My fifteenth lens, George MacDonald’s The Golden Key, was created on June 30, 2007.
What This Lens is About
It’s an e-text of one of the best children’s books ever written, George MacDonald’s The Golden Key, illustrated with my own drawings.
There was a boy who used to sit in the twilight and listen to his great-aunt’s stories.
She told him that if he could reach the place where the end of the rainbow stands he would find there a golden key.
“And what is the key for?” the boy would ask. “What is the key of? What will it open?”
“That nobody knows,” his aunt would reply. “He has to find that out.”
Why I Made This Lens
When I started on Squidoo in 2007, before we had lensographies, blogs, Twitter, Facebook fan pages, or even Squidoo co-brands, lensmaster Jack C. Lee proposed a great idea: Squidbooks, using Squidoo to publish books.
Meanwhile, I’ve had a lifelong dream: to produce an electronic, illustrated edition of George MacDonald’s The Golden Key. Published in 1871, exactly 100 years before I was born, it’s my favorite children’s book, and its copyright expired long ago. So I actually went to the UCLA library, found an original edition, and typed the whole thing into my laptop.
A Squidbook isn’t the best way to present such beautiful material, especially since Squidoo has a lot more ads and garish graphics than it did back then. But this project is still dear to me.
Things I Learned Making This Lens
Squidoo is a difficult medium for long content. It was even harder back then, when text modules were limited to 2000 words, and we had no page breaks. That’s probably why the Squidbooks idea died out. A few people have tried to revive it and failed.
Illustrations take time. This is obvious, but it explains why there are so few hand-drawn pictures on the web. I’ve only done a few illustrations, and I’m only satisfied with three of them — I’m not a great artist. Realistically, unless you’re a professional artist, you’ve got to use stock photos, creative commons and clip art for your Squidoo graphics.
Nonetheless, my traffic stats show there is a constant demand for free e-texts, “children’s books like Harry Potter,” and reading material. If you could figure out the right way to package a Squidbook, you’d be golden!
Of course, the right way is probably to publish on Kindle and make a Squidoo lens promoting it.
Obviously, it’s better if a Squidbook or ebook is your own, original work, but there’s some value in resurrecting ancient 240-year-old-books, letters, and other antiques where the copyright has lapsed. In fact, you should check your own family stores for any special letters — World War II letters, for example — or old books worthy of a lens.
Lens Stats and Milestones
As of today: Lensrank #68,061, 7 ratings, 2 favorites, 660 lifetime visitors.
Best lensrank achieved: #2738. Lifetime earnings: $5.35.