I am finalizing the data graphics for my book, An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States. The geography and the demographic sections still need new graphics but the rest of the pages just require edits. I still need to write the explore text to help connect the dots between each infographic. In many ways this is the hardest part because my work in the past has always been one-off infographics that I post to my blog.
In a book, you have the freedom to explore a subject in more depth but it is harder to juggle all of the ideas and information while also making the connections clear to your reader. It’s not unlike the difference between writing an article and writing a book.
My ambition with the Income Guide was to explore a new form of storytelling through data visualizations, which leaves me few examples to show me the way. I am researching digital formats to complement the print version either in a new website design or though e-books. I am concerned that the lack of standardization in e-books platforms will cause me many problems in designing the book so I suspect I will end up on a proprietary platform – either Apple or Kindle. While I am an Apple person with iPads, iMacs and iPhones at my disposal, it is hard to resist the pull of Kindle with Amazon’s reach into the book market. However, my work is more like a graphic novel or an art book than a more common text-only book, which make the original Kindles display inappropriate for me.
I attended two symposiums this month. First I was on a panel about data visualization at the American Association for Budget and Program Analysis. Then I worked with my brother (a geographer) on a presentation about Visualizing Economics, blogging and crowdsource fundraising at the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science. I like presenting at these meetings and conferences. It forces me to think and talk about what I have done and tell a story about what I have learned. I am not a writer by nature but getting up in front of an audience forces me create a slide deck to illustrate my ideas and rehearse it until I understand exactly what I want to say.