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Thursday, October 29, 2009

When Was Desktop Publishing Invented ?

Continuing with desktop publishing:

By Jacci Howard Bear, About.com

Question: When was desktop publishing invented?

Several events of the mid-1980s including the development of Aldus PageMaker (now Adobe PageMaker) ushered in the era of desktop publishing.

Answer: It was primarily the introduction of both the Apple LaserWriter, a PostScript desktop printer, and PageMaker for the Mac that kicked off the desktop publishing revolution. Aldus Corporation founder Paul Brainerd, is generally credited for coining the phrase, "desktop publishing." 1985 was a very good year.
1.1984 - The Apple Macintosh debuts.

2.1984 - Hewlett-Packard introduces the LaserJet, the first desktop laser printer.

3.1985 - Adobe introduces PostScript, the industry standard Page Description Language (PDL) for professional typesetting.

4.1985 - Aldus develops PageMaker for the Mac, the first "desktop publishing" application.

5.1985 - Apple produces the LaserWriter, the first desktop laser printer to contain PostScript.

6.1987 - PageMaker for the Windows platform is introduced.

7.1990 - Microsoft ships Windows 3.0.

Fast forward to 2003 and beyond. You can still buy Hewlett-Packard LaserJets and Apple LaserWriters but there are hundreds of other printers and printer manufacturers to choose from as well. PostScript is at level 3 while PageMaker is at version 7 but is now marketed to the business sector.

In the intervening years since PageMaker's introduction and purchase by Adobe, Quark, Inc.'s QuarkXPress took over as the sweetheart of desktop publishing applications. But today Adobe's InDesign is firmly planted in the professional sector and wooing over many converts on both the PC and Mac platforms.

While Macintosh is still considered by some to be the platform of choice for professional desktop publishing, dozens of "consumer and small business desktop publishing" packages hit the shelves in the 1990s, catering to the growing legions of PC/Windows users. Most notable among these low-cost Windows desktop publishing options, Microsoft Publisher and Serif PagePlus continue to add features that make them more and more viable as contenders to the traditional "professional apps."

Dektop Publishing in the 21st Century has seen a change in the way we define desktop publishing including who does desktop publishing and the software used, even if many of the original players remain.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Is Desktop Publishing ?

Starting today I am going to spend some time delving into desktop publishing. There are many sources available to extract information about desktop publishing and today I am going to use "About.com" to define exactly what desktop publishing is:

What is Desktop Publishing?
By Jacci Howard Bear, About.com

Question: What is Desktop Publishing?

Desktop publishing is a term coined after the development of a specific type of software. Before the invention of desktop publishing software the tasks involved in desktop publishing were done manually, by a variety of people and involved both graphic design and prepress tasks which sometimes leads to confusion about what desktop publishing is and how it is done.

Answer: Although the definition, below, is still valid see Desktop Publishing in the 21st Century for a detailed explanation of this new definition:

Desktop publishing is the use of the computer and software to create visual displays of ideas and information. Desktop publishing documents may be for desktop or commercial printing or electronic distribution including PDF, slide shows, email newsletters, and the Web.

OLD / TRADITIONAL DEFINITION: Desktop publishing is the use of the computer and specialized software to create documents for desktop or commercial printing. Desktop publishing refers to the process of using the computer to produce documents such as newsletters, brochures, books, and other publications that were once created manually using a variety of non-computer techniques along with large complex phototypesetting machines. Today desktop publishing software does it all - almost. But before PageMaker and other desktop publishing software there were e-scales, paste-up, and other non-desktop computer ways of putting together a design for printing.

Properly speaking, desktop publishing is the technical assembly of digital files in the proper format for printing. In practical use, much of the "graphic design" process is also accomplished using desktop publishing and graphics software and is sometimes included in the definition of desktop publishing.
Comparison between desktop publishing and graphic design:

What is Desktop Publishing - It is the process of using the computer and specific types of software to combine text and graphics to produce documents such as newsletters, brochures, books, etc.

