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Category Archives: e-book Conversions (technical)

Be Spoiled for Choice …

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… how you want to learn book promotion.  And there is a lot to learn: Publishing evolves constantly and the success of your book(s) is very much depending on you, no matter if you self-publish or if you go with one of the big publishers. 

Choices in publishing, essentials of book / e-book layout and design, your platform and brand,  optimizing social media, use of non-traditional ways of book marketing, book distribution, online retailers, learning about  marketing on a shoestring… it’s over-whelming.  But not if you get help from someone who has studied e-publishing and marketing for many years – and practices it all.

Choose between weekend seminars or sign-up for customized online marketing training (special offer in December)  

… or plan ahead for a publishing and book marketing seminar on a 5-day Caribbean Cruise on board of the Carnival Breeze, a brand new cruise liner, taking off in Miami, FL, on November 3, 2013.  Make your travel plans soon, bookings for this offer start at the end of this month!  

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Hello, I’m Doris-Maria Heilmann with 111 Publishing.  We are not only publishers of traditional and eBooks, we extensively market our authors books.  We also host informative seminars for authors on the “art” of promotion. 

During the last years, publishing books has totally changed. Nowadays we writers need to build our own platforms, identify our own demographics, and find our own market share – even if we are with a traditional publishing house!  The profession has changed and we need to adapt in order to succeed.   

Our unique “Seminar-At-Sea” will help authors to:

  • Strategically establish a writing career
  • Create our own brand
  • Identify our target readers
  • Find out how to reach these readers
  • Market and publicize our books on a budget
  • Find free book publishing funding sources

Soon I will be announcing all the details of this spectacular opportunity.  But for now…mark November 3, 2013 on your calendars!!  Connect with your peers and learn invaluable information to enhance your writing career…all while having the time of your life on an exotic Caribbean Cruise!!

Doris-Maria Heilmann

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 600 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Top Ten Tips for a Great Book Cover

Crime pays
A stunning book cover is one of the best marketing tools for any writer!

It is absolutely crucial, especially if you are self-publishing, to have an excellent book cover that grabs attention – from a 1-inch-size image.

Your cover image and title are your attention tools. If they attract a reader, this reader will have a look at your book’s content (“Look Inside”) and check out the book reviews to make a purchasing decision.

 

 

Top Ten Book Cover Tips:

  1. In the Western world, people read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance.
  2. Use light (but never, ever white) on dark for dramatic effects (novels, spiritual, etc.) and dark on light for easy readability (self-help, how-to, business). There are always exceptions to the rule when you want your book to stand out with a certain color or theme.
  3. When setting up your cover layout, allow another 0.25inch from the trim guides. This will ensure enough space around the cover’s edge and provide a more professional look.
  4. Give your finished cover the thumbnail test. Make sure it will look crisp and polished when reduced way down for display on online bookstores like Amazon or Barnes&Noble.
  5. In a bookstore the viewer will first look at the front cover; then flips to the back cover to read further. Draw him in with a catchy back header and short description of your book (blurb).
  6. Visit local library and research as many book cover designs as possible. Identify what works, and what doesn’t work for you. You can learn just as much from badly designed books as from beautifully designed books.
  7. Don’t center all the text on your cover or title page–this looks unpolished and unprofessional. Left aligning produce much cleaner lines.
  8. Don’t use more than two different fonts on your cover – this includes counting bold, italic, underline etc. variations as different fonts – better less. This confuses the eye and sends a negative message to the viewer.
  9. You can create a bar at the top to put in any important info about your book – awards won, important testimonials, etc.
  10. Put your title “above the fold” – somewhere in the top half or third of your cover.

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Are you aware of Apple’s “Distributorship”?

Appleblossom

Apple Blossoms


The iLicense Agreement Books Author’s End User (EULA) stipulates that e-books created with the application cannot be sold anywhere but on the Apple iBookstore. 

More specifically, if you want to give your creation away free you can do that wherever you like and if you want to make money off it, you can sell it only from the iBookstore and Apple gets a 30% cut.

