Updates from December, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • drdianehamilton 9:58 am on December 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Infographics, Information graphics,   

    Create Infographics Easily with Easel.ly 

    Infographics can add some flare to an article. It may be a challenge to create one without the ability to navigate and comprehend complicated software.  That is why Easel.ly is such a helpful program.  In Edudemic’s article 10 Fun Tools to Easily Make Your Own Infographics, Easel.ly is listed as one tool that does not require a great deal of skill.

    It is simple to take a template and simply add and change things.  For example, the original template, looked something like this:

    easelly_visual

    While, this may be graphically appealing, it may take quite a bit of time to change something with this much detail.  If less information is required, it is simple to change a few things here and there.  Here is an example:

    OnlineStudentCareer

    It may be costly and/or difficult to find just the right visual for an article. This site may be a great source of choices that can be easily tweaked to fit the topic at hand. The site offers quite a few templates and is growing daily.

    To find out more, watch the following video:

    Related Articles:

     
  • drdianehamilton 10:55 am on July 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Createspace, , ,   

    Self-Publishing with CreateSpace 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am interested in self-publishing a book.  Can you tell me about your experience with self-publishing and things you have done to market your books?

    That is a good question and one that I often receive.  Check out my previous posting:  How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book.  I used Createspace for self-publishing.  I had a great experience with them. They are affiliated with Amazon.  The site offers different options based on authors’ needs.  Some of those options included:

    • Do-it-yourself tools to design interiors and covers
    • Comprehensive design and editing
    • Expanded distribution options

    I found that the company was very responsive to my questions.  They took my design ideas and gave me a couple of covers to choose from based on my input.

    Createspace is not limited to book publishing. They also work with musicians and filmmakers.

    Once your book is published, and available on Amazon, you will then have the ability to create an Amazon author page.  That author page can incorporate links from your blog. Authors also have the option of making their books available on Amazon’s Europe-based site.

    There are plenty of books that can help increase your sales on Amazon’s site.  One book that I thought was pretty useful was: Aiming at Amazon.

    Related Articles:

     
    • matthew feldman 5:35 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Was this a pay for posting? I have seen several paid postings for this and wonder if yours is too? Do you have a policy of telling readers when you pay for post or do you never accept pay for posting?

      • drdianehamilton 5:45 pm on July 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Matthew,

        No I did not receive anything for this. I have never posted anything that I received money for posting.

  • drdianehamilton 8:40 am on December 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Duke University, Paraphrase, , Quotation, ,   

    How to Paraphrase and Avoid Using Direct Quotes 

    Some professors require that students avoid direct quotations within their writing.  One reason for this is that students may have a tendency to rely too much on what others have written.  They may take large amounts of directed quoted material and copy and paste it into their writing in order to meet page or word requirements.  This is not acceptable.

    Students must still cite to explain where they obtained their research.  To cite correctly, students should get into the habit of paraphrasing. In this way, students give the original author credit for their work by citing the source of the information without quoting it word for word.  Citing means acknowledging where they obtained the information.  A student must be careful not to paraphrase everything they write.  The student should not neglect to include their own analysis.  Duke University provides useful information about avoiding patchworking and paraphrasing in APA style.

    Paraphrasing occurs when the writer take someone else’s thoughts and information and restates it into his or her own words.  Think of it as more of a restatement than a summary. Owl Purdue explained that it is better than quoting word for word because it eliminates the temptation to cite too heavily.  Owl Purdue’s Paraphrase:  Write in Your Own Words is an excellent learning tool and it includes 6 Steps to Effective Paraphrasing.

    To learn how to cite correctly, check out a helpful link from plagiarism.com that explains how to paraphrase properly.  For more examples of how to paraphrase, check out:  Examples of how to paraphrase without plagiarizing.  The Writer’s Handbook also gives some helpful tips about methods of paraphrasing and how to paraphrase difficult texts.

