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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Yes, You Can Have Your Book Published!
DDP Helps First-Time Authors through the Publishing Jungle

A lot of people have an idea for a book that they’d like to have published. It could be about their business or technical knowledge, a hobby, the history of a family or organization, or a work of fiction. Some authors want to sell their book to make money, while others plan to give it away as a gift or business promotion.

Regardless of the subject matter, one thing remains a constant — the prospective author gets lost in the jungle of the publishing process. Our flowchart provides an overview of the process. You can download a more detailed flowchart here. The detailed flowchart identifies tasks associated with each of the boxes in the flowchart below. It is color-coded to identify which of those tasks are typically completed by the author and which are completed by Data Designs Publishing.

Book Publishing Roadmap Overview

Yes, the publishing world feels like a jungle to first time authors. No worries, mate! We’ve gone ahead with our machete and cleared a path for you. Sure, you may still have some hard trekking to do, but we can help, and at a price that may pleasantly surprise you.

Here’s how to get started:

Step #1 – Believing You Can Do It!
The most daunting task for new authors is taking that first step – believing that they can write a book and get it published. Publishing gets easier by the day, but knowing the ropes hasn’t changed a lot – you’ll benefit from partnering with someone who has gone before you.

Step #2 – Writing Your Manuscript.
The second hardest task is preparing your manuscript – that is, writing your book. Again, we can help make your job easier. We recognize that writing comes more naturally to some people than others. We also know the pitfalls that trip new writers up. So we can help you organize your jumbled thoughts, provide innovative ideas for getting your words on paper, and we can even help with the writing itself if you’d like.

Step #3 – Everything Else!
Having a finished manuscript is just the start. But unless you start, you’ll never get to all the other steps. Data Designs Publishing can help you with all the other steps. We can create the layout for your book, work with you to design a cover, arrange to have your book printed, convert it to an ebook that you can sell on Amazon, and more. We’ve done it before and we’ve created a roadmap of the entire process, which you can download here.

Front Cover of My PoemsOur Specialty
By the way, our specialty is helping first-time authors get published. We recently helped a first-time author through the jungle, publishing My Poems by Cindy Hay with photography by Terry Caudill. We helped Cindy with proofreading, image editing, layout, cover design, printing, and distribution. She now has many copies for sale and for gifts, and it’s available for purchase on If you are a poetry lover, check out her book, My Poems. It is the first published collection of Cindy’s writings. It expresses vulnerability, joy and pain as she responds to life. All proceeds go to benefit Ekklesia Revived Prayer Center in Norwalk, OH. Copies may be purchased here.

What we did for Cindy, we can do for you. Give us a call at 419-660-0500 to discuss finding your path through the publishing jungle. With the right guide it’s easier than you think.

Creating interlocking letters in InDesign is easy – if you know the secret of the Paste Into command. We’re here to give you the secret.

We’re going to use our initial, DDP, to go from bland text on top of each other to pizzazz interlocking text.

Step 1 – Type the text in three text blocks and properly align them. They will overlap one another but not be interlocking. Our goal is to turn the overlapping letters into interlocking letters.

Step 1 in creating interlocking text in InDesign.

Step 1 – Type the text into 3 separate text blocks and align them properly. Notice that they are overlapping, but not interlocking.

Step 2 – With the Selection Tool, select the red D. We’re going to paste a portion of the red D over the green D.

Step 3 – Copy the letter to the clipboard (^C). You can’t paste it if you haven’t copied it. This is the step I am most likely to forget because I’m already thinking about step 4.

Step 4 – With the Rectangle Tool, draw a small rectangle over the area of the red letter that you want to be on top of the green letter. The blue bounding box in the image below shows the rectangle I’ve drawn.

Step 4 of creating interlocking text in InDesign. The blue square shows the rectangle drawn to indicate where you want the red D to appear on top of the green D.

Step 4 – Draw a rectangle where you want the red D to appear on top of the green D.

Step 5 – With the rectangle you just created still selected, from the Edit menu select Paste Into (^-alt-V). Voila! You have now interlocked the two Ds. You’re half done.

Step 5 of creating interlocking text in InDesign. We have interlocked the first two letters.

Step 5 – After pasting the red D into the rectangle, the two Ds are interlocked.

Step 6 – Repeat Steps 2 through 5 to interlock the D and the P. Here’s the finished product:

After repeating the process we have created interlocking text in InDesign.

Step 6 – Finished – fully interlocked letters!

Easy, easy, easy when you know how. Now go have fun with it!

(By the way – the embossed effect on the letters were also created in InDesign.)

Techsmith's Screen Grabbing Software called JingOverheard in our office today: “I seem to have lost my Jing again. I hate it when I lose my Jing.”

