Illuminated Calendar Creation

After a few modifications to the template, I began adding images, moving them around and creating a back and front image for my first calendar that focuses on scenes from the Old Testament Bible.


I’ve often found great public domain images on various sites, such as the US Library of Congress and The British Library. Recently, I came across a link to the later with a huge collection of material, all freely available and stumbled upon a collection they call, “Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts”. Most of these were high-resolution images of pages featuring various illustrations that were both colorful and lavish.

After saving forty or fifty of my favorites, I began thinking of ways I could use these to create a salable publication. Almost the first thing I thought of was as part of a calendar. Obviously, I had already captured enough images to more than fill twelve months in a calendar, so it occurred to me to turn it into a series. So far I have identified at least four, probably ending up with double that.

Rather than using InDesign, I decided to use PowerPoint and quickly found a calendar template. After a few modifications to the template, I began adding images, moving them around and creating a back and front image for my first calendar that focuses on scenes from the Old Testament Bible. Here is a peek at my work so far:


Expected completion and availability for sale by September 2017, in time for holiday gift purchases. Would love to hear what you think of my creation!

Open Source Education project started

I have established a hashtag for this pursuit, so if you add #OpenED to your post on almost any of the social media sites, including WordPress, you will associate that content with this community project.

There comes a time when you are drawn to starting a new project and the next thing you know is that you’re transported to calling. That’s how this feels.

Open ED - Learning just wants to be free
Open ED – Learning just wants to be free

Tweet it out loud

First, it was just an idea for a new Facebook community page to share educational resources that are open sourced (no copyright) and mostly free. Then I started feeling inspired to use my skills and background in social media to grow a movement.

Twitter is the second social media site (that it still in existence at least) that I joined, the first and longest-running is LinkedIn. Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, but have a LinkedIn, Google or Facebook one, reach out and connect with me. They are tied together to share most of my content.


Regardless of your account status, you can always cross-connect using what is known as a “hashtag”. I have established a hashtag for this pursuit, so if you add #OpenED to your post on almost any of the social media sites, including WordPress, you will associate that content with this community project. Easy? Yup!

Making a motto

Learning just want to be free

Free to you and me, and anyone who can access a plethora of free or nearly free, content for self-education, general learning and all educational levels; that’s the way I roll.

After a brief brainstorming sessions…with myself…I came up with the group name, motto, community rules and started up the Facebook community page. The page needs a cover and profile pic, so I created them in Adobe Illustrator using some of the free clip art files I found about a week ago hanging out on my OneDrive. Funny how things comes together that are meant to be.

Great things to come…soon

This is just one day, not even a whole day, and ideas are congealing into a viable project that I feel excited to get into the world. Expect a crowdfunding request to go out, as well as an online storefront (haven’t decided which platform yet for either).

As I like to say, stay tuned for upcoming developments…but no need to wait, just jump in on one of the many social media sites that I have already started. More, so much more, to come!

Three Steps to Discoverability Webcast

Webcast: Three Steps to Discoverability

How to Boost Online Sales | Digital Book World

Discoverability. It’s the holy grail of digital publishing and a very real business challenge. There are lots of opinions and approaches, but no concrete solutions. And the problem is the same whether you have ten titles or 10,000.

Join Pavan Arora, Chief Innovation Officer of Aptara, and Murray Izenwasser, Marketing Practice Lead at Biztegra, as they assess the current state of discoverability. They’ll outline typical approaches, explain how large publishers are addressing it, and how content technology plays a vital role. This webcast will also detail what all publishers can and should be doing now to prepare for real-time discoverability and real-time revenues.

via Webcast: Three Steps to Discoverability—How to Boost Online Sales | Digital Book World.

