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Ebook publishing

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Ebook Publishing, the market, ebook basics, Frequent mistakes to avoid, distributing and selling

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Ebook publishing

  1. 1. 1 Ebook Publishing The Ebooks Market Ebook Basics Frequent Mistakes To Avoid Distribution and Selling Questions and Answers
  2. 2. The Ebooks Market Overview of the Marketplace
  3. 3. Source: Nielsen Books & Consumers. – Publishers Weekly, Mar 27, 2015 12% Nielsen estimates 12% in 2013 15% in 2014 Ebook % of Trade 21% in 2013 (units) (dollars) Ereader purchases declined iPad and iPhone purchase stable Android purchases grew Source: Nielsen Books & Consumers. – Publishers Weekly, Mar 27, 2015
  4. 4. • While DRM still gates your book’s content to a specific ereader app, the proprietary devices are less relevant • Ebooks are more than 1/5th of the trade book market by volume • It is an important market, and it is important to publish in formats for all the readers available for the device. What are the numbers telling us?
  5. 5. Never go out of print You need to be publishing ebooks Allows an independent writer to distribute globally Quick to market Relatively inexpensive Higher margins
  6. 6. Even many who have been publishing their works for years are renegotiating their agreements to own their ebook ownership rights. Traditionally Published Authors are doing it • @ $3.99 the average ebook nets $2.40 in royalties • With traditional royalties a publisher would need a book to sell for more than $14
  7. 7. Where do you sell your books? The vast majority of the market is in these four retailers.
  8. 8. Listing your book with a Retailer is “Distribution” Getting your ebook into retail To get your ebook in Distribution, it needs to be converted into Distribution-ready formats. This process is “Conversion” or “Ebook Conversion”
  9. 9. “Conversion” is the process of turning your document into the 2 important ebook files you need to be listed with every retailer. Ebook Conversion .mobi • Amazon .epub • Barnes & Noble • Apple • Kobo • everyone else
  10. 10. Ebook Basics Format Reflowable vs. Fixed Format Complexity Why Pay for a Conversion When to Select or Avoid the Expensive Option Insert Image Here
  11. 11. Only on Amazon Formats: .MOBI The Majority of ebooks are sold by Amazon .MOBI are “reflowable” ebooks KF8 is the MOBI based “fixed format” file type MOBI is essentially a special type of website which includes HTML, CSS, and images.
  12. 12. • Apple, BN.com, Kobo, etc. Formats: .EPUB • Industry Standard • “Reflowable” or “Fixed Format” • EPUB is a Website with folders for HTML, images, CSS, & metadata configuration files • Each chapter is a single HTML file. • If Fixed Format, each page is a single HTML file.
  13. 13. Reflowable u Text on an ebook reader shifts when the reader changes the font size. u When the text shifts, it pushes down all elements in the page and chapter. u No fixed number of pages q No Table Of Contents with Page Numbers Reflowable? Fixed Format? The reading experience varies by font and screen resolution
  14. 14. Fixed Format u Every element on the screen has a set position u Font size is set and will stay where it is set to stay on the screen u Images are placed in a specific spot on the page and do not move or shift u There are a set number of pages u Only on Kindle and iBooks The reading experience is consistent regardless of the device Reflowable? Fixed Format?
  15. 15. General Guidelines on Flow Reflowable • Novels and Memoirs • Most Trade Books • Most Business Books Fixed Format • Children’s Picture Books • Art / Photo Books • Coffee Table Books • Very stylized Poetry • Highly Formatted Cookbooks (instructional) Most books are Reflowable. If you are flexible on layout, even many genres in the Fixed Format list can be made Reflowable
  16. 16. Not all books with style are “Fixed Format.” If In Doubt Talk To A Professional Even a High Complexity Reflowable Ebook, will be a less expensive conversion than a Low Complexity Fixed Format Ebook Conversion. A good company will take the time to help you understand your options, explain complexity, and other questions before you submit your order.
