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Friday, May 02, 2014

Indie Author Tip: The Difference between eBook Conversion and Formatting

Indie Author Tip
The Difference between Conversion and Formatting and how it affects you as author and publisher

What’s one of the most awesome things about self-publishing your eBook or Paperback? (Besides the fact that you are getting your book out there for the masses to read!)

The awesome thing is: control

When a mainstream publisher prints your book, they take control over what ultimately happens to your book. This includes the ‘polishing processes’ like editing, cover design, formatting and marketing. They also take the royalties for this process of polishing your book.

So as your own self-publisher, you retain control over your entire book’s ‘life’, from inception of story, the writing process, and ultimately the glorious publication of your master piece!

However, this is where independent self-publishing requires you to actively consider and use the ‘polishing services’ that the mainstream publishers normally offer.

And one of the polishing services we’re looking at now is: formatting.

A single word with a MASSIVE IMPACT on you as author, your readers’ experience of you as writer – and the future good or bad sales of your book.

Yes, there are multitudes of formatting services out there now, and many authors try do it themselves. But as with any other booming industry (yes, indie publishing is a very big boom), there is a massive distinction happening between quality vs. quantity. Unfortunately, no one is overlooking the QUALITY of services out there, and too many authors’ books still turn out ‘converted’ and not formatted.

I just experienced it with a client this week – he is a bestselling author – but now that we’re redoing the proper formatting for his printed books – I was yet again faced with the huge divide between quality and control.

So what is the difference between conversion and formatting?

The quick answer is this:
  • Formatting is when a designer polishes your manuscript to professional standards for both print and eBook formats.
  • These are major technicalities that involve page breaks, chapter breaks, standardizing section and chapter headings, adding indexes, reformat graphics as needed or design new ones, standardize body text styles, remove blank pages and adding Odd pages (for print), formatting paragraphs according to ‘publication standards’ (the list goes on and on and on).
  • Formatting is basically working over the entire text to look like something Bloomsbury or Random House would publish using a proper book layout designer.
  • The list above is tiny, the actual process is a massive job, but the results are excellence on par with mainstream publishing.
  • Conversion is taking your now formatted manuscript (which should be edited and proofread with a great cover already) and converting it to the various eBook formats – including CreateSpace and any other POD service – as required by the author/indie publisher. It’s the fast and easy part of taking an MS to eBook or print.
"Too many authors’ books are only converted – and not formatted [...]" 

Too many authors’ books are only converted – and not formatted – but advertised and paid for as formatted. And it’s actually quite easy to check whether your book has been formatted with quality service.
  • Pick up ANY mainstream book (print or eBook) and compare yours to it. Is your book as neatly done with added touches? Are the page breaks as clean? Does it have that mainstream polished feel? If not, you have something to think about and fix…
  • You are in control of your book and its success.
  • Give your books the same professional treatments as mainstream publishers do with their publications. Get on their level because there are excellent services out there for you to do so.
  • Make sure your readers can read your story easily. A well formatted and converted book really has an impact on your story line, the dialogue, the flow and overall experience of your book.
  • Readers WANT polished books. And you have the control to give that to your audience.
Happy writing everyone!

About the Author of this Article: Jeanine Henning (Twitter: @JenVinci)

Jeanine Henning
Jeanine’s extensive professional background includes 16 years’ experience in cover design, children’s book illustration and publication, comic book publishing and editing, console game design, and writing. She has worked with editors, authors and artists on many continents over the span of her career, adding to her diversity and flexibility as artist and designer. Jeanine still works closely with traditional publishers on cover and book art.

For more information on Jeanine’s background and testimonials, visit her site at: www.jeaninehenning.com and author testimonials at: https://jhillustration.wordpress.com/author-testimonials/

Click here to find out more about professional eBook formatting / eBook conversion.


Carolyn said...

Thank you! This is a very helpful article! I will share it .

Lizzie Lamb said...

Thank you - a great article. Will share xx

Shelley Wilson said...

What a great article, thank you.

C. Rhys Consulting said...

Excellent explanation of the differences. So important for indie authors to know the actual process before deciding to self-publish! It avoids confusion and misunderstandings with their Copy Editor later!

Pat W Kirk said...

Thank you for an insightful article. One note. When you retain control it means you pay for editing, formatting, etc. The royalties you get will probably be eaten by those costs.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Thanks for this information!

Unknown said...

This is one of the most helpful articles ever! Thank you for sharing and my allegiance is sworn.

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