Articles tagged "ebooks"

Pre-Publishing Checklist

Writing a book is hard work. We appreciate just how challenging and time consuming it is to outline, draft, revise, redraft, edit, proof, finalize, and in the end produce a manuscript ready for publication.

And once you’ve finally gotten to that stage, an entirely new set of tasks confront you.

The file will need to be formatted to conform with layout requirements. The basic rule for self-publishing is to layout your book as a PDF, with all front matter and back matter included. There’s a lot of work that goes into laying out your manuscript, like selecting fonts, spacing, inserting page numbering, setting pages to appearing in the correct location (left or right side pages), and orienting all text in the right locations on the page. Most of these elements come down to your personal desires. But there are a few things you absolutely have to do if you want to be sure your book will look professional when you print the physical copies.

Use this checklist to make sure you’ve hit all the critical points for your file prior to uploading:

Print Books:

  • If you create a PDF file for uploading, all fonts must be printable and embedded
  • Pages are sized to match the Book size and are in the same orientation (portrait or landscape)
  • Front matter (Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgment, Table of Contents, etc.) included in file
  • Images sized properly and inserted at 300dpi resolution
  • Margins, header/footer, and gutter are properly set (min 0.5”, 0.5”, 0.3” mirrored)

Once you have your print book prepped and ready, you can easily take the source file and make an ebook. The first thing you’ll want to do is to open the file in Microsoft Word (or your text editing software of choice) and wipe all that formatting you added for printing. All of it can go.

With the file cleared of all formatting, use this checklist to reformat and prepare your file for ebook conversion.

Ebook:

  • Word Files: Remove headers/footer/page numbering
  • Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, are used to indicate titles, chapters, and sub sections.
    • Heading 1 is used for Title (which must appear on the first line of the first page)
    • All heading styles are used sequentially (1, 2. 3) in the document
  • All other text is in Normal Style
  • Automatic formatting turned off, and all automatically created elements removed or added manually (Such as lists or numbering)
  • Images sized approximately 500 x 500 pixels, at 72dpi resolution, and inserted “in line”
  • No text boxes or Borders.

These checklists are not the absolute and final list of things that have to be reviewed when making a book. A number of things can come into play based on the specifics of your project. The best thing to do is to review your files carefully once you’ve uploaded and converted. Then, once you complete publishing, order a copy to review yourself and give it a final look over.

We promise, the first time might seem like an insurmountable job, but with each book you publish, the process gets easier and more intuitive. As always, our support team is ready to help if you run into any problems you can’t overcome on your own.

Maximum Formats

If you’re self-publishing, you have the unique ability to take advantage of all available formats with the click of your fingers.

Most books these days will appear in both print and ebook formats. It’s common to find the newest best sellers showing up on bookstore shelves in hardcover, and some months later in paperback, and later still in the even more economical trade paperback. All the while, the ebook will be available through online retailers.

Oddly enough, this trend hasn’t taken hold in the self-publishing world, despite that producing a book in all format types is astonishingly easy. In fact, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to take a self-published book you’ve already created, and release it in a variety of formats.

The reason is this: once you’ve made one book, once you’ve prepared the files for interior and cover, you’ve done 90% of the work for any additional versions you might like to make. The real challenging work of formatting, doing layout, designing the cover, and actually editing and proofing the book is already done. All you need to do is make additional projects, perform a few format updates, and publish!

Print

Paperback print books are the most common choice among self-published authors. We see the vast majority of books created in the 6 x 9 or 8.5 x 11 sizes. If you’ve opted for one of these sizes, creating a hardcover project will be simple!

With you Print File prepared, follow these steps to create a Hardcover book:

  1. Adjust page sizes – Make certain to set your pages to make the size of your book. Lulu offers hardcover in 6 x 9 and 8.25 x 10.75 for both dust jacket and case wrap.
    **If you made a 6 x 9 or 8.5 x 11 paperback, you will not need to resize your interior file to make a hardcover book**
  2. Update the copyright page – Your new format will need a unique ISBN, so update the Copyright page to reflect that.
  3. Update the cover – Hardcover books have different margins and bleeds for the cover. If you’re using the same cover as the paperback, you’ll have to adjust it to allow for those changes. Also be sure to update the barcode with your new ISBN.