According to intellectual property lawyer Dan Booth, this will give Apple an exclusive “distributorship” of texts for sale:

“The most dangerous clause for authors is the distribution clause, which gives Apple the right to refuse to distribute anything created with the software.  Since sales and distribution go hand in hand, Apple could use that clause to prevent any sale, for any reason. This would apparently allow Apple to lock up with contract rights what it could never get through copyright, total control over all sales.”

Read more about “Howls of Outrage” by Ariel Bogle from Melville House Books.

My question is: Why does not anyone sue them?  Like it happened to Microsoft years ago.

 

 

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What is Involved in Self-Publishing?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Have you ever noticed that a person who becomes successful tends to continue to be successful, and on the other hand, a person who is a failure, tends to continue to fail? It is because of goals. Some of us have them, some don’t.”  Earl Nightingale in “Strangest Secret”

Publishing a book is like opening a business. What is an entrepreneur supposed to do in order to start his business, become a successful owner and sell lots of … well, beautiful handbags or lamps for sample or get lots of orders to design gardens or build houses?  She or he would have to set up a business plan and do plenty of research in their particular industry. The same research you will have to do:

  • Industry Overview – the big picture of publishing
  • Competition – their platform, marketing of their books, sales
  • Suppliers – retailers, aggregators, their conditions, prices, reputation
  • PR & Marketing – budget, free PR, social media, contacts
  • Business – contracts, calculations, accounting, legal
  • Markets – audio books, newspaper articles, foreign rights
  • Publishing – e-books, paper books, formatting, cover design, editing, publishing news

Writing an ebook or a book for that matter, is not a Get -Rich-Quick exercise – even if some publications try to make you to believe this (“Write & Publish in 7 days”, “How I became Millionaire in three months”…). It takes at least several months until you have a following in social media or until search engines notice your webpage or blog and until you receive responses (and customers). This is the reason why it is so very important for you to start your marketing before you even start writing your book. Yes, that is right, pre-publishing promotion begins long before the book is ready and it is the key to your books success.

Unless you are solely writing for creative expression, as a hobby and not for sale or god-forbid, to make a living – your book has to pay its own way, contributing to greater opportunities and profits. If you’re not prepared to professionally self-publish, professionally promote and professionally market your book, then don’t go the self-publishing route!

Professional means hiring professionals: editors, graphic designers, book layout professionals and marketing staff – unless you are good in designing and marketing – but never do your own editing!

If you’re waiting until the book is finished to start marketing, you are already behind the curve. Finding, reaching and building your audience will take a lot of time. Don’t wait until you are sitting with a warehouse or garage full of books. Build the audience first and then deliver the product.

With self-publishing your success will double: Writing a great book & market it professionally.

 

 

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Are Enhanced Books Now Finally Taking Off?

photo credit Wired

The Wall Street Journal writes: “After being slow to adapt to digital technology, publishers don’t want to come late to what could be the most significant transformation of books and reading behavior since Gutenberg.

Random House is publishing a digital version of Katherine Boo’s hotly anticipated nonfiction book “Behind the Beautiful Forevers,” about residents of a Bombay slum, that includes video of the central characters that was shot over three years.

The first Harry Potter e-books are set to arrive this year on Pottermore, a Web site where fans can learn spells, read additional material by J.K Rowling and visit a virtual Hogwarts.

Jackie Speaks
An enhanced e-book includes more than eight hours of recordings of the first lady’s candid conversations with Arthur Schlesinger Jr., plus photos and archival videos.

Elvis Lives!
‘Careless Love,’ Peter Guralnick’s biography of The King, will be rereleased this summer with extras like videos, music clips and interviews.

In a move that could shape the market for enhanced e-books in dramatic ways, Apple announced Thursday that it will partner with publishers and educators to create interactive digital textbooks. As a sample title, Apple released a free version of “Life on Earth,” a multi-media biology book by E.O. Wilson, which includes interactive features such as animation of DNA, videos of ants and invasive trees, and quizzes.”

Read the whole story in the Wall Street Journal:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204468004577169001135659954.html?KEYWORDS=blowing+u+the+book

 

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Does Apple launch a Genuine Self-Publishing Program?



This would be a huge step forward for Apple to compete with Amazon and Barnes & Noble and would tremendously benefit independent authors who want to submit directly to Apple and not be forced to go through various Aggregators in order to have their ebooks submitted to the iPad.

