Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quality Sells Ebooks

Sometimes in the rush to get a book to publication, quality can be compromised. It's especially tempting when self- publishing an ebook because downloading the file and clicking that button are just too easy.

Quality Control Check before publishing:

1. A fully-edited manuscript. (And even then, typos just have a sneaky way of slipping through. Grrr to typos!)

2. Formatting. Pay a professional to have it done right, it's worth it!

3. Cover. Your cover design should reflect the tone and genre of your story. Especially with online sales, the cover can make all the difference. It should look professional.

4. Description. I've seen book descriptions with misspelled words, missing punctuation, poor grammar, and I wonder what the book will read like if so many mistakes slip through a brief paragraph or two. The ideal description will make a person want to pay money for the experience of reading the book.

5. Details. Small details can enrich or (unfortunately) ruin the reading experience. Everything from typos and formatting to how chapter headings are designed, how paragraph breaks are done, whether or not the character names are suited to the story, and even comma usage. One or two departures from standard punctuation won't bother me, but when I'm into an ebook several chapters and notice repeated errors (like commas used for semi-colons and semi-colons for commas) it's a huge distraction.

A book must be so well-written, so thoroughly edited, so polished and professional that it really is a wonder when anyone tries to do it alone. Very few of the successful self-publishers do. They hire professionals to help them with all parts of the process to get that quality product readers want.

You want book sales? Don't forget the Q word!

25 comments:

  1. Also, when we say fully edited - that means hire a professional editor that is not your friend that just happens to have a good eye for errors. It means check the references of your editor, interview several by sending your first 20 pages for them to edit then compare who's done the best work. Check their references and a good editor will give you 2 reviews for their price.

    After you have them edit it, find someone to proof-read it in book form. Another person who is not a friend.

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    1. LM, Very well said! Exactly. Very helpful comment.

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  2. I couldn't agree more. I picked up a book some time ago that had a typo on the first page.

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  3. Amen to this!! Wise wise advise! Take care
    x

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  4. Yes. Yes. Yes. And I definitely don't trust my editorial skills when it comes to my own writing. I have a great knack for auto-correcting. Sheesh!

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  5. I couldn't agree more with this post, especially #1. Nothing irritates me more than a self published book that hasn't had any editing.

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  6. Great advice. Quality is very important and not just for that one book. A lack of quality in self-pubbed books leads readers to be hesitant to buy more self-pubbed books.

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  7. Love this! I'm so glad you put this out there Karen. I've read a few ebooks that had so many grammatical errors, I couldn't finish it. Great advice!

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  8. Karen, this is a great post. I struggle with typos all the time, but I'm not creating eBooks. "Grrr to typos!"
    Thanks Karen, keep up the great tips.

    - Maurice Mitchell
    The Geek Twins | Film Sketchr
    @thegeektwins | @mauricem1972

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  9. I agree - one or two small mistakes can be overlooked, but anymore than that and not only is the book ruined for me, but usually any future books by that author, too.

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  10. The critic in your brain has to be turned on and the creative part turned off to edit. Perhaps that is why so many find it hard to edit their own work; they are still in love with their writing.

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  11. I tried to read a self-published book last year but it had so many typos I eventually gave up.

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  12. I am constantly stunned at the number of typos I miss. I would never self-publish without professional help.

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  13. I agree with Alex. I know there must be some well-edited self-published books out there, but the last one I picked up I quickly put down. It was horrible. When there are several mistakes on Page One, who will endure the torture?

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  14. I've entered discussions about this subject with self-pubbed authors. If I mention a possible problem, I suddenly become against all types of change within publishing. So I prefer to say nothing, and let other people like Alex and Sara say what I'm thinking.

    (For the record, I'm on the side of good stories being well-told, in a medium that allows readers to fully enjoy what they've spent their money on. Bad editing does not allow that!)

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  15. I do my own formatting. But I'm kind of a rockstar. Okay GP Ching is actually the rockstar that taught me.

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  16. G'Day Karen, I'm visiting from the A to Z Challenge and see you're part of the brilliant team running this incredibly wonderful challenge. I'm having a blast!!!

    Actually, I left a comment for all the A to Z team members on the "Get in the locker room!" blog post.

    Here's a little cheer I made up for you all.

    Thank you!!! A to Z team... I just wanna SCREEEAAAMMMMM

    Your AWESOME,
    I'm pumped,
    I'm full of energy and ZEST,
    Because the A to Z team is the BEST!!!

    Go-oo-oo, Aaaaaa to Zeeeee!!!

    Now, it your turn to see along with me :)

    Your AWESOME,
    I'm pumped,
    I'm full of energy and ZEST,
    Because the A to Z team is the BEST!!!

    Go-oo-oo, Aaaaaa to Zeeeee!!!

    Big Smiles. I love this post with good advice for writers and readers! Hey, I'm with you, "Grrr to typos." They are so sneaky :)

    Wishing you the best day ever, filled with love, laughter and a bounty of God's Blessings!

    See ya mate!

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  17. Ahh! Now how did that sneaky typo jump into my comment. GRRR!

    Can I say it was the computer, I didn't do anything. LOL!

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  18. Stopping by as part of A-Z, and found this post very interesting. I know how annoying it is when all the grammar is wrong in books! Thanks for the post.
    Hannah

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  19. I am so glad I found your blog! I am here visiting from the A to Z challenge and I am looking forward to starting to write my first novel.

    http://lawyergirlruns86.blogspot.com

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  20. What tpyo? :D

    {ami}
    http://sundrysumthins.wordpress.com/

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  21. Totally agree with you!
    Typos drive me mad, and make me think the author didn't care enough about their "baby"

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  22. Thank you for this post! It doesn't matter who publishes the book: editing is important. I think self-publishing is great if done right. I've tried to give the books fair consideration, but out of the ten I've looked at, only one was of the same quality as traditionally published books. That can't be good for the reputation of self-publishing.

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  23. All I can think of is... Thank You! Seems everyone thinks just getting it out there makes money, not. Besides it hurts future sales. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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    1. Jules, There's this idea that just getting it out there as fast as possible then tweeting the link a zillion times is going to get the sales regardless of quality of product.

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