Option 2: E-Book Services
By Tara McClendon, the Despicable Muse of Indie U
Earlier this week, we talked about full-service publishers, and we're going to follow that up with e-book services. As you might expect from the name, this type of publishing involves the creation of e-books. So, let's take a look at whether or not this might be the best publishing option for you.
What is an e-book service?
An e-book service takes your manuscript and converts it into a digital format. Unfortunately, this definition leaves quite a bit up to the discretion of the service. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of e-book services.
Pro #1: Quick Service. Most e-book companies can convert your manuscript in less than an hour, depending on the number of graphics you have in your book. This can be a great asset to indie writers who want to produce a large number of books over the course of their careers.
Con #1: Quick service can often lead to mistakes, and it often comes at the sacrifice of quality. E-book services tend to offer formatting options only, which means you'll have to hire an editor, a cover artist, and a layout designer, among other professionals.
Pro #2: An e-book company can create digital formats that are compatible with different e-readers. This means you can get the right format for the Kindle, the Nook, Sony Reader, and other devices all from the same company.
Con #2: Like many facets of the self-publishing business, e-book services don't have a regulating agency. That means that any old Joe can open up an e-book service. While e-book services can create different formats, those Joes may only offer one type of formatting. That's one of the main reasons why you need to shop around to find the best service.
Pro #3: Low-cost publishing. When you're starting a business, you need to find inexpensive ways to produce a top quality product. Using an e-book service is a fraction of the cost that you will pay to use a full-service publisher.
Con #3: As with other businesses, e-book companies tend to outsource their work to overseas markets. This often leads to underprivileged workers doing what most Americans would consider slave labor. You can still get savings by using an e-book service even if you use an American-based company.
Pro #4: Be on the forefront of the industry. As with full-service publishing, this is another area where there isn't a con. Traditional publishers are still trying to figure out digital rights and publication, but e-book services have been working with the literacy for years.
Tips for Working With an E-book Service
- Check the qualifications of the people who will be handling your account. Some companies, like eBook Architects, have founders who have actually pioneered developments in the e-book world.
- Look for e-book publishing companies that are willing to offer you a warranty. These companies will guarantee their work for a set time so that you don't have to worry about errors. If you find one that you can contribute to the company, the e-book service will correct the error at no cost to you.
- Compare publishing services and ask about a discount for return business. Some companies will give you a discount if you use their services for more than one book over the course of a year.
E-book services can be a great way to get your book ready for publication; however, many indie writers believe that producing an e-book is one of the easiest tasks to perform as a publisher. If you have a technical mind, you can check out the information at Lulu blog. The amazing Suzan Harden also gave some great tips for creating an e-book when she was our guest blogger last month. You can also find some insight from Michael Hyatt.
Using an e-book company can be a fast and effective way to get your book up for sale, and it may be just the thing you need to launch your writing career. I'll be back later in the week with more indie publishing options. Until then, happy writing.