Last year, I launched eBookTechnician.com, a site highlighting e-coding that I’ve done for small presses (such as CZP and Bundoran Press), for collaborative work (The 10th Circle Project), and more recently freelance work. I’m a big supporter of ebooks, and I absolutely despise poorly rendered ebooks. I remember one book (The Wheelman by Swierczynski) where all letter Ps had been replaced with Fs. Yeah, I can guarantee you that no one actually ever looked at the file before putting it up for sale.
e-Coding is a lot like web design. Well, no, not a lot. It is web design. There are more limits…anyway, what I”m getting at, is that many businesses (especially new businesses) decide to go a cheaper route when getting their web page designed because ‘they know their brother’s friend’s girlfriend who does websites…almost for free’. Then, they get a junky looking suit (complete with flaming skulls) and they wonder why they got inferior product. The problem is that they may’ve just ruined their one opportunity to impress a new customer.
e-Books are the same way. Publishers put all that time and energy into the physical page layout…then put it through a program to create the e-version. Whut?
Or Smashwords. Seems like a great idea for the independent writer. They’ll take your Word document, feed it through their system, and output all the major formats and even distribute it for you. Problem: the output is sub standard, and they take a chunk of your profits for something that you could’ve done yourself easily (distribute to the e-stores).
You only get one chance to prove that you’re a professional writer — don’t blow it. Get your ebook done properly. That means in both formats (ePub and Mobi), with a proper Table of Contents (I despise books that don’t have a TOC), searchable, and properly formatted (nothing worse than getting a book that is right aligned, or pages of empty space).