Ebook

Ebooks did not spell the end of printing as some predicted years ago. Instead, they carved out a portion of the market as an accompaniment to printed books. An ebook is a simple means of presenting options for your readers, and is so easy to do, you should absolutely take advantage and create one.

  1. Open your Print File in MS Word – Select all the contents and clear formatting.
  2. Update the Copyright page to include your new ISBN
  3. Set the title, copyright, dedication, and any other front matter to Heading 1
  4. Set all Chapter titles to Heading 2.
  5. Remove all Header/Footer content. Remove all Text Boxes.
  6. Set all images ‘in line’ with text, and all text justification should be set to the ‘left.’

The cover for your ebook can be the same as your print. Just use the front cover alone as the ebook cover, and resize it to match the ebook cover specifications.

Detailed instructions and specifications.

Diversity is incredible important when selling your book, both online and by hand. Think about it like this: you’ll never again lose a sale because the buyer doesn’t want to wait for shipping. They can order an ebook! And the customer who simply loves hardcover books and is willing to spend a little more to get that can do so!

Best of all, making multiple formats can be completely free, and only takes a minimal investment of time and effort.

Don’t wait, get your book out there now with Lulu’s variety of available formats.

7 Tips for Keeping Your 2016 Writing Resolutions

new-years-resolutionsBy now, most people have realized their 2016 resolutions were perhaps a little too ambitious. You are not alone. On average, only 8% of New Year’s resolutionaries are successful in reaching their proclaimed goals. But, with resolve and a little encouragement, you may count yourself among the determined 8% at year’s end.

Here are seven tips to help keep your writing resolutions on track for success.

#1 – Define your why

You say you want to lose weight, quit smoking, start / finish writing your novel, devote more time to marketing your book, or find more happiness. But do you know why you want to do those things? Your “why” is your motivation. If you don’t know why, you are more likely to lose your resolve upon encountering the first setback.

#2 – Consider the why-nots

This is the flip side of your whys. As Noah St. Joan explains in his book, The Secret Code of Success, everything you do is caused by your why-tos weighed against your why-not-tos. Your brain is like an infinite weighing machine: It’s always comparing the perceived benefits (why-tos) against the perceived cost (why-not-tos).

Whenever you’re considering an activity — like spending time editing your novel, answering emails, writing press releases, or reading this article — your brain is going, “Why should I do this? How will it benefit me? What’s it going to cost me? I’d rather be watching TV.” Since our brains are always negotiating with us, our “why” must be a greater motivator than the alternative.

#3 – Enlist the help of friends

The easiest way to fail is to try to do something alone. There are not many examples of people who did great things completely alone. Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Michael Jordan had his dad. Paul McCartney had John Lennon.

The way to overcome this mistake is simple: tell your friends what you want and why you want it, and ask them to support you in making positive changes.

#4 – Use positive peer pressure

This is a continuation of #3. Ask your friends to tell you when they see you straying from your goal.

Many people will feel uncomfortable about this one, but what you don’t realize is that your friends already know when you are not making an effort; they are just too nice to say anything. That’s why you must give them permission to tell you when you mess up or fall short of what you said you wanted to do. Just resolve to not get mad or defensive when they tell you.

#5 – Recruit an accountability partner

An accountability partner is someone you communicate with at regular intervals (monthly, once a week, even daily) to check on your progress. The beautiful thing is, you can also be that person’s accountability partner and help THEM make positive changes, too.

#6 – Ask experts for advice

No matter what you are trying to accomplish – write a poem, sell your book, schedule an interview, be nicer — without a solid plan of action, your good intentions will probably fall short. That’s why it’s good to find other people who have succeeded at the thing you’re trying to do and ask how they did it.

There is always someone who likes to talk about him/herself who will share their experience with you if asked politely. Even if you don’t know anyone personally, there are numerous blogs on all subjects that are just a few clicks away. If you can make use of others’ advice, you can avoid the most common pitfalls thereby increasing your chances of success.