At the moment I said the fated words, I was working on a different blog and wanted to grab an image from my screen. Enter Jing. That’s when I realized I haven’t blogged about this handy – HANDY – program.

Jing is made by TechSmith and is represented by the Jing sun, which sits idly at the top edge of your monitor waiting for you to call upon it. Unfortunately, if it rests for too long, it simply fades away and you have to open the program again. Not a big deal really, but it’s at those times I can be heard saying “I’ve lost my Jing again.”

Jing takes both still and video shots of your monitor. It’s free software from a company that makes the popular Camtasia video editing software. Most of the screen shots you see in our blogs have been taken with Jing. Our videos are created using the Camtasia creation and editing tools.

You can move the Jing sun to anywhere at the top edge of your monitor so that you can move it out of your way if necessary. When you mouse over the sun, three rays appear which allow you to (1) capture an image or video, (2) look at your Jing history (that is, the images you’ve captured), and (3) do other things like change preferences, send feedback, get help or close the program. Until a few minutes ago, I’d only ever used the capture ray. I checked out the other rays simply to write this blog. That’s how easy the program is to use.

1. Mouse over the Jing sun.
2. Click on the capture ray.
3. Click and drag to draw a square around what you want an image of.
4. When you release the mouse button, the following options appear: Capture, Capture Video, Redo Selection, Cancel
5. If you want to…

• Capture the image within the square, select Capture. Jing then brings up the Jing Preview box, shown below. Notice the basic tools available at the left for editing the image. You can draw arrows, add text, place a square around something of interest, or add a highlight. The colored box allows you to change the color of your text, arrow, border or shading. At the bottom of the preview box you can name the image (by default it is named using the date and time), share it via Screencast (you must have an account), save the image, copy it without saving it, or cancel. When you save an image, it is saved as a PNG file, which can be used by most programs. If you can’t use the PNG, you can pull it into Photoshop or other image editing software and convert it to another format.

Techsmith's Jing Capture Preview Screen

Capture video that will occur within the square, select Capture Video. After doing whatever you want to capture video of, you can click Finish. (There are other options while capturing your video like Pause, Mute and Restart. Yes, Jing will also capture the audio.) When you click Finish, a video previewer appears and gives you the option to Share the video via Screencast (you must have an account), saving the video or deleting it. Anything that is saved goes into your History.

Redraw your square because its not in the right place or not the right size, select Redo Selection.

Give up, select Cancel, or just hit escape.

It’s that easy. It’s effective and it’s free.

TechSmith also offers a more robust screen grabbing program called Snagit, which sells for $49.95. Jing, Snagit and Camtasia are available for PC and Mac.

Adobe Creative Suite 6
This week in Los Angeles, Adobe is holding their annual Adobe MAX conference for users, developers, and industry reporters. It’s their venue for generating enthusiasm for their product line and their platform for making major announcements. This year’s Adobe MAX was launched with a bang.

Adobe has announced that this is the end of the line for their Creative Suite product line. You can still buy CS6 (for now, at least), but this will be the last time you will be able to purchase any software from Adobe.

Say WHAT!!??

Yep. After this, Adobe will no longer “sell” software. From this point forward, everything is moving to the Cloud.

Adobe’s “Creative Cloud” is an Internet-based software subscription model that has been in effect for almost a year now.While some people have balked at making the leap to subscribing to software rather than purchasing a license (read the End-User License Agreement on any piece of software — you never “owned” any of it — you just bought a license to be able to use it), there are a number of advantages to Adobe’s Cloud scheme. The cost of subscribing to the Creative Cloud is about the same as buying an upgrade under the old system, so that’s a wash. But Adobe gives you much, much more software than you got with the Creative Suite, even if you bought the massive-priced Master Collection. Will you use all of that new software? Not a chance in the world. But might you use some of it? You bet. (At least I know that I will.)

Another advantage of the Creative Cloud is that you no longer have to wait a year or two for a major upgrade for your software. As improvements, upgrades, and bug-fixes are made to any of the components of the Creative Cloud, you will be able to download them immediately. And speaking of downloading, you will indeed be downloading the software and running it on your local computer. The software itself doesn’t reside in the Cloud, and you don’t need to have access to the Internet to use the programs once you’ve downloaded them. But you do need to be online at least once a month while you start up any Adobe program to ping their server in the Cloud and let them know that you’re still there. (It’s automatic. No action required on your part.)