    Related Articles

     
  • drdianehamilton 12:05 am on August 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    How to Publish or Self-Publish Your Book 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  I am thinking about publishing a book.  What do I need to know about finding a publisher or trying to self-publish?

    It can be quite challenging to get your first book published through a large publishing house.  Many new authors find that they must end up self-publishing.  Some are choosing to self-publish now because of the way that the industry is changing as well.

    Seth Godin, is a well-established author who used to use the big publishing houses, recently decided to self-publish.  Godin decided to do this because he had enough customer relationships and felt he no longer needed the publisher.  Publishers can offer a lot of advantages for a new author.  However, once an author is established and has identified their audience, they may not be as necessary.  According to the Wall Street Journal Godin is quoted as saying, “Publishers provide a huge resource to authors who don’t know who reads their books. What the Internet has done for me, and a lot of others, is enable me to know my readers.”

    If you decide to go the publisher house route, here are some things you must keep in mind.  There is a very high probability that publishers will turn down you book unless you have an agent, a strong proposal, a very unique book idea, and most importantly a strong platform. 

    The word platform gets tossed around quite a bit in the publishing world.  What they mean when they say they want you to have a strong platform is that they want you to have a “following” of people that will probably already want to buy your book once it comes out.  They would like to see you have a popular blog, a TV show, a radio show, are a celebrity or have written previous books, etc.  If you don’t have a platform, there is a good chance that they will turn you down. 

    If you do have a platform and want to use a publishing house, you will need to start the process by finding an agent.  To do this, you must develop a query letter.  Once you develop a good query letter, you will send this to agents that handle the type of writing that interests you.  I suggest reading Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents.

    Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! (Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents) Cover

    Once you send your query letters to agents, you may get some that respond.  If so, you must be prepared to have a strong book proposal to give them.  There are plenty of books about how to write a book proposal based on the type of book (fiction or nonfiction). There is a very specific format about how to write a proposal and it is important that you stick to that format.  The proposal will contain several things including some brief information about the proposed chapters. 

    Many people think they need to have written the complete book prior to finding an agent. This is not true.  It is good to have one solid chapter to send to the agent, though, in case they do like your proposal.  Do not send this chapter until it is requested though.  It is important to start with the query letter. If there is interest, then you would send the proposal.  If there is interest, then you would send the sample chapter. 

    If you cannot get a publishing house to publish your book, many people go the route of self-publishing.  There are some very simple ways to self-publish including using Amazon’s CreateSpace. Sites like this have made it easier and less expensive than ever before to get your book published.  The nice thing is that the days of having to print large amounts of books that require storage are gone.  With sites like Createspace, books are printed as they are ordered. 

    Self-publishing has changed the publishing industry.  Because of sites like Amazon, many stores like Borders have had to close their doors.  People have enjoyed the ability to have a variety of book choices and the ease of ordering online. 

    If you do decide to self-publish, be sure that you have a good editor and an indexer.  Createspace and others like them, offer help with a lot of things like cover design and more.  The more things that you need help with, the more it will cost.  However, these sites have made self-publishing a much easier and more realistic choice for authors than anything offered in the past.

     
  • drdianehamilton 3:48 pm on May 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2:46 Quakebook, , , , , , Japanese Red Cross, Our Man in Abiko, OurManInAbiko, Tokyo, , William Gibson   

    Inspired by One Tweet: Quakebook’s Creation is Helping Japan Raise Money 

     

    An expatriate in Japan, Our Man in Abiko, sent out a call with a single Tweet to social media contributors that eventually led to the creation of an e-book called Quakebook.  “The idea was to share the stories and experiences of people actually on the ground during the earthquake,” claims Quakebook.org. “In just four weeks, the 2:46 Quakebook project has turned an idea first voiced in a single tweet, into a rich collection of essays, artwork and photographs submitted by individuals around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it.”