What is Graphic Design - It is the process and art of combining text and graphics and communicating an effective message in the design of logos, graphics, brochures, newsletters, posters, signs, and any other type of visual communication.

Desktop publishing software is a tool for graphic designers and non-designers to create visual communications.

Stay tuned for more posts on the ins and outs of desktop publishing

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Editor Salaries Slump in 2009

Due to changes in the publishing trade, as previously discussed in this blog, editors' salaries have been stymied and even decreased in some niches.

Matt Kinsman, executive editor of FOLIO magazine, has listed some editor salaries in the September 2009 issue. His article gives an insight into editors' compensation:

By Matt Kinsman 08/27/2009

Magazine editors saw salaries rise for the most part in 2008 but they expect a significant decline of possibly 10 percent or greater in 2009, according to the 2009 FOLIO: Editorial Salary Survey, conducted by Readex Research. The mean salary for editorial directors was $89,000, with b-to-b coming out on top at $98,200 followed by consumer at $90,800 and associations at $81,300.

However, just 20 percent of editorial directors expect a salary increase in 2009. Forty-seven percent expect it to stay the same, while 31 percent expect a decrease (of that number, the majority—15 percent—say they think it will drop by 15 percent or more).

Editors and executive editors saw a mean salary of $69,500 in 2008, with association coming out on top at $74,900, followed by b-to-b at $70,600. Just 17 percent of respondents expect an increase, while 53 percent expect salaries to be flat in 2009.

The consumer side posted the largest salary among managing and senior editors at $65,400, followed by association at $56,200 and b-to-b at $55,600. Again, 53 percent of managing/senior editors expect their salaries to be flat in 2009.

New Reality?
Some respondents wondered if a changing business model could mean lower salaries long term. “Closing down print products could be smart from a cost standpoint but getting big dollars from online is a challenge, which could result in cuts in pay and staff.”

“Compensation may not change but workload will due to reduced staff,” said another. One association editor talked about a shrinking readership. “Smaller organizations are disappearing and merging companies will mean less dues money. That means less operating money in budget for salaries/bonuses.”

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pricing Digital Editions: Finding the Sweet Spot

Several times in this blog, I have discussed print versus digital format in various aspects re books. Pricing was one of those aspects. How to arrive at a price for your digital versions when many were given away in the beginning of digital availability due to low cost of production, no warehousing, no printing costs, etc. AND promotion of a new media format.

Now, creative content & artistry have to be considered for payment to be fair to the authors whose work appears in digital format...regardless of the lower costs of manufacturing, storage & delivery.

If the publishers' profit margin decreases due to a loss of paper-printed word, the profit margins also have to be shored up in order to have sufficient resources to pay content writers/authors a fair price for creating.

Magazines, as well as books, are also coming out with digital versions and so face the same dilemma in finding a perfect digital price...One that is lower than hardcover but still high enough to pay a good price to contributors & produce viable profit margins.

Vanessa Voltolina wrote an informative article in the Oct, 2009 FOLIO: magazine, the magazine for magazine management, addressing this very subject ... http://alturl.com/p95g

Monday, October 19, 2009

How To Pitch A Story

I am going to list some hints on pitching a story idea. You have finished your masterpiece article/story and have the editor on the phone! What do you say? Elizabeth Kirwin, co-owner of Sidhe Communications in Asheville, NC, has these thoughts:

How to Pitch a Story
By Elizabeth Kirwin

Ever wonder why we refer to convincing an editor a story is worthy by "pitching a story" ? I have. I'm a baseball enthusiast, and it makes a lot of sense to me. When the editor is at bat with you, he or she has a few swings to make before making a connection through the story idea (ball) that could end up being a base hit or a home run. Naturally, everyone wants to hit a home run when they go to bat with an editor. Sometimes publicists and writers do have to walk to first base for the story assignment. Here are some helpful tips on how to pitch a story to an editor and how to at least hit a single, double, or triple if not a home run on occasion.

