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The Fast Fingers Blog

SherillThere is no greater feeling for an author than to write a book and have it top sales lists towards the end of the year. For Sherill Tippins, producing a book that becomes an Amazon Best Book of 2013 must be a great source of satisfaction. Sherill Tippins has accomplished much more than just top best read lists as a self-published author. Her latest book titled, “Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel”, is the reason why she’s causing ripples inside and outside book publishing circles.
A look at what the media and credible resources say about Tippins sheds light on her level of accomplishment as a writer. To start with, the writer’s latest book about the Chelsea Hotel (a legendary hotel in New York) was picked by Amazon editors as one of the best this December. At the Amazon site, the book had a four star rating with about 21 reviews by the time this article was written.

The USA Today lists Tippins’ latest book among the “new and noteworthy”.  It’s also a “New Yorker book to watch out for” this December. Plus, the author gets to write an article related to the story in her book in the Huffington Post. Indeed, Tippins is a successful author by all standards and if her accomplishments are anything to go by, self-publishing and distributing through platforms such as KDP can work wonders for authors.

So, what’s the story behind “Inside the Dream Palace…”? The story borders on the intrigues and experiences around famous artists who stayed at the legendary Chelsea Hotel at different points in their lives.  The building itself has a deep history, having been designed by a French architect in 1884 and highlighting America’s superior power of invention at the time.

Tippins had known for quite some time that the Chelsea Hotel had hosted many successive generations of famous artists. She had toyed around with the idea of venturing inside and probing, but somehow brushed the idea aside. A close friend had even tried to give her a nudge towards studying the hotels’ history, which she did but stopped at some point, terming it as an enormous endeavor.

However, Tippins’ interest in the historical architectural marvel and its famous occupants would be ignited by an unusual source of fire. A natural event that involved a bolt of lightning, and which Tippins saw happen over the Chelsea Hotel, inspired her to look into the legendary building.

One thing that’s evident with Tippins story is how interest plays a role, if an author has to take time and consider writing about anything seriously. It doesn’t matter whether you can get the facts or not; the most important trigger for a highly successful writing experience is interest in the subject matter.

Tippins’ other titles include “February House”.  Hopefully, she’ll be churning out more titles in the foreseeable future. You too have an opportunity to write a highly successful book. At The Fast Fingers, you can take advantage of professional book formatting services to package your title in professional way.

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Any experienced writer knows that a book will always be judged by its cover. Why so? This is because potential book readers don’t have plenty of time to judge a book by its content before they can buy it. That being the case, a book cover has a seductive effect on a reader and can influence a purchasing decision.

The question of professional book cover design comes up for a variety of reasons. For starters, a new author might be under the impression that it’s very costly to come up with a good cover design. Convinced that it’s not possible to avail affordable cover design in line with the highest publishing standards, an author may result into some DIY practices on their book cover, which can be catastrophic.

One thing about self-publishing is that there still a section of readers that may associate it with low standards. Thus, a self-publishing author cannot afford to give their audience a hint of poor or amateurish book production. One way to project an image of professionalism and quality is to give your book the best quality cover design.

Remember, your cover has to carry the tone and genre of your story. It has to appeal to the eye and be something of a “call into action”. This is the only way a cover can make sense; otherwise a bad cover can do your book more harm than good.

There is also the possibility of a good cover design going viral pretty fast. If you’re relying, to some extent, on social media and blogging to promote your book, the need to have a superior book cover design cannot be over emphasized. Followers, friends and blog readers won’t share a book whose cover screams, “I was done on a shoestring budget, so pardon my below par quality”.

The good thing is that you can have the best cover design even if your budget is small. For one, you don’t have to rely on your designer for all the components of a book cover. Many designers will accept your own photos or images and use these for book cover design. This gives you flexibility as you can shop for the most affordable stock photos and significantly reduce the cost of book cover design. You could also present photos you took yourself, that is, if you’re a good photographer.