    Quakebook is available on Amazon for $9.99.  Amazon stated the intentions of the editor who created the book, “is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the price you pay (net of VAT, sales and other taxes) goes to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. ”

    The book has the title 2:46 Quakebook because it begins by showing the effects at 2 minutes and 46 seconds after the quake hit.  There are over 30,000 words of accounts and over 200 people who have chipped in for this project.  This whole project was completely volunteer-oriented and the e-book became available in only one month after the disaster.  Quakebookorg stated, “The contributions in 2:46 Aftershocks have come from a wide variety of sources, and include photographs, personal accounts, drawings; each telling their own tale.”

    Click here to read some excerpts from 2:46 Quakebook:  Aftershocks Stories from the Japan Earthquake. To follow on Twitter, check out #Quakebook.

     
  • drdianehamilton 2:04 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Sentences, , Topic sentence, ,   

    Bloggers and Social Media Junkies: 5 Tips to Improve Your Writing 

    Today’s Ask Dr. Diane:  What are some things I can do to improve my blogging and writing skills?

    The Internet has turned lot of people into writers.  Bloggers and social media junkies may have great ideas to share but may lack some writing skills that could help improve the message they want to convey.  I know I make a lot of mistakes when I write.  I try not to, but when you blog as much as I do, it is inevitable.  I never intended to be a writer.  However, I found that I liked sharing information, so writing became a means to an end.  When I write my books, I use a professional editor.  Not all of us can be editing experts. It could be very expensive and inconvenient to have to use an editor for every blog and social media posting.  However, there are some simple things that can help to improve writing skills. 

    1.  Don’t End Sentences in Prepositions. The problem is that many people have no idea what a preposition is.  Susan Thurman, author of The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need, claims there is a trick to helping recognize a preposition.  “Look at the last eight letters of the word preposition; they spell position.  A preposition sometimes tells the position of something:  in, out, under, over, above and so forth.”  My seventh grade teacher suggested we think about a box.  For example:  in the box, over the box, and so forth. The following are the most common prepositions according to Thurman.  Try to avoid ending a sentence with any of these words:

    • About
    • Above
    • Across
    • After
    • Against
    • Along
    • Among
    • Around
    • At
    • Before
    • Behind
    • Below
    • Beneath
    • Beside
    • Between
    • Beyond
    • But
    • By
    • Concerning
    • Despite
    • Down
    • During
    • Except
    • For
    • From
    • In
    • Inside
    • Into
    • Like
    • Of
    • Off
    • On
    • Onto
    • Out
    • Outside
    • Over
    • Past
    • Since
    • Through
    • Throughout
    • To
    • Toward
    • Under
    • Underneath
    • Until
    • Up
    • Upon
    • With
    • Within
    • Without

    2.   Learn to Spell without Spell Check. If you rely too much on a spell checker, you may find that words you meant to write are replaced with words that have entirely different meanings.  I can’t count how many times that a student has sent me a note saying to “please excuse the incontinence”.   It is best if you take the time to learn to spell correctly so that you don’t have to rely on a device that may change your intended meaning. The following are fifty of the most commonly misspelled words according to author Gary Provost of 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing:

    • Acceptable
    • Apology
    • Appetite
    • Architect
    • Assassinate
    • Autumn
    • Calendar
    • Changeable
    • Conscious
    • Correspondence
    • Criticism
    • Deceive
    • Discernible
    • Embarrass
    • Eminent
    • Existence
    • Fascinate
    • Grateful
    • Hygiene
    • Imaginable
    • Immediately
    • Irrelevant
    • Jewelry
    • Judgment
    • Lovable
    • Miscellaneous
    • Mischievous
    • Mortgage
    • Necessarily
    • Occasionally
    • Occurrence
    • Omission
    • Orchestra
    • Potatoes
    • Professor
    • Pseudonym
    • Quarrelsome
    • Religious
    • Reservoir
    • Rhythmic
    • Scissors
    • Syllable
    • Tragedy
    • Umbrella
    • Vanilla
    • Vengeance
    • Weird
    • Wholesome
    • Youthful
    • Zealot

    3.  Vary your sentence length.  Some of my students like to write in either really long run-on sentences or overly short monotonous sentences.  Try to vary your sentence length.  Notice how the first sentence in this paragraph was longer and more complex.  That was followed by a shorter more succinct sentence.  It makes your writing easier to read if you vary the sentence length and mix it up a bit. 