One of the advantages that Amazon and Barnes&Noble have over Apple, is their own self-publishing program. Even though Apple does have a little known process to publish your own books – it involves a validated ePub file, ISBN identifiers from the Library of Congress and a willingness to run the daunting work of Apple’s contracts, paperwork, and use iTunes Connect. This entire process is very time consuming and many users are even unaware of its existence.

Instead of dealing directly with Apple, self-published authors have been using official Aggregator’s such as; Ingram, INscribe Digital, LibreDigital or Lulu or Bookwire in Europe. Publishing Aggregator’s are proving to be a popular option for people to self-publish with because they help you along the entire process and normally submit to many other bookstores. But they have their downsites: Most of them appear officially as the publisher and get a nice junk out of your royalties. Be aware:  Even if these aggregators offer free upfront service to download to Apple, it will cut into your earnings, once your book is successful as they cut your royalties from Apple.

Who benefits from Apples new program?
If Apple does start their own self-pub service in the next few weeks many authors and publishers will adapt it because of Apples famous “ease of use” philosophy.  Small and medium size publishing companies and organizations right now publish rich media titles or kids books and sell them as apps. In the future they have the option to publish ebooks with their same Apple developer account while making the process more streamlined.

How Apple iBooks needs to compete with Amazon: Better author tools

Erica Sadun wrote a great article about the deficiencies of Apples current publisher program:
Apple’s iBooks program currently allows authors to self-publish ebooks. Authors create their own business built around iTunes Connect, just as they do for self-published apps.So where does Apple have room to improve?iBooks tools are frustrating. You can publish on Amazon with little more than an account, a doc file and a smile. For iBooks, you need validated ePub files, ISBN identifiers from the Library of Congress and a willingness to run the gauntlet of contracts, paperwork, and the hell that is iTunes Connect.

iTunes Connect
It’s not that iTunes Connect is so unusuable from a web page perspective, it’s that its servers are often so loaded that each request may take several minutes to complete for each region. You can lose an entire day of work just moving through paperwork details.

Amazon makes it so simple and intuitive to list books that when you have to move over to iTunes, the difference hits you right in the face. If Apple is to make its mark in iBooks, it has to simplify publishing for independents.

Read this great article doted with more valuable tips here:
http://www.tuaw.com/2012/01/05/how-apple-ibooks-needs-to-compete-with-amazon-better-author-too/

 

 

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Is This Your e-Book?

There’s been a rush in the last year to get as many ebooks out as possible and the quality shows. Surveys show readers’s attitudes towards this. The overwhelming point respondents demanded in the survey was quality, even above cost of the ebooks.

When a market first develops, the early adopters are willing to forgive things because they’re the techies and they know this is new, but as the market broadens the people who usually read print books are not going to accept this.

The public will punish those ebook publishers buy simply not buying their titles. I’ve seen articles about people returning ebooks because of the errors in formatting, and you see blog comments and reviews on books that mention these mistakes. I’ve heard authors talk about a particular “publisher” (how he calls himself, also he is none) they were using due to very low cost, but the errors made them rethink it. The market will dictate the readers’ demands for error-free reading.

 

 

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Ebook Errors: How to Avoid 5 Common Problems

 Rain clouds at sunset

A white paper is highlighting common formatting errors that frequently pop up for publishers when transferring their titles to digital. The focus of the report was a solution list for five common problems in e-book formatting. The problems were:

  • Headers with Hyphens
  • Strange Characters Inserted into e-Books
  • Chapter titles, Headers, and Sub-Headers Separated on Different e-Book Pages
  • Unsightly Indentation, and Random Blank Pages in the e-Book
  • Overall e-Book Aesthetics

For example, the report states that the problem of sloppy indentation and blank pages are often caused when converting EPUBs from Microsoft Word. Many users of Word use “Tab” to indent paragraphs and “Enter” to insert line breaks, rather than using Word’s formatting styles. The solution: if hand-coding an e-book, one should apply styles to the document (in Word or InDesign) before converting the file to EPUB.

The report also outlined the various contributing factors that lead to errors, which would persist as long as e-books “remain second class citizens in the production workflow,” meaning that print workflow still dictates e-book workflow at the traditional publishing houses. Creating a single XML file at the outset of production would address many of the e-book errors currently plaguing publishers.

