Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Temper Tantrum Tuesday: Formatting E-Books

I decided to take the plunge into ebooks and publish ALIEN THOUGHTS that way. The thing I really like about ebooks is that the reader can preview the book before buying it. That means I know that the reader won’t be parting with their hard-earned $2.99 only to not read the book.

ALIEN THOUGHTS is the type of book that this is really an issue because if you read the first 30,000 words you’re going to spend the $3 to continue. But if it isn’t your thing you’ll never make it through the first 30,000 and stop before paying any money. So no one can feel ripped off.

The formatting is a process in itself. I went through two processes. Kindle and Smashwords both have different ways of handling the publishing process.

Kindle is harder to format for, and doesn’t offer as much help but they do have one huge advantage. They have a preview feature, it is crude and the advanced Kindle features are deactivated in the preview but it is a preview. This means you can look over your work before it is published and find errors in the formatting that are impossible to spot otherwise.

Smashwords offers much better support and instructions and has error checking software to find problems. Unfortunately it doesn’t offer a preview at all. As soon as you load up your book it is live and people start downloading it. So you can’t visually see the problem until after people start downloading your book.

I’m sure these problems will be resolved in the future but it is a pain right now.

So to all the people who downloaded samples of my book from Smashwords and found the Table of Contents broke and a few extra tabs in the body, just download the sample again after 4pm Eastern today and you’ll find it fixed. Unfortunately the early downloaders got to see my practice formatting and I hope those errors aren’t too distracting.

If you want to read the first 30,000 words of my book it is available at Smashwords: ALIEN THOUGHTS

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Alien Thoughts

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