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Case Study: As a professional who has seen a variety of ebooks, what do you think sets the great books apart from the okay ones?
It is usually very obvious when ebook authors rush to throw something together quickly to sell. I believe that is one of the only downsides to how easy it is to be self-published today. While there are some amazing books that we wouldn’t have available to us if it weren’t for self-publishing, there are also many books out there that people have just thrown together to make a few quick bucks. In my opinion, what sets the great books apart from the okay books is the effort and passion that was put into the book by the author. I think this applies to every stage of the ebook creation, from the writing stage to the designing stage and everything in between. How important do you think that good design is to the success of an ebook?
What mistakes do you see people making the most often when they format/design their ebooks on their own?
I firmly believe that good design compliments and adds credibility to the message that you have to share.
Your ebook cover is the very first impression that most people will have of your book. I do believe that this first (and lasting) impression is very important!
I have come across many books that are packed full of stellar content only to be hidden behind a less-than-desirable cover. We all know the phrase that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. However, the majority of people will judge your book by its cover before they ever read the first words (however brilliant they are) written inside it. This is especially true in the world of ebook sales where people do not have a physical book that they are able to pick up and browse through before they decide if they want to purchase or not. I believe that the ebook cover plays an important role in the purchasing decision of potential buyers.
How far in advance should ebook authors contact a designer for a cover and site design?
I often see DIY book covers that don’t do a very good job at setting the mood for the book. Ebook covers should draw you in. The image on the cover should convey how you want your target audience to feel about your book. The title should convey what the contents of the book are about, but the job of the cover image is to set the mood. Potential buyers should feel like they can relate to your book just by looking at the cover image.
As far as formatting goes, simpler is usually better. Sometimes when people are formatting their ebooks on their own, I think that they feel like they need to add a lot of extra design and extravagant fonts, when it is usually better to just stick to the basics! Readability and functionality are the most important things to keep in mind when formatting an ebook.
Most good designers will usually be booked out at least 6-8 weeks. I am typically scheduling people several months in advance, so I suggest contacting a designer well ahead of time to make sure that they will have a spot on their calendar for you!