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Sure, anyone can write a document in a word processor, run it through some export tool, use a fully automated conversion utility or peruse the services of an online service, but the sad fact of the matter is that none of these approaches typically results in, what I call, production-level digital books.
So, why are people using them?
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and observing how other authors approach their eBook publishing, and the more I examined it, the more I have noticed that there are generally two reasons for it.
They write their book, complete it and look for the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to deploy it. It is a sad testimony in my opinion, and certainly not a valid excuse. You have labored over your book for months, maybe even years, you have read and re-read it countless times, cleaned out typos and grammatical errors, massaged the style and worked on the structure, grinding away in the wee hours of the night alongside holding a daytime job and maybe having a family.
You did not get here just to break the first cardinal rule of book publishing: It will reflect poorly on your work. I will never again touch the book of an author who has made a bad impression on me by delivering a broken eBook that is clearly sub-par. I can forgive many things in a book if I so please — stilted language, poor pacing, logical errors, uneven style, even the occasional typo.
However, one thing I cannot forgive is poor eBook formatting, particularly if it is to the point that it becomes distracting from the actual reading experience, and sadly I have seen too many of these in recent memory.
Every book that goes to print is practically flawless, except for a typo, perhaps, or print issues such as ink blotting or somesuch production-line flaw. However, I have never seen a book where the font size suddenly jumped, where the font face suddenly changed, where indentations were all over the place or where paragraph adjustment switched from justified to left aligned halfway through a paragraph.
To me that notion is ridiculous and disconcerting, and no writer who is worth their salt should ever be caught publishing an eBook that is not equally flawless as the longstanding tradition of print books has dictated.
You may frown upon traditional publishing houses and their supposed arrogance all you want, but most indie authors would still do well to take a few lessons from these dinosaurs. Among many other things, at least, they know how to produce and package a product for sale and do not discount professionalism as a sales point at the expense of instant self-gratification.
If you are a self-publishing writer and want to be taken seriously, spend a little time getting acquainted what digital eBooks actually are. Learn how they work, how they originated, what they can and cannot do. You might be surprised how many cool features you can actually add to an eBook with the proper background information and some of these capabilities may truly enhance your books.
Sure, some of the features are not very useful for most types of books, but, just as an example, did you know that you can actually embed video content in eBooks?
The second reason why many authors never take the time to create proper, optimized eBooks is that they are perhaps intimidated by the process.
It is a technical process, to be sure, but it is nothing to shy away from or to be afraid of. This is you, a smart and intelligent person. You have written a book. You have mastered the spelling of millions of words.
You have internalized grammar rules and overcome countless stylistic challenges over the course of putting your book together, not to mention that, most likely, you had to plot it all out properly to create a dramatic arc, or to create a stream of conscious that readers can follow.
By comparison, creating professionally formatted eBooks is as easy as burning a marshmallow over an open fire. Over the next couple of weeks, I will post different installments on this blog to show you how you, too, can get to state-of-the-art, professional-looking eBooks that work perfectly on any eBook reader in the market, taking the guesswork out of creating your final product.
Stay tuned… Take pride in your eBook formatting Need help with an eBook project? Check here for more information. That way I can keep you updated about the latest developments, updates to my books, code snippets, techniques and formatting tips.This is a video of my speaking with a local writer's group about the ebook publishing revolution and why every author must have their books published as ebooks in order to take advantage of this huge ashio-midori.com now sells more than ebooks for every physical books sold!
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