Still, even if you were to leave it all up to a professional book designer to do your book’s cover, you’d still be in a position to avail the best deals. The positive thing about this is that there are many book cover designers online (while book design goes with skills, talent, experience and expertise, it’s no rocket science). With a high level of competition, you’re in a position to bargain for the highest quality book cover design at the most affordable rates.

Thus, don’t be tempted to “Do- It-Yourself” unless you’re a professional graphic designer, who is familiar with the self-publishing industry’s standards for book cover design. In this regard, The Fast Fingers Book Formatting Service won’t hesitate to help you acquire a professionally designed book cover.

Self-publishing authors consider many factors when deciding on where to offer their eBooks.  Deciding where to publish your eBook may be a little tricky as you consider the costs, terms of engagement and potential revenue. However, the percentage of royalties you get from a specific self-publishing firm is part of the factors you consider. Different self-publishing firms offer the following royalty rates:

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): KDP is the Amazon’s platform that authors can use to publish their eBooks. Titles produced via KDP can be distributed through Amazon. Usually, Amazon takes 30% of sales proceeds as 70% goes to the author. However, KDP royalties will differ depending on pricing and territory.

iBookstore: This is run by Apple and distributes titles prepared in the ePub file format. Titles on iBookstore can be viewed and read on any iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. If you plan to publish via iBookstore, you should expect royalties of up to 70% on your title’s sales.

Smashwords: This is a self-publishing firm that supports distribution of eBooks through its website as well as partner distributors such as Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and others. If you distribute your title via SmashWords directly, you get an 85% royalty. However, if you distribute via partner sites, royalties come down to the range of 40% and 60%.

Barnes & Noble: The platform supports publishing on Pubit! Books published this way are available on Barnes & Noble NOOK e-reading device. Users of iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone can read eBooks with the aid Nook of e-reader apps. Royalties from the self-publishing platform range from 40% to 65%.

So, is percentage the key to determining which royalty rates work out for you best? Far from it! As an author, you should look into specific terms of engagement to determine if striking a deal with a specific self-publishing firm makes sense to you.

For instance, when publishing on iBookstore, you should you won’t be allowed to publish on any other platform if you used iBooks author to create your eBook. While the 70% royalties paid to you by Apple may seem to be the equivalent of what Amazon offers, the terms and scope of targeted audience are different. As such, you wouldn’t collect equivalent revenues for the same title if it were to be produced elsewhere. That’s why an author would want to think twice before they can decide on whether or not they want their eBook distributed exclusively by a specific self-publishing firm.      

Another important factor to look at is pricing. Amazon and other eBook distributors allow you to set your own price for your titles. However, you get royalties depending on the pricing. The higher the price of your title is, the higher the royalties. Yet, higher prices might reduce your competitiveness in the market and affect your total revenues negatively.

Thus, if you are publishing for the first time, you shouldn’t hesitate to investigate all offers to settle for the most sensible publishing deal. Here at The Fast Fingers book formatting service, you can expect nothing short of the highest of standards in book formatting and cover design. 

Self-Publishing, Do Not do It all Yourself

Written by   |   Sunday, 08 December 2013 13:09

It feels great for an author to start a project and complete it. But self-publishing makes writing more fulfilling as it offers authors more control over the book-creation process. However, how involved should an author be in the book-creation process? This questions stems from the fact that many authors are deciding to take it all upon themselves to write, design, promote and sell their books. However, there are many benefits of engaging a book formatting service, as opposed to taking the plunge into self-publishing on your own.

Firstly, book formatters are professionals who are hugely experienced in self-publishing. Such experts have worked with many authors and helped them produce word-class titles. Thus, when you engage a book formatter, you benefit from their experience and the satisfaction that you’ll avail a professionally prepared title.

Secondly, book formatters know their way around the many self-publishing platforms in the industry. If you want to publish through CreateSpace, an expert familiar with the guidelines and formatting requirements of the platform can help you save time and submit a quality manuscript for publishing. You will get professional help if you want to publish on Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBookstore and Smashwords.
Thirdly, professional book formatters are affordable.  Contrary to what an unpublished author might think, professional self-publishing is not beyond the reach of many. Thus, it’s possible to let a professional design your book at affordable rates, and leave you with a significant profit margin.

