I’ve heard that this is a really hot topic out there in publishing land, and I thought I might take a crack at putting some information on the table that may be helpful to anyone. This question is one that is resonating throughout publishing and I can give you the answer in a very short succinct set of words: Epub Files.
Anyone who wants to write the Great American Novel, or a Cookbook, or a How To book has a set of functions that need to be adhered to make sure the quality of the project is at a high level when it gets out into the marketplace. Whether you are a self-publisher, a medium-sized reference publisher, or a McGraw-Hill or Random House, the finalization of the manuscript process begins with the manuscript review. Now, the manuscript review is a checklist for anyone in the production field to make sure that all of the elements (frontmatter, text, backmatter, figures, graphs, tables, and halftones) are finalized with the manuscript. If you are self-publishing, the resolution for the images should be at least 266 dpi, (dots per inch). This higher resolution will not matter as much for the e-book, but if you ever decide to print your book either on a web or through a print-on-demand vendor such as Lightning Source, you’ll want the images in the final files to be crisp and accurate in the reproduction process. Right now, we are dealing with a 1/c black title and not even thinking about a 4/color project.
The Master List
- Copyediting: No matter how good you can write, there are standards and those standards are contained in The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. Find a good copyeditor to go through your manuscript and give it a once over while maintaining the integrity of your written “Voice.” Find a copyeditor that you like and ask them to get into the weeds with you to make your tome a well written, grammatically correct vision of information. The copyeditor on a project can make or break your sales by giving you a project that will pass the scrutiny of all readers.
- Design/Composition/Layout: For years publishers used designers who worked in Mac platform design software like Quark. In the age of Epub files, Quark is convertible, but not in a very effective manner when compared to InDesign. Epub files are Adobe based, and since Adobe always builds suites of tools that complement each other, composition should be done in InDesign. This will make the final conversion a much simpler matter than anything converting from Quark files. You could be using an HTML based layout program like 3B2, which will let you easily convert to XML based on your D-T-D (Document-Type-Definition), but supplying e-books to Amazon as an Epub file is the way to ensure it gets loaded and out for sales with an immediacy that will capture revenue streams quickly. Other file formats such as Word.doc will work as well if you run them through an HTML filter process before you submit them to Amazon.
- Author Review/Proofreading: No matter what format is the final, the manuscript must be proofread, and the author must review it. Who would know the final product better than the person who wrote the title? The proofread should be a word-for-word and not a line-scan. Companies do not realize how much damage is done to a reputation when the consuming public finds typos in a project they just paid good money for.
- Indexing: In the world of reference publishers, this is a key feature. A bad index can turn an award winner into an albatross if the index is not as comprehensive as it should be. The index should have all of the most important main entries in the book, and sometimes one or two sub-entries will help to create a strong index as well. This step is supremely important if you are planning on publishing through dual format avenues: POD and through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). This step is not necessary if you are only doing an e-book since the content of an e-book is fully searchable on a Kindle.
For anyone looking to publish for Kindle downloads, the next step would be to set up an account on KDP. Once you have this account set up, you con upload the e-book content and the cover art to Amazon through this account. After you upload the files you will need to complete the metadata information to finalize this upload process. Finalizing the metadata will be instrumental in generating a preview of your title on the Amazon Sales Portal website for your title to sell. After the upload and finalization of the metadata, there may be a lag time of roughly 48 hours until your title is available for purchase and download.
For more information please refer to the Amazon site directly:
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Once you have gone through these steps and done all the final checks, you can have Epub files loaded to Amazon, who will do any conversion necessary on the files for you before they are uploaded for sale. This is a very rudimentary set of points, but whether you are publishing an e-book or a print book, this same set of steps needs to be adhered to ensure your product is at the highest quality possible, on the schedule that you want, and on the budget that you want to pay. These are Dr. Frankenstein’s notes that will be the basis for your creation… Build on them.
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