Use an Editor's Time Productively

Time spent on the telephone with an editor is more like a gift from God. If you want to be successful at purveying a story idea, it's best to have the information you want to convey rehearsed, or in note written form prior to your call. Try not to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes speaking about your story idea. Always ask the editor: "Is this a good time for you?" before beginning your pitch. Another great way to reach an editor is by a well-written e-mail pitch. In either case focus the presentation or conversation on your story idea(s). If the editor is interested, he or she may ask more questions. If not, the editor should tell you.

Facts, Sources, Images

The editor needs to be interested in the theme of your story. A quick 2-3 sentence synopsis should offer an original focus or angle on a topic related to the publication. For example, if I wanted to pitch to Ms. magazine, I'd want to have a feminist event, profile, or feature idea that would be appropriate. Identify potential research sources for your story, or elaborate upon contacts with experts in the area, to let the editor know you are capable of tackling the subject. This expansion on your topic is key to keeping the editor's interest. Many magazine and newspaper editors will also ask you up front about the availability of photographs to go with the story. Be prepared to answer this question with some viable suggestions for photos and a creative approach. By now you've sold the story idea. So, don't forget to ask about the availability of a staff photographer from the publication to assist with photos.

Where do I Find Stories to Pitch?

Whether you are working for yourself or an organization or company, you have your comfort zones. These are vendors you are doing business with, your immediate environment, and social functions that seem aligned with your work. Go outside of your usual boundaries, experiment in other social venues, and talk to people as often as possible. I look for story ideas when I'm on assignment with a story. Because I write daily, I know that one story will inevitably lead to another. I also pick up story ideas in the bar, at the university where I work as a teacher, from other clients, from students, local activists, or during outdoor group activities such as hiking and camping. I listen closely to what people say, and I carry around my favorite pocketbook sized bungee notebook to record my thoughts and story ideas. When I have an editor on the telephone, or am lucky enough to meet one in person, I act like I did when I played ball: I just start pitching.

Tools of the Trade

Once, I had a bead collection I acquired from a friend who was sick of beading. She said to me, if you just look at the collection long enough, you'll have ideas. This is what I did, and this is how I made my necklaces.
For writers, I recommend they look at as many hard copy and on-line publications as possible. Don't forget to obtain a copy of the current Writer’s Market. It's a useful publication for profiling buying publications. I suggest the budding writer look into publications in sync with their personal interests. For example, I enjoy backcountry hiking and camping. I would probably want to contact outdoors magazines to pitch them some stories. I also have an interest in local newspapers, travel, educational, and holistic healing magazines. I've pitched to all of these types of publications. When you find a publication you really like, write down the editor's name, e-mail, phone number and start to pitch. There's also a great writer's site called Writing for Money. For $8 per month you can review an interactive on-line listing of publications which are currently buying new work. With these links, you can visit the publications directly, read about them, and e-mail the editor your pitch. The longer you look at these tools of the trade, the more ideas will percolate.

Hit a Home Run

You want to hit a home run with an editor and land a story? Well, try going to bat with two to three story ideas instead of just one. Or the story you've developed can be pitched at different angles, which may make it more suitable for your publication of choice. Make sure to view at least several articles from the publication itself before pitching an editor, so you can have an idea of that editor's taste in material and style. All of these tips should help you land a great story, and even more in the future. As with baseball: practice. With practice, you'll learn how to pitch like an expert

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frances Jeanne Said:

Thanks, John. I'm sharing with my friend, Nancy, who is consultant to Triple A Auto Clubs magazines. All the mags are suffering!!!

McGraw-Hill Sells BusinessWeek to Bloomberg

Breaking news from FOLIO, the magazine for magazine management:

BREAKING: McGraw-Hill Sells BusinessWeek to Bloomberg By Jason Fell

Acquisition will ‘yield huge benefits for users of the Bloomberg terminal.’

