I think I'm going to write books teaching FOSS creative software.
For a long time I was thinking I'd be all about video tutorials and courses. Then I hit some accessibility road blocks, but now I *could* make video learning material with a few more pieces of equipment.
Yet I think I'd actually like to try focusing on written material and see if that can be as helpful to people.
I usually prefer working in the medium, and I do like to learn from books myself, so I think it would be cool.
The first one I have in mind is "Inkscape in an Hour".
It's a concept I started on for a video course, where you would get an incredibly thorough grounding in the software but it would be very dense and concise so you'd only need one hour.
I think that idea would translate pretty well into book format.
@freedcreative Sounds like a great idea! Inkscape is one of those FOSS programs I’ve always to learn but found a bit daunting, especially given I don’t have any real background in graphics.
@smoliva I was the same way too, even with a background in graphics.
I was used to Photoshop, Affinity and Figma. I tried Inkscape multiple times and noped out back to what was familiar.
Then I switched to Linux and using Inkscape became inevitable. Because I really didn't want to switch back I dug in harder and was struck by hidden gem after hidden gem and grew to love the software.
I'd really love to capture that whole discovery period so others can see Inkscape how I do.
@freedcreative great idea. I always learn from books when I can. They feel… permanent. And they’re easier to scrub to the bits that I need.
You can always make videos based on the book content if you want to later.
@freedcreative sounds amazing! You could also do both if you have the bandwidth, with videos for basic tutorials and hands-on demonstrations, and the book for more in-depth explanations. Having multiple options for access in general seems like a good idea, and in keeping with the theme of accessibility.
@lhinderberger That's a good question, and one I've been pondering.
One thing I know is I want to offer DRM free epub fun my own site. I've had this idea for a while that it would be really cool to self publish as much as possible, then direct the portion that would usually go to paying big platforms towards the funding programs of the software being taught.
I've spent a lot of time considering the psychological road blocks to funding open software and I think...1/?
@lhinderberger ... a huge thing is just people like to see a concrete, definable thing they're paying for. I think it's why crowd funding campaigns often do better than open ended donations: they're clearly defined.
I've also wanted to build a social business for a long time, so the work I do to sustain myself also supports projects I believe in.
My thinking is that self publishing where fund-raising swaps in for publisher expenses could achieve both these things. 2/?
@lhinderberger I also thought perhaps Itch.io might be a place where books of this nature might be at home. And I wondered if I could find some independent, DRM free book stores that host this type of topic.
What I'm not sure about is the big book stores like Amazon and Kobo. Amazon ofc has huge issues around it, and the portions they expect to keep are ludicrous. However I wonder how many people will search Amazon and not look anywhere else? 3/?
@lhinderberger And although I think epub format is probably a given, I've considered other formats too. Like maybe going HTML so I can include supplementary videos or gifs, or using Scribus to make full color magazine style layouts so the images of the software are easier to see.
Lots of options, and I haven't quite settled yet. I might focus on the writing then take a sort progressive enhancement approach.
Sorry for the huge answer, I've been thinking about this a lot! 4/4
@freedcreative No need to be sorry, I find it quite interesting actually 🙂
I've been thinking about writing a technical book of my own and have been asking myself much of the same questions. At this point, I'm not yet sure whether it would be better to pursue this as a freely licensed website, as a self-published eBook or even as a "proper" book, publisher and all.
@lhinderberger I had one experience working with a publisher who approached me to write a book. I suppose different publishers have different processes, but this one at least was not a good experience.
The royalty was only 15% and they tried to avoid paying a reasonable advance. They then completely neglected their side of things by publishing very late and failing to promote the book.
It was nice to have a book printed but because of the publisher it effectively failed.
@freedcreative What a frustrating experience! Were you at least allowed to market your book on your own or did you have to "sign your rights away"?
@lhinderberger No the rights were all to them. It was basically just a bad freelance gig in the end, though it did make the parents happy to see a book with my name on it, so that's something.
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