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DIY author Web site webinar

Bondi Beach

I'm on this guy's mailing list, and his upcoming free webinar on updating your author Web site, co-hosted with a self-identified Web site guru, sounded interesting.

No, I'm not shilling for him, although I like his advice on DIY book covers. Anyway, here's the invitation.

Perv Otaku

I'll have to remember that site if I ever start trying to convert my stuff to ebooks for Smashwords or whatever.

It seems like it's just a matter of a nice picture, a nice typeface, and good color choices, but no doubt there's more to it. There is definitely a whole visual element to picking an ebook to read compared to the text-only title and blurb you get on sites like SOL.

richardshagrin

@Perv Otaku

I may not be visual enough, but I buy books because of the subject and blurb, and sometimes the author. For long series I doubt a different picture will make that much difference. I wonder if having "nice" covers is worth significant expense or effort by an author. People who sell you covers or pictures are sure you need them. I wonder if an author were to reuse a cover or just go with title and author name if sales would be significantly different than if no expense were spared and it would take double the sales to break even?

I suspect visual and cover issues may be more important for a new author or one breaking into a new genre. If people know what you have written and liked it, or if it is part of a series where earlier book or books have sold, how much do you have to do to make sure this book is associated with others the author has written?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@richardshagrin

I wonder if having "nice" covers is worth significant expense or effort by an author.


For me, books are chosen from someone's recommendation (and I guess the best sellers list is sort of a recommendation). Then author's name. And then -- nope, not the cover. It's the title that would draw me in. Once in, I read the description and start reading Chapter 1.

Everyone says it's the cover. Not for me, especially the little thumbnail you see on Amazon.

Ernest Bywater

@Perv Otaku

It seems like it's just a matter of a nice picture, a nice typeface, and good color choices, but no doubt there's more to it. There is definitely a whole visual element to picking an ebook to read


There are many things to consider. I thought long and hard before making my books available as e-pub versions, and then it was only because I found a way to make a decent version using Calibre to convert it. I even put out a free e-pub available from Lulu, Apple iBookstore, B&N, Kobo, and Amazon - free via them all.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/make-a-good-e-pub/ebook/product-22124365.html

To make the presentation easier for the various ways the different readers mess the files up I use italics, bold, and colour to differentiate the various levels of headings within the book.

As to the cover art, I do that myself using images that re public domain or available under special copyright terms. I go for easy on the eye images that relate to the story in some way. The only exceptions are with the images for a series, then I work at keeping the same images for the cover and just change the title, thus the whole series is obviously related.

Replies:   Joe_Bondi_Beach
Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Ernest Bywater

To make the presentation easier for the various ways the different readers mess the files up I use italics, bold, and colour to differentiate the various levels of headings within the book.


Can you give us examples of any other fiction eBook that uses italics, bold and colour to differentiate headings within the book? I've seen chapter headings with fonts distinct from text or title, and italics to indicate some change, e.g., in location or time-both are common design elements-but never different colors in adult (i.e., not children's) fiction.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

Can you give us examples of any other fiction eBook that uses italics, bold and colour to differentiate headings within the book?


G'day Joe,

I don't spend much money on e-books, in fact I've only got four I bought. three use bold and larger font to designate the chapter headings, and that's all. The other uses colour and larger font for the chapter headings - and it's the most recent one I bought just a couple of months ago from G Younger.

However, I format my books different to most authors as well, and that adds to the situation. Most authors use only chapter headings and nothing else, while I use chapter, sub-chapter, and section headings. In the .odt version, pdf version, .html version, and SOL tagged text version I use colour to help identify them (note: in the SOL system the colour is the only way I can be sure of doing this). I need to differentiate between the three levels in a way that survives the e-book reader override attack code.

Some e-book readers will strip out and not display format code related to the e-book, regardless of how well you embed them. So you need to use something all the systems will allow through. Some will allow larger font only for what they recognise as chapter headings, thus they'll see the chapter and sub-chapter headings as the same and display them the same way.

However, there are some format commands that all e-book readers will recognise and apply, even when overriding embedded fonts (yes, some do that to you). The only ones I've found that will get through regardless are italics and bold because colours and font sizes will get stripped out by some readers.

Chapters are a larger font in red and normal style text. Sub-chapters are larger font in blue italic text. Sections are normal font in bold.

When the colours are allowed through it makes the story look nicer and helps designate what's what. When the colours get stripped out the difference between a chapter and sub-chapter heading is shown by the later being in italics. The section being in bold makes it clear it's a title and not some weird line of text.

It was this stripping of colour for some readers that lead me to use italics for the sub-chapter headings (I didn't before I found that problem).

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