Early Adopters

Here at Data Designs Publishing, we’ve been Creative Cloud users since it was first rolled out last summer. Except for the fact that we’re paying a software bill every month like it was a utility bill, we’ve experienced no change to the way that we do business as a result of using the Creative Cloud. Don’t be afraid. It won’t hurt you. Some people have expressed a fear that after everyone gets signed onto the Cloud, Adobe will jack up the price of their software and you’ll either have to pay up or they’ll turn off your ability to use it. That scenario is in no one’s best interest. How many subscribers, how much revenue, and how much trust and reputation would Adobe lose by doing something stupid like that? It would be suicide for them. It isn’t going to happen. But it is true that if you don’t pay your subscription bill, they disable your software until you do.

OK, so how much is that bill? For new users — those who aren’t upgrading from a qualified copy of Creative Suite — a Creative Cloud subscription is $50 per month with a full year commitment. For those who are upgrading from CS3 or above, Adobe is offering a 40% discount until July 31, 2013. That takes the price to $30 per month with a full year commitment. $360 for a full year of all of Adobe’s best software. That’s a great deal! If you want to jump on that before the deal expires, CLICK HERE.

(No, you won’t really learn anything from this blog, but you will be mildly amused…)

2013 Printing and Electronic Publishing Conference BannerPhil and I attended the premier InDesign conference this week. PePcon, the Printing & Electronic Publishing Conference, was held in Austin, TX and sponsored by none other than Anne-Marie Concepción and David Blatner (InDesign superstars). If you turn on “Tips” in InDesign, all of them have been written by David Blatner. If you go to the online training site (and we really recommend that you do), about a third of the InDesign courses offered are by either David or Anne-Marie. Together they own and publish InDesign Secrets magazine and have just purchased CreativePro magazine.

It’s been a few years (perhaps quite a few years) since Phil and I have attended such a large-scale conference. Indulge me as I share my reflections.

  • What used to be called “desktop publishing” (DTP) has now become “printing and electronic publishing.” DTP used to be almost exclusively for print media. With the proliferation of mobile devices, the pendulum is now swinging toward electronic or digital publishing.
  • There are people here (at this conference) who have been around before DTP existed (that is, from the typesetting and Exacto knife days).
  • There are people here who have relatively recently graduated from college.
  • All of us are in the same place in the industry – because the electronic publishing industry is still in its infancy and is constantly changing. The slide titled “Braving the Perils of New Technology” by one of the presenters said it all.
  • Designers are becoming coders and (to a lesser degree) coders are becoming designers. That’s a weird thing.
  • Digital publishing should significantly impact your print workflow.
  • Attending conferences helps you get out of a rut in your own thinking and approaches.
  • I’ve been brought face to face with my laptop size vs. tablet dilemma. I recently bought a new laptop and opted for a larger one because I love the bigger screen. But larger means…well, larger. That means more space in a bag and on a table. I look around and many people have little tablets resting on the table in front of them and it looks so nice and cute and I’m jealous. Then I remember that I also brought my tablet and I made the conscious decision to want to type on my larger laptop instead of my smaller tablet. In discussing this with Phil, he pointed out that “sometimes you want to drive a Lincoln and sometimes you want to drive a motorcycle. They both take you to the grocery store.” He’s so much more pithy than me.
  • Speakers have much more competition for the attention of their audiences than they used to. That’s both good and bad – for both the speakers and the attendees. In the first session I attended, the person next to me shopped for handbags throughout the session while the presenter proved outstanding content. Perhaps it was info that she had no need for. I’ve made notes for this blog throughout the past few days. I’m typing them as two presenters are boring me with things I already know (so why did they name this session “deep dive”?).
  • Either I’ve become more geeky or other attendees have become less geeky in the years that have transpired  since I attended something like this. Probably a little of both.
  • Background music really does get in your head. I’m sitting on the aisle before this session starts. Every person who walks past me is humming “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me….” Yep, it was playing in the hallway. Yep, I was humming it, too.
  • Laptop batteries really don’t last as long as you want them to.
  • Afternoon snacks sure have been upgraded – peach cobbler à la mode this afternoon! (WTG Hilton Garden Hotel in Austin, TX.)
8 Feet Tall Boots

Imagine this 8 feet tall…

You know you’re at a geeky InDesign Conference when the networking BINGO has blocks that require you find someone who…

  • Helped design or lay out their high school yearbook (yes, I could have signed that square)
  • Has a pet named after a computer-related term (Uh, no – we generally prefer human names…although Phil’s always wanted a dog named Booger)
  • Uses a pen input tablet instead of a mouse
  • Can tell you what DPS stands for in Adobe DPS (Digital Publishing System)
  • Can tell you the name of their custom workspace (nothing creative here – I just call it “Sandys Workspace” – which of course means “Use it if you like, but don’t even think about changing it.” Phil calls his “Phil’s Binary Shack.” Who do you think is most geeky?)
  • Has a phone hooked onto their belt, Batman-style
  • Can tell you the keyboard shortcut for Paste in Place (Ctrl-Alt-Shift-V)