A book formatter will help you deliver a quality in the following ways:

Interior design and formatting: a book formatter designs the pages of your book in line with industry’s standards. Thus, the professional helps in aspects such as page layouts, fonts (types and sizes), margins, page breaks, section breaks, headers and footers etc.

Cover Design: the need to offer a selling cover for your book cannot be overemphasized. That’s why a book formatter takes time to read your title to be able to come up with design ideas that can capture its genre and story line accurately. A good cover will go a long way into encouraging potential readers to buy your book.

Graphic Design: You might need to add specific elements to your book such as images and photos, especially for the cover. If you don’t have any photos or relevant graphics with you, a book formatter has resources to help you acquire these.

E-Book Conversion: You will most certainly prepare your manuscript in a word processor such as Ms Word. However, most self-publishing firms accept material submitted in other electronic formats such as ePub and PDF. The good thing is that a professional book formatter has the technical know-how to convert your story into an eBook without losing its formatting.

Thus, you may engage The Fast Fingers book formatters if you want to avail a professionally designed book.  By letting a professional help you design your book, you get a guarantee of quality, which will be evident in the eyes of potential readers. In any case, you get to avail quality without hurting your self-publishing budget.

How to Increase Sales of Children's Book

Written by   |   Thursday, 05 December 2013 16:02

While self-publishing has opened up more avenues for authors to realize their writing dreams, it has also made it possible for marketers to access hugely untapped markets. Thus, there has been a notable increase in book sales since the inception of self-publishing. Yet, there are ways individual authors can compete effectively in the self-publishing market and increase sales of their book.

If you’re writing for children, it always pays to devise ways to promote your book, and one way to do that is identify where most children go when looking for interesting content to read. It follows that, the sales of children eBooks has significantly increased over the years. Such development may be linked to the fact that many children are in a position to read from electronic gadgets like Kindle Fire and the iPad. As such, it makes perfect sense for any author who wishes to enhance the sales of their children’s book to focus more on eBooks as opposed to paperbacks.

The key for a self-publishing author to get the attention of children is to communicate to the children through their most favorite channels. Thus, as an author you need to be where many kids are today, and that’s the internet. Specifically, you should have a visible online presence.

Facebook being one of the most popular internet destinations for kids, it provides a perfect opportunity for authors to promote their children’s Books. That being the case, you should have a highly interactive Facebook account, where you engage potential readers as you offer tasty tit bits about your book. Remember to evaluate feedback based on what your Facebook followers comment or share, in order to offer a product that meets your audience’s expectations.

Equally important, you should be familiar with the trendiest e-readers. Children go with the latest trends when it comes to pretty much everything, and this includes technology. Thus, you should do a bit of research and find out what reading gadgets most children are using nowadays, as you think of how and where you want your children’s eBook published. If you get this right, there is a high chance that you’ll be able to offer your eBook on the most popular platforms for kids and enhance your book’s sales tremendously.

Don’t forget YouTube. Many people think that YouTube is for promotion of video products only. However, as an author you can use YouTube to offer short presentations about your eBook and also to get engage your potential audience on a personal level. Research indicates that visual presentations that feature graphics, videos and speech are more powerful than text alone, when it comes to advertising, marketing and promotion. Thus, promoting your book through YouTube and linking your promotional material to your social media accounts is way to enhance the sales of your children’s book.

Of course, you should not do away with paperbacks altogether. That’s why it can help to avail Print-on-Demand for children who want to buy physical copies of your book. The Fast Fingers book formatting service can help with all your book design, eBook conversions, and paperback formatting needs.    


