eBook Construct and Design
What is one of the key elements that sets apart a professional eBook release from that of an amateur? 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 a do-it-yourself online service, but the sad fact of the matter is that none of these approaches typically results in production-level, code error free, fully functional, and visually appealing digital book. They are amateur and not professional. A badly formed eBook has the same impact on the reader as a badly designed interior. It makes it hard to take the book seriously.
So why would Authors use such services? There are a few reasons why.
First, the author is uneducated concerning eBooks or simply doesn’t know better. Or he or she doesn’t feel they have any other option for one reason or another. He or She spends months, even years perfecting their craft and writing their book, editing, proofing, perfecting and now they just want to get it done, get it out there so they will look for the cheapest, easiest, or fastest solution.
YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE ONE OF THOSE AUTHORS.
You have read and re-read your book countless times, cleaned out typos and grammatical errors, sent it through developmental editing, copy editing, worked over your style and 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 a cardinal rule in book publishing which is to get sloppy before you reach home base. It WILL reflect poorly on your work, again you do not want to be one of those authors.
Here’s a fact that can be verified. In most cases publishers sell more print than eBooks. But time has proven that for the Indie Author eBooks tend to be the big seller.
In 2011 eBooks started outselling print. This eventually evened out but eBooks still consistently make up a huge part of the market. http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/gaming.gadgets/05/19/kindle.outsells.books/
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 after all. eBooks are packages with many files in them coded to idpf standards and are like mini websites with many html documents, style (css) documents, and coded play orders. Most software today that generate eBooks from word document leave behind coding errors that need to be fixed. These errors can at times cause a bad read for customer. These error need to be fixed.
Author’s shouldn’t have to deal with all that. However, to be an independent author these days sometimes means wearing some of the hats the publishing value chain previously provided. When it comes to the very technical stuff, it is always best to hire those that specialize in it.
More Concise reasons you should have your eBooks professionally built:
- Third Party apps: There are always third party apps out there that will play an eBook on your devices, many of these apps like google play are notorious for messing up the format of an eBook no matter how professionally it was designed. Therefore, it is important that eBooks be built as precisely and technically correct as possible for the proper platforms they will generally be used on. The cleaner the eBooks the less chance of it looking wonky on an app as opposed to the proper reading devices.
- IDPF Standards the code that drives ePub: Did you know that the code in an eBook has a standard? Your eBook is like a mini website. If things are not coded or formatted correctly the results can be disastrous. This takes a skilled thinking human being, not some “meatgrinder” algorithm in order to accomplish. Sure, you can upload your word document to amazon or smashwords but there is a reason why those platforms also provide the ability to upload a professional built epub or mobi file.
- Validation: eBooks must be validated. In other words, the coding must be errors free, otherwise one stands the chance that the will seeing a broken eBook to their customers. Whether an automated algorithm marks errors based on word document formatting rules in neither here nor there. Even the industries top programs for producing eBooks i.e. InDesign, Sigil, Calibre, are incapable of turning out an eBook that is code error free. You heard right, the top programs widely used to build eBooks produce epub files that numerous errors in them.
- Functionality: e-reading devices have menu items that need code in order to function. You just downloaded you new book onto your kindle device and you open it and press the menu button to see the table of contents or the cover, and NOTHING happens. That’s because whoever or whatever built your eBook didn’t understand that code was needed in order for this to happen. Amazon’s Kindle for instance likes three pieces of code for functionality on its menu items. The Cover, The Internal (in-book) Table of contents, and some code that tells the book to open on the very first page of content text like the preface or introduction. Which is a requirement of Kindle.
- Eliminates the need for multiple formatted word documents and frees up the author to do what they do best which is writing books: Every Platform that offers the beginner or independent author a solution for uploading a word document to create an eBook has different formatting rules. If you have ever prepared a word documents for Smashwords or Amazon, you’ll know that it is painstaking, time consuming, and often frustrating process. Instructions can sometimes be nearly book-length. All just right so the word document passes the uploading process. What’s worse is that each platform has slightly different formatting rules. So now you have to prepare several documents not just one. Having your eBooks professionally built ensures you have a single file you can upload to all platforms.
NOTE-if you have already submitted your word document and cover files for Print production, there is no need to submit more. The designer will wait until the final proof of the print book is accepted then generate a source document from the indesign file he/she creates to build the eBook.
If you are submitting only to have your eBooks done, then please refer to the Print Interior submission section and submit as though you are submitting for print.
EBOOK PROCESS EXPLAINED
- A Clean text .rtf is generated from the indesign file for the print book, or a fully edited word doc is provided by the author.
- Cyrusfiction Productions Discusses with Client the different PARTS of the book and Client provides anything that is missing such as Author Bios, Dedications, Introduction, copyright info, etc.
- Cover Files and Fonts are supplied either by author or GM Studio.
- The eBook tech will then begin to prepare the text for coded conversion.
- The text is converted to idpf standard ePub file structure.
- The ePub is torn apart and recoded to include e-reader device functional menu items. And that any images within the book are formatted to change size for the screen.
- Images are reduced to a file size and quality within keeping of standard eBook qualifications for Amazon and other platforms.
- The ePub is repackaged and run through code validation/any errors are then until the eBook is code error free.
- Part of the ePub’s internal files are then used to generate mobi for the Amazon kindle
- Both the ePub and the mobi are delivered to the client.
- Cyrusfiction Productions has client download two pieces of free viewing/testing software and teaches the client how to view and test their eBooks before approving them.
- Assistance is given to the client in uploading and publishing their eBook on Kindle Direct.
Additional Costs the author will need to consider:
For Amazon eBooks do not require an ISBN, but if you intend to use the completed eBook files for other publication and distribution platforms an ISBN for the eBook is required and must be different than the ISBN for the print version.
- Option One: While there are free ISBNs or ASIN number at Amazon, BUT these are exclusive to amazon and cannot be used elsewhere limiting your books interior file to where you can upload. This is an option for the author that just wants to publish on amazon and nowhere else. Note for small press publishers, this “free” option disallows the listing of your publishing company as the imprint.
- Option Two: You can purchase an ISBN on Bowker (the originators of ISBN numbers) which will cost $125, unless you buy more than one. You set up a My Identifiers account which allows you to set up all the book information for a specific ISBN and a dashboard to manage your ISBNs. This is the perfect option of small press and very active independent authors who may want to sell their books elsewhere other than Amazon. ( https://www.myidentifiers.com/get-your-isbn-now?utm_source=MYID&utm_medium=banner&utm_term=ISBN&utm_campaign=ISBN )
- Option Three: The second option offered by Amazon is a universal ISBN for $90. This is the best option if the author just has one book yet still wants it freed up to sell elsewhere besides just Amazon. It is few dollars cheaper than getting one directly from Bowker.
Deliverable: Professionally constructed eBooks with Branding customization in both ePub and Mobi formats, fully validated code error free.