Category: Ebook production


Series of Books or Book Serials: What’s the Difference?

The following article could not have been made without the help of PublishDrive author Gabriel Wolf. We are grateful for his insight on the topic of book serials.

Series of books or book serials: What is the difference?

Categorization of multiple episode television programs is fairly common: everybody knows that the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, the sitcom Friends, and Stranger Things are all substantially different formats, and viewers start them with different expectations. The same is true for books as well. However, there are still many people who don’t know the difference between a series of books and a book serial.

As an author, you have to be aware of whether you are writing a series of a books or a serial, and have to follow (or break) genre expectations.

In a series of books, each book can be read individually. They are usually built around a certain character who doesn’t age or set in the same world, and you can get away with reading them in any order you wish (eg. Discworld by Terry Pratchett). No mysteries or questions go unanswered between two books.

Book serials, on the other hand, have an overarching story line. The characters age and change: like in Harry Potter. Often, they come in episodes or parts shorter than a novel: 80-100 pages long instalments. Episodes (whether novel-sized or chapter sized) are separately published in ebook format and get their own cover. Once a story arc has been finished, the author groups the parts together and publishes it as a novel (often called a ‘season’). The book receives a title, a new ISBN, and usually also appears in print form.

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How to Create a Book Cover for Free

While everybody agrees that creating a beautiful book cover should be the work of an artist, hiring a cover designer could be very expensive. What happens if you can’t afford a designer? Can you still sell your book on Amazon or upload it to Wattpad? Yes. It is possible to create a book cover for free: you just need to learn the business very well to make one that looks professional.

In this article, we’ll explore the main steps of creating a book cover; what are some free online apps to use to design your own book cover; and what tools are required. Self-publishing a book is never easy, and an amazing cover can help you get it right.

To read more about ebook covers, check out our other articles in this topic:

(Article was updated with more information on May 22, 2018.)

What you’ll need to create a book cover for free (checklist)

Before we start looking for the best app, let’s have a look at what you might need. (You can use the links to jump to the correct position within the article.)

1Your title and your author name. There is no need to put anything on the cover other than the author’s name, the title and the subtitle.
2A suitable image or images. These will be used as the main part of your cover. It is uncommon to create completely typographic covers unless the book is literary fiction.
3A genre-specific font. Serif or sans-serif?
4An editing app. You can use an online service or get a professional photo editing software.
5A feedback group. Just as you wouldn’t publish a book without getting somebody to read it first, you can’t publish a book without getting feedback on your cover either.

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Amazon CreateSpace Stops Offering Author Services: What are the options?

Not long after Macmillan closed Pronoun, another publishing giant decided to step down. Amazon company CreateSpace will stop offering paid author services. CreateSpace has long been home of many self-published authors and its presence will be missed. Amazon itself has already taken over the distribution of print-on-demand paperbacks and even started offering author proof copies. The author services department, however, will be closed completely by March 15, leaving many aspiring authors looking for a new option.

What services did CreateSpace offer?

CreateSpace was a sort of marketplace for authors to purchase paid services suitable for their needs. The main difference between services like CreateSpace and vanity presses is that companies offering legitimate authoring services are very clear about what is included and what is not; and authors can choose only the services they need.

Paid authoring services often include editing, proofreading, cover design and professional, manual ebook conversion. Companies offering paid authoring services have a pool of qualified editors and designers to cater for the authors’ need. They might employ professionals on a freelance basis, or – as CreateSpace did – full time.

author services
Photo by Galymzhan Abdugalimov

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Bulk Import 3.0: Upload and import many books at once

We are happy to announce that our publishers can now import many books in one step. The new bulk import works via sftp and also via a graphic interface. Watch the video for details or read on.

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The Best Illustrators for Your Children’s Picture Book: How To Find Them?

Darcy PattisonIt is a long lingering myth that children’s books don’t sell well in an ebook form. Who would know this better than Darcy PattisonShe writes and markets her own books and has agreed to write us a guest post about finding the best illustrators to work with. Darcy identified 10 things she looks for when selecting the illustrators she wants to work with; and also created an infographic with her results. (You can find it on the bottom of this page.)

About the author

Writing teacher and picture book author Darcy Pattison founded Mims House in 2008. She teaches about writing picture books annually at the Highlights Foundation and online at Her new book, Clang! is getting released in March 2018.

The Best Illustrators for Your Children’s Picture Book: How To Find Them?

You’ve heard it ad nauseum: get a professional cover. The cover sells the book.

Likewise, for children’s picture books, the art sells the book.

I’ve been traditionally published (Penguin, Harpercollins, Harcourt, Arbordale), and now I have my own indie publishing company, Mims House. The biggest thing I took away from my experience in the trad-world was a commitment and passion for good art.

What Makes for Good Art for a Children’s Picture Book?

Quality. Of course, your aesthetic values will be different from everyone else’s. That is, show ten people a piece of art, and they won’t be able to agree if they like it or not. However, even when I don’t like a drawing, I can still recognize quality. The artist has taken great care to create the piece, and it reflects a distinctive world view. I ask myself, “Could this art hang in a gallery?”

I hear you scoff. Children’s books don’t need museum quality art. Oh, yes they do! Children’s librarians are fond of quoting Walter de la Mare, British poet and children’s book author, who said, “Only the rarest kind of best is good enough for children.” I firmly agree that you should get the best art you possibly can for your picture book.

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How to Format a Manuscript for eBook Conversion

While there are several excellent ebook writing and conversion apps available—from free to hundreds of dollars for every platform—most people still prefer writing in a traditional text editor. I can’t imagine writing in anything else than Google Docs (and not only because of the voice typing), but many writers use Microsoft Word, Scrivener or another word processor. Most self-published authors today decide to convert their ebooks; only to realize many hours into the project that it might not be as easy as they have imagined. This article is explaining how to format a manuscript for ebook conversion, regardless of whether you eventually decide to convert your book yourself or hire somebody. The advice we give can be followed from the start of writing (this is what we recommend) or applied to a manuscript that has already been completed.

(Article updated on July 10, 2018 with major changes.)

1Prepare your manuscript: why is it important?
2KISS: Keep it simple, stupid!
3Consistency is key to success
4The inside of the ebook
5Prepare your manuscript
6Front matter /  end matter
7Save as and convert feedback group

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