8 Ways to Test Market Your Book Idea

8 Ways to Test Market Your Book Idea

March 13, 2014 By Nina Amir Leave a Comment

In both How to Blog a Book and my new book, The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, I suggest you evaluate your book idea before you begin blogging or writing it. Even if you spend time doing so, you may still lack certainty about its ability to sell once released in the marketplace. If you approach your book as an entrepreneur would approach any new product under consideration and development, you can gain additional information. That means employing test marking techniques.

Prior to blogging your book, conduct strategic tests to determine market interest. Do this before you begin to ensure you target content to market needs and interests. If test marketing shows your original angle or subject needs tweaking, you’ll want to do that before you get too far into the blogging, or writing, process. Plus, if you find no market exists for your book, you don’t want to have wasted your time blogging the whole book.

Here are 4 ways you can test market your blogged book idea right on a blog before you post even one blogged-book installment.

via 8 Ways to Test Market Your Book Idea.

Facebook Cheat Sheet for Marketers (#SEW)

Facebook Photo Sizes Cheat Sheet for Marketers:

Apps, Ads, Albums & More – Search Engine Watch (#SEW)

Smart marketers have known the way to a fan’s heart is through their eyes for some time, but significant changes to Facebook’s News Feed underscored the importance of visuals even further.

Facebook wants stories shared through their platform to be more vibrant, colorful, and ultimately more engaging. It seems they’re just following users’ lead; last year the social network shared their own research, which showed that posts including a photo album, picture, or video generate about 180 percent, 120 percent, and 100 percent more engagement, respectively.

Use this guide to help you improve the quality of images you upload and display on Facebook, by using the right dimensions, resolution, and features for the job.

Facebook Cover Photo

We’ll start with cover photos, the large banner image at the top of your company page. The minimum size accepted is 720 pixels wide but you may experience loss of quality.

The optimal image size for cover photos is 851 x 315 pixels. Start with a canvas of double that size – 1702 x 630 – for sharp, crisp images; Facebook will resize it and you’ll have the right dimensions.

Follow these dos and don’ts of cover images, directly from Facebook:

  • Do use a unique image to represent your page.
  • Do experiment with different images to see which gets the best response.
  • Do change up your image to highlight special events, seasonal trends, or other types of campaigns.
  • Don’t include any content that may be deceptive, misleading, infringe on anyone else’s copyright, or violate Facebook’s Pages Terms.
  • Don’t encourage people to upload your cover image to their personal Timeline.
  • Don’t make more than 20 percent of your cover image text.

Facebook relaxed their cover images guidelines as of March 6, 2013, adding the 20 percent text rule but easing up on their restriction on a call to action or contact information on the image.

Facebook also offers this helpful advice: To get the fastest load times for your Page, upload an sRGB JPG file that’s less than 100 kilobytes. For images with your logo or text content, you may get a higher quality result by using a PNG file.

The complete article availalbe via Facebook Photo Sizes Cheat Sheet for Marketers: Apps, Ads, Albums & More – Search Engine Watch (#SEW).

Day 4: Apply Marketing Formats

Screenwriting isn’t as easy as it may sound like…or, maybe it does sound difficult. It’s not that it’s terribly difficult…to learn, but some of all learning as an adult means having to UN-learn something you may have already have been doing for awhile. For some of us [hand raised], that may have been a VERY long while indeed!

So, what are these “marketing formats” anyway? The short version is, the spin that is put on a story concept before anything is even written. Intriguing, no? Here’s one that you might recognize, “What if’s”. In this format, you ask a question, maybe a little kooky or strange or funny…or scary…that begs the audience to come for the ride and see the movie. Take something you might be familiar with or that you would expect and turn it on its proverbial ear!

As part of the class assignment (did I mention that there’s one EVERYDAY?), I have to take one of my “seed ideas” and rework it using one of these formats. Here’s the one I submitted today:

WHAT IF…a homeless teenager finds a priceless print only to find that he’s being tracked by the Russian mafia who wants it back?

Waddaya think? Could you imagine sitting through a movie based on that? Hope so, but this is only Day 4 of a six month class and I’ve got a whole lot more to learn!