Kindle Direct Publishing Cover Specifications

Written by   |   Friday, 29 November 2013 15:39

Once you’re done writing a story, you only need to prepare a nice book cover to upload for publishing. If you’re self-publishing via Kindle Direct Publishing, it helps to be familiar with cover specifications so that you can upload a quality product. This is important because Amazon KDP is very sensitive to reader experiences and encourages customers to point out quality issues they spot on any of the titles they buy.

It’s also important to know that you’ll be preparing two types of covers for your title. The catalog cover appears on kindle store and must be catchy to inspire potential readers to want to buy your book. On the other hand, the internal book cover is your book’s cover. This is the cover readers will be seeing once they buy your book. The catalog cover and internal book cover have different formatting requirements, which you should be familiar with when preparing the covers for uploading on Kindle.

You should require your book cover designer to adhere to the specifications below for an acceptable catalog cover:

  • Image format: Cover images meant for Kindle publishing should either be JPEGs or TIFFs. Remember that catalog cover images are for display on the KDP website, which makes size an important consideration. Usually, KDP will compress the images for faster processing (such as loading on the website). Thus, it makes perfect sense that you don’t over-compress your images before uploading to KDP to ensure they display well on the catalog.
  • Color: The Kindle reading device displays images in black and white. However, you should take advantage of other reading applications for Kindle on platforms such as the PC and iPhone. Such devices will display images in color mode RGB (red green and blue) well. An image resolution of 72 dpi will suffice, as the catalog cover is only meant for web display.
  • Dimensions: Kindle allows you to play around with dimensions for your cover image, provided you keep a height to width ratio of 1:6. Kindle recommends a 1563 x 2500 pixel size for the catalog cover.

Specs for your internal book cover don’t differ significantly when it comes to the aspect of size. However, your internal book cover image should have a resolution of 300 dpi. This ensures a high quality image for the product that readers will finally purchase.

The following are things to avoid when designing your book cover:

  • Both the catalog cover and internal book cover should not have extra spaces in the margins.
  • Extra large covers: You should also adhere to size requirement (dimensions) so that internal book cover can display fully.
  • Blurry images: cover images should be clear.
  • Missing cover.
  • Illegible text on cover graphics.

The above four points constitute critical quality issues that can lead to your cover image being rejected. Also, KDP can remove your book from the catalog until such issues are corrected, especially if pointed out by customers.

You can take advantage of professional cover design services The Fast Fingers book formatting service offers at reasonable prices.

How to Take Advantage of Black Friday as Book Marketer

Written by   |   Thursday, 28 November 2013 12:56

The holiday season is on, and you know shoppers expect some of the most fantastic bargains out there. If you have a recently launched book, Black Friday can be an opportunity to reach out to a wider audience. However, you must set up your online marketing campaign to consider potential readers who are keen on finding the most lucrative Black Friday deals.

1. Hundreds of thousands of online shoppers are searching for the keywords “Black Friday Deals” and its other variations, on monthly basis. This means that, as a book marketer, you can take advantage of such huge volumes to promote your title online. You can start by mounting an aggressive marketing campaign that involves SEO article writing, with keyword phrases that mention “Black Friday”. This is the time to deliver high quality blogs and articles, which are also SEO optimized. This way, a significant amount of shoppers might end up visiting your online book shop.

2. Use price comparison engines.  If you thought that only shoppers need to refer to price comparison engines, you’re wrong. You need the engines to know what your competitors are offering this season. Remember shoppers will be looking for deals they can’t find anywhere else, any other time. Thus, you should be in a position to offer your titles at rates that make a significant difference.

3. Do you think you can offer free shipping? If you’re offering paperbacks, shipping may become an issue, especially if you’re not relying on Print-on-Demand.  You can tie the free shipping offer to the number of physical copies a shopper buys.

4. Offer a free eBook for several paperbacks - You could also attract buyers with offers of a free eBook for every several paperbacks they buy. This can work to your advantage if you’re using POD as well.

