When I signed up for Colorado author and publisher Brian Schwartz’s workshop on The Fast Path to Publishing, I had every intention of formatting my own manuscript for Kindle and the rest of the e-books on the market.
It was a great workshop, but I quickly realized the process would take more time than I had available over the next few weeks. My second published novel won’t be eligible for e-book publication for at least a year, and by then, the rapidly changing world of digital publishing could make all that learning obsolete. In addition, while older book contracts rarely included digital rights, it will be harder for authors to retain those rights with future sales. These two books may be my only opportunities to convert manuscripts for digital reading devices.
The published author with an extensive backlist and enough time to do the work on his own will save money and possibly gain enough experience to set up his own e-book formatting business. In my case, remaining a e-dunce was the better way. An experienced digital book expert could turn my manuscript around in a jiffy, leaving me only the task of uploading and reviewing the materials. The decision was easy, especially since another Colorado author I know had highly recommended Brian's work.
I submitted my manuscript as a Word document, and I had my formatted files back in a couple of days. Brian even provided the links to make my life easier when I’m ready to finish the job. The price was reasonable. My schedule is intact. And I’m a happy camper.
Before you hire your own expert, there are a few tasks you’ll want to complete ahead of time:
1. If possible, get all rights to your published novels back from the publisher in writing. When this is not possible or desirable, ask the publisher to confirm in writing that you own your rights to digital publication and that you won’t be in violation of any part of your contract.
2. Unless you own the rights to your book covers, commission new cover art (or do your own) and have it ready before you submit your manuscript for formatting. Make sure the cover looks good and the print is legible when reduced to a thumbnail size. To fill the Kindle screen, your cover should measure 600 x 800 pixels.
3. Learn as much as you can about promoting your ebook, including blogging, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and the Kindle and Amazon forums.
To learn more about Brian Schwartz and his 50 Interviews projects, visit his 50 Interviews website. For more information on Kindle and ePub Conversions, see the Kindle & ePub Conversions for Publishers and Authors website.
Patricia Stoltey is a mystery author, blogger, and critique group facilitator. Active in promoting authors in several genres, she also helps local unpublished writers learn the critical skills of manuscript revision and self-editing. For information about Patricia’s Sylvia and Willie mystery series, visit her website and her blog. You can also find her on Facebook (Patricia Stoltey) and Twitter (@PStoltey).