With traditional media in crisis, journalists are increasingly turning to e-books to self-publish their work.
Journalist Marc Herman published his article The Shores of Tripoli as an Amazon Single in late 2011. As a foreign stringer, he was aiming to get a better financial deal out of the work he was already doing, as he explains on his blog.
Recently, Herman and the designer and director for digital publishing project Ganso y Pulpo, Pablo Barrio Aller, taught a course on e-books for journalists.
In an interview with IJNet, Barrio Aller said publishing in e-book format has several advantages: "The immediacy of distribution, elimination of geographic barriers, the lower costs (paper, printing, stocks, copies returned) and the implicit technical potential."
Here are five tips Barrio Aller gave journalists who want to self-publish their stories as e-books.
Remember the capabilities of digital books. Take advantage of features like hyperlinks that add to the richness of the text.
Respect formatting features. Respecting the technical requirements required by the format is critical. "For example, if there are footnotes, they must be linked together, allowing the reader to move back and forth in a single click,” Barrio Aller said. It's preferable not to use superscripts to reference footnotes because they may complicate reading on mobile devices.
Be ready to be journalist and publisher. "You must design and write your book in one or more formats, create a cover, and be responsible for distribution and dissemination through various marketing strategies," Barrio Aller said.
Quality counts. Make sure that both the content and the format are high quality if you want to sell.
Pick a hot topic--or an evergreen one. Barrio Aller says both in-depth reports on current topics or evergreen issues (such as youth, drugs, health or profiles) work as e-books. He also suggested exploring other forms of literary journalism.
Photograph nuestraherenciaco in Flickr. Creative Commons Licence