A few years ago the question authors were asking was, “Are e-books here to stay?” Now we know the answer is yes. Not only are they here to stay, for many authors, by-passing a paper book and publishing an e-book first. Why? Not only are authors, particularly emerging authors, finding it a less expensive way to enter the highly competitive word of publishing, but readers have learned it’s an inexpensive way to test new authors and find out who they like.
But can you successfully publish and market an e-book if you don’t know what an e-book is, or what one looks like? The answer is no. If you want to be a successful e-book author, the very first step is to become familiar with e-books.
The good news is, it literally costs nothing to start reading e-books. You can download e-reader app from Amazon or Barnes and Noble free to your smartphone or tablet computer, or even your laptop or desktop. (I don’t really suggest the last two choices. E-readers are meant to mimic the comfort of curling up and reading a book. You just can’t do that with a large computer.)
There are more free e-books at Amazon than at Barnes and Noble, but I do suggest you download both apps. This is research. Learning the differences in the e-reading experience from both of the two major players in the market is important.
Once you have downloaded your app, go to the website and choose a Kindle and a Nook book. If you are really not “e-book friendly,” pick a genre you particularly enjoy. Don’t be afraid! Explore the various settings on your e-reader. Turn it sideways for a two-column view. Turn on the nightlight. Try different fonts and change the font size.
Why am I suggesting these things? They seem rather basic, after all. It is because things that are extremely important in the look and feel of a paper book are irrelevant in an e-book, while features you have never even thought of in a paper book are very important in an e-book.
For example, those fancy fonts in the chapter headings of a paper book are gone in the e-book. The way each reader experiences your book will differ slightly depending on the device and settings they choose. This may seem as if you are giving something up. And you are. But you are also gaining other things. The searchability of an e-book is fabulous. Did you ever want to go back to a particular passage you had forgotten to mark? Type in a few keywords and find it again easily. Did the author just use a word you don’t know? Highlight it and get the definition instantly. You can use color graphics without a huge cost. You can link to maps and other additional information.
So what do you want your readers’ experience of your e-book to be? The way in which you format you book can enhance or detract from that experience. We’ll talk more about formatting options for your e-book in the next newsletter.
Open Door Publications offers book coaching and e-book assistance. For more information contact us at info@OpenDoorPublications.com