Vook’s white paper can be read here
http://ww.vook.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/eBookErrors2.pdf

 

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Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting – or Hire a Professional

Melbourne

Melbourne

In his blog author and ebook professional Guido Henkel rants about sub-par quality of ebooks. He wrote, starting a series of introduction to ebook formatting:

“To me, one of the key elements that sets apart a professional eBook release from that of an amateur has always been the technical presentation of the book. 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.

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.

Many authors simply don’t know any better. They write their book, complete it and look for the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to deploy it. Don’t be one of those authors! 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: Don’t get sloppy on the home stretch! It will reflect poorly on your work.

Another 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. All it requires is a very basic sense of structure and sequencing, things we’ve all been taught since first grade and that we have down pat.”

Read more: http://guidohenkel.com

 

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Bravo ! Amazon ! Finally !

Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire

Suddenly e-books are much better looking…

Amazon released its Kindle Fire, and the company is already working on tweaking its vast collection of eBooks for maximum compatibility with the Kindle Fire. 

Amazon is retiring its MOBI format in favour of the new .KF8 format (or Kindle Format 8), including support for 150 new formatting tags, which include HTML5 and CSS support.

The eCommerce giant had in the past used and supported Mobi 7. 

HTML5 is quickly becoming the new web standard so it is not a total surprise to hear that Amazon is moving in this direction.  Amazon will convert all existing content into the .KF8 format, and users also have the option of updating existing titles they have on their Kindle ebook readers and Kindle readers on other mobile platforms.

Amazon is also releasing a new set of Kindle Publishing Guidelines, which ebook authors and publishers should take into consideration when building their content for distribution via Amazon!

This is where a professional formatting / conversion company gives helpful support to authors and self-publishers. Publishers will also need to update their titles in order to use the new format.

The new Amazon Kindle format will ideally support a wider array of devices, and not just Amazon’s proprietary Kindle ebook reader. The new format also allows for more versatile formatting, as well as a more portable format. The company is said to be looking for a replacement for its .MOBI format, and this seems to be it.

 

 

 

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BookCountry / Penguin – are they serious?

 

For $549 they will format your ebook / print book, and then upload it to retailers  –  or for $299 they will let you DO YOUR OWN formatting, and then they will upload the book to retailers. Huh?

Formatting ebooks / paper books is tricky and should be done by a professional – but then uploading to CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, and Apple takes about an hour for FREE and you’re done. You’re on the sales websites. Why would you pay Penguin $ 299 for one hour to upload your titles? Plus give them 30% commission on each book sold???

More details of their “publishing offer”  http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/11/book-country-fail.html

 

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Bravo ! Amazon ! Finally !

Suddenly e-books are much better looking…

Amazon is releasing “Kindle Fire” by mid-November, and the company is already working on tweaking its immense collection of e-books for maximum compatibility with the Kindle Fire.

Amazon is actually retiring their MOBI format in favor of the new .KF8 format (or Kindle Format 8), this includes support for 150 new formatting tags, supporting HTML5 and CSS. This is quite a shift in direction for the eCommerce giant from supporting MOBI 7.  HTML5 is quickly becoming the new web standard and Amazon is moving in this direction.

They will convert all existing content into the .KF8 format, and users also have the option of updating existing titles they have on their Kindle ebook readers and Kindle readers on other mobile platforms.

 

 

KindleFire

KindleFire

 

Amazon is also releasing a new set of Kindle Publishing Guidelines, which ebook authors and publishers should take into consideration when building their content for distribution via Amazon.

This is where a professional formatting/conversion company gives helpful support to authors and self-publishers.  Publishers will need to update their titles in order to use the new format.

The new Amazon Kindle format will ideally support a wider array of devices, and not just Amazon’s proprietary Kindle ebook reader. The new format also allows for more versatile formatting, as well as a more portable format. The company is said to be looking for a replacement for its .MOBI format, and this seems to be it.

 

 

 

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77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected

77 Reasons77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected
by Mike Nappa, available as e-book and paper book at Amazon.

The author’s experiences as acquisitions editor, marketing copywriter, and literary agent uniquely qualify  him to write on this topic. The book is divided into three sections: Editorial , Marketing  and Sales Reasons for Rejection.