After a weeks-long auction process, the McGraw-Hill Companies late Tuesday announced it that has agreed to sell BusinessWeek to Bloomberg L.P., the expected favorite among remaining bidders...the rest of the story @ http://alturl.com/66mq

Monday, October 12, 2009

Book Reviews & the New FTC Guidelines

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has come out with new book review guidelines (and what in the hell does review have to do with trade, anyway?) that are patently prejudiced against bloggers reviewing books. The FTC did not include newspapers, magazines, radio, TV or other book review sources in a clear & appropriate "review policy" that applies to all.

Anyway, Ron Hogan, from the GALLEYCAT http://alturl.com/b6f7 wrote an interesting post about the FTC faux pas:

Book Publishers, Bloggers, & the FTC Guidelines
By Ron Hogan

Shortly after the Federal Trade Commission issued its "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising" yesterday, the world learned that the FTC judges newspapers and blogs by different standards—while newspapers (and magazines, and radio shows, and TV shows) are able to receive consumer products for the purposes of review with no requirement to disclose the provenance of those products, the FTC's stated position is that bloggers are receiving those same consumer products as compensation for a presumed endorsement: Nobody but a blockhead ever gave a blogger anything, according to the FTC, except for good reviews.

(This position isn't unique to the FTC—three years ago, before he became the editor of Granta, John Freeman attacked book bloggers by making much the same argument, particularly with reference to blogs that participate in ecommerce affiliate programs in order to generate income by commissions on referrals leading to consumer purchases.)

Obviously, these guidelines apply to all consumer products; it's just that books happen to be our particular area of interest here at GalleyCat. With that in mind, what can book publishers do to challenge this pernicious double standard? I am not a lawyer, so the following should not be construed as legal advice, but perhaps publicists at book publishing companies might wish to discuss it with corporate counsel. In fact, I strongly encourage them to do so.

(1) If the Federal Trade Commission sincerely believes publishers send books to bloggers with the expectation that those books will receive endorsement in the form of a positive review, perhaps it can be disabused of this notion. What if publishers developed a standardized document to accompany any books, whether they be sent to bloggers or media companies, explicitly defining the conditions under which that book has been distributed? This document could state, among other things, that the book it accompanies is being sent to the recipient for the purposes of review, that it is in no way intended as compensation to the recipient, that the publisher places no condition upon the recipient as to the handling of the book, that the publisher has no expectations as to how or even if the recipient will review the book, and so on. (Again, I'm not a lawyer, so the actual language of such a document, should a publisher choose to create it, is likely to be very different.)

(2) Let's be honest, the FTC is much more likely to listen to Bertelsmann or News Corp. or other publishers of similar stature than it is to the bloggers. If whoever it is that lobbies the FTC on behalf of those companies—not only as individual corporations, but also as the Association of American Publishers—were to go to the FTC and argue against the way these guidelines define the relationship between book publishers and bloggers as distinct from the relationship between book publishers and other media companies, maybe that would effect some change in the situation. Or maybe it wouldn't. We won't know, though, if the book publishers don't make the effort.

Of course, both of these proposals depend upon book publishers actually believing that when they send a book to a blogger, it's for the purposes of review and not for a presumed endorsement. So maybe, before we go any further, bloggers need to have some frank conversations with book publishers about their expectations, and if it turns out that (some) publishers really do expect endorsements, bloggers might want to ask themselves: If this book is intended as compensation, is it enough compensation?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

More Thoughts on the eBook Format...And Kindle eBook Reader

Eldon Sarte, publisher of Wordpreneur, has some additional (and entertaining) thoughts on eBooks and the POD digital world previously expressed in this blog. I like his take on this subject:

My Thoughts on the eBook Format

Prompted by Michael Werner’s comment on yesterday’s News to Use item on the new Amazon Kindle eBook reader, here are my thoughts on ebooks in general. Make of them what you will.

