Finally the iPad / iOS edition of my palmistry book is complete and it’s been quite the ordeal. As I tidy up my files and look over all the resources, graphics, audio and video I’ve had to compile and create for this new interactive edition I’ve been taking a look back at the origins of the book to see just how far it has come.
You can buy the book here.
The first edition of Palmistry – Palm Readings In Your Own Words was self-published in 2006 and I sold it through my own (long gone) palmistry site. Although I had written The James Bond Cold Reading previously (my first of these cold reading books) the Cold Reading Company had not yet been created to accommodate my output and apart from my mentalism book Post Justify I had yet to write enough material to warrant a full-blown e-commerce site.
By the time I came to write my own chiromancy book I’d read a lot of palmistry books and was always baffled why the majority were packed with technical details but failed to elaborate on the approach required to give a reading to a third party. I found it very frustrating and often found myself overwhelmed with information so resolved to write my own book in an attempt to simplify the process and learn palmistry once and for all.
The original premise of the palmistry book was to offer people a three-pronged attack on learning the basics of palmistry; visual, written and audio. I created ten printable flash cards with a selection of easy to memorise palmistry traits in an order that could help give structure to a reading. I wrote a book around the cards, explaining in more detail how to use these cards with a focus on developing the skills required to create a reading style of ones own. And I also took the time to include a complete audio book of the text so that people could listen to the book in the car, on their MP3 players or on CDs should they wish to burn them. Don’t forget this was 2006 and the first iPhone hadn’t even come out yet!
Fast forward a few years and the chance to reach a wider audience via the Amazon Kindle beckoned. It was a tough decision but I (finally) bit the bullet and re-formatted the palmistry book for Kindle. It wasn’t just reformatting the book for kindle that was the problem, it needed new front cover art work and I also needed to figure out how to get the flash cards and audio to people who’d bought the book from behind Amazon’s walled garden. It dawned on me that by creating a registration process for each book using a link hidden at the back of each Kindle edition (far away from the prying eyes of Amazon’s automatic preview pages) I could allow people to enjoy my book on their new Kindles whilst still being able to download and print off the flash cards and audio at their leisure.
It wasn’t just the formatting that needed re-jigging – I had to adapt to a newer less niche audience know as ‘the whole world’. Previously my work had been reserved for a few close acquaintances and sales were largely from word of mouth (and internet). Was my book too reader-ish? Too mentalist-ish? Too magician-ish? Or just too niche for its own good?
I shouldn’t have worried as sales took off and never really faltered. Amazon then started offering print on demand sales through Createspace and another audience opened up. By this point the iPhone was in people’s hands (and the whole smartphone revolution had started) and I was advising people to upload the flash card PDFs to their phones so they could have them available at all times. Over time my output grew and I ended up releasing several books for Kindle alongside their print editions.
Fast forward a few years and Apple released their own software for iBook creation. ‘Hey, that would be cool, perhaps I should try that with the palmistry book,’ I thought to myself. I’ve just checked the files on my computer and apparently I thought it was a good idea on 15th May 2012, the date of the first file I created labelled ‘Palmibook’. At the time of writing this blog post it is currently 26th August 2018.
That was six years ago. It feels like forever.
One of the main stumbling blocks a the time was that Apple’s own authoring software, iBooks Author, was actually pretty unstable for its first year or so which resulted in a whole bunch of work I created getting trashed by a bad file save. I’ve uncovered a multitude of files labelled ‘iBook Palm Rescue’ from mid-July 2012 and as I recall the software corrupted my files so badly that even copying and pasting various bits of work I’d done from one version to another was somehow moving the corruption across and rendering everything unusable.
The next file has the date 15th October 2014. Judging from an over two year lapse in even attempting such a thing again proves just how disheartened I was. So much so that the next files after that have the date January 2015 and November 2016. Every time I started again it was a nightmare but something else had also happened; the size of the undertaking was beginning to dawn on me. As I got better at putting the elements of the book together, the more I realised I needed to add and the more I realised how much I could do and the more I realised how much I wanted to say and how many things I could put in it and how great it could be if I put all the things in.
So I stopped.
Finally, on 26th September 2017, I decided enough was enough. I was going to finish this damn interactive book even if it meant a fight to the death. As it happened it was a near-death experience as, on top of all the work I’d previously done on the book, it took me another year of almost relentless work on the project to get it finished. Why? I’ll explain.
Firstly it became obvious that the cards needed to be brought up to date. I’d actually done a lot of this work in 2016 and the new-look colour cards had been sent out to all registered users and were now part of the original book download. But now the new cards looked great and made everything else look terrible. I was going to have to upgrade my graphics game.
Secondly I knew I had to talk about actual hands. There needed to be examples. Lots of examples. That’s a lot of hands. Where do you find this stuff? You have to find it, or make it, shoot it yourself. And it has to be good quality, and reflect as many of the hand traits as possible. Basically hello to an almost never-ending amount of hours trawling through photo libraries as well as an investment in a decent camera and many phone calls to friends to take a photo of their hand and the even worse realisation that somehow all the shots were going to have to look relatively uniform for reasons of quality control. You can’t have a bunch of duff hand photos and thank goodness you can’t see just how terrible some of the original hand photos were. Taking (useable) photos of hands is not as easy as it sounds.
Thirdly I had a lot more to say now I’d been through all this. I felt the need to add all the things I’d never said in the first book, as well as fill in the gaps between the cards. I decided that the book should have more content so that, once a reader had grasped the basics from the ten flash cards, they could go back and add more information on subsequent read throughs. Hence I added the advanced sections, popups and all kinds of other information including fingerprint information and how to talk about the timings on the hand.
Fourthly video! You can’t have an interactive book without video. And of course I’ll need to talk about each card. And I should also talk about the whole palm tree analogy thing. And a bit about the lines too. How the heck do you shoot this stuff and embed it? And how many gigabytes is this book allowed to be anyway?
Fifthly, and this was the killer blow that nearly had me throwing the whole thing out of the window; my decision to have four practice hands throughout the book, including two comparison revisions and all four hands, personalities included, written up as four examples readings in full, with every single section transcribed and recorded.
I must admit, Fifthly nearly did me in. It took months to create and write the practice hand stuff. I very nearly ditched the whole idea multiple times but I soldiered on. One could say it was like pulling teeth but to stay on-theme I’d say it was akin to having ones fingernails pulled out when you’ve got no one to blame but yourself. The audio in the book alone topped out at around 90 minutes. That’s a lot of reading and a lot of audio editing. I ended up with square eyes and square ears and quite a square throat actually.
But I finished. And now you can all enjoy it! And I really hope that you do. It’s been a labour of love. And of hate. And quite often just labour. But I’m really quite proud of it.
You can buy Palmistry – Palmisty In Your Own Words on the iBooks Store and once purchased will be availble on your iPad, Mac and iPhone simultaneously. If you DO buy it please please please leave a review on the Apple iBooks Store – getting people to leave reviews is like pulling fingernails too!
Thanks for listening.