Humanus Feed
eBooks and Digital Publishing

Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Peggy Richardson: a Geek with a difference.

Humanus Publishing, Inc.

Specializing in formatting your book for Amazon's Kindle format.

Are you struggling trying to convert your previously-printed book to Amazon's Kindle format? Do you find yourself overwhelmed by confusing technology, or a failed attempt to upload your eBook yourself?

With a 20-year background in IT, Peggy loves the techy aspects of eBooks and marketing, and offers Kindle eBook formatting and coaching services.

Let's work together! eMail me at

Can’t figure out your eBook topic?

May 7th, 2015 . by Peggy

Trying to decide what eBook to write?If you’re an independent marketer or small business owner, chances are you’ve heard someone say to you, “You know so much – should write a book!” But you can’t write about everything you know, nor should you. Keeping your eBook topic tight will make it easier for readers to connect with you and recommend your eBook to others.

A well-known marketing consultant in Vancouver BC once told me, “The first rule of consulting is to never tell them everything you know.” Perhaps this is also the first rule of writing. The most difficult thing in the world for any passionate person is to know when to stop. Avoid overwhelming readers with too much detail in your eBook topic, too many choices, and too-vivid descriptions. Instead, focus on the “must know first” idea, and then slide into how to do it.

Once you have established your “must know first” concept, consider partitioning or “modularizing” the remaining content. Modularizing content is an excellent way to deliver information in a clean and digestible format. eBook 1 may have demonstrated that they need your concept, but then they may only need eBooks 3, 4, and 7 to do it their way.

If you’re still struggling with how to focus your content into an eBook, try these other exercises.

  • What is the number one problem faced by your clients or readers?
  • What is the most expensive mistake made by your readers?
  • What do people in your niche dream about, but are rarely able to achieve?
  • What can you do, that nobody else in your business can?
  • What can you do to partner with others serving the same market? Could you co-author an eBook and share the benefits?
  • What can you do to improve on others in your niche?

Choosing your eBook topic carefully is important, but it shouldn’t stall you. If you find yourself staring down the road for more than a few days, and not moving, you’re stuck. It’s best to simply re-focus and move on. Writing about something unfocused is better than writing no eBook at all. Starting with these questions may seem elementary, but sometimes, the most obvious answers are the right ones.

join the discussion

The Gallery System: Art and Books in Revolution

March 24th, 2014 . by Peggy

This is a short speech I wrote several years ago, while living on Gabriola Island, in the San Juan islands near Nanaimo, BC. Watching art and books in revolution, and surrounded by indie artists, I saw a parallel between my own work as an indie author and their work as independent artists, each selling from their own studios on a small rock in the middle of the ocean. The impression of those vibrant artists has not waned in the years since, and I found this essay while clearing out a file cabinet last weekend. I hope you see a similar revolution happening around you.

ID-100214827As a young fine arts student studying to be a painter and sketch artist, I was coached by well-meaning teachers and professors who wanted all of their students to achieve commercial success. There’s nothing more rewarding for an art teacher than to witness their student actually pay a mortgage with the revenue from their creative efforts. But now, as an adult with a generous amount of business experience behind me, I can now see where Artists, and Authors, are being ripped off.

I often compare the current traditional bookselling system, where a big publisher buys work from a writer and distributes it through large chain stores, to the way art sales are managed by galleries. What I call “The Gallery System” is how a gallery finds marketable painters, sculptors, and other visual artists that fit the commercial definition of good art (whatever that means), and put their paintings on display in the well-lit large front window of a gallery. Passers-by feel confirmed in buying work they don’t have any deep feelings about, because of the artificial validation that buying from a large gallery gives them. We are robbing the next generation of the ability to think critically about art and literature.

Here’s the really naughty part: when the painting sells, the artist only takes a small portion of the profit. I know many wonderful artists that have altered their work to make it more palatable to this market, thereby not only sacrificing their own artistic integrity, but also denying a hungry art-buying public the opportunity to discover and experience something new.

Galleries (read: bookstores) plunge the work of the artist directly into an extremely competitive market, often without the benefit of additional insight for the consumer. Try attending a gallery exhibit opening sometime, and notice the similarities between that and a book signing. But now, living in an “art-friendly” community, I’m extremely pleased to see that the art (and book) buyer recognizes the cachet of visiting the studio of a working artist – and buying direct.

