Saturday, September 15, 2012

Professional eBook Conversion versus DIY - Self-Publishers Beware

Self-publishers by necessity are willing to take on nearly every task required in the process of publishing their book. Sometimes the results of those efforts are books that are less than professional in appearance.

As ebook reading devices and apps improve with each generation so does the need for well produced ebooks. As the users of ebook reading devices such as the Kindle and the Nook become more familiar with consuming books using the technology, they are also becoming more discerning when it comes to the quality of the interior design of ebooks.

Readers are able to spot poorly done book designs by self-publishing authors and are starting to do the same with Kindle and other ebooks. Spend some time reading one-star reviews of a range of Kindle books and you will find many of the reviews are not about the quality of the story or information but rather a condemnation of the formatting of the book.

The number of books available, in Kindle format no less, describing "easy" conversion methods to produce Kindle books are quite numerous. Having purchased quite a few of them myself, I can say I am no closer to being able to produce a Kindle edition that looks, or works, like I want it to.

There are certainly authors who self-publish who are perfectly capable of not only designing a nice interior for an ebook, but doing the conversion work. From what I have been able to learn, most of the authors who possess this skill are either knowledgeable in HTML or are well versed in computers.

While money is certainly an issue for self-publishing authors, this is one of those instances where "doing it yourself" in order to not spend money may cost money in the long run.

Just as paying for editing and professional design for a print edition is a wise investment, so it having your ebook professionally formatted as well. Of the 14 books I have available, all but one have earned back the cost of conversion and that lone title is close to earning out its production cost as I write.

As J.A. Konrath, one of the foremost advocates of self-publishing using Kindle, likes to say "ebooks are forever!" Investing money in having your book(s) professionally converted is a wise decision.

I use eBook Architects and have used the Kindle conversion service of CreateSpace. I prefer eBook Architects for my books with graphics and photographs and use their services for all my books now. CreateSpace has done a good job with my books that were text only and the pricing is reasonable.

eBook Architects also warranties their work with the QED quality seal of approval, the only conversion service I have found that does so.