Susan Malone is our guest today sharing some great tips for converting books for reading on electronic devices.
So this month we’re talking about technology, and everyone who knows me would hoot about me writing on the topic. Being your basic neo-Luddite, I’m lucky to get my Word program going without glitches! But one of the wonderful things about being in this business so long, is knowing exactly who to call in for help.
Doris Booth, CEO of Authorlink, constantly stays on the cutting edge of technology, specifically technology that applies to books of all sorts. While we were both speaking at the Harriett Austin Writer’s Conference at the University of Georgia last year, I had the pleasure of attending her session on e-book conversions. Most of it of course was like Russian to me, but a few points really caught my attention. So I contacted her again to get the scoop of what writers truly need to know before diving into that vast sea.
Yikes, I thought. I’d run up against this issue years ago, with a traditional publisher that actually scanned a manuscript to its printer. Boy, was that a nightmare of catching “be” that should have been “he,” etc. Apparently, this process is worse when doing e-book conversions.
“For example,” Ms. Booth continued, “hyphens can appear in the middle of a sentence because of the flow. You just have to proof and proof and proof some more.”
Okay, so you have this part done. Then comes the issue of metadata, which is the longer description of the book. “Again, getting this right is extremely complex and critical—it will determine whether your book is ever seen,” Ms Booth said. “If it’s not done correctly, your book will have less visibility.”
Personally, I don’t even want to know what metadata is (even if I could comprehend it!). Those kinds of terms give me the hives. But back to issues number one and two.
“To get the conversion done correctly and the metadata targeted specifically to your book, truly does take a professional conversion company—not one of the do-it-yourself conversion tools, which usually don’t work.”
My only experience with this is through many of my writers, who have self-published via e-book, and the nightmares they’ve faced. Of course, since they, too, are speaking Russian (and not the Dostoyevsky kind, which I actually love), I cannot convey exactly what those nightmares were. But I do know the results—books drowning in that vast sea of 211,000 e-books published just last year!
“Finally,” Ms Booth said, “you can have parts one and two, and your book still not go anywhere without good marketing. You need to have your marketing going six months to one year before you publish.”
Some things about this business never change, even as the technology does. Writing a good book in the first place (my bailiwick ), and fashioning a marketing plan—the backbone of success before tackling the technological age.
Award-winning author and editor Susan Mary Malone has four traditionally published books to her credit (fiction and nonfiction) and many published short stories. A freelance editor, forty-plus Malone-edited books have now sold to traditional publishers. You can see more about her, and what authors say about working with her, at: www.maloneeditorial.com
Posted by Maryann Miller, who is thankful for geeks out there who can do these conversions. She does not even know what metadata is.