So it's been quite a few months since I wrote anything on this blog. And like the blog post I wrote a while back - my story is the same. My work helping others publish their work in print and as ebooks (both PDF and for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.) has been consuming - and I love it!
I do regret not keeping up with things here. I've learned so much since I started doing book designs, layouts, and ebook conversions. And so much of it can and should be shared so I'll see what I can do in the coming months.
I've met so many amazing people from all over the world and gotten to work on some pretty cool books too. They've covered many genres: self-help, children (illustrated and chapter), business (in too many categories to name), cooking, romance, short stories, novels/novellas, memoirs, workbooks, historical non-fiction, historical fiction, how-to, music, dating/relationships, health, religious commentary, travel, and probably a lot more I'm leaving out.
I love finding and showing the personality of a book or ebook in its pages and on its cover. Bringing the personality out in a book makes it a pleasure to read and helps it to make an impression to your reader. Good writing is so important for books, but - as I've told many authors I've worked with - if you want to sell your book, presentation is equally important. How your cover looks on the shelf or screen can make or break a sale. And the look of a page (whether it's in print or an ebook) has the power to turn a reader off, taking energy away from your writing, or to enhance the reading experience. A page can communicate along with your content or it can make sure that only your words do.
Don't take your writing or your page design lightly - again, presentation matters! Even if a reader already has one of your books in his/her hands, the impression they get while reading (from your words or from the look of your book) may lead them to or away from another sale.
If you don't know how to make your book look professional or, even better, how to get its personality out onto the page or cover, find someone that does! I'm always available to help and I've found some great partners to work with along the way too that I can refer you to - publishers, editors, and typists.
There's no excuse for not getting your book out there and making it the best it can be -
so get started and good luck!
Peas and carrots.
Bees and honey.
Salt and pepper.
You get the point. They go together - whether some of you like it or not. Good thing I like it. I've been reading a lot about his topic lately and I think it's so important that I figured - what's one more voice in the blogosphere going on about it?
Awesome, that's what!
FORMAT AS YOU WRITE!
Why? Because it makes life simpler for you, for me , or for anyone you might get to help with your book.
Your formatting doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't even have to look all that good when you start - especially if you're going to hand it off to a designer to work their magic on when the time is right. In most cases, you can use the pre-set "styles" in Word for "normal" body text, for headings and subheadings, or for any similar text elements that tend to repeat throughout your book.
Besides helping you keep track of the pieces and parts of your book, styles will be a tremendous help when it comes time to make your book look pretty. Why? Because they define all those pieces and parts and how they need to be presented in your book. They serve as great reminders for you, if you choose to do your own formatting, and great directions for others, if you decide to bring anyone else in on the project.
USE THE TOOLS AVAILABLE TO YOU!
While we're talking about styles, it's never bad to pay attention to the styles of other books. What's on your shelf? Crack a book open and pay attention to how it's done by the already successfully-published.
Apply some of the styles and standard practices you find in those books to your own work. Here are just a few things you might want to look at: margins, line spacing, use of blank pages, headers, footers, page numbers, tables of contents, and well - everything! You name it, it could be useful when applied to your own book.
All this is not to say you should forfeit your own originality! Not at all. What you should be looking for is ways that each of those items are handled may be handled similarly across several books. Look for those standard practices that will give your book a professional edge.
Keep an eye out for styles too - fonts, design elements, types of covers. Pick out the ones you like AND the ones you don't like from other books, and even websites, you see. Begin to define the personality of your book for yourself, and if you so choose, for your designer. You'll be glad you did.
If you are using a print-on-demand publisher (e.g., CreateSpace, Lulu, etc.), use the template they provide!
You can either begin writing your project in the template or you can apply the template settings (margins, page settings, etc.) to your existing project. The third option is to paste your existing text into the template, but keep in mind, this could get messy - especially if you're using styles (and you'd better be by now!).
The template (and its settings) will save you a lot of heartache when it's time to publish. They give you the template (and other specifications on the POD websites) for a reason - and that is to make you look good! Again, be sure to use the tools available to you.
Bottom line - set yourself up to look good from the beginning using all the tools at hand. Start with styles - use any (moderately successful) book you can get your hands on - and don't forget the templates!!
It's been a few weeks since I've written anything and I apologize! Summer has gotten the better of me!
Between general summertime fun and an increasing number of formatting and design projects, I haven't had a whole lot of time to write about ebooks. But I can tell you that in the past few weeks it's been confirmed for me in multiple ways that e-publishing may look easy to some, but it can be incredibly tedious and time-consuming. Especially when publishing to e-readers like the Kindle, iPad, Nook, or Sony eReader. It is not as easy as you'd think!
Despite what all the e-publishing sites may say, publishing to e-readers takes some time and know-how. "Free" e-publishing tools certainly don't mean easy e-publishing.
The first thing I've found that helps in getting your book closer to being published for e-readers is being truly interested in the technology and the task. The first "how-to" ebook that I ever read for Kindle formatting was tedious to read through, to say the least. But at some point during the reading, I found myself excited about the process. Now I've read some technical manuals before and unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don't often find myself getting excited over them. This was different because I like what I'm doing!
If you don't tend to like this stuff, then take your time and do your best. The process is going to be one of trial and error to a certain extent, even once you're an expert - at some point it just becomes less error! There are a lot of nuances that those how-to books can help you navigate. Take them seriously!! Some may seem silly (even counter-intuitive) to you, but they can save you a significant amount of time.
Above all, be patient! As mentioned, it is a trial and error process for every book you format for e-readers. There are quite a few steps involved in formatting, then creating the appropriate file, then testing it out on an appropriate application (Kindle for PC, Kindle Previewer, Adobe Digital Editions, etc.). And you'll need to go through these steps each and every time (sometimes dozens of times) until you get your book looking exactly how you want it. Because of all the nuances involved, it is inevitable that even when you think you've formatted everything perfectly, you'll miss something. So just be prepared, and again, be patient!
Good luck with your book! And don't forget to use some of the great resources available out there to find your way in epublishing. You can find some of those here.