  17. 17. Complexity? Low • Latin based • No Images • Standard text and chapter structure • No inline formatting Medium High Low Complexity applies to a book with little to no formatting – a straightforward novel. No subchapters. No style changes: ex. italics or changes in font treatments. Yes: Chapter 1 Chapter 1 – Name Name of Chapter No: Section One Chapter One Subchapter One
  18. 18. Complexity? Low • Latin based • No Images • Standard text and chapter structure • No inline formatting Medium • Images &/or tables on up to about 1/3 of the page count • Multiple headings • Figures High Medium Complexity has chapter hierarchy, Figures, images and tables. Examples: marketing books, simple cookbooks, chapter books with illustration.
  19. 19. Complexity? Low • Latin based • No Images • Standard text and chapter structure • No inline formatting Medium • Images &/or tables on up to about 1/3 of the page count • Multiple headings • Figures High • Heavy formatting • Multiple Lists • More pictures • More tables • Special characters (math equations, musical annotation, etc.) • Inline links • Boxed quotes • Boxed text • Sidebars High Complexity has almost everything else. Probable exceptions are sync’d narration, video, page-specific sound narration. Examples: textbooks, technical manuals, test preps, heavily formatted cookbooks
  20. 20. Why So Many Rules? 1. Converting an ebook is a Technical Process 2. When done right: § Follows the best practices for code § Tests the end result and on multiple devices – looking for errors and consistency § Provides a fair number of iterations for the customer to perform their own testing and feedback 3. Each level of Complexity & Format has a different type of cost and expertise.
  21. 21. Why Pay For A Conversion The costs of doing the job wrong May far exceed The cost of doing the job right
  22. 22. Learning Curve – Your time also has value Costs of doing it wrong Not following standards – Your book may be rejected Not following standards – Your book may stop working properly in the future and be delisted Doing the work over Revisit the Learning Curve Finally paying for it after wasting time
  23. 23. Specialized Websites Ebooks are Websites Written in HTML, CSS, and some XML Ebooks are Specialized Websites employing Specialized Browsers with Pickier Search Engines Include Metadata EPUBs have a directory structure (sometimes MOBI files do as well)
  24. 24. But I Heard I Can Do It For Free? Mark Coker – Founder of Smashwords Would tell you if you if the choice is between eating and investing money in your book: eat. Software converters My view is if you can code – and have time to waste You can DIY – but it requires continuous research and education. What I would not use – “FREE” file converters “Save As” outputs built into software “Meat Grinders” unless proprietary to the retailer ALWAYS REMEMBER: You get what you pay for
  25. 25. When to go with the cheap option: Selecting a Paid Conversion What is cheap? $100 to $150 range Word Document Reflowable – Usually a Novel Single Chapter Level (no subchapters) No special text formatting Not very many pictures 500 pages No internal linking Reader selects the fonts Low – Medium Complexity No Frills Always read the fine print!
  26. 26. If you did not fit the category on the previous slide, you will probably end up with add-on charges. Always Read The Fine Print! Rule of Thumb: The cheaper version is cheaper for a reason Call your vendor to discuss if in doubt
  27. 27. Frequent Mistakes to Avoid Saving Money Making the Most of Your Conversion
  28. 28. Before you verify your Conversion complete, run it through a validator Use File Validators Save time before distributing a bad file EPUB: http://validator.idpf.org/ Kindle Previewer: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/?docId=1000765261
  29. 29. Ebook and Print are consumed differently Do Not Design For Print Most ebooks are reflowable text – remove the Tables of Contents, Page Numbers, Footers, or anything that will not make sense in the context of an ereader Do not wrap text around images in a reflowable book Whitespace can be a bad user experience
  30. 30. Submit only the Final Edited Version of your book Only Submit Final Versions No Typos No Grammar issues Secured Rights to all Third Party Content Borrowed images, text, song lyrics, even embedded fonts
  31. 31. Are you allowed a set number of hyperlinks? Link to: Make the Most of the Ebook Spec Your website, your social media pages, or your other relevant pages. Multimedia content directly related to your book Supplemental material: checklists, assessment forms, craft patterns, and similar printable material Topical Websites
  32. 32. No links to Pornography But speaking of links No links to competitive bookstores No links to web forms that request customer information No links to illegal, harmful, infringing, or offensive content No links that are malicious in intent (virus, phishing, or similar)
  33. 33. Quizzes, Assessments, Checkboxes About Interactive Content Ereaders don’t support this content. Strip out, and link to it online This content will keep your book out of Distribution.
