How This Project Came About
We set out to write an eBook related to Computer Security, but quickly discovered there is no simple way to create an eBook without either paying a third party, having specialized technical knowledge, or wrestling with overly-complicated authoring and conversion programs.
So, we decided to develop our own software that makes it really simple to create an eBook for the Amazon Kindle (Kindle family of devices, Kindle apps for Apple iPad and iPhone, etc.). We've named our product Easy Edit for Kindle (for Windows, initially) to emphasize our priority on keeping the authoring process as easy as humanly possible.
Who We Are
We are Kelly Carter and Harold Kimball, both experienced software developers who have been working together for several years.
Kelly holds degrees in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and Software Engineering from Mercer University. He has worked as an engineer, programmer, and manager in fields to include defense. aerospace, medical electronics, and data communications. He has also taught computer science and information technology at the university level.
Kelly's role in the project has been to collaborate with Harold on product definition and design, usability analysis, legal issues, market research, product testing, and website development.
Harold holds degrees in Computer Science from Mercer University, Masters of Technology in Artificial Life from University of Advancing Technology, and is a doctoral student at DeMontfort University. He has worked as a software developer and manager in the fields of defense, aerospace, and industry.
Harold's primary role in the project is product developer: graphical user interface design, coding, and developmental testing.
Where We Are Now
We're already a long way towards completing the software; we estimate we'll be about 85% complete at the launch of our Kickstarter campaign. To give you an idea of our current status (to be updated frequently to backers), here are the main project phases:
Product design: The Easy Edit features have been completely identified, and the graphical user interface (GUI) designed. After extensive usability analysis, the GUI has been simplified for ease of use and compliance with Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines. We have obtained approval from Amazon for the product name and logo, ensuring compliance with their Brand Usage guidelines.
For convenience and portability, we have designed a program that runs from a USB flash drive, allowing writers to "take their work with them" and work on any compatible computer.
Product build: Already complete are Easy Edit's menu bar, icons, tabs, and panes for book organization and content editing. The product will presently allow a user to create the book structure (front matter, chapters, back matter) and write (enter text with formatting, add images and hyperlinks).
Work still in progress is the conversion of the completed book to Kindle format where it can be proofed in a Kindle simulator or an actual Kindle device.
Product test: Since our first prototype, we have continually tested for both ease of use and correctness. Before shipping, we will conduct a beta test using a select group of writers. At the end of that testing, we'll incorporate feedback to correct problems and improve the product.
Product fulfillment: We have selected a vendor for the Easy Edit USB drives, provided them with custom artwork, and obtained pricing and delivery terms. Upon project completion, the Easy Edit software will be loaded onto USB drives and shipped to backers (in accordance with their pledges).
Customer support: Our commitment to our backers does not end with taking your pledge and shipping the product. We have begun a website (EasyEditForKindle.com) that will include customer support contact information and a user forum. We will be prepared to diligently accept and respond to your emails, and answer your questions in the online forums. And we will be prepared to address and resolve problems as required, to include possible software updates. Our longer-term plan is to establish Easy Edit as an ever-improving commercial product line.
Why We Need Your Support
There are some expensive development tools and software components that we need to pay for (we've been using trial versions of some but need the full version eventually). And we've decided to deliver the Easy Edit program on a custom-labeled USB flash drive, so we need to cover the cost of that device.
Certainly we plan to launch Easy Edit as a commercial product and sell it through an eCommerce website (EasyEditForKindle.com). As with any quality software product, we'll provide customer support, continual product updates and upgrades, and future enhanced versions.
Eventually we want to support writers from all the countries (and languages) currently supported by Amazon.com: USA, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, and UK. So, we've offered a reward to help us get started translating Easy Edit to support some of those languages.
Our initial version of Easy Edit will be for Microsoft Windows. We want to quickly complete a version for the Mac. We might have tackled the Mac version first but it would have been a more risky approach for us, and a slightly more expensive one due to Mac-specific tools and components involved. We understand that writers tend to be Mac fans, and we fully intend to support those of you.
We fully understand the importance of community in making Easy Edit a success. We plan to build an online community for customer support, self-promotion of customer creativity (your eBooks created with Easy Edit), and to offer customers a one-stop shop for services such as eBook cover design, proofreading, copyediting, etc.
Risks and challenges
Risk: Conflict with Amazon.com. We have already mitigated, if not eliminated, this risk by directly corresponding with Amazon to disclose our Kickstarter project, product name and logo, etc. After working out minor trademark and branding issues, we obtained written approval from Amazon.
Risk: Complexity of Easy Edit software development. This risk is mitigated by the fact that I and my colleague have a combined professional software development experience exceeding 50 years, including the fields of Defense, Commercial, FDA-regulated industry, FCC-regulated industry, and Academia. We have selected very high quality development tools and software components, and are using industry best practices in our development processes.
Risk: Quality of final product (Easy Edit software). At key stages in the development process, we have conducted (and will conduct) thorough testing, such as alpha and beta testing. Functional and usability testing will be conducted both by programmers and writers. Beta testers (writers) will be surveyed for not only problems found but improvements suggested. As much as practical, improvements from writers will be incorporated into the final product. Similarly, for the life of the Easy Edit product, improvements suggested by the community of Easy Edit licensees and other writers will be introduced in upgrades and future versions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)