• eBooks are excellent for “instant” on-demand delivery particularly for highly volatile and specialized content (e.g., technical, business, reference, textbooks, etc.).

• As a universal “paper book” replacement, the way ebooks were originally intended and envisioned way back when, they are failures. Why? Because consumers never asked for them. The paper book form factor is cheap, portable, intuitive (and did I say cheap?). So why would the consumer give a futz?

On the contrary, publishers (who were really the ones benefitting from the tech) were pushing it onto the consumer. Who was having none of it, except for areas where the tech made sense (see above).

Enter the Amazon Kindle, which looks like the one that has the closest potential to date to reach “universal traditional book replacement” status. Perfectly timed for the “Think Green” trend (assuming producing it uses up less resources than producing and distributing traditional books). Rich extensive content. And the wireless bit’s a thing of beauty.

But boy, at $399 I think it’s just too gosh-darned expensive for mass adoption. I think that’ll kill its immediate potential and growth. And too bad too; the world may just be ready for such an appliance… a reasonably priced one, though. Not that I can even come close to claiming I know better than Bezos and Co. on this particular subject, after they’ve obviously invested way more time and energy at it than the, what, 5 minutes I spent thinking about it?

On the other hand, they’re lucky they got 5 minutes after I heard that price tag. Cause and effect, hmm?

One last thing: that “tactile” thing Michael mentions (or “curling up with it in front of a fireplace” for you romantics). I fully agree… except that, to be fair, it’s the only reading experience I really know. I can’t honestly say (and chances are, neither can you) that “curling up in front of a fireplace” with Kindle instead of an actual book would be a better or worse experience.

Not yet, anyway. Books are cheap. The Kindle’s $399. I’m in no rush, thank you very much.

Monday, October 5, 2009

John Austin Answers Jeanne Scott Re: World of E-Books

As a former teacher just sit back, take a deep breadth, close your eyes and simply realize/visualize that what has made this mass availability of the written word possible is simply a new "teaching tool" brought about by computer technology (or information technology {IE} as some prefer to call it)...a teaching tool that you would have jumped at & reveled in back in 1956 or so...Always remember, though, that the "content" or actual written word/s must still be created and written down in some format...The same as it's always been. The only thing that's changed is the format & delivery, and the fact that the publishing industry has not caught up with it's new business model for staying in the mix. As I've said to you before, all of these latest tech changes have given more power & control to the writers/authors themselves.

Jeanne Scott Said:

My eyes hurt just thinking about this new world of books, multiplying like rabbits!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More On E-Books: Will E-Books Be Napsterized?

Article from the New York Times that contrubutes to my discussions in this blog about the coming-of-age of e-books:

By Randall Stross Published: October 3, 2009

YOU can buy “The Lost Symbol,” by Dan Brown, as an e-book for $9.99 at Amazon.com...Or you can don a pirate’s cap and snatch a free copy from another online user at RapidShare, Megaupload, Hotfile and other file-storage sites.

Until now, few readers have preferred e-books to printed or audible versions, so the public availability of free-for-the-taking copies did not much matter. But e-books won’t stay on the periphery of book publishing much longer. E-book hardware is on the verge of going mainstream. More dedicated e-readers are coming, with ever larger screens. So, too, are computer tablets that can serve as giant e-readers, and hardware that will not be very hard at all: a thin display flexible enough to roll up into a tube...Read more at http://alturl.com/h33c

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Survey: Do You Prefer Printed Word Or Digital Format For Book Reading?

Hi all,

Today I am conducting a survey about readers' preferences regarding in which format they most enjoy reading: printed word or digital.

So, I would like to invite all who visit this blog to click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post and answer the one simple question: "Do you prefer to read your entertainment or casual reading in a printed word or digital ('readers' such as Kindle) format ? I thank all who participate.