An editor is going to look at your proposal – and if it doesn’t meet certain editorial standards, it will go no farther. If it passes basic editorial scrutiny, an editor will then consider whether you’ve done your “marketing” homework — analyzed and defined your audience, established a platform, shown that you know how and why this book will sell. From there, the editor will need to convince the publisher that they can sell this book, and sell enough to merit the investment in its publication.

Perhaps the clearest message that emerges from this book is that getting published is a lot of work. The job doesn’t end when you finish writing the last chapter. Publishers are in the business of selling a product, and it’s your job to convince them that your book will sell.

Or maybe you will decide to go it on your own. After all you have to do your book marketing anyway, even if your book is accepted by a commercial publisher.

 

 

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Why e-Books often Look so Ugly


Many e-books I downloaded are riddled with typographical and formatting errors, the result of the process that translates the files publishers use to print physical books. Another reason is that authors are trying to DIY their e-book formatting instead of using a professional formatting company – who charge often only between a hundred or two-hundred dollars for a fiction book.

The problems range from strange gaps in the middle of a sentence to hyphens that are inserted in inappropriate places and the odd period is missing, not to mention all the typs that are a result of not using a professional editing service. E-books today are where the web was in its early years.  These mistakes, both distract and detract from the reading experience, and readers get the impression that no one is paying attention to the quality of e-books. Try a Google search for “Kindle typos”, it will yield more than a million hits.

Part of the problem is that some formats do not have a way to ensure that blocks of computer code remains intact and properly formatted.The better ePub format is based on the XML and CSS standards and is used in millions of web pages and allows for far more control over layouts than is currently possible with the .mobi file format.

The best course, if you want a nicely formatted Kindle book that provides a pleasant reading experience, is to create an HTML file with CSS and then carefully manipulate that code to get the display you want. Or hire an e-book formatter or conversion company.

Hopefully, as e-book readers get more popular, they will become more sophisticated, bringing in e-book designers that understand a changing world of digital publishing and creating beautiful books with layout design and fonts that are so important in publishing as we know it from paper books. Your readers may very well notice the difference.

 

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Bad Formatting = Bad Book Reviews

Readers are losing patience with e-books that are

  • full of typos
  • lost “Italics” 
  • use redundant words
  • have no paragraph breaks or indents
  • page numbers that end up in the middle of the page (note: e-books are page-less)
  • page numbers are all over the site on content pages (that should be linked to the chapters) … and the list goes on and on. 
Sony E-Book Library

Sony E-Book Library

These sloppily formatted e-books compromise the reading experience and customers will give them a bad review. Authors may be finding out about it too late themselves – the hard way. Failure to deliver a quality e-book format is adversely affecting reviews. If you are selling me a sub standard product you won’t get a 5 star rating from me, no matter how exceptional the story is!

Many publishers, even those claiming they are specialists in the self-publishing world, just upload the PDF file, which they previously used to have the book printed.  The problem is not just limited to little-known authors. Many of the e-books released today that were written by author super stars suffer these same indignities. Unless the user is reading with a PDF reader, PDF files do NOT make good e-book files.  Reading a PDF on a screen is usually annoying – unless formatted for that purpose. You can’t fit the traditional page at the traditional font size on a computer screen and expect it to be easily readable.

How to prevent these potential disasters?
Your book needs to be properly formatted and available in as many media types, to have it read by the broadest audience. One of the first steps in self-publishing is getting your manuscript ready for upload to the publishing channels that you have selected – hopefully all of them, if you want your e-book to be a real success.

For maximum exposure, it needs to be available in perfect form in all of the e-book platforms, including the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony e-book reader and the iPad. Sounds easy? After all, it’s just text and the upload must be simple. Sorry, there are no standards and there are no common word processing file types.  Instead there is ePub, Sony Reader LRF, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kindle .mobi, Apple iPad…

Spend the $200 or so and get it properly formatted for a variety of e-Readers. Just google for “e-book formatting”, “e-book developers”, “e-book designer” or “e-book conversions”.  But BEFORE let it proof-read and edit by a professional. Do everything to present your customers a great e-book reading experience and they will write 5-star reviews.

 

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