  34. 34. Have a well designed cover image Cover Images Studies have shown that books with well-designed covers outsell those which do not. If you use 3rd Party images, secure the rights.
  35. 35. Fixed Format is the MOST EXPENSIVE option Does it need to be “Fixed Format?” An ebook can look great when Reflowable and High Complexity Ultimately it’s about your vision and tastes When in doubt – Talk to the vendor
  36. 36. If the vendor has a phone number, call and ask questions Sample Questions may include: Read the “Fine Print” then buy Will there be a QA Process? How many iterations do they give you?
  37. 37. Tables With Lots Of Data “Lots of Data” depends upon the room you provide in comparison to the density of the characters – 3 columns and not very many rows is usually manageable in Reflowable Text in tables enlarge when fonts are enlarged
  38. 38. Gender Age Type of Publisher Highest Level Of Education Employme nt Status Female 55-64 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Masters degree Employed Female 45-54 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Bachelors degree Employed Male 65-74 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Masters degree Retired Gender Age Type of Publisher Highest Level Of Education Employment Status Female 55-64 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Masters degree Employed Female 45-54 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Bachelors degree Employed Male 65-74 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Masters degree Retired Male 25-34 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Associate degree Employed Male 55-64 years old I am publishing my own book (Self Publisher) Masters degree Employed
  39. 39. Convert Tables to images Link out to the text version if necessary The more data in the table, the more likely the table will “blow up” “Lots of Data” depends upon the room you provide in comparison to the density of the characters – 3 columns and not very many rows is usually manageable in Reflowable Text in tables enlarge when fonts are enlarged Tables With Lots Of Data
  40. 40. Carefully review your ebooks before you approve the project complete Use your iterations!
  41. 41. Convert to both EPUB and MOBI Convert to both formats and do it at the same time! Cheaper when done at the same time, than when converted separately Remember: EPUB gets you everywhere but Amazon MOBI gets you on Amazon
  42. 42. Distribution and Selling Listing Your Ebook Pricing Strategies
  43. 43. Listing Your Ebook Two Methods of Distribution Hours of filling out online forms Distribution Agent
  44. 44. Distribution Agreements are contracts What To Expect Tax and Payment Information Indemnification Book Metadata, Cover, and ebook file About two weeks to “ingest” the ebook Commitment in time!
  45. 45. Paperwork is done once Using a Distribution agent Most charge no upfront fee, but charge a piece of the Royalties Read the Fine Print - Look for hidden fees Changes to metadata or price Payments by check Listing a book for free Payments, reporting from one source Leverage negotiated savings New and exclusive retailers
  46. 46. Distribution Agents Before selecting Make sure you can get to the widest market possible Global Reach Be in the libraries and subscription products Investigate the other services offered by the Distributor Beware of Exclusivity
  47. 47. Who are some of the players? There are many companies who offer Distribution Reach Services Fees Trust
  48. 48. What should I charge for my ebook? This is up to you… ROI for Indie books by Price and Genre “Smashwords 2014 Survey: MONEY MONEY MONEY: Facts & Figures for Financial Payoff New 2014 Data” Available on Slideshare.com Summary of the results
  49. 49. Summary of the Pricing Results Non-Fiction: $2.99, $0.99 & $9.99 Fiction: $3.99, $2.99 & $0.99 Charts represent performance of Smashwords customers and provided with permission § Don’t be afraid to test pricing § Review how your peer competitors are pricing § Monitor and revisit your prices
  50. 50. Thank you Takeaways: § Know what you want from your ebook before you start the conversion process § If you have questions, call your vendor before you spend money § Be available on all the retailers § Be Global § Always be optimizing your sales strategies § Read the fine print! Richard Smith https://www.linkedin.com/in/richarddarylsmith

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