Which button makes it work? Help me!

Ok, you have a book.  Let’s call it a text of a book, because that’s what you’ve really created, a text.

Now you have to decide in which format you want to distribute it: PDF, ePub, Nook, Kindle.

You can release your finished book in all these ways if you want, and you probably should.  Don’t limit your market!

In terms of easy to do, a PDF conversion is easiest. Format your book very simply, with page numbers and headers, in a standard readable font, and convert. It doesn’t have to be more complex than this, but you could bookmark the TOC to the chapters to make navigation easy, and you could slap a cover JPG on it. You can then check your creation using free Adobe Digital Editions software on your computer (PC or Mac)

Many people use this option because they have worked with Acrobat.  No access to Acrobat? Search around the Adobe site. It usually allows you to do some free conversions as a sample.  Mac users have a built in PDF creator, but the Mac PDF created isn’t always stable on all platforms. So be aware if you choose to go that route.

The PDF advantages are . . . you can read them on your computer and distribute them around to reviewers who can then see your book as it will look when printed.  The PDF creates a version that maintains your formatting. They can be read on devices such a iPads, which are slightly larger page size.

PDF disadvantages . . . if you do a straight book to ebook conversion and look at it on your ADE, you’ll see the problem immediately.  The white page margins are always there. Even when you shrink it down.  If you go up and select READING, and from the dropdown menu choose Custom Fit, then adjust it 174%, and fit the reader window directly over the text, you’ll see what it’s like trying to read your book on an iPad. It’ll look a lot like this

The problem with simply converting your book formatted text to a PDF (if you aren’t going to make a printed book, and these aren’t review copies), is that PDF formatting is static. You can make it smaller or bigger.  But it’s difficult.  It also becomes totally unreadable on any small eReader or iPhone.

So, when considering a PDF, which can be a great format for people who read on a laptop, or iPad, or when sending out review copies of a book that will be coming out in print (and so you want to show reviewers what it actually looks like), a text formatted into a book configuration and then PDF’d can be a good thing.

However, if you are shooting for an eReader market, you have to make it eReader friendly. So, our tip for when you absolutely positively are going to go PDF, but want the widest possible audience?  Check back Tuesday.

Mark Twain, again

As readers of this blog know, we adore Mark Twain! And apparently, we are not the only ones. The new Univ of Cal Press “Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1” ($35, 4lbs, and 736 page) is flying off the shelves.

You can read more about it in Julie Bosman’s NY Times review but the upshot is, people love books.  Real books.  The first print run was 7,500.  To date they’ve had to print 275,000 and they still haven’t kept pace with demand.  Do note, we used the word PRINT.  These are not ebooks.  These are printed hardbacks, and of a scholarly variety.

It’s shooting up the Bestseller List, and no doubt in part because Twain was such a beloved figure and such a genuinely American one.  Everyone loves Twain.  And Twain in unexpurgated form?  Could be speaking directly to American situations we face today.

Given all that, we’d totally disagree with Rebecca Fitting, who commented to the Times “It’s totally the Dad book . . . . a certain kind of guy gift book.” People who love autobiography, great writers, history, and quintessentially American Lit, come in both genders and all ages, parental status aside.

No doubt the marketing strategy also played a big part. Publications such as Granta, Newsweek, Playboy and Harper’s Magazine ran excerpt.  A burst of early media coverage this summer, well in advance of the official Nov. 15 publication date, also helped. The publisher also created an eye-catching Web site, thisismarktwain.com, complete with audio, black-and-white photos and a timeline of Twain’s life.



Editors of The Mark Twain Papers (Peg Skorpinski photo)

Whatever the outcome for this year’s sales, we wish University of California Press all the best with its best selling book in 60 years.  Congrats to everyone who worked on the editorial committee of the Mark Twain Papers.  We’re already looking forward to the release of Volumes 2 and 3.

Keep those presses rolling!

Published in: on November 22, 2010 at 6:39 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Free the Frankfurt Flies

In an creative attempt to market their book, one publisher Eichborn at the Frankfurt Bookfair turned to an interesting sales team . . . flies.

Yep, they attached (by wax) little banners to the flies’ legs and let them loose in the book fair trailing their tiny banners. After a bit, the banners dropped off.  So the flies were unharmed.

Flies are virtually free.  All it would take was the time to attach the banners. They call it Flyvertizing.

You can catch Eichborn Publishing’s own video on their website (the video is set to music, and  it’s worth watching for the clever use of music and candid shots) http://www.eichborn.de/

As one NPR commentator pointed up, would you really want your banner circling around every trashcan?  On the other hand, it generated a huge amount of publicity, and that was the idea.

It’s probably not an idea we would be allowed to use in America, given healthcodes. Maybe we’d go butterflies.  But in a time when advertising budgets are small . . . it proves going small can be a big hit.


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 5:37 PM  Leave a Comment  
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