    4.  Ask yourself some questions once you have finished your draft.  Does the initial paragraph let the reader know what your paper, blog or article is going to contain?  Do you have needless repetition of ideas?  Is your tone and tense consistent?  Does one paragraph advance to the next in a smooth fashion?  Does each of your paragraphs contain a topic sentence that conveys the thought you have developed throughout that paragraph? 

    5.  Work on expanding your vocabulary.  Rather than learning overly complicated words to express what you want to say, try varying the way that you say things by using a thesaurus.  If you are talking about a house, perhaps refer to that house as a dwelling or a building in the next sentence.  If you find that you are using the same word over and over, check out some alternatives words in a thesaurus to add dimension to your writing.

    I know I am guilty of making some of these mistakes.  Through practice, we can all improve our skills. 

     
  • drdianehamilton 1:36 pm on November 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Calibre, , , EPUB, , , Linux, , Portable Document Format   

    Using Calibre for Your e-Books Conversion Needs 

    On their site, Calibre states that their product is a one stop solution to all of your e-book needs.  I have used Calibre to convert my books and PDF files for use on my iTouch and iPad.  I like their product.  It is a free open-source program that is used in over 160 countries.

    You can download it for Windows, OS X or Linux by clicking here.   

    I like that they have some easy tutorials that can show you how to convert your files. 

    Features of their program include:

    • Library Management
    • e-Book conversion
    • Synching e-Books to Reader Devices
    • Downloading News from the Web and Converting to e-Book Format
    • Comprehensive e-Book Viewer
    • Content Server for Online Access to Your Book Collection
     
  • drdianehamilton 3:38 pm on September 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Stanza   

    Top 15 Articles to Help with Confusion about How to Choose an e-Book Reader and Application 

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am confused as to why there needs to be so many e-book devices and applications. How do you know which device to buy to be able to read the books you want to read? It can be even more confusing as there are more and more applications being created to allow access to books from each of these devices.

    To help relieve some of the confusion, check out the top 15 articles explaining eBook devices and applications:

    1. 5 Fantastic Free iPhone reader apps http://mashable.com/2010/04/06/free-iphone-ebook-readers/
    2. Reading Books on the iPad: iBooks vs. Kindle: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2363078,00.asp
    3. How to download Kindle for your iPad: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000490441
    4. Kindle receives favorable reviews over iBook app: http://notratched.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/kindle-app-beats-ibooks-for-reading-on-ipad/
    5. Reviews of ebooks apps for Ipad: http://www.iphoneness.com/iphone-apps/8-best-e-book-reader-apps-for-ipad/
    6. Google Books has a large assortment of free books you can read right on your PC.  Check out:  http://books.google.com/
    7. Google Books competing with Apple and Kindle:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/05/google-ebook-store-launch
    8. Barnes and Noble free eReader application:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp
    9. Stanza for iPad http://ireaderreview.com/2010/06/04/reviewing-the-new-stanza-for-ipad-app/
    10. 50 Free Kindle books http://ireaderreview.com/2009/08/17/40-free-books-in-the-kindle-store/
    11. Kindle vs. Nook http://www.best-ereaders.com/2010/05/02/kindle-vs-nook-2010-ebook-reader-reviews/
    12.  iPad vs. Kindle http://www.pcworld.com/article/193242/apple_ipads_ibooks_vs_amazons_kindle.html
    13.  iBooks vs. Kindle for iPad http://waltshiel.com/2010/09/06/ibooks-vs-kindle-for-ipad/
    14.  Reasons why iPad won’t Kill Kindle http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/three-reasons-the-ipad-wont-kill-amazons-kindle/?src=twt&twt=nytimesbits
    15. iPad, Nook, Kindle or Sony http://www.suntimes.com/technology/ihnatko/2658254,ihnatko-kindle-ipad-nook-ereader-083110.article

