22 August 2012

Pros and Cons of ePublishing REPRINT from 2008

Pros for authors-
e-Books are a growth market.

Faster response time on submissions (on average) than NY conglomerates.

Usually allow electronic submission, which saves on paper, ink
and postage. Some conglomerate lines have also adopted this.

Don't pigeon-hole authors into a couple of core subgenres.

Allow reprints, if there seems to still be an audience
and viable life left in the project.

Allow authors to write untried markets that have a crossover with what the publishers already do.

Allow authors to write outside the box, outside the accepted "genre lines" in the NY conglomerates.

Allow authors to write in markets that are not giving the return NY demands of their markets
and NY has therefore discontinued...but that still have an audience. When conglomerate says a genre or subgenre is "dead," it is not dead but is not making sufficient returns, as per their plans.

Allow authors to forge those new markets/subgenres, that are often picked up by NY later.

Encourages representative art
and blurbs, not copycats, that authors have input on.

Gives individual attention to authors
and encourages mentoring in learning to market, etc.

Contracts are written in plain English
and easy to understand.

I don't think I've ever encountered an indie/e that said "agented submissions only," though there are indies that are "by invitation only."

On average, the contracts hold the author to a short period of time, allowing the author to move on from a bad situation or to larger markets, without the fuss of breaking a contract or paying buy-outs, though the buy-out feature in indie/e is also a plus.

The contracts are renewable,
and the book can sell in perpetuity, making more sales, every time a new book releases from the author. Your books don't lose "shelf time" at the end of 6 or 8 weeks.

Choosing indie/e does not mean you're giving up print. Most established indie/e publishers now offer print for some (if not all) of their titles.

Royalties are paid more often...usually monthly, quarterly or semi-annually...the first two being more common.

Authors get a larger percentage of each book sold than they would in conglomerate press.

Your books sell worldwide (save where the internet is blocked) from day one.

There's no messy negotiations to get the e-books overseas, though you may negotiate foreign language sales in indie.

In some cases, your print books also sell overseas immediately. Some printers have bases of operation or connections overseas to allow this.

A few indies have started translating their titles automatically for foreign markets.

for authors-
At this time, it's a much smaller market than mass market enjoys. That is changing as we speak.

Though some authors in indie/e make as much or more than a NY midlist author, most do not. However, keeping the book on sale indefinitely allows you to continue making money.

There is no advance at most indie/e publishers, but with monthly royalty payments, it's not really necessary, like it is in NY.

There are some people who will not consider your indie/e
publishing credits valid credits, but more and more, they aren't the people who decide if you sign a contract.

Even with the crop of reading devices, we are missing a durable, low-cost device that will read a wide variety of formats (or a universal format that everything can read)...maybe with eInk technology. It's coming, though.

If your indie uses POD technology, the publisher has more hoops to jump through to get books into the brick
and mortar bookstores than the NY conglomerates do.

Likewise, it may be more difficult to get a signing in a chain book store, but not impossible.

for readers-
Backup... With off-site storage, on a server or bookshelf on a reseller site like Fictionwise, you don't even lose your e-books in the case of fire, flood or other natural disaster.

You can purchase backlist titles in e-book that are OOP (out of print) in NY mass market/hard bound for $6 or $7, compared to $80 or more for a popular OOP print title.

You can purchase books, from the comfort of your own home, any time, day or night. You don't have to drive to the store or wait for delivery. You download titles instantly.

You can read any books you want in public, without comments about your choice of reading material, since only you see the cover art. The rest of the world sees a PDA or other reading device.

and e-ink screens are actually better for your eyes than a computer screen or a paper book. Ophthalmologists SUGGEST these readers for their vision-impaired patients. CAVEAT: Reading a backlit device in a completely darkened room is bad for your eyes. Backlit in low light is fine.

You can often increase font of e-books to a comfortable level. You can't do that with a paper book. If it's not large type, it's not.

Many programs, like ReadPlease
and Adobe Reader, can turn your e-books into audio books, meaning that (simply by using a computer or other similarly-equipped electronic device), people who enjoy or require e-books can have a wider range of "reading" choices.