5. Find ways to keep your new readers. Black Friday offers you an opportunity to win new readers. It’s important that you keep them, especially if you’re in the book writing business for the long haul. One way to retain Black Friday customers is to collect and keep their email addresses. You need to create an email list so that you can get in touch with your potential readers once another title is out. The newly acquired customers can come in handy when the festive season is finally over and you no longer have a lot of resources to market your products with Black Friday vigor.

6. Make it count-the holiday season is time to make an impression that lasts. Thus, ensure you have a really nice book out there. Let your friends read and critique it. In the end, offer a title that will inspire readers to comment well and share your story.

7. Don’t forget to say thank you. Have a personalized approach towards your customers. Thank them through emails for buying your book. This is a sure way to encourage repeat buying.

If you’re in the process of finalizing your script, The Fast Fingers Book Formatting Service can’t wait to turn it into a world-class product this approaching festive season.




Self-publishing feels pretty much like a DIY thing. To some extent, you can get that feeling as a result of being involved significantly in the creation of your book.  The fact that you have a say over how you want your book designed and formatted gives you a great sense of control. Fortunately, the ever growing self-publishing sub-sector has introduced book formatting professionals, who help you design your book according to expected standards. Another thing, book formatting fees have come down significantly as a result of increased availability of top-notch book formatters in the industry.  

But, why not do it all by yourself?  The enthusiasm to want to format your own book is understandable. It always feels great to be able to do your own dining furniture, home décor, landscaping etc.  However, many DIY projects escape scrutiny because they’re usually not meant for commercial purposes. On the other hand, if you’re creating a book meant for sale, the book has to be formatted as per the highest standards of quality.

A professional book formatter takes care of several aspects of book design, on the exterior and interior. For instance, page margins, headers, footers, and section breaks are some of the book formatting aspects a professional can addresses. Actually, only writers who are proficient in use of word processors (such as MS Word) can have  a field day when setting up section breaks and using them to apply unique formatting on different parts of a book.

For instance, it sometimes becomes tricky when a writer wants certain pages numbered differently or headers formatted differently. In the same vein, creation of a table of content, especially the type that’s clickable can be hectic. This kind of work is no hassle to a professional.

Various self-publishing platforms have certain requirements that must be met before they can accept a document for publishing. What happens if you don’t meet the right standards? Your manuscript is rejected many times until it’s formatted the right way. You don’t have to go through all that, not after having played your part as a writer.

Professional book designers know what design to implement for Lulu, CreateSpace, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and other self-publishing firms. They are also well versed with eBook conversion procedures and requirements. Such procedures ensure that a story in a word document is converted to an eBook format without losing any of its formatting features and settings, including fonts and margins.

However, ask your preferred book formatter to present you with as much choice as possible when it comes to book formatting. Ask about fonts, and remember that the right fonts will enhance readability and may also be economical if you’re considering space. Finer details such as drop caps, running headers, font sizes, image sizes etc also should be discussed.

With book formatting fees being reasonably affordable, it makes perfect sense to let The Fast Fingers book formatters help create your book. You will still have a great level of control over the entire book formatting process.


So, Leander Kahney Finally Got Apple’s Jony Ive to Start Talking?

Written by   |   Monday, 25 November 2013 11:10

Whether you write fiction or real-life stories, sometimes it becomes pretty difficult to come up with the right ideas. The mind goes blank and even when you have a broad idea of what you want to write about, the fine, little, catchy and defining moments of your story just don’t come up. However, if you’re a creative writer, you don’t worry for long because at some point the juices of your creative faculties start flowing.

When, like Leander Kahney, you seek to write about someone, that “someone” has to talk or at least you should be able to access information critical to your story from other credible sources. But, Kahney had real obstacles ahead of him as he sought to know more about Jony Ive.   

John Ive is the creative mind behind Apple’s greatest innovations. Kahney had wanted to write about Mr. Ive for a long time. The problem is that, just like Apple, Mr. Ive is very secretive. There is not much to find about the creative genius both online and offline. Another thing, all Mr. Ive’s friends won’t talk about him, including former workers and colleagues.  As such, anyone planning on writing about him has to work really hard.

