Have you ever wondered how to get started with electronic publishing? In this post, we’ll tell you about Ruby Mountain Press and some of what we learned in the journey of e-book publication. Traditional publication is becoming increasingly difficult, and can be a very frustrating and costly process for publishers. For writers, often, publishing houses are slow to respond, may ask you to make changes that don’t align with your vision, and only provide you with a small percentage of the sales.
Technology is a great tool. As an online public school director, Kathryn Knox (the author of three of our books), is very aware of the efficacy of sharing ideas in an online platform, especially in a way that maintains the quality of the material and that reaches multiple audiences. Though we still love physical books, and holding them in our hands, the potential for e-books is huge and worth pursuing.
We have three e-books published already:
· A Teen’s Guide to the Conversation Game
· Language Soup: A Taste of How Diverse People in the World Communicate
· When the Lights Go Out, I’m Not Afraid of the Dark
Two more e-books are going through our editing process and will appear soon:
· Poompoms Go to School (a children’s picture book coming out soon as part of a series)
· Windows on Leadership: A Manual for Charter, Online, and Blended Schools (publication scheduled for winter 2014)
The road to establishing these books on Amazon as well as Apple has been a hard one, but we wanted to share some tips with you about the process and our road to e-book publication.
How do I get started?
Write a book of value. Think about a need out there – something that you would love to read but haven’t found yet, then write about it, and write it well. Two of our most popular books are A Teen’s Guide to the Conversation Game and Language Soup (both nonfiction) because they fill a niche and a need for information. As with any book, be prepared for the many drafts and reviews and rewrites that come with writing and don’t think about the money or rewards. As Ray Bradbury said, “If only we could remember, fame and money are gifts given us only after we have gifted the world with our best, our lonely, our individual truths.”
Can I just send my book to an e-reader distributor after it’s written?
Online professional publishing is more complicated than you’d think it would be. You can’t just copy and distribute a book as you would a blog, or expect that publishing in one electronic format will allow your book to be read on all devices.
What is the hardest part of electronic publishing?
One of the hardest parts of the process after you’ve gotten a good book written that you’d like to share with a large audience, is trying to figure out which formatting software to use to create an e-book. If your target device is an Apple iPad, you can use Apple’s iBooks Author. This will allow you to produce multi-touch books for iPad. If your target is an Amazon Kindle, you can use Apple’s Pages. “Pages” is useful for exporting an Epub version, that can easily be converted to Kindle’s Mobi-pocket format using a conversion program such as Calibre.
Another challenge also comes from having “reflowable” pages versus fixed layout pages. Fixed pages can be useful for children’s books because the pictures and text will remain side by side. Apple’s iBooks Author is designed to easily create fixed layout picture books. However, these can’t be read on a Kindle. Nor can Apple’s “Pages” be used to create fixed layout epub. To create fixed layout epub, -for example, for use on a Kindle- you need to create your own epub, using XHTML and CSS and then generate a mobi-pocket format using Amazon’s Kindle Previewer. This is easier than you might think since there are good sample epubs, with all the XHTML code that you can use as a template. A useful reference is at Book Industry Study Group : Field Guide to Fixed Layout for E-Books.
Any general advice?
Establish a vision you can stay true to. Have an audience in mind. Be patient, and perseverant. Work with people who will encourage you and who have a similar work ethic. Have the humility to do revisions, to listen to feedback. And remember, as you interact with good books, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see” (Thoreau).
We’d love to hear from you!
Contact us on our website at RubyMountainPress.com and be sure to check out our books on Amazon and iTunes: http://amzn.to/16CDZYv bit.ly/14YEC4a