are human, and we are online. don’t give me an emoticon in my email, I can ignore that. Count and monitor the reactions of other people to my actions. Measure that, put that online and offline, don’t allow me to hide it, or delete it. Force me into becoming a responsible adult again.

Companies listen up, don’t design me the next phone, or give me the more material possessions in a digital format, give me the biggest thing I cannot express correctly online, yet want so much to be known for, my emotion, my humour, my compassion and my love for others.

Then I will be happy. I will become human, online.

mark – insert immeasurable smiley face for the billionth time.

A Proper experience

A Proper experience

When was the last time you went to the theatre? Ok. Now when was the last time you got paid to go to the theatre? Not often i bet. The Theatre isn’t somewhere I go, I like the idea of it, but I don’t have excess money, and when I do I use it to treat myself on DVDs CDs or going to see a live band or watch a film. Theatres, plays and musicals are an extra luxury – or possibly an extra-extra luxury.

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to work on behalf of MediaSnackers with the Everyman theatre group up in Liverpool, that were putting on a production of Proper Clever. And it is here that I got my first chance to experience a play since I was 12yrs old, playing ‘winky’ in rather majestic performance of ‘wee willy winky’ at school. I held the lamp btw, and I’m certain I was selected for the part due to my cute factor (no really) … I was small for my age, blond, cute, confident and had to sing a song – I dreaded doing it, and it possibly scarred me for life, but hey doesn’t everything?

Soo, the play in question felt rather odd to start with, the only similarities I had in my mind was going to ‘The Brand New Heavies’ (youtube link) in Colston Hall, Bristol 15yrs ago, when I went upstairs to the seats for a good view and gradually edged open my jacket to reveal my homemade BNH t-shirt (yes I was that much of a fanboy – and still am, minus the t-shirts). The playhouse theatre took me right back to those days, expecting a band to come on and be mesmerised by people standing still, moving only their fingers. Proper Clever basically performed a full frontal lobotomy on me within the first 10secs with impressive visuals and captivated my attention throughout with almost flawless young actors and a constant stream of remarkable dialogue from writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce (imdb link) that must have researched his target audience with the same precision of David Attenborough poking his fingers for several months into a pack of lions.  

The play was dripping in digital references and had visuals that left me wondering how it was all created – things have clearly moved on in the theatre going world, since my stage debut. By the end of the experience, I was definitely wow’d, my eyes had been opened up to something missing from my experience for over 20yrs. Luckily the subject matter was bang on my mentality and I could identify with most of the references made and in jokes played. 


Regarding my involvement, I had been lucky enough to spend some time training and assisting young people ages 14 – 19 to develop their media skills to become Digital Journalists. Throwing young people in at the deep end to try things they have never done before, is always a risk, as the whole project could backfire if the ole teenage rebellion kicks in, but I honestly have to say that kids came up trumps… everyone achieved beyond our expectations and stepped up to the challenge with great results. Don’t take my word for it, stop by their blog and watch the action unfold each night as the performance runs. 

In a nutshell the Everyman crew hired MediaSnackers to spice up their project and introduce some new ideas technologies and platforms for connecting with their audience. That we did, in bucket loads. But that’s not what this post is about – working with people that want to learn and develop their skills into positive future for themselves, is what makes me get up in the morning… and the more work I can do like that, the better. 

out – Mark

dipping my fingers in eInk

I have me eReader… and now I need to blog about it. But I don’t want to talk about what it is, I want to talk about what it will be. 

The moment I switched it on, and saw the screen quality, was the moment I realised that all my printed books would slowly become obsolete. Remember the first time you converted, ripped or downloaded an Mp3? that feeling that everything from here on, is set to change – that’s the same feeling I had over this shiny brushed metal machine.

The reading surface is what I want to shout about. Not the technology from the brand, the screen, or ‘surface’ – which is probably a better name for it. It isn’t a screen, it doesn’t resemble anything I have ‘ever’ owned. Think about that. Or anything you have ever owned.

Consider your LCD watch, your laptop, your calculator, your microwave digital timer, your tv screen, your phone, your mp3 player and now consider that the screen on the eReader does not resemble any of those at all. This is new. New like the iPod touch. Its that new. Not ‘new’ as in recent, ‘new’ as in different, revolutionary and unprecedented.

Its a surface, not a screen. It isn’t backlit, it isn’t glossy, and this is the big one…. the brighter the day the better it works. You have to try one of these things to understand what I’m talking about. Every other electrical device you own, that has a screen of some sort, fails in sunlight. This thing excels. This is the very first digital electrical device I have ever owned that I want to take outside in the blinding summer (ok autumn) sunshine.

This surface (not this product) will replace books, it will make your book collection obsolete, publishers are right to be worried, paper now has a serious competitor and one day you will understand exactly why I am this certain.