Smashwords, iPad, Doctorow, Zeldman: further bumbling self-publishing adventures

Over on the Self-Publishing Review, my Adventures in Self-Publishing is still front-paged and generating some nice contact, public & private. Go me! But I’m still not rich yet. So anyway(s), as discussed, I’ve signed up with Smashwords to distribute my Acts of the Apostles. It’s been accepted into the iPad store, for which iPad-hater Cory Doctorow would give me a “boo-bad” and iPad hater-hater Jeffrey Zeldman a “way-to-go”, I expect. DOCTOROW-ZELDMAN STEEL CAGE DEATH MATCH! Or not. So long as they both keep saying nice things about my books it’s all good, as the surfers say.

So far, my Smashwords results not all that impressive: 82 downloads and zero sales.

On the other hand, the book is only available on Smashwords so far, not on Amazon or iPad. Maybe best-sellerdom is right around the corner!

Further reflections on Smashwords, iPad, OpenLaszlo, self-publishing, etc, etc, below the fold.

I’m trying to reformat my PDF of Cheap Complex Devices into Microsoft Word so that I can feed it into Smashwords’ “meatgrinder” conversion tool, one output of which will be a much inferior PDF of my book, thereby perhaps gaining some sales at the expense of destroying the look & feel of the book, one of its coolest aspects, in my not so humble opinion. I’ll blog about that whole process at some point. Anything for a buck, what-what? It’s a further ramification of the whole ontological quexion of “what am a book?” or rather, “what are a book?” as touched upon here.

I guess the iPad is causing a big open-versus-closed kerfluffle, since it’s a closed system but brags on (or brags “about”, for you coastal elites) not including Flash because Flash is a closed system. As Cory might say if he were 14 years old, hypocrisy much, Apple?

As for me, I don’t want an iPad not because I don’t want an iPad, but because I don’t want anything right now that isn’t food, shelter, or electricity. Buy some of my books, people! When I can haz dispozable income, then we’ll talk iPad.

I do hope the non-Flashness of the iPad will give a boost to OpenLaszlo. I loves them though they hurt me so, now I’m going to pack my things and go.


  1. Best of luck to you, John, in your iPad endeavors, content-selling and potentially owning.

    Pls elaborate on why anti-Flash is pro-Laszlo? I thought Laszlo compiled to Flash, or am I misinformed? I see that it supports DHTML too-also, but since I don’t know what DHTML actually means, that says to me it’s not a Big Deal. I’m probably wrong. Explain why!

    (However, the iPhone was equally un-Flash so it’s also unclear to me why the iPad being so is any kerfluffier than the status quo.)

    The real point of this comment is to say that I was talking to your ex-Laszlo compatriot the other day about how he should defect from the boring old team he was on and come join my much cooler team what writes nifty Web tools in Flex. And he started to say “No, man, after OpenLaszlo …”

    And I said, “Oh, yeah. They must have innoculated you against Flex. It’s probably toxic to you now.”

    “No,” he replied, “it’s just that there’s only so many platforms that compile to Flash that you can learn in one lifetime, you know?”

  2. DHTML means, basically “javascript + HTML”. In the early days of Flash, there were lots of things you could do in flash that you just couldn’t do in browser-native Javascript. Things like audio & video and a ton of other things that I have, thank mercy, forgotten. This was in the days of IE 4 & 5, for example. Mozilla version 1.

    Eventually the browsers caught up to basic flash functionality. Flash is always racing ahead of the browsers, but more and more the browsers can do natively things that you used to need Flash for. Clearly Apple thinks you don’t need Flash to do fancy Apple-like stuff.

    Because DHTML is just Javascript, and Laszlo (optionally) compiles to Javascript, it follows that you can compile in, using OpenLaszlo, Apple’s Javascript libraries, such as they use for iPhone & iPad applications.

    Therefore OpenLaszlo remains a nifty option for writing portable, object-oriented, etc, etc, iPad applications. OpenLaszlo’s LZX language is more cool than vanilla Javascript for any number of reasons, at least in my biased opinion.

    For any who as may actually care, the OpenLaszlo white paper, although a little dated, explains all this stuff quite well.

    See if you can guess who wrote it.

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