Thursday, January 30, 2014

Self-Publishing Lessons Learned Part 2 (or, What I'll Do Differently with eBooks Next Time...)

Things I want to remember for the next time I self-publish a book...

Really learn to create a full featured ebook. From the TOC to footnotes to title pages, I've got a lot to learn and master. Part of the issue is that I'm using a basic MS Word template provided by CreateSpace. Converting .doc (or .docx) to .mobi (Amazon ebook format) is NOT straightforward. There are just too many variables. For example, the Table of Contents (TOC) has been a thorn in my side. Word has a facility built in for creating the TOC, but today, many authors create theirs by hand. Which works better for ebooks depends on which tools and processes you're using to convert your book, and which formats you're converting to. My automatic TOC in Word doesn't look good at all on the Kindle.

Let's just say that I have yet to stumble upon a reasonable, repeatable, quality method for taking a regular MS Word doc with auto TOC and generate a .mobi file. Some processes require that you save the Word file as an HTML file and then do some conversion processing. I'd like to think that there will com a time when we just get to the point where you simply press a button in Word.

Oh, and while I'm at it, I'll need to remember to test my book out on multiple devices. Turns out that there are several Kindle models and there can be a difference in how the book looks on different ones.

I felt that my ebook was sub par. It worked, and contained all of the words, in the right order even, but the thing kind of felt like an afterthought. I want to do better next time, since over 75% of my "sales" went to ebook users.

Another interesting thing was how the kindle and print versions of the book live and play together on the Amazon site. Specifically, the titles of the two versions have to match EXACTLY in order for Amazon to list them together on the same page. Which should be easy. Except that one of the submission tools seems to append the volume number to the title. This got me every time, since I was publishing a trilogy. At least I know where to go to get it fixed: The team that handles these things has always responded with lightning speed and a cheerful attitude.

No comments:

Post a Comment