Collections Are Great

I love publishing collections because the material already exists, it’s just a matter of putting it into a new package. And since some people prefer a collection over individual titles (especially on the fiction side where it’s usually called a box set even in ebook format) it reaches a new potential audience.

So, having said that…I just published the collections for the Affinity Publisher titles. The first, book formatting, combines fiction layouts and non-fiction into one title. The second, ads and covers, combines ad creatives and basic book covers.

And I published my first bright yellow cover, which was fun, too. In ebook there’s no price difference between buying the titles separate or buying the collection, but buying the print collection does add up to some savings.

Affinity Sale

I’m not sure how much longer it will last for, but Affinity has all of their products on 50% off sale right now. That includes Affinity Publisher, which, you know, I wrote a few books about using for self-publishing.

Which means you could buy Affinity Publisher for $27 right now, get the ebook of one of my books on Affinity for $5, and for under $35 be able to either format a print book, design some ads, or put together a basic cover. For under $50 you could learn to do all three.

So check it out if you’re so inclined.

Affinity Publisher Courses on Udemy

It looks like one person has already discovered this, but the Affinity Publisher courses are now available on Udemy. That means sometimes the better deal will be there when the courses are part of a promotion and sometimes the better deal will be on Teachable if you use the discount code MLH50.

They’re each about two hours long and mostly project-based except for the non-fiction one.

With the release of these courses to Udemy that means for each of the below topics you have an ebook, black and white print, color print, or video option to choose from. Description and links below each image.

Enjoy if that’s something that interests you:

Learn how to create a basic fiction layout from start to finish in Affinity Publisher.

Video Course:
Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440216
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440681
Learn more advanced fiction topics like tables of contents and merging multiple documents as well as non-fiction-specific topics like indexes, inserting images into your text, and having multiple columns in a text frame.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440223
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440711
A project-based course that walks you through how to create two Facebook square ads, one Bookbub ad, a banner that can be used for Amazon A+ Content or a website, and how to prepare a book cover for use in an Amazon A+ Content comparison chart.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440285
Print Color: ISBN ISBN 9781637440698
A project-based course that walks you through how to create three different basic cover designs, one with a central image (the bulldog example above), one that is text-heavy with a side image, and three variations on having an image for the entire cover (the two other examples above). Also walks through how to take an ebook image and turn it into an Amazon KDP and IngramSpark paperback as well as an IngramSpark case laminate hard cover.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440292
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440704
Only available on Teachable. A video reference library related to Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts and Affinity Publisher for Non-Fiction. Includes short (usually under a minute) videos of one particular task or skill, such as enabling snapping. Meant to be a refresher how-to guide for those who already know how to use those skills.

Video Course: Teachable

New Affinity Video Courses

Alright, if I did things right, which, you know can sometimes be up for debate, the video courses that correspond to Affinity Publisher for Ad Creatives, Affinity Publisher for Basic Book Covers, and Affinity Publisher for Non-Fiction are now live on Teachable.

If you had previously signed up for Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts, check your email because you should have received a special discount code. For anyone else interested in the classes, you can use MLH50 to get 50% off of any of the courses.

I will likely be putting these courses up on other stores at some point, too, but no promises as to when. I refuse to put up videos with automated closed captioning because, wow, the things that closed captioning thinks I’m saying….not even close to what I am actually saying. It does no one any good to have the screen saying something about Islamic militants when I was talking about master pages in Affinity.

(Although it really does make me wonder what closed captioning is trained on, the words it seems to default to.)

So anyway. There will be a bit of a delay there but the courses are on Teachable and I think pretty reasonably priced for what you get. Enjoy. (And let me know if you have any issues.)

Affinity Publisher For Non-Fiction

And that particular loop (series) is closed. Yesterday I hit publish on Affinity Publisher for Non-Fiction.

This one picks up where Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts left off. It covers tables of contents, indexes, merging multiple documents into one, using chapter names for your headers, having multiple columns of text on the page, and working with images in the main body of your text.

Which closes that particular “open loop” because that is the last book I am writing on Affinity Publisher. Yay. One down, two to go.

Of course, it’s always interesting writing non-fiction because I learn new tricks as I write. Sometimes it’s just a matter of “I never bothered to track that answer down” and sometimes it’s a weird blind spot I had.

So, in honor of weird blind spots…

I always use the Resource Manager to swap out my images, but it turns out there is a Replace Image option in the dynamic menu at the top that you can click on when your have an image selected. Much simpler to use if you’re not worried about the DPI of the imported image.

Something to share for those who already read the prior books.

Anyway. Enjoy. It may take a few days to hit all the major stores, but it’s on its way.

Video Courses and Affinity Templates

Those who’ve been around here a while may remember that at one point I had Excel for Beginners, Intermediate Excel, and the Easy Excel Essentials content (Printing, Formatting, Pivot Tables, Charts, IF Functions, and Conditional Formatting) available as video courses through Udemy.

I pulled those courses when they introduced a nonsensical tax form that I couldn’t fill out. But I still had the videos. And when I went back and looked at them this week, they were actually good.

They use the whole “I will tell you, then I will show you” approach which is not my personal favorite, but it is theoretically the best way to present information for a large audience, so that’s why I did them that way.

Anyway. I have now added those videos to the Teachable store I set up. So if you prefer to learn visually that is now an option. Use code MLH50 on Excel for Beginners or Intermediate Excel to get those half off. The individual Easy Excel Essentials courses are also available for just $15 a pop.

