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Tips on creating ebooks and POD books

PremiumMember
jimcoe
Posts: 398
Joined: 13 Feb 12
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Tips on creating ebooks and POD books

I got a private message asking about my methods in creating ebooks and referring to Amazon.

So, thought I'd share my response here for everyone. Here goes:
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I haven't sold on Amazon, but have helped clients self-publish with the "Createspace.com" service - which seems to be Amazon's self-publishing partner (though a separate company).

My understanding is that it’s up to you to properly format your ebook or POD (Print-On-Demand) book, as well as provide the cover/spline/backcover, all in ready-to-print condition. They don't do anything for you except print the book and provide reports of formatting problems, etc. for you to fix.

Use Microsoft Word to write and format your books. Createspace does provide Word templates for POD books, to get you started.

The big difference between ebook and POD book is that a POD printed book needs all the fancy "opposite pages" formatting for actually printing pages that are both left and right facing.

An ebook is just one huge "page" which the reader scrolls down through - kind of like a web page.

Yes, you should make a Table of Contents - Word makes it easy, if you do setup a custom hierarchy of headers for it to use – which you should always have in any book. You know, like:

Chapter Title (centered)
Section Title (centered)
Header 1 (left)
Header 2 (left)
Header 3 (left)
...and like that

I use he latest MS-Word 2010, which has the ability to save as a PDF (so you don't need the expensive Adobe Acrobat or one of the imperfect cheap clones). If you set the right options when saving as PDF - you can even protect your PDF from editing - something my online research said was impossible, but does work for me. Use the 'Options" >"ISO 19005 (PDF/A)” checkbox. Also check the "Create bookmarks” and "Document structure” checkboxes.

To self-publish, you do have to get a bit proficient in using Word for page layout, modify styles, insert page breaks, insert pictures and edit them and more. I highly recommend Microsoft's free video tutorial on using Office and Word. These are great tutes and make the complexities of book creation easy to understand.
Office training videos. Of course you could hire a transcription service and record it all on audio for them, or use "Dragon Naturally Speaking" for voice-to-text, then heir a Word expert/editor to do the formatting and editing for you. But it's not that hard to learn to do yourself - all part of this game.

Microsoft Office tutorial videos

Hope this helps…
_jim coe
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Site Admin
cecille.l
Posts: 7033
Joined: 25 Feb 11
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Hi _jim coe,

Thumbs up for that post! Thanks for sharing it. :)

Amazon's gaining popularity these days. Our last two webinars were about making profits through Kindle and Amazon. There's plenty of opportunity to be made from this website, what with all, those products as well as eBooks.

Have a good day!
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Cecille


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PremiumMember
jimcoe
Posts: 398
Joined: 13 Feb 12
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Yes Cecille, I certainly want to explore, exploit and expand into the Kindle market. Very pleased that I can learn about Kindle here.

By the way, myself and client learned that CreateSpace POD paperbacks for Amazon are good enough for POD books with full-page photos, but only barely. For "coffee table" books, portfolios or other high quality images, you're better off picture quality-wise doing more expensive fancy paper POD on Blurb.

In fact my client decided not to complete his (75% photo 25% text) book POD production with the much less costly paperback printing, based on the photo quality - after I got his book in shape for a trial printing and we inspected the results. I myself found the quality barely acceptable for tutorial paperbacks - to keep the price reasonable for students.

POD books (even paperback) cost more to the customer than mass printed books, if you expect to make any profit - strictly because of the lack of mass production. Kind of disappointing really and another reason to look into Kindle first. I suspect that this high cost/low profit situation is preventing many self-publishers from getting involved in POD and holding back that market.

Hopefully someday POD can be higher quality on paperback, or at least POD production cost will fall - but printed books may be on the way out, long-term in any case.

Cheers!
_jim coe
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Site Admin
maryt
Posts: 3016
Joined: 16 Apr 12
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Hi Jim,

Wow, you can actually make an ebook about this. :))

Kindle is another interesting niche these days and actually hear a lot of people making good money with it. I would like to hear what kind of books sell good in Kindle since buyers of Kindle are more like regular consumers and not businessmen or marketers.
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PremiumMember
jimcoe
Posts: 398
Joined: 13 Feb 12
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That's a very good point Mary.

The Kindle market I'm most interested in is students, not the general book market. And my 'Art Head Start' basic art/design ebook might do better on Kindle that my new 'Visual Marketing" ebook for marketers.

Have seen a couple news articles of late about Kindle on the campus and Apple's new instructional publishing product, as well as a new open source competitor.

Would love to find out how many students are getting Kindle ebooks. Or marketers, for that matter.

Cheers!
_jim coe
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