This revolution is well underway in the arts community. And more than the way money changes hands is being affected: a wider variety of mediums are gaining mainstream recognition, and artists are spreading their creative wings. A previously-unidentified audience for non-traditional work is clearly out there doing some serious shopping. The line between art and craft is more blurry than ever. And the art of the people, folk art, is no longer segregated into a movement.

It is very clear that self-publishing, and the selling of books directly from the author to the consumer, is the manifestation of this same spirit in the publishing world. Authors now have access to the same tools that large publishing houses do. They are thinking of their books as tools for marketing their businesses and other products. Fine printing gives credibility to their statements. And they are receiving equal critical recognition to any other author.

What about balancing business needs with artistic integrity? This is achieved more easily now than ever, because the author retains all the control. Their work is no longer subject to commercial critics that stifle creativity early in the process. The way this works is because of and old axiom, which I see proven again and again: art cannot exist in a vacuum. We must write so that others can read. Otherwise, our writing is a purely selfish act. Outside of writing for self-exploration, which makes us better writers regardless, we must write for an audience. By considering our audience, which is the second rule of quality writing*, we automatically satisfy the needs of an increasingly clever book buyer. The integrity of our writing is inherent, and intelligent readers will buy all they can get their hands on.

join the discussion

You’re Going to Need to Hire an Editor

March 10th, 2014 . by Peggy

 (This is an excerpt from my book “Your Book Title Here“, available on the Kindle platform at, $2.99 USD.)

The editor is the one bit of outsourcing that I must recommend no matter how good a writer you are. With editors, you are paying for something that cannot be achieved any other way: objectivity.

Editors come from many paths. Some of them are language specialists, but many come from other, far more interesting sources. Some of them are industry experts, and some of them are teachers or business people. In my experience, the degrees on the wall matter very little to the quality of the service and work you will get. Instead, focus on their communication style. Do they seem to understand what you’re trying to achieve? When they read your work, do they make intelligent criticisms, and explain the reasons for them clearly? If so, great. You’ve got the foundation for a wonderful working relationship. Don’t just look for someone that agrees with you on everything. Not only is that not objective, but it means that they’re not telling you the whole truth of what they observe in the work.

Criticism is a big part of the editing process, and I’m here to tell you right now, get over any personal feelings you might have about the process. You have bigger stuff to care about, like creating a high-quality product. You need to focus on the big picture, not your personal feelings. Think early on in the process about your budget to hire an editor, and it will be easier to make happen.

Ouch! Peggy is really mean! Yes, I am. I’ve been on both sides of the editing fence. And now, I truthfully enjoy being the writer receiving help from the editor, because I can really see the improvement it makes in my final product: I’m actually becoming a better writer because of good editing. The thrill of working with someone who also believes in your book is so satisfying. You’ll know they believe in making it successful if they offer plenty of constructive criticism. This will happen for you too. I’m not saying it will be easy, but you will be better, and the praise you’ll receive as a quality writer will hopefully make up for any hurt feelings.

What does an editor cost? OK, prepare to be angry at me again: I can’t tell you that. The fact of it is, it fluctuates wildly. As I said, editors come from different backgrounds, and they all charge differently. Some charge by the word, and some by the hour. Some will only do certain types of editing, and the charges for different types of editing are also different. Some types of editors, like style and content editors, will only offer big-picture advice, rather than picking through your manuscript line-by-line.

At the very least, a copy-editing pass should be done before you finalize your work. This means just checking for things like spelling and punctuation mistakes, along with things like proper sentence structure and grammar. An abundance of copy errors will ruin the credibility of the entire work. However, I find that someone who can point out things like “You drag on a bit here,” or, “I would leave out that entire paragraph,” or, “You need to explain this further,” are extremely helpful, and that stuff is what really makes me improve. Simple copy-editing is also often better performed by a different editor than the one who does any style editing on your work. A fresh pair of eyes will catch stuff you wouldn’t believe.

Despite all editing you may have done, don’t freak out when the inevitable happens: your manuscript will still have errors. And I don’t just mean one, as there will probably be a bunch. Of course, you will only see them after the book has been sent to a major newspaper for review, or when your mentor is reading it. Relax. All authors cringe at this thought. It happens. Move on.

To read more from this book, please see

join the discussion

« Previous Entries Next Entries »