#7 – Don’t set yourself up to fail

This is the worst mistake of all. The truth is, everyone knows how to write a book, quit smoking, or be nicer. Most people simply don’t believe they can do it — either because they’ve tried in the past and failed or they just don’t believe they’re capable of doing it.

Most importantly, don’t’ give up. It’s still early in the year and there is plenty of time to get your writing and marketing resolutions on track for success – just don’t wait too long to get started.

If you have any suggestions to share, please add them in the comments section below.

Happy 2016!

Meet the Dropbox for Books…Ownshelf

OwnshelfIn only a few short years of existence, Dropbox has become indispensable for computer users the world over, who need to quickly share files with their friends, coworkers, and relatives. But until now, there hasn’t really been a popular way to share eBooks across platforms with the ease of simply accessing a communal cloud-based hard drive. So in that spirit, meet Ownshelf, which is marketing itself as the Dropbox for books.

Ownshelf lets eBook readers share their DRM-free eBooks (eBooks that are allowed to be shared without paying for them again) in a simple and fast way: you just add books to your virtual bookshelf, and your friends can browse them and download them to their reader or computer. Not only can you browse books posted by your friends, but you can also check out titles that have been recommended by complete strangers through the “Featured Shelves” component.

Since the precipitous rise of eBooks over the past few years, readers have been looking for ways to share eBooks with one another through website and social media. Ownshelf takes advantage of this tendency by directly plugging into your Facebook, allowing friends to see which books you’re currently sharing with the world, and which other one’s you’ve been reading. Of course, if sharing with the world that sort of thing is not you cup of social media tea, then you might be out of luck with Ownshelf, which heavily uses the Facebook element of its design.

Ownshelf is still in the early stages of it development, but has the potential to grow into an indispensable part of the eBook ecosystem. Unlike other platforms that make readers choose between “bookshelves” only available to certain products and companies, Ownshelf opens up eBook sharing to everyone, and is one of the first projects to do so.

As a reader, how do you find eBook recommendations? Do you think products like Ownshelf will encourage independent authors to publish without DRM protection, or will writers be scared away by the threat of piracy? As always with eBooks, the situation is constantly evolving, and whether an application sinks or swims is entirely dependent on just how helpful the (voracious) eBook-reading population finds it.

Are eBooks Bad For Kids?

[Photo via Mashable]

In the eyes of many parents, there’s just something wrong with the image of their child hunched over a tablet computer, whizzing through a program with the tip of their finger. Upon closer inspection, the parent sees that they’re reading an eBook, but still the screen itself is unsettling. Haven’t a few generations of parents been taught to turn off the devices and give children a book instead? What happens to that instinct now that books are digital?

Well, it’s actually quite a tough parenting instinct to shake, it turns out. A new Pew Research Study found that 81% of parents still find that reading print books are incredibly important to a child’s development, and that 81% (again) find print books preferable to digital ones while reading with their child.

The statistics do begin to change a bit when parents are asked about selection and travel. When reading books while on a trip, 73% of parents preferred eBooks (the tablets can also double as a computer, taking up less room). Parents who valued selection also preferred eBooks by 18%.

Does this mean that eBooks are bad for children? No, it simply means that parents are still changing their own parenting habits, and that they still believe there’s value in a simple, colorful print children’s book (which there is).

Yet another study however, might not give solace to those parents itching to make the digital jump. Britain’s National Literacy Trust found that children who do most of their reading online are half as likely to be an above-average reader. It also found that “those who read only on-screen are also three times less likely to enjoy reading very much (12% vs 51%) and a third less likely to have a favorite book (59% vs 77%).”

While the favorite book statistic is more indicative of reading habits shifting away from contained long-form stories and more towards shorter, serialized works, the advanced reader statistic is a bit alarming. Does reading eBooks stunt children’s growth?

Digital Book World weighed in, and (as can be assumed from their name) was not pleased by these findings: “Some parents and educators correlate digital screens with ‘unhealthiness.’ For years, they’ve been trying to wean their kids off of TV and video games. TV and video game screens are windows into non-reading activities.  eBooks, however, are not video games or passive TV shows.”