No allergens! For people who are allergic to dust/book dust, this is a wonder. Also, less dusting. Silly but true
and a concern for some readers.

There is a wide array of devices you can read e-books on: desktop computers, laptop/notebook, PDAs or Pocket PCs, tablet PCs, Smart Phones,
and dedicated readers. In fact, you may already own these devices and not realize you can read e-books on them.

Though we admittedly need an affordable, durable reader, we're nearly there. Even if you don't already own the hardware to read e-books, you can get durable readers for between $99
and $300.

e-Books are perfect for the business traveler or ex-pat worker...or foreign readers searching for English-language books. Unless the internet is blocked where you are, you can purchase
and download English-language e-books, instead of looking for somewhere that sells English paper books. You can burn them to CD (as long as they aren't DRMd) to make more room on your hard drive, if necessary, and carry home hundreds of new books with you, rather than shipping books home or losing that investment.

Some readers, like eBookwise
and Kindle, do not have to synch to a computer to download books. Others can be synched to a laptop, and many business travelers carry laptops.

Most handheld-sized readers/PDA/Pocket PC/Smart Phones automatically power down, if you fall asleep with them on...
and bookmark your place for you.

Some e-readers will allow you to read either portrait or landscape view. In portrait, it's like reading from a sheet of paper. In landscape, it feels to the hands more like reading a book (especially on a large reader.

The search features allow you to find the information you need quickly
and without much fuss, as long as you can remember key words of the phrase you need.

for readers-
Some people find even PDA screens hard on the eyes.

Some people prefer the feel of a book...
and the smell of one.

Print books never run out of battery time in the middle of a book.

You rarely have to worry about someone stealing a print book.

Most of the other "
cons" aren't really cons.

People will say you can't read a PDA at the pool or in the tub. Well, of course you can. You simply have to utilize a few cents of Ziploc bag to do it safely.

People will complain that their teens are not permitted to take them to school. Of course, they are. My oldest takes her reader to school. They can't take a do-it-all into the classroom at some schools, but eBookwise is a simple reader. It does nothing BUT read books, so they're allowed, even at schools that do not allow other tech in the classroom.

17 August 2012

Five Things Your Formatter Will Love You For!

In editing, many things can go askew that will cause difficulties for the person who formats and converts your book. Some of them should ideally be double checked in the last pass an author and editor make and/or passed along to the formatter, so he/she can plan for the appropriate coding to make it convert well. What sorts of things will the formatter love you for checking or letting him/her know about?

1. Use the standard page breaks instead of slapping in extra spaces or any old page break from the list. Chapter breaks should be a simple "page break", and section breaks should be "section break [next page]". Anything else has to be changed out or it will cause conversion errors.

2. Make sure your scene break is standardized to the publisher norm. Most ask for **** or * * * * with or without a blank line before and after, but check what they want. Of everything that could be wrong in a mss, this is one of the hardest to fix simply. Extra spaces, extra returns, tabs, manual line breaks, etc. are all easy fixes to make. This one? Not so much, since it has to be searched by hand and corrected by hand, in many cases.

3. Do a final search to check your chapter headers. Make sure the numbers are sequential. If you have a missing number or doubled number, renumber them before it goes to the final edit pass. If there is some reason they are meant to be non-sequential (comedy books or something similar), leave a comment in the book file about it FOR the formatter, so he/she doesn't try to correct it.

4. Do not put any of your chapter headers in all caps unless the publisher house style is to do so. Even if it looks like the prior book in your series has the headers in all caps, chances are it really isn't so. Some fonts will appear all in caps, even if some letters are lower case. In a PDF, it won't matter at all that you've put all caps on your chapter headers, but in the ePub, Mobi and other formats which have an internal TOC (table of contents), the switch in and out of all caps will be glaring and unpalatable, which means the formatter has to retype all your chapter headers.

5. Avoid using special fonts and characters without checking with the formatter first. Some font work  and special graphics must be set by hand by the formatter in creation of the ePub version and subsequent conversions of the book. It's always best to let the formatter know ahead of time if you will need this type of intervention, so he/she can plan extra time into the schedule to give your book the best possible presentation.  Remember, not everything that appears in the DOC or PDF will translate well through the conversions.