So, what did Kahney do? The writer first approached Mr. Ive through a friend but it didn’t work. He then approached Apple itself, which, as expected, didn’t respond. The writer told the New York Times that he was really panicking, for he literally had nothing to write home about. At a point like this, you can hit your head with your palm severally or bang it on the wall, but if ideas don’t come up, you’re not writing a book in the foreseeable future!

Luckily for Kahney, a former colleague of Mr. Ive offered to give a candid perspective of the man behind Apple’s greatest designs. From there, he was able to meet several other ex-colleagues who shared insights that had never been told before. Thus, Leander Kahney finally got to write a book about Mr. Ive without necessarily having to meet him in person. The book is titled, “Jony Ive - The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products”.

Any Lessons learnt from Kahney’s story? Of course, Kahney’s determination is evident right from the word go and the good thing is that it finally pays off. He gets to write a book about a famous figure who never engages the media or talks to people about his past life!

However, by digging deep and hard, the writer gets to learn about things very few people knew about Mr. Ive. As Kahney found out, Mr. Ive had gotten involved in a car accident and erased all records from the relevant departments. See, there is always “more than meets the eye” beneath the surface-something worth writing home about, albeit from the unexpected of all possible angles! Thus, a writer spares no efforts in gathering the facts to tell and share a story about someone or something their audience would want to know.

Got your story ready now? Talk to The Fast Fingers book formatting service for the most affordable book design services.      

Ebook Formats Supported by Sony Reader

Written by   |   Friday, 22 November 2013 16:43

With electronic devices almost replacing paper, technology has churned out a wide array of electronic reading devices (e-Book readers). Any author wishing to get their titles available for purchase to as many readers as possible does well to consider delivering on electronic formats.  The Sony reader is one of the most popular reading devices for material (text, graphics and media) that’s on electronic format. Below are some of the ebook formats that the Sony Reader supports.

EPUB: The ePub format is very common for its compatibility with many eBook reading devices.  The Sony Reader is one such device, although it does not read all types of ePub files. For instance, the Reader won’t support DRM-protected files from sources other than the Sony Store.

BBEB: This format was developed by Sony when it was starting out on the eBook reader market. However, the format is no longer supported as Sony focuses on ePub deliverables. Thus, you really should not worry about converting your files to the BBEB format when targeting an audience on the Sony Reader.

PDF: PDF is one of the most common electronic formats acceptable to many eBook reading devices. It is a standard format that the Sony Reader supports, so long as the files are not protected. The format is very versatile and supports a wide array of graphic and image formats.

TXT, RTF and Word Documents: Yes, the Sony Reader does support word documents. With word documents, you only need to import a file in word format into the Reader Library on your device. The device allows easy reading of such file formats.

Multimedia: The device has high capacity for display of graphics and multimedia. Thus, the device can read images and audio files. It supports MP3 and ACC audio files. For images, the reader will accept BMP, JPEG, GIF and PNG.

When setting out to self-publish an eBook, it’s always prudent to put yourself in the shoes of targeted readers. You think of the devices that the readers might want to use to access your book. This is necessary as not all eBook formats will be accepted by all types of eBook readers. You don’t want to miss out on a potentially large audience because you started off with the wrong eBook format.

However, you don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty of preparing a compatible eBook format. You don’t have to worry about the right settings when it comes to aspects such as image resolution, page, margins, gutter margins, table of contents etc, as a professional book formatter will take care of it all.

All you need is a manuscript prepared in a word processor (it does not even have to be book formatted). With a reliable book formatting service, you can avail a well formatted script in line with the standards that the self-publishing industry accepts. Thus, whether you want to publish on the Sony Reader or some other electronic device, you can always avail a reliable eBook conversion service.     

The Fast Fingers Book Formatting Service specialize on all forms of book design services. Thus, you may get in touch if you have a manuscript that you want formatted for a wide array of eBook readers including the Sony Reader.


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