     
  • drdianehamilton 10:45 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Printing, , , ,   

    E-Books vs. Traditional Books 

     

    Ask Dr. Diane:  Which do you like better .  .  . e-books or traditional books? 

    I am often asked about my preferences for e-books vs. the traditional book for use in the classroom setting.  I teach for many different online universities.  Some of these universities use e-books and others do not.  Initially I was leery about using them because I am a page bender, a highlighter and basic destroyer of books, in order for me to get the most out of them.  Technology has improved though and you can now do more to the e-book to mark things of interest.  Also there is the option of printing out a few pages here and there if you really want a hard copy. 

    When I wrote the book The Online Student’s User Manual, I had no intention of offering it as an e-book.  However, within weeks of its publication, one of the universities where I teach asked for it in that format so that they could make it required reading for all new students. Needless to say, I got over my reluctance quickly and made it available.  I also made it available on Kindle: http://amzn.to/aCvMI1

    Through time and experience using them, I realized that e-books are a great option for many students.  A typical example is the student who attends a regular university and doesn’t want to lug a ton of books all over campus.  However, my students are online students.  Many may tend to have an ease with technology which is why they chose online learning in the first place.  Some of my older students may have more of an issue with it than the younger ones.  However, the portability and ability to read at work online or print things has made them accept the transition and appreciate it more.

     
    • blackwatertown 10:48 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Good point about students possibly having a different attitude to ebooks. The cost and challenge of storing traditional books are also factors for them to consider.
      But can ebooks allow students to adopt the classic pose of having a plethora of books strewn across a desk, while they collate the best information, cross-checking back and forth?
      http://www.blackwatertown.wordpress.com

      • drdianehamilton 10:55 am on September 14, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi – you do make an interesting point. I have many e-books loaded on my computer where I can open several at a time. If you are talking about using them on a Kindle or like device, that would be more difficult. I know I can open several pages at once with my iPad and click back and forth to them, but I have only found that ability with websites and not within iBooks. Either I haven’t found that ability or it is probably coming soon. It doesn’t take that long to switch around within the books on my iPad but it definitely isn’t the same as having them strewn across a desk! I do agree that the cost is a huge factor for students. E-books have definitely helped reduce costs for them. What I like as an instructor is that they can no longer say that their book hasn’t arrived and they will be late submitting assignments. . .

        • Restaurant coupons orlando 1:24 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink

          Hi Dr diane hamilton

          Amazon recently announced that its June 2010 Kindle e-book sales nearly doubled its hardcover book sales (180% higher). Many of those e-books were self-published books priced under a dollar; however, data indicates e-books may become the dominant long-form format in not too many years.
          Are low-overhead e-books better for authors or publishers than their print counterparts? This infographic shows the breakdown of where the dollars from e-book and traditional book sales are going……………….

