You've got questions. eBook-Builders has answers.
FAQs about writing your eBook:
FAQs about our production:
You've probably seen eBooks that look something like this:
EBooks use a limited subset of the usual font characters that are available. If an eBook has been machine processed you can expect to see a number of these question marks. We call this the "curly quote" problem. If you've set your writing program to use curly quotes then you're using the extended character set.
Other companies use software programs to automatically convert your manuscript into an eBook. The programs used for processing do not do a good job of substituting characters from the limited subset to replace the extended character set. You get what the program gives you. Oftentimes what it gives you is a question mark.
We never use a conversion program to build your eBook. We manually craft your eBook, we see when "curly quotes" happen and we fix these problems.
We've all seen some pretty unfortunate results from Spellcheck run amok on text messages. That's usually not a problem in a text message but it IS a problem in your eBook. Whether your novel's protaganist has an odd spelling to his name or your user manual for the AcmeBBBBigWidget27(a) keeps tripping your Spellcheck, it's a problem. We recommend that you send a plain text spelling key as part of your zip file package. Name it something like spellingKey.txt
We'll check your manuscript for spelling issues against your spelling key.
Pictures and illustrations in the body of the eBook need to be at least 500 pixels wide. Images look best when they are either roughly square or in a 3x4 aspect ratio. Excessively tall and skinny or short and squat images generally don't display as well.
Covers should be 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels high. This is sized for the online bookstores.
The EPUB 2 standard did not allow audio or video but the EPUB 3 standard does. We build eBooks to the EPUB 3 standard to allow you to have the eBook you really want. However, there are two issues with using audio and video media that you need to be aware of.
The first issue is that not all eReaders and eReading programs are able to play A/V media. This is a problem that should be remedied in time but don't be surprised if your favorite eReader currently fails the test. However, technology marches on and eBook readers are getting more powerful and sophisticated by the day.
The second issue is the overall file size of your eBook. Audio and video files are generally a lot larger than text and picture files. This isn't really an issue if you are publishing privately, but it is an issue if you want to sell your eBook through an online retailer. Your user manual for the AcmeBBBBigWidget27(a) (that again?) might well benefit from a few well edited video clips but you would likely host it on your web site where your customers can access it.
Online retailers have file size limits. We're well aware of them and can work with you to craft your eBook to make it acceptable to the the retailers. If your eBook contains A/V media we will talk to you directly about how to best include your media.
We're still in that early adopter phase when not all eReaders will display the media components we specialize in. However we've found several eReader apps that do a very good job of displaying eBooks with audio and video content. Check them out.
Menestrello available here.
Bluefire Reader available here.
Adobe Digital Editions available here.
We accept your manuscript as plain text, as a PDF, or as a Word or Open Office document.
We accept your images as .jpg .png or .gif files.
Your audio files must be .mp3 files.
Your video files must be .mp4 files.
Zip all of your files into a .zip or .rar archive file and send it to us through Dropbox as detailed below.
The easiest way to exchange files to process and then return finished eBooks to you is through Dropbox. There is information about using Dropbox to share files HERE.
Gather all of your files into a .zip file and just share that file. You will need to give us indications of where included files such as illustrations or voiceovers need to go, ideally in the manuscript itself, or as a separate file we can refer to. A PDF of your document serves both to give us your text as well as show where illustrations need to go. Please remember to include ALL of your illustrations as separate files.
The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally. Each edition, as well as, each format of a book needs its own unique ISBN number.
An ISBN number is necessary if you are going to submit your eBook for retail sale to online bookstores such as Kobo or Barnes & Noble. If you are only going to submit your eBook to Amazon you can get an ASIN number from them that fulfills the same purposes. However an ASIN number is only used on Amazon.
If you are privately printing an eBook, say a User Manual, you do not need an ISBN number.
If you have an ISBN number for your eBook please remember to include it in your zip package. If you need an ISBN number we will register for one for you. Please contact us if you have any questions about whether you need one.
We're so glad you asked! Please include the following in the Zip package you put in your Dropbox.
Once we receive your eBook zip package, we check it for all of the expected content. We'll contact you to get any elements that seem to be missing.
Once we have all the elements of your eBook we will invoice you and direct you to our Paypal Payments page.
After payment is received we begin the eBook build. First we build the meta-information for the eBook. While you'll never see the meta-information you'll know if it hasn't been built correctly. Then we build the body of the book from the Forward to the Afterward. Once all of the text is in place we go back and add all of your images and media files. Test, test, test. If all goes well we return your eBook to you via Dropbox. Our usual production timeline is 3 to 5 business days. More complicated eBooks may take longer but we will advise you of that. We will be in contact with you if there are any problems whatsoever.