Because of the rapidly changing nature of reading, technology, and education, it’s obvious that the jury is still out on the effect of eBooks on reading skills. However, reading is reading. It’s all about making sure that those eBooks are less of a game and more of an internal experience, allowing children to create world’s in their minds, and to think critically.

eBooks gaining ground but, printed books remain number one

Courtesy of Typedesk.com

When eBooks really started to take off around three years ago, their success was accompanied by the typical doomy, gloomy apocalyptic hand-wringing about the future of the printed book. The thinking then was that every winner has to have a loser, and with a winner this big (British sales for consumer eBook fiction and non-fiction were up 366% in 2011!!) a big dive was predicted. It’s funny to think, just three years down the line, that people were sure the printed book was on the way out. Perhaps it was just a testament to the popularity and exciting potential of eBook technology, perhaps it was something closer to a silly panic. Either way, the numbers from last year seem to point to a happy, mutually beneficial coexistence, which is good news for all parties involved.

According to Britain’s Publisher’s Association, total book sales rose 4% last fiscal year, and while print still makes up the majority of sales, its small 1% sales slip was more than made up for by a 66% gain in the digital realm. As The Telegraph points out, that number is way down from the previous year’s 366% surge. “There is an inevitable slowdown going on,” said [Richard] Mollet [chief executive of the Publisher’s association]. “You expect that with any new technology but there is still very healthy growth.”

It seems like this type of evening out is to be expected. Not only that, it’s probably a healthy sign that eBooks are becoming less gimmicky and finding their way into normalized reading culture. As Gaby Wood points out, “Digital books are a complement to, not a replacement for, physical books. Some publishers now offer a hardback with an eBook as a package, since an eBook is easier to carry around but a hardback is what you want to own, and have on your shelf.” And sales data is starting to reflect this cooperative nature in comforting ways. When print publishers don’t have to worry about another source of lost funds (the fabled flight to eBooks!) and bibliophiles are growing more and more aware of the advantages both formats hold, we the readers (and we the customers!) win.

Worldreader delivers with mobile phones and eBooks

When we think of an ideal e-reader, we tend to visualize something like the Nook or Kindle or iPad — a device that has the dimensions, but not necessarily the heft of a book. Most us probably don’t think of our cell phones.

iPhones screens have remained relatively small and don’t lend themselves to sustained reading. While the Samsung Galaxy screen is big for a phone, it still doesn’t compare to the ease of reading on a tablet or Kindle. It might seem less than ideal for us, but for awhole sector of the world’s readers, cellular phones are now the central medium for reading eBooks.

In developing countries, where landlines have been skipped entirely and millions of people have directly adopted cell phones as their main interaction with technology,  eBooks are now being read in massive amounts on older, smaller phones that run off of a 2G wireless connection. The non-profit organization Worldreader, which used to just distribute Kindles to children in Africa, has now begun a mobile application where anyone with a mobile phone can access up to 1,400 eBooks for free.

Susan Moody, Worldreader’s director of marketing and communications, told the website Mashable that, “Feature phones are omnipresent in the developing world. They’re people’s lifelines; they’re where they get their access to payments and the Internet.”

Worldreader takes advantage of Creative Commons licenses to make available classic children’s books like Nancy Drew and Black Beauty. They also partner with larger publishers to offer such all-time favorites as Matilda and the Magic Tree House series. In addition, they offer a good amount of Africa-centric literature. Taking advantage of existing technological infrastructure to get kids hooked on reading is a wonderful idea, even if it puts eBooks on some unfamiliar territory.

Through the project, Worldreader has found some interesting (but somewhat predictable trends) — young women read a lot, and Romance is the most popular genre.

eBooks, often heralded as the end of publishing as we know it, continue to fight against that idea by introducing great works to even more readers everyday, readers who will search for even more books.

Would you ever read on a small cell phone screen with a slow 2G connection? Have you? What other ways can eBooks continue to reach out?

Image courtesy of WorldReader

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