Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Digital Publishing Services - FAQs

Hey Self-Publishers, hope your writing and publishing week has been successful!

This week I've been checking out a few more YA books from my local library. I've really enjoyed being able to use the online library 'request' function - I've used it enough to know my library login username and password off by heart - which is about 50 letters and numbers... ok not really.

Apart from reading and Christmas shopping - I know, I know, I'm a freak! - I've been working with a few other self-publishers in New Zealand and around the world to get their picture books formatted for ebook for Kindle, iBook and Kobo.

There were some new authors and some returning clients who are all trying to get their books up online before the Christmas season starts. It is a great time of year for us self-publishers. From here on out things are going to get better and better until about April, then sales die down again. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the biggest sales days prior to Christmas and many, MANY digital devices are gonna be purchased for Christmas gifts. With Amazon's new kids tablet now on the market at a great price with heaps of kid friendly features, it is going to be a great time to get your kids ebooks ready and publishing.

There are a few common questions we get from new authors looking to use our services. I thought I'd share a few of these questions today and try to answer them as best as I can.

1) What file types can you (Findlay Books) format ebooks in?
We can format your ebook and provide you with a MOBI file for Kindle, and an EPUB file for iBook, Kobo or Smashwords. 

2) What does it cost?
If you email us with your book type, how many pages you have and what file type you require, we will get back to you with a free quote. We have three packages:
  • Children's picture book: NZD$50.00 up to 20 pages and NZD$2.00 per extra page (32-page children's picture book will cost $74.00).
  • Ebook without complex formatting or images: NZD$70.00 first 200 pages and NZD$2.00 per extra 10 pages (original document is glitch-free and has no complex formatting issues).
  • Ebook with complex formatting and images: NZD$100.00 first 200 pages and NZD$5.00 per extra 10 pages ($0.50/page).  Each image used is NZD$5.00 per image.  ("Complex formatting" includes issues with the original document's formatting, or inclusion of special layout, font colours, sizing, tables, or graphics, etc).
3) What do you need from me (the author)?
We will need a word doc of your completed manuscript, a pdf of what the book needs to look like - especially important if the book has heaps of images, and we will need all of your images as separate, best quality jpeg files.

4) What if I don't have jpeg files, can you work with png or tiff files?
Yes we can, but they need to be best quality. Reason for this is that we have to format the book's images by resizing them down to under 127kb each. This file size is tiny, but these are the requirements for Amazon publishing platform KDP. If we don't resize these images ourselves then KDP will and their platform doesn't care for quality. Another reason to do the image resizing ourselves is to control the size of completed product. The file size of the images used determine the end product size - and this determines your price. If you are uploading images at at a high resolution you may end up with a large MOBI file. This determines your price bracket - $0.99 plus for under 3MB file size & $1.99 plus for any ebook file size over 3MB.

5) What if I have words already on my images, does this matter?
If you have a picture book that has words already over the image - embedded on the image - we can work with you to create a fixed format picture book that resizes depending on which device it is viewed on. If the images don't have the words on them already, we can format the ebook so the words are below the image. The images will still resize according to device display, but the words can be resized by the reader. 

6) Can you do pop-up enhancements? 
Yes we can, but as a very basic function. We cannot create ebooks with audio and video files embedded as many of the self-publishing platforms will not allow files to upload with video and audio.

7) How do I get these files to you?
Once you have agreed to the quote, we will set up a Dropbox folder with your name on it and email the link to this folder to your email address. You can then add all of the files for your book into this folder and we will proceed with formatting your project for you.

8) How long with it take to format the book for me?
It depends on how many projects we have on the go. We endeavour to get picture books and basic chapter novels formatted within a week, two at the most, but the image-heavy projects with loads of graphics and formatting and layout requirements, these will take up to three weeks to complete. Bevan, my husband, works on these formatting projects in the evenings and weekends.

9) How do I make payment?
For international clients, we will send you a Paypal invoice to your email address. This email will take you to Paypal to pay either by your own Paypal account or by credit card. If you are based in New Zealand, we will send you an invoice with out account details on for you to deposit payment into.
Once the ebook has been approved by you and payment is made, we will remove the 'DRAFT ONLY' label on the copyright and back pages.

10) What else do I need to know about formatting for ebooks?
* Ebooks don't have page numbers. Because each page flows on to the next no matter what the size of the words are, the need for page numbers goes out the window. 
* Each time you need to make changes in a book - update information, add to the edition, correct grammar/spelling, you will need to reformat your book again. Get it right the first time.
* You can apply to National Library of NZ for an ebook ISBN number. It is free.

For more information about formatting your book for digital publishing, visit our earlier post here:

For more information, email us at:  Please note we do not offer editing, beta-reading, or art design, nor do we publish your ebook, however we can offer direction on how to achieve these.  

That's all for now.
If you have a book that is ready for digital formatting, we have a few spaces available next week and early November. Once Christmas hits we will not be on holiday for a few weeks. 

Over and out
~ Joy Findlay