Monday, 28 May 2012

eBook Little Fish Hits 3,000 Downloads!

The success of Little Fish the eBook has been quite staggering. I first made this book with my son, John about a year ago in a printed version. John came home one day from playing to show me a tiny fish that he had caught from a river in the housing complex that we live in. He had so much to tell me about this fish and I encouraged him to take me to the river to show me where he caught it.

I took my iPhone to take photos and John rode his bike. I asked John to tell me the story as we went and I took photos to be later put into the book.

We downloaded the photos onto my Macbook and I put the story together using the program called Keynote. John was able to retell the story easily. We put a sentence for each photo keeping the story simple yet engaging.

Originally we wrote the story in Indonesian as John had only just turned 5 at the time and his English wasn't very fluent. Later I translated it into English. The result was then printed onto paper and I took it to a book binder to put a hard cover on it. John was able to share his book with his class but that's as far as it went.

I have been making books such as these for years here in Indonesia. Simple stories that can be printed up and hard bound for classroom use. It is very difficult to publish a book here in Indonesia. Most publishers will only print 3000 and so therefore will only choose books that have the potential to sell well.

'Little Fish' was well received by John's class and we kept a copy at home on our bookshelf. At that time there were no apps for creating books which allowed the user to have control over the layout. I have always used a simple layout style featuring large photos and simple text. I have preferred to use a landscape page orientation for picture books as I can make the picture really fill the page.

A few months ago I learned about an app on the iPad called Book Creator. I read that it can produce a file that is compliant with the requirements for the iBookstore. I started to use the app in different classes to produce books but I had not thought of publishing any of them. I decided that I needed a test product so I quickly revised 'Little Fish' making it in English only and adding voice recordings to make it more engaging.

I uploaded the book to iTunes Connect and set about getting it published. I have already written about that experience in a post here.

To date the book has been downloaded 3,000 times. I find myself thinking about why ...

It is simple and personal
It has full colour photos that show what happened
It has a voice recording which can help young children learning to read
It has been created by a child with help from his mother - not by a professional publishing house
What this means ...
It is amazing to think that people can now share their stories in this way. My son's book is regularly featured by Apple in the iBookstore alongside professional authors such as Beatrix Potter.  John gets feedback about his book from people on the other side of the world.  


The difference here is this book has gone through the same system that other authors experience - yet it was made by ordinary people.

Production - Editing - Selection (by Apple) - Marketing - Feedback

I know I keep saying this but this is the beginnings of the publishing revolution.

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