          &

          The days of clipping coupons out of the paper are over, because there is a new medium that saves you time and more money than the typical coupon, it’s called Couponsiwant.com. This website takes coupons to a whole new convenient level. From the first moment you enter the website you’ll realize this website is something different. The design grabs you and gives you a sense of comfort. I noticed right away that I didn’t have to give an email or even set up an account, I simply chose the city I was interested in and then chose from 5 main categories: restaurant coupons, shopping coupons, salon/spa coupons, attraction coupons, and service coupons. Then, I was brought to my category where the appearance of the website got even better. The coupons are laid out in such a user friendly way, they are big and very clear and concise. Then I noticed that I could get printable coupons, which is to be expected, but then I saw that I could text the coupons to my phone. Now, that might not mean much to some, but with my iphone, that means that I have access to my coupons literally from anywhere. I can go to Couponsiwant.com on my iphone and because of the big design of the website; I can actually go through all the coupons and send them to myself from anywhere, that’s pretty convenient. Now, set convenience aside and let’s talk about the savings. This is not a save one dollar here or two dollars there type of website. You save 20%, 30%, 40%, 50% on almost everything, and in some cases you get completely free items. Once you find a few coupons that you like and you want to find out where they are located, no worries, there is a feature for mapping and directions on the details page of each coupon. After you use a coupon or 10, you can come back and write a review about your experience or give it a star rating. These features are very important to the other Couponsiwant.com community members, so that they can get an idea of what they can expect at these businesses. Also, let’s say you are looking at coupons in Naples, Florida, you can click on the facebook and twitter icons for those coupons and send the coupon to all of your friends. You’ll also notice an icon that allows you to email the coupons to your friends. There are a ton of great features on this website, too many to touch on all of them, but I would encourage you to check out this website and take advantage of the huge savings. Keep in mind; this isn’t a website that does the one deal a day thing. Couponsiwant.com wants everybody to save on everything, every day. so get many more coupons and enjoy……………………

          ———————————————————–
          Restaurant coupons orlando
          coupons orlando
          coupon orlando

        • drdianehamilton 1:28 pm on September 14, 2010 Permalink

          Hi – I was surprised at how easy it was to make my book available on Kindle. I think there are a lot of people who are using automated coupons as well. Thanks for the information.

    • RandomizeME 10:15 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The downside I see to going all digital as a student is that you can’t sell of your eTextbooks after you’re done with it. There’s no such thing as buying an eBook secondhand also.

      • drdianehamilton 11:47 am on September 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        That is a good point. However, a lot of regular books cost so much and the digital versions can be much cheaper. I remember selling some regular books back and not getting all that much money for them. I’ve not looked into the difference between what was spent initially vs. what you got back on regular books, but the lower initial price for a digital book may make the total price similar.

  • drdianehamilton 1:36 pm on September 3, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , college costs, convenience of technology, , , electronic books, , , , reduce expenses, , ,   

    Colleges to Offer More E-Books 

    Insidehighered reported today that Daytona State will be using e-books to save their students as much as 80% on supplies required for courses.

    Other universities have been going that route for some time now.  The University of Phoenix has had a lot of success with their e-book program.  Insidehighered reported “Phoenix actually mandates that instructors assign digital materials “whenever feasible” — a strategic turn the company started to take back in 2003, but which has come to fruition more recently, with so many more materials now available in digital format. At this point, roughly 90 percent of Phoenix’s course content is delivered via e-books or other electronic means — the only exceptions coming in courses such as art history, where copyright issues surrounding digital renderings of images such as paintings remain a hurdle for e-book publishers, says David Bickford, the vice president of academic affairs at Phoenix.”

    I work for several online universities that are utilizing e-books.  In fact, I have made my most recent book, The Online Student’s User Manual, available to a university where it will be delivered in an e-book format.  I have also made it available on Kindle because I believe that many do prefer to have quick access to resources like these rather than have to lug a bunch of books around with them.

    Convenience of access is a big plus for e-books.  Cost is also a very important consideration. Toccon.com claims, “The spiraling cost of textbooks is rendering higher education unaffordable to many students, particularly in community colleges, where textbook costs often exceed tuition. While some may think of a digital textbook merely an electronic image of a paper product, others have employed the electronic format in broadening the spectrum of learning. This session examines the emerging future of digital textbooks, including open access; subscriptions; texts bundled with online study resources; innovative texts that include multimedia, simulation models, automated assessments; and business models that will allow publishers to survive and thrive in the future.” 

    A recent ezine article gave 7 reasons why students should be offered e-books as a choice.  To read that article, click here.

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 244 other followers