Happy Weekend, WG2E-Land!
Please give a big ol’ fabulous shout-out and welcome back to Ruth Harris, who’s got another terrific post on Ebook Formatting! In case you missed the first part of this series, here you go:
Take it away, Ruth…
Just as the revolution in e-publishing has made galleys and page proofs obsolete, a new profession—formatting—has been created. I’ve asked four of the most experienced formatters in the epub world to explain the process that turns your story from a previously published book or original manuscript into an elegant, easy-to-read ebook.
Here, in Part 2 of the series, our formatters will address questions about specialized formatting, how to choose a formatter, and the issue of references.
Do you specialize in any particular kind of formatting? (art books, joke books, children’s books, cartoon collections etc)
Pam Headrick: Right now I only do fiction, and most of my authors are Romance authors. I’d love to do a thriller or mystery or a men’s action/adventure though. Occasionally I’ll format a simple non-fiction how-to book.
Rob Siders: Nope. First and foremost, we consider ourselves to be book lovers. There are too many good ones out there to pick one genre or type over another. That said, each of our design staff has personal preferences. For example, now that I have kids I’ve taken a shine to making fixed layout children’s books. I also love when the author’s cover designer has given me a richly conceived palette to use as inspiration for my own design. A good cover designer really keeps me from making safe choices in what I do.
Judi Fennell: When I got a request for a children’s book, I fell in love. First, it was a wonderful story and second, it really allowed me to be creative, even though I had the print book as a template. I love being able to be creative, so children’s books are definitely a favorite, as is doing cover art. Print on demand books are also something that I enjoy doing with headers and sections and footers customized to the book and any excerpts. And editing, of course. I love getting to experience people’s work.
Rik Hall: The biggest call is for novels, novellas and shorts. But I have done non-fiction with graphics, children picture books and recently a really neat book with line drawings that the author’s daughter drew.
How should an author go about selecting a professional formatter?
Rob Siders: Take your time. There are a lot of people out there doing what we do. When I first hung out the 52 Novels shingle, there weren’t a lot of us around. Now, it’s a very crowded space, so authors have a lot of choices. The logical end to that is there are a lot of shops out there that have a shallower track record. There’s nothing wrong with that, as everyone has to start at zero and build a roster just like we did. But there are advantages to having been around a while.
The other thing I’d suggest is to ask other authors you know who did their book. By far, that’s how we end up working with most of our authors: someone referred them to us.
Judi Fennell: Word-of-mouth from satisfied clients is always the best source, but there are several of us doing this. I would check the testimonials, talk/email the formatter and see if you hit it off working-style wise.
Cost, of course, is a big consideration, as well as the services different formatters use. Some will handle the uploads, others won’t. Some charge for cover uploads for print on demand, others don’t. This is a new industry within the digital publishing arena, so it pays to do your homework and know what your budget is.
Rik Hall: Big question. There are lots of us out there. By reading your blog is a great start. Whichever Facebook groups they belong to are also good places to ask for advice.
Pam Headrick: Look on their website and see which authors are clients, then go sample their books.
Do you provide references?
Judi Fennell: Absolutely. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising, which is why all of my testimonials are up on my website at:http://formatting4u.com/testimonials/ with links to my clients’ websites. Most of them have Contact emails or buttons, so if you want more information you can go directly to the source, or, of course, email me with any questions.
I will say that this process is a fluid one, and I’m always answering questions, so if you don’t know something, feel free to ask. I now have a lot of repeat business from my satisfied clients and I have to say I was touched by how many of them emailed me during Hurricane Sandy since they knew I was in its path. We’ve become cyber-friends from the business arrangement. Matter of fact, that’s how I was referred to this blog… from a satisfied client.
Rik Hall: Whenever asked. Perhaps my best “reference” is in my pricing section on my website “You don’t pay anything until you are happy.”
Pam Headrick: Of course, if asked. But most of my work comes from referrals, so the new client has already spoken to someone about my work. I recently attended the NINC2012 (Novelists, Inc) conference and luckily had my iPad with me which contained all the copies of my clients’ books so I had samples at my fingertips. That was very helpful, particularly when someone asked about flourishes or other elements in a book.
Rob Siders: Absolutely. Just ask.
Next time, in Part 3 of this series, our formatters will address questions about sample pages, submission best practices and scanning services.
Rik Hall http://RikHall.com
Judi Fennell: http://formatting4u.com/services/
Rob Siders: http://www.52novels.com/pricing/
Pam Headrick: http://www.athirstymind.com/
Okay, WG2E-Land: What questions do you have for our fabulous Ebook Formatting Panel?
The Best of Ebook Formatting Wishes —
NYTimes Bestselling Author
Coming soon from Ruth! THE CHANEL CAPER. James Bond meets Nora Ephron. Or is it the other way around?
THE CHANEL CAPER is a romcom-mystery-thriller that addresses two of the most important questions of our time:
1) Is there sex after marriage? 2) Is sixty the new forty?