by Judy Vorfeld
Have you ever wanted to write and publish an eBook? I meet many people
who want to write (or have written) an eBook. How did most of them succeed?
Picture, if you will, a circle like a bicycle tire, with many spokes and a
solid center. That's how I think of an eBook: it has many necessary parts
that all lead to the central result. All spokes are important elements,
and each has similar strengths. This balance leads to a good outcome.
Some very bright, savvy people have projects and ideas, but need others to
carry them out. They can be superb storytellers but mediocre writers. Or
they only know about writing, not about process and production. A person,
for example, might come to me and say, "I need someone to proof, correct,
enhance, put in a table of contents, and basically make my eBook look
amazing." You probably need an outsource team.
I should mention that some people are so talented and skilled that they
can put an eBook together without much help. People like programmer and
writer Will Bontrager, whose wife is a gifted graphic designer. Most of
us, however, don't have that level of skill.
So, Judy, what can you do? Well, I can massage the words (unless I think
the author is better off hiring an experienced copywriter), check for
typos, consistency, and formatting. I can offer suggestions, e.g., some
people talk tech and use acronyms that their readers won't understand.
In cases like this, one answer is a glossary at the end of the document.
Stuff like that. And like spelling, capitalization, punctuation. Usually,
there needs to be a house style guide for the document, and thus
everything is consistent. Which guide will it be based upon? Depends on
the subject matter. Could be Associated Press, Chicago Manual of Style,
or The Gregg Reference Manual. . . or another style guide.
All of this needs to be done fairly near the beginning. But before we go
further, let's agree that the reader is the main consideration in all
instances. Know your audience. Speak to and with that audience. These
people are VIPs.
Now, let's see what kind of support you'll need from your outsource team
besides writing and revising by the author. I will mention people I've
hired as we go along so you can get an idea of how it all comes together.
These are not necessarily in order:
1. LAYOUT: someone with design savvy should put the eBook together.
Give it just a bit of class. Experienced typists probably know of some
good layouts. If I were writing an eBook, I would hire Elsbeth Oggert
of http://www.ItsAnOffice.com to do the layout.
2. TYPOGRAPHY: Document must be typed in a program like Microsoft Word
or InDesign, because for the more complex eBooks, you may need graphics,
a table of contents, footnotes, along with hyperlinking to websites.
You'll want good line spacing and plenty of white space between text and
borders and text and graphics. Avoid decorative fonts for body text: it's
difficult to read. Remember your VIP visitors.
3. EDITING. Depending on the content and the target market, you can get
a wide range of editing and proofing. However, if you are pouring thousands
into this project, you may be better off to hire an experienced (and
usually expensive . . . but worth it) copywriter. Such as Mike Fortin and team at
http://www.successdoctor.com/ or Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro,
http://www.red-hot-copy.com or John Forde, http://copywritersroundtable.com/.
4. COVER: I guarantee that an appropriate book cover graphic will make a
difference. One of the best graphic designers is Elsbeth Oggert (and can she
design fantastic bookmarks, logos and forms!). I just saw an eBook cover
that she designed per my referral, and it perfectly reflects the author and
the subject matter.
5. FINAL PUBLISHING-CONVERSION: the eBook must be converted to a Portable
Document Format (PDF). And in this case, Oggert is highly skilled in using
6. PROMOTION: This is another vital spoke in the circle. The only thing we
know for sure is that the eBook is going to be offered somewhere on the Web.
Probably on your site. So you may wish to hire someone who is media savvy
to write some targeted press releases and even look at ideas for being
interviewed. In such a case, you'd contact people like Becky Blanton
(http://www.beckyblanton.com) and Joan Stewart (The Publicity Hound),
(http://www.publicityhound.com/). Blanton is a photojournalist and knowledgeable in so many ways that I can't begin to list them. She's the
consummate communicator. She's effective. Stewart is also very talented.
People like these two not only have many skills but many contacts. Consider
hiring them or someone like them as a sound investment. Chances are you
will more than get your money's worth.
7. SALES: There are many types of online stores and affiliate programs, but
this isn't the place for that. At its most basic, you can hire someone to
set up a simple but complete little program on PayPal to sell your eBook
from your site. I've hired Oggert to do this for a number of my clients,
both for profit and nonprofit.
You may (or may not) need the types of people I've mentioned above. But the
in order to have a good product, you are probably going to need to invest
something in a good outsource team. There's usually a great deal of overlap,
in terms of talent and skills, in such a team. Take advantage of it so you
have a product that comes together seamlessly. And sells.
If you have comments on this article, let me know. As with so many of today's
projects, nothing is cast in concrete. And I might have left out what you
consider an important element. I will cheerfully publish your comments in my
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