Sample iBooks Author-Created Ebook Now Available

Download it for free, then make it yourself.

How Helicopters Fly
Download this iBooks 2 Book Free!

I may have forgotten to mention this, but the ebook that readers of my book create is available for free from the iBookstore. It’s called How Helicopters Fly and you can find it here.

Keep in mind that this book does not showcase all the interactive features of iBooks Author. Instead, it concentrates on the ones I thought users would be most interested in: hyperlinks, cross-references, photo galleries, video, audio, and review questions. I’ll likely cover other features in additional titles or in short articles here.

Remember, you must have an iPad running iBooks 2 to read this sample book. My book that explains how to create this book, iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook, is available in iBooks, Kindle, and NOOK formats with print a edition available soon.

Tip for Writers on Mac OS: A Stickies Style Guide

Maintain consistency in your writing with an easy-access style guide.

As I continue work on my 81st book (!), I thought I’d share a tip with other writers working on Macs. This one has to do with creating and maintaining a style guide for your work in progress.

Stickies IconToday, on my blog, An Eclectic Mind, I wrote quite a bit about what a style guide is and why it’s important. I also revealed my personal technique for maintaining a style guide for work in progress — I use Stickies — and explain why it’s a good solution for me.

In this piece I want to briefly discuss how to set up and use Stickies as a style guide. Keep in mind throughout this piece, however, that you can use Stickies to give you easy access to just about any information you might need to be reminded about as you work.

  1. In the Applications folder in in Launchpad (Mac OS X Lion and later only), open the Stickies icon.
  2. StickiesIf you’ve never opened stickies before, you’ll see some default notes with information on using Stickies. You can read these for more information. Then close them and do not save changes. You want to minimize the number of open windows on your Desktop, don’t you?
  3. Choose File > New Note to create a new sticky note window.
  4. My Style GuideResize it so it’s long and narrow, just wide enough to fit the words you’ll add to it.
  5. Reposition it so it’s on the far right (or left, if you prefer) side of your screen.
  6. As you work on your project, add difficult-to-remember words and phrases to it. Be sure to spell/capitalize the words/phrases exactly as you should be writing them. It’s also a good idea to list them in alphabetical order.
  7. If there’s a word or phrase you should never use, add it to the list but use the Fonts panel to format it with strikethrough formatting.
  8. When you are done writing for the day, quit Stickies. Do not close the note before quitting.
  9. When you start work the next day, open Stickies again. The note should reappear just as you left it, all ready to be consulted and updated as needed.

If you’re using Mac OS X Lion and you don’t quit Stickies, it’ll automatically reopen when you restart your computer. If you’re using an earlier version of Mac OS, you can set up Stickies as a Login item so it automatically opens when you start or log into your computer.

Again, you can use this tip for any kind of information you need to consult as you work at your computer. The one thing I wouldn’t put in Stickies is any kind of information that needs to be kept private. I recommend an application such as 1Password for that kind of data so it can be secured.

How do you use Stickies? Share your tips in the comments for this post.

Learn More!

Lion Book CoverWant to know more about Mac OS X Lion and Stickies? Check out my Mac OS X Lion: Visual QuickStart Guide. This 648-page, fully illustrated guide to Lion is available for a great price in print and Kindle versions from

Broken Link Contest

Help me clean up this mess — and maybe win a prize.

I’ve been building content on this site since 2003. In eight years, I’ve collected a lot of junk.

Broken Link ImageAs I revise this site, I’m going through every single post, deleting the ones I don’t think are relevant anymore, and fixing up the ones that remain. Along the way, I hope to hunt down and destroy all broken links.

But I’m only one person and can only check so many links in a day. So I’m asking for your help. And I’m willing to reward the folks who help me most with a free copy of any one of my books still in print.

Here’s how you can enter to win:

  1. Browse the site as you normally would.
  2. When you find a broken link*, open the comment for this post. (I put a link to it in the sidebar so it’s easy to find.)
  3. Check all the preceding comments to make sure your broken link isn’t already listed. I can’t give points for duplicate entries!

  4. If the broken link isn’t already listed, use the Comments form at the bottom of the page to enter the following information:
    • Your name and email address. (This might not be necessary if you’ve already commented here.) Please use your real email address; I will use it to contact you if you’re a winner. I will not share your address with anyone else or spam you. I promise.
    • The URL of the page where you found the broken link. It must begin with — I’m not interested in rewarding folks for finding broken links on other sites.
    • The URL of the broken link. The easiest way to get this information is to either Control-Click (Mac OS) or Right-Click (Mac OS or Windows) on the broken link and use the Copy Link Location command in the contextual menu that appears. You can then paste it into the comment form.
  5. Submit the comment.
  6. Repeat as necessary. The more broken links you report, the better your chances of winning.

When I approve the comments — all comments are moderated here — I’ll check your findings. If you’ve correctly identified a broken link, you’ll score a point and I’ll note that in a reply to your comment.

At November month-end, I’ll award prizes to the top broken link finders.

Does this sound like a plan? I hope so. l could really use the help.

* A “broken link” is a link on a Web page that, when clicked, displays a “Page Not Found” error or something similar. In other words, it doesn’t display what it should for whatever reason.

MagCloud Offers Free Magazines for iPad Users

Print on demand goes digital for free.

MagCloud LogoI’ve been using MagCloud for some time now to create marketing material and, for a while, a monthly newsletter about flying around Arizona in a helicopter. It was suggested to me by a reader of my blog and once I saw what it was all about, I ran with it. I’m not the only one. Hundreds of people are releasing monthly or quarterly magazines using MagCloud’s print-on-demand features. Of those, a bunch are also taking advantage of a new feature that makes it possible to automatically publish magazines in an iPad-compatible digital format.

February 2010

Exploring Arizona by Helicopter: February 2010

In this month’s issue:
- The Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River resembles flowing chocolate during spring thaws and summer flash floods.
- Breathtaking views of water-filled canyons are among wonders visible from the air at the Colorado-San Juan Confluence.
- Agathla Peak — widely known as El Capitan — stands…

Find out more on MagCloud

This is a great thing for iPad owners looking for interesting new reading material. There are dozens of beautiful, full-color magazines that you can download for free onto your iPad. All you need is the MagCloud iPad app, which is also free from the iPad App Store.

MagCloud Magazine StoreHere’s how it works.

  1. Download the app and install it on your iPad.
  2. Open the app and use it to visit MacCloud’s Magazine Store.
  3. Browse by topic or search for a specific title.
  4. Tap a magazine you want. It’s downloaded to your iPad.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as desired to download multiple magazines. They’ll appear in the My Magazines screen.
  6. Downloaded MagazineTap a downloaded magazine to read it. In portrait mode, it appears as a single page. In landscape mode, it appears as a spread. You can pinch and drag to magnify and scroll.

MagCloud is an excellent print-on-demand publisher for magazine-style publications. I highly recommend it. And if you’re an iPad user, I hope you’ll check out MagCloud’s app and the free magazines you can download. Be sure to do a search for “helicopter” and take a look at some of mine.

Mac OS X Book Excerpt Online

Book sample chapter now online. puts another chapter on its site.

I just stopped by the Web site to check their listings for my work. (They list all of my in print books for Peachpit Press, as well as articles I’ve written for them and excerpts from my books.) I found that they’d put another excerpt from my Mac OS X 10.4 book on their site: “File Management in Mac OS X 1.4 Tiger.”

If you don’t have the book and want to check out this sample chapter, please do. Frankly, I think it’s easier to read in the book, without the links and tiny pictures. Maybe this excerpt will convince you to buy a copy; if so, you can get it at a discount by clicking a link on their site.