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Are you struggling to finish writing THAT book?

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One of our authors, Andrew Pain, has written a brilliant blog piece on book writing for the hybrid published author – in which he makes many valid points. Here is my response as a publisher (and thus sees things from the other side of the fence).

1  Sacrifice

We have to allow ourselves the time to be creative as well as both physical and mental space to experiment. That sometimes meaning ignoring those feelings of guilt that can hold us back from true creativity. However, there is another kind of sacrifice that Andrew doesn’t mention – the sacrifice of perfection. Sometimes, we become so obsessed with having it perfect before considering our work to be finished, that we never get there. At Kissed Off, we encourage handing us a draft at our first conversations about your book – not only so we can quote more accurately, but also that you get used to “handing over the baby”. We offer full editing services, and can tell quickly what you need to focus on while fine-tuning your book. This brings you one step closer to the finish line of perfection.

We can’t do this if its still on your desk.

2  Great things take time to develop

We couldn’t agree with this more, which is why we work with you to make sure your book is perfect prior to publication – hand in hand with a great post-publication strategy for driving your book forward towards your aims.

We have developed over the last 250 books a process that guides you through to the point where the book is in your hands. From start to finish, we work with you to drive forward a book that is complete and well designed for your target aims. One thing to remember is your book is far from finished once you type that final word into your text document.

3  Space

Sometimes we all need to be in a new space to think clearly. We offer unusual meeting spaces so you can discuss your progress with us in a casual setting so you get the most enjoyment out of the publication journey.

4  Dual purposes for your book

We agree whole-heartedly with Andrew, if you set out only to make money out of your book you will be sadly disappointed. Neither business nor life work that way – you get out what you put in. The dual purpose approach is a great way of encouraging you on the days you make no sales, because money isn’t your primary aim. Books can market your services, introduce a new innovation or simply grow your reputation as an expert in your field. Also, don’t consider your book in isolation – could it be part of a series, or lead to a seminar tour or drive new opportunities for you to explore. Your book’s publication is not necessarily the final finishing post for your writing journey.

With writing, as with any creative endeavour, it is always best to leave your pre-conceptions at the door – for they will only hinder you.

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Is Creative Cloud 2014 just a rebadge?

Ask any designer/photographer/illustrator/programmer about Adobe Creative Cloud and they WILL have an opinion.

Sadly, many of these are still based on preconceptions about Cloud without trying the software for themselves. I’m not paid by Adobe, don’t “drink Kool-aid” nor are any of the other insults I’ve received about my pro Creative Cloud views true. I’m aware I’m putting my head above the parapet by posting my view of Creative Cloud on here. My views are based on having been a member since Creative Cloud started. In that time, I’ve had several versions of the software while still paying a static price, regular updates, inclusive hosting for 5 sites with Business Catalyst… the list goes on and on.

So what difference has Creative Cloud 2014 realistically made?

As a long time user of Creative Cloud (and most Adobe versions before that), I’ve become accustomed to the gradual increments between versions and more so with the Creative Cloud subscription updates. Bearing in mind Adobe’s focus on productivity, has the 2014 release made a big difference?…

InDesign

The first thing I’ve noticed in InDesign Creative Cloud 2014 is the difference in producing ePub files. Gone is the clunky dialog box conversion, now its as simple as exporting an interactive PDF – for both fixed and flowing ePub formats. It makes life much easier for the digital publisher, and feels infinitely more professional. This has already sped up my workflow, and previews directly into your chosen reader for checking saving you precious clicks.

Other key feature updates include;

  • tables: Improved manipulation of tables including click and drag columns for easy shifting of data – much better than having to cut columns out manually etc. and useful for training programs with multiples of chart data.
  • seamless updates: your plugins, setup and workspaces will automatically transfer to your updated versions of InDesign
  • colour groups: you can now group swatches, which is useful at concept stage to manage colour ways etc.

There are also some minor tweaks to the search engine enabling the user to “Find Previous” as well as next.

Photoshop

As it celebrates it’s birthday, Photoshop Creative Cloud 2014 has a number of new features. My favourite of which is the new smart guides. While these have been available for some time in InDesign and Illustrator, they have finally made the transition to Photoshop. This means suddenly we can easily space elements evenly on the fly, and makes life much quicker than using align and distribute buttons to achieve the same effect.

Another useful time saver for illustrators and designers is the ability to package linked files within your Photoshop document. This saves time not only in finding the files in the first place, but the ability to use linked files prevents having to repeatedly change multiple documents when one source file changes. Anything that saves me time I consider a blessing, as I can concentrate more on what I enjoy doing. It also saves the awful aaargh moment when the client decides to change the product design after all the marketing collateral has been completed.

Now, we can even use Layer Comps in a smart object to create new effects. Typekit even works in Photoshop now too for unparalleled ease between programs. This, together with added blur functionality and focus based selection, a feature page editor can easily put together a spread title that would have meant intricate selection marking previously.

All this is before we come to the 3D printing capabilities that are now included in Photoshop, including direct sending to online 3D providers! Now we can take a 2D logo design and turn it directly into its own marketing product. Want it in ceramic? Fine… Want it in gold? Feel free!

The key to all these great features is PRODUCTIVITY! Every routine has been streamlined to make us able to work faster instead of twiddling thumbs waiting for our computers to catch up.

Muse

In this Creative Cloud release, Muse comes of age and becomes a fully fledged application. It’s UI now matches the other Adobe Creative Cloud titles, and has added drag and drop functionality in its Plan view (a wireframe view for initial site layout and mapping). Many of the features will appear unchanged to previous versions of Muse, but what is new both for Muse and for Creative Cloud is the Asset Library that is due to become available to Creative Cloud subscribers. This will provide Muse users with base designs to work from, new widgets, stock imagery and more!

The Asset Library

One of the big announcements was the curation of a free to use Asset Library as part of your Creative Cloud subscription. As I mentioned, this has benefits for Muse users, but will also benefit print designers too! It’s not launched yet as there tends to be a phased introduction – as with Typekit.

These are just the things I’ve had chance to play with in the first week of Creative Cloud 2014! I’m looking forward to writing some updates as and when I get to try more.

There will always be doubters of the subscription model, mainly while people labour under the idea they have bought the software previously. Either way you are only buying a licence to use the software, and I would rather pay monthly and have continuous support (and Adobe’s have been good in my experience) than spend in one lump sum that only covers me for one or two versions of the software.

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Blogger? Why not be an Author?

As we celebrate the launch of pre-orders for “Tweet Your Way to Success”, the focus now moves onto helping other bloggers achieve their publishing dreams.

Samantha’s book started life as a Blog “Tweeting Goddess” and uses the “Blog to Book” package to produce a paperback book based on her existing Blog style and content. We’ve helped Sam to curate her existing content into a coherent text. We have also suggested elements of original content to give an in-depth book on social media and business. We’ve taken her text, and created a visually stimulating book that can be read in one sitting, but also has plenty of key points, stats and charts for future quick reference.

If you are a Blogger, this could be you and your new book! We don’t have any pre-conceived ideas of your blog, and we include your input at every step of the way. Our previous titles have included a range of health and fitness titles, cookbooks, business guides and more! You can even change the paperback to an eBook option, or pay a supplement for both!

Samantha has been enthusing about our service on her social media and even a post on her blog. So feel free to take a look at what she’s had to say, as well as looking at the package in more depth here on this site.