Category: Ebook production

06
Feb

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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02
Feb

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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28
Jan

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 MimsHouse.Teachable.com. 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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02
Jan

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.

You can use this guide to prepare your manuscript (.docx) before you upload it to PublishDrive for conversion.

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

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

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12
Dec

Ebook Templates – A Waste of Money?

Many people argue that ebooks don’t have to be beautiful: the ebook readers or apps will ‘strip’ their formatting anyway, letting the user set their preferred font and line space. But, on the other hand: why shouldn’t ebooks be beautiful? A book that is not only written well but also visually appealing to the reader has a better chance of enchanting customers and get them to come back. We are not even thinking about bad formatting.

There are many steps between a book that provides bad user experience (has, for example, forced line breaks, or is unreadable) and a book that is beautiful. Creating beautiful ebooks, however, can be easier if you have an ebook template. It can also come handy when you are a beginner in ebook formatting and would like to check your book against a ‘professional’ example. When to use an ebook template? What are the common formats? Is using a template for everyone? Read on.

Too cool for school? Download our valid epub sample made using Sigil and use it as a template.

This article lists some ebook templates you should never use, and a few that formatting beginners can use in order to produce valid epubs. To use the templates we provide below we recommend that you download and install Sigil, the free to use professional ebook editor. Many freely available or low cost ebook templates will require to use Adobe InDesign.

What is an ebook template?

Ebook templates are ebook layouts filled with ‘dummy’ text (like lorem ipsum) and stock photos or free to use photos. To use an ebook template, just download it, open it, click ‘Save as’ and name it as your book. Then change the text and the images: delete the old text and add your own. Most cases, you can simply copy and paste your book from Word chapter by chapter.

Remember to change the metadata as well: check the language code, date of publication, contributors and the title. Once you have changed everything, don’t forget to update the table of contents.
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04
Dec

Reedsy Book Editor: Write, edit, and convert a beautiful book for free

Following the success of our last article on ebook editors, we decided to create an Ebook formatting 101 with the most popular converters. If you are aiming for a valid epub, we usually direct people towards the professional Sigil. Although it is not difficult to use, many people feel disheartened when they are asked to edit some html or change something in the css. I don’t blame them. Creating beautiful epubs is a serious profession, especially if you are trying to convert picture-heavy or interactive books. Today, however, there are multiple great, accessible and easy-to-use options at the table.

You don’t need to learn how to code (or how to set the margin, for that matter), as Reedsy Book Editor can do this for you. The online author-marketplace (pairing writers and publishing professionals) has a free and easy to use ebook editor. It exports into a valid epub or print-ready pdf: there is nothing more I can dream of.

(If you need your manuscript converted to an epub before distribution, PublishDrive can do it for you: simply save it as a .docx file, and drag & drop it to the “Content file” field.)

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14
Nov

The Self-Publishing Journey: How to Self-Publish an Ebook

It takes a village to raise a child. Similarly: writing a novel is never the work of one person only. We all know how every book ever published by traditional publishing houses has months of work behind it by editors of different responsibilities, designers, and illustrators. Additionally, publishers often have a dedicated team of marketers working on photo shoots and Facebook campaigns. But what are the options self-publishers face when deciding to publish a book? Do you have to do everything by yourself, or are there dedicated ebook publishing services helping you along the way? And the most important question of all: You wrote a book. What now? Read our article to learn the steps of the self-publishing journey. What are the necessary and recommended steps? How to make the most out of your publishing experience?

With more and more authors every day deciding to self-publish, a guide like this has become increasingly necessary. Please note that we’re only outlining the steps; for details, please check the recommended reading after each main chapter. If you are at the beginning of your self-publishing journey, come and join our Facebook group to exchange ideas and experiences.

If you are not yet sure whether self-publishing is the right fit for you or don’t know the difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing, check this article.

(Article was updated on July 16, 2018.)
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10
Nov

Import your books straight from Pronoun

This was not an easy week for indie publishers and self-publishers: Pronoun has announced to shut down, effective immediately.

We have built an importer to help migrating your books from Pronoun.

We are sorry to see an innovative competitor go: competition drives the industry to provide better service and keep improving. However, we understand that authors are frustrated and worried. These are bad news, especially before Christmas: losing your reviews and rankings sounds awful just before the most important sales period. There is a lot of confusion: should you remove your books from sale already? Do you need a copyright statement to confirm your rights?

pronoun import

PublishDrive is here to make migrating your books easier. Our development team was busy this week working on an import tool for former Pronoun authors. You upload your ZIP file and we do the switch, keeping your reviews.

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27
Oct

Create an Ebook Cover with Canva or Adobe Spark: Which is Better?

Who would have thought that the design giant Adobe will create their own Canva? It is easy to see why the simple-to-use and user friendly ebook cover design tool Canva is so successful, and it is actually not that big a surprise that Adobe – usually known for endless options, hidden settings and taking years to master – decided to join the flow introducing Adobe Spark.

Read on to learn how to design a beautiful ebook cover with this easy to use tool on your computer, tablet, or straight from your mobile, and compare Adobe Spark to Canva.

If you are a newbie to cover design, we recommend that you also check out our cover design masterpost to help you avoid common mistakes.

(Article was updated on May 22, 2018.)

Adobe Spark: what is it?

Adobe Spark is a powerful Creative Cloud tool priced from free to £10 a month – it is already obvious from the pricing that this one tool is not aimed at professional designers but students, marketers, bloggers and small businesses (including writers and publishers) for their smaller scale design needs.

The suite contains of Page for web stories, Video for graphic videos and Post for any kind of graphic material you would normally use PhotoShop for.

Platform: iOS (Spark app), cloud using any browser

Uploading your own images: yes

Stock images: access to Adobe Stock and free images (around 90 million pictures)

Pricing: free (with Adobe logo), 10 GBP per month

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20
Sep

How to Convert Your Book to Get Accepted by Shops – Sigil for Dummies

Following the success of our last article on ebook editors, we decided to create an Ebook formatting 101 with the three most popular converters: Sigil, Calibre and Vellum. The series starts with Sigil, that being the one true professionals use and the one our team recommends for instant success – and the one we receive the most questions about. If you always wanted to try it but never dared, stay with me: I’m just as a beginner as you are.

(If you need your manuscript converted to an epub before distribution, PublishDrive can do it for you: simply save it as a .docx file, and drag & drop it to the “Content file” field.)

Sigil: The first steps

While I consider myself highly computer literate, I was always reluctant to use it: why should I switch to a code based editor to create ebooks when Calibre can do it for me with one click?

But then our in-house ebook editing superstar, Csilla convinced me to give it a go. She argued that I won’t only get clean code (about which I as a reader and writer couldn’t care less) but my books will display more consistently across devices and apps. I documented my journey, so you can follow it step by step. You can download the file I made by clicking here and use it as a template. Sigil can obviously do much more than this: I just wanted to help you get started on your journey and give a guide for using it. I’ll try to use the html editor as little as possible – it really gives me the heebie-jeebies anyway.

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