I expect I will add more video courses. I’ve started prep for an Excel formulas and functions course and know I definitely want to do that one to complete that series of videos, but not sure what will come next. So if there’s some topic you’d really like to see covered, now is the time to let me know. No guarantees I’ll cover it, but if it was already on the list it may move higher.

Also, when I put together the Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts content, I decided to put templates that people could download up on Payhip. So if you want an Affinity Publisher file that already has the master pages and text styles created that’s where you can find them. It saves some time, for sure, but you still absolutely need to know the basics of working in Affinity Publisher for a print layout to effectively use them. They’re not for an absolute novice.

Alright then. That’s it. Hope you’re all doing well.

Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts

I mentioned my newest project the other day and it’s now done. Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts is available in ebook, print, AND video.

So what is this book about? Can you guess from the title?

Basically, it walks a new user through how to use Affinity Publisher, one of the Affinity suite of products, to format a fiction title.

I actually started using Affinity Publisher for my non-fiction because I ran into an issue with using Word where the resolution of the images that exported into PDF weren’t what I wanted them to be and the only way to fix it was to use a paid Adobe product.

I’d heard a lot of buzz about Affinity so decided to give it a try and loved it.

They have great instructional videos on their website which is what I used to learn the program, but for me the videos just weren’t in the order I needed them to be. So I was 80% of the way through them before I knew that they covered everything I needed. Also, there are just certain things that are specific to self-publishing (like exporting All Pages not All Spreads) that trip new users up.

So in my latest “I don’t know what to write next” funk, I sat down and started to write up how to use Affinity Publisher for a print layout.

175 pages and 100 screenshots later, I had a book and hadn’t even touched upon how to use it for non-fiction. And then I realized I should probably do videos as well.

Sixty-plus videos later…I now have three video courses listed in addition to the books.

The video courses can all be found on Teachable. And if you use code MLH50 you can get them for 50% off.

Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts is the video version of the books. There are about eighteen videos and about 90 minutes of content.

Affinity Publisher Quick Takes is basically a reference library for when you’ve forgotten how to do something and need a quick one-minute refresher. That one currently has fifty videos, but most are a minute or less.

And then there’s a bundle that lets you get them both at once.

I’m new to Teachable so if you see something that looks unfinished, please let me know. There were lots of moving parts on that one.

Anyway, hope this is something someone out there can use. I know I would’ve certainly appreciated having it when I was getting started with Affinity. (Not that I would’ve bought it because I’m that do-it-yourself-as-cheap-as-you-can sort of person, but ya know.)

Knowing me there’ll probably be a non-fiction supplement at some point as well as one for basic cover and ad image design. Hard to believe that there’s still that much content left to cover, but it really is an amazing and versatile program that I’ve found invaluable over the last year.

Leveling Up

I’ve spent the last week and a half or so learning how to use Affinity Publisher to format the interior of my print books. Up until this point when I wanted to handle the formatting of a book I did so in Word.

(I have Vellum which I can use for a basic fiction book, although I disagree with them on how they handle widows/orphans and also they have a weird glitch in their process that sometimes leaves off page numbers or headers for an entire chapter which then moves around when you regenerate the file until it finally goes away. Overall fine for a basic book. But for a lot of my non-fiction I desire more control.)

It’s not all that hard to format a book in Word, especially if you use Styles and Section Breaks and combine that with the KDP templates that you can download through Amazon’s publishing website.

But I’d paid for Affinity and knew it was supposed to be a publishing software (I’ve been using it for my covers instead of GIMP) so decided to finally dive in and see what it can do.

There are some things I really love about it so far. I can see the potential time savings and automated consistency that I’ll get from Affinity Publisher once I’m up and running.

But I’m not there yet. I’m still learning. I’m still leveling up.

It’s little things that I have to learn. For example, with my covers I had to learn to check the box to include bleed so that the cover came out the right size. With books with images I’ve had to learn how to export in grayscale. And with books with muti-level tables of content I’ve had to figure out how to apply two levels of formatting to the TOC.

Little things like that.

Which is when it’s tempting to quit and go back to what you know. I know how to do all of these things in Word and can probably do them in half the time in Word. Right now.

It requires manual effort, but I can do them. I know the process.

With Affinity I’m doing a lot of Googling for answers. And sometimes I just don’t know the industry term to use. For example, it’s called pinning when you want an image to stick with specific text. I was trying to look for how to “anchor” an image to text.

Little things like that that trip you up and take extra time.

But the key is to not quit halfway through. Leveling up often requires a step backward to move forward. You lose expertise in order to gain expertise. You become more shaky at what you’re doing in the short-term. But it’s worth it long-term because when all is said and done you get through all that struggle and everything becomes easier.

So I’m sticking with it even though I have now generated this one book file probably ten times today. Because I know that by the time I’m done with these practice books I’ll be ready to do what I’ve been gearing up for and that’s formatting and publishing about a dozen new image-intensive titles.

(Honestly, being able to see the DPI value on every image I’ve embedded in one spot is reason enough to use Affinity instead of Word.)

Also, don’t be fooled by my complaining. I love the process of learning something new and struggling for mastery and then finally figuring it out and having that aha moment. I’m pretty sure that’s why I keep with self-publishing even though there are probably far more profitable ways I could spend my days…

Anyway. Back to it. Time to proof this book for the umpteenth time today and hope that all the little issues are now gone.