Apple held a big product announcement the other day, which was of particular interest to me since I’ve been working on a book with a partner, and we’ve been stumbling through the process ourselves. Rumor had it that Apple was introducing an application that would make ebook publishing easier, and last Thursday, that’s exactly what they did. Well, kinda.
The application is iBooks Author, and it’s free from the Mac App Store, so that’s pretty cool in itself. Even though it’s designed to be used only for textbook creation, there’s a lot of “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” stuff going on with the app, in that we know we can make it do what we need it to do. But there’s this big hoopla going on about the licensing agreement included with the app, particularly this part right here:
B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.
There’s been lots of pontificating on whether or not this was an overzealous lawyer or just Apple digging its heels in just like Amazon does with the Kindle, but I’ve got a different question.
I’ve been writing a book (well, several, actually) using Scrivener, because I love the way it functions. Let’s say I output the text to a Kindle file, and get the book published in the Amazon store, and then the book is happily found on Kindles wherever they happen to roam. Then let’s say that I output the text and import it into iBooks Author, add a bunch of videos and what-not, then push it to the iBookstore as a special “iPad-only” version of the book, does that count against me?
The way I see it (and I’m not a lawyer), I’d be in the clear. The EULA talks about the distribution of your work, and since iBooks Author was not the tool I used to create the Kindle version, I’m good — plus, I have files dating back prior to Thursday that prove the book was actually created in Scrivener, not in iBooks Author.
But am I looking into this too much? I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.
At last count, I have three different websites, two public Twitter accounts, one anonymous Twitter account, two Facebook pages and about five other social networks to discuss my thoughts. But here, on my personal site, the one I’ve had the longest, I want to talk about 2012.
Although I can pretend that 2011 wasn’t one of the most screwed up years in my life, it absolutely was one that I never want to go back to ever again. I’ve had a few of those in my lifetime: 1999 — I made a bad call and lost every friend I had, minus a guy in Pennsylvania and his dog, a pair I still have yet to meet in person. 2007 — The death of my sister, Kara, at just 27 years old. 2008 — When my wife was laid off for the first of three times, her grandmother passed from pancreatic cancer and our dog had to be put down. And then there’s 2011, the year in which my wife and I went into financial turmoil and finally came out of it better in the end.
In baseball terms, it’s called a transitional year; a period of time when a team isn’t expected to do very well, but the time is necessary for the team to contend the following season. After the hell that was 2010 (with the only bright point being the birth of our son), 2011 should be this last step before a kick ass 2012. That’s the hope, anyways.
So to prepare for this new year, I’ve been getting together a few projects that I’m pretty excited about. I talk about them over at Whipps Industries, but here’s the general concept: passive income.
I realized last year that although I could keep things status quo for myself and my family, there’s only so much time in the day and I tend to get burned out if I don’t give myself at least a little time off. And yet, I need to improve my income because at some point in the near future, we’re hoping to have another child, and if all things go well, my wife will stay home for part of that time as well. To do that, we need to make up her income, and although it’s not that substantial right now, it may be by the time the baby comes.
To make up that income, I need to create money when I’m not actively working. I attempted to do this in the past by selling prints of my work, but it turns out that I’m more focused on building my writing business than my photography, because I feel it’s a more lucrative option. That sounds weird to me even as I type it, but when you see the amount of outstanding invoices I have for my photography work, well you’d understand it too.
So what is this mystery project? I’m not going to let it all out yet, but I can say that I’ve been writing a book with my friend Marie Look, and we hope to have it done by sometime in the first quarter of 2012. We’re 22,000 words in so far, and I think that we’ve got an excellent start on this really fun project. Once that’s done, I have two other ideas in the works. One which involves a lot of capital, the other which is more of a time investment than anything.
These things will all start rolling together in 2012, and my hope is that by the time my company turns three in October, that the book will be out, project two will be in full swing and project three will at least be started.
If all things go according to plan, 2012 will be an awesome year.
Happy New Year.