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E-Book Question January 10, 2011

Posted by techtigger in writing.
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I decided to revise this post – thought it would help if I explain why i’m asking questions about e-books 🙂 You see, I am a huge fan of comics, and the graphic novels that are collections of those serials.  But half the reason I collect them is for the art, and my flashfic serial is just text.  And unlike a novel, it’s open ended, so it’s not really a standard e-book.  Finding a good stopping point could be tough.  I think an e-book might be helpful for readers, but I’m not sure if they are expecting more than just a quick compilation.  Or if they want an e-book at all. Heck, I’d like to do a map, but I don’t even know if most e-book readers can handle graphics!  (total e-book newbie here!)

So, here are my revised questions:

1:  I’ve heard complaints that it’s too hard to get into a long-running series, but would having back-issues in an e-book format help? Or doesn’t it matter?

2:  If you already follow a series, do you want an e-book version anyway?

3: Do you expect to see some graphics, or other art? Or is plain text okay?

4: How important is formatting? I know I get bugged by a print book that’s been poorly laid out, but it bothers me less in an e-book. Don’t know why, so I thought I’d look for other opinions.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a perfectionist. If I’m going to do this, I want to do it right. But I don’t know what right is yet, so I’m asking lots of questions 🙂

If I do talk myself into doing this, I’ll be sure to blog all my mistakes so that others can learn from my pain *lol*

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Comments»

1. PJ Kaiser - January 10, 2011

I haven’t done it yet myself, but several of our Tuesday Serial writers have put out e-books of their serials. You can check them out here: http://tuesdayserial.com/?page_id=1533 All of the serials, I believe, have been standalone serials A couple of them have been published as “volume 1” including Cecilia Tan’s and Dan Luffey’s and I believe Icy Sedgwick has plans to continue with Tales from Vertigo City. So I’d definitely suggest touching bases with them and also I.J. Black to see how it’s working out for them 🙂 My vote would be “YES” As a reader I would find an ebook would make it much easier to catch up on past episodes 😀

techtigger - January 11, 2011

Thanks for the leads! I have Joely Black’s e-books, that’s what got me thinking 🙂

2. Laura Eno - January 11, 2011

I’ve followed from the first (I think) but I would LOVE to read them all again as an eBook! Sometimes it’s easier to see what’s going on while reading them all at once, rather than trust the brain to remember from week to week…

techtigger - January 11, 2011

True, and you don’t have to try and remember where you left off, since e-readers hold your place. Heck, it might even help me fact check so I don’t mess up continuity! *lol*

3. Sam Adamson - January 11, 2011

Have you been in my head again?!

These are exactly the questions I’ve been asking myself. For my 2 cents, as a reader I would love to have an ebook version of Nox & Grimm (if I’m totally honest I’d love to have the serial in print format too) as I missed some of the early episodes and never seem to find the time to go back and read them. Sorry *hangs head in shame*. Also, sometimes I’d rather not read from my computer screen, loading the ebook onto my iPod would be an ideal way round this.

As a fellow serial author, I have been asked quite a few times whether I’ll produce an ebbok of my serial and I’ve got to say I’m tempted. The biggest problem I’ve come across is deciding where to stop in terms of an ebook. I’m still wrestling with whether to publish all the episodes to date, or to choose an arbitrary point in the story arc for an ebook volume. I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see what you decide on this one.

Again, just my 2 cents – graphics would be a bonus, but not a requirement. I’m more interested in having the text all in one convenient place. As for formatting, I prefer books (e or otherwise) that are well laid out, but that’s just a particular foible of mine.

techtigger - January 11, 2011

Have I been reading your mind? Yes. Yes I have. You forgot to wear your tinfoil hat again *muhhwaahaahaaa!* 😀

But seriously, thanks for the input! I keep tossing around ideas of where to break it up – Is there a length of e-book that is better? Or do I pick a logical stopping point? Gah, i still have too many questions!

And yeah, I’m a designer by trade, so I’ll be fussing over fonts and layout *lol* Just wondered if anyone else noticed that sort of thing. And i’m not sure what is ‘good’ layout for an e-reader, it’s not the same as print.

oh, wait, you mentioned a print version? *gulp* One monster project at a time! *lol* Although the best of fridayflash book came out very nice, I’ll have to talk to @jmstro about it 🙂

Sam Adamson - January 11, 2011

*reaches for tinfoil hat*

As regards length, and only speaking personally here, I don’t think it’s *as* important with an e-book as opposed to a print book. If/when I produce an e-book I’m intending to go with a suitable point in the story to stop at, rather than a set length.

Yes, I do notice layout. I’m not a designer or anything, I just know instantly what looks “right” to me. Case in point – A Madness Of Angels (Kate Griffin), brilliant novel, but typeset so the reader requires a microscope. I was forced to give up a third of the way through because of the tiny, tiny print.

Ah yes, a POD print version. I’ll be waiting… ;D

4. Laura Eno - January 11, 2011

Sam – A Madness Of Angels…was that eBook or print? I don’t know about the iPod, but the Kindle alllows the reader to adjust the font size. If it was a print book, well, that’s saving money – less pages. I have to use 10 pt on my print books, but I use Ariel instead of New Times Roman, which is easier to read.

Sam Adamson - January 11, 2011

It was the print edition, which still runs to 459 pages even with the tiny print. Your print editions are a much easier read. I’d have been happier with more pages and slightly larger type. The increased cover price would have been fine as I’d have enjoyed the read more.

5. ganymeder - January 11, 2011

As a reader, I just don’t have the energy to follow a long serial generally speaking. If I haven’t caught it from the beginning, I just start reading from whereever I happened to come across it, and if it holds my attention- great! If not, I move on. I tend to like serials where each story stands alone, though if I’m already involved in the characters I will make an effort to follow along.

Nox and Grim is one of the few serials (along with Sam’s UCF stories) that really holds my attention and I make a weekly effort to follow along.

That said, I think a self contained book would help. There should be some sort of resolution at the end of the book, even if it’s not to the overall larger problem, just to give the reader some satisfaction and a pay off. But the larger problem should keep them coming back to the serial and/or book two. Just my two cents.

I would love to have an ebook version that I could download to my ereader or phone to read to my son. I have read segments of this to him and he’s loved it, but it’s too hard to follow all the way back to the beginning surfing the web when I just want to pick up a book to read him a bedtime story or just for my own pleasure reading. I would definitely buy a book by you. 🙂

techtigger - January 12, 2011

bed-time stories? wow, i never thought of them being read like that! 😀

I wasn’t planning on charging for it. If I do e-books of the serial, they’ll be free. I’d only charge for an actual novel.

6. Bob Bruhin - January 11, 2011

I don’t have clear answers for the “reader wants” side of your dilemma. I do know that you can create free or drm-protected ebooks as easily as you can generate HTML, Word, or PDF documents. Investigate MobiPocket creator for add the details. http://www.mobipocket.com/en/downloadsoft/ProductDetailsCreator.asp?feature=12

And yes, this reader would appreciate having the Nox and Grimm shorts available in such a format.

techtigger - January 12, 2011

I’ll definately look into that. I’m also checking out calibre, on sam’s recommendation. Part of what makes e-books so daunting is that there are too many options, and not enough clear instructions or standards. It’s kind of the wild-west of the literary world 🙂

7. ganymeder - January 13, 2011

Why not charge for an ebook? I wouldn’t charge more than 5$ but $3.99 or $4.99 would be fine. I’d pay it. 🙂

Of course free is good. All I’m saying is don’t automatically assume you need to give it away.


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