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How to Format Your Document to Convert to ePub

Written by   |   Thursday, 06 February 2014 03:38

HOWIf you’re self-publishing to offer your eBook in ePub format, there are certain formatting requirements you need to adhere to before considering conversion. It all starts with formatting your eBook while in a word processor format or text editor.

1. Save your text file as HTML

Click on Office button and then “Save As”, if you’re using Ms Word.

A dialog box or screen will appear. Click on the drop down arrow to the extreme right of “save as type” and choose “Web page, Filtered”

Click “save”, then “Yes”, when asked if you want to keep current format.

2. Remove Extra Paragraph Spaces

Click on the Home tab of Ms Word.

Click on the paragraph mark. The mark will highlight all areas in your text where paragraph spacing exists. If two such marks appear next to each other, remove one to remove extra spaces.

Keep this spacing even if paragraphs appear to be too close to each other. This way, your text will appear well when converted to ePub.

3. Add Headings to Your Text  

Adding headings is a great way to enhance presentation of your self-published book. These too display well on ePub formats.

One of the easiest ways to add headings is to apply Styles on Ms Word. Styles not only enhance appearance of your text, but also tell Ms Word what items to include if you decide to create your table of contents automatically.

Go to the Home tab of Ms Word.

Under “Styles”, select “Heading 1” for the highest level title, such as a chapter title. You can apply heading 2 to subtitles and heading 3 to lower level topics.

To apply the same heading style to multiple titles, hold the Ctrl key as you click on each title, and click a favorite style once you’re done selecting.

4. Format Tables  

You can decide to optimize the way Tables display on an eBook reader way before conversion. While it’s possible to play around with display options on an eBook reader, an html file offers you an opportunity to set stunning defaults.

Right click on a table and chose Table Properties.

In the pop up window click Table Tab and click the “Preferred width” check box.

In the drop down box labeled “Measure in”, click percent. Under “Preferred width” increase the value to 100%.

Following the above steps will make it possible for tables to adjust proportionally while on different display sizes.

While still on this dialog box, you may add borders to your table.

Click on borders and shadings

Under settings, click on “All” option to apply borders to all sides of your Table. Click ok.

Click Ok to apply the new table formatting.  

5. Make sure all images are Jpegs and exist on their own lines, as opposed to text wrapping around them.

6. Covert to ePub using Calibre

The Fast Fingers all well versed with the above steps plus all the nitty-gritty of book design, paperback formatting and eBook conversions. Talk to The Fast Fingers book formatters for a professionally designed ePub file now.

Super Bowl - Any Marketing Lessons for Authors

Written by   |   Monday, 03 February 2014 15:21

superbowlIt’s a huge and one of the biggest sporting events in the U.S. This Sunday, an estimated 180 million fans watched it live. But marketers know how to take maximum advantage of Super Bowl Sunday to establish or spread brand awareness. There are plenty of lessons for authors to learn too, right from organization to advertising.

In recent days, Facebook and Twitter have been reported by mainstream media as having been involved in a tussle for the position of Super Bowl’s second screen. What would this mean for whoever wins this battle?
 
Whichever social media is chosen by fans to follow events around Super Bowls is better positioned to have a huge share of billions of dollars that marketers spend on advertising every year.  If Facebook or Twitter can keep fans talking, sharing and commenting about the event, marketers are assured they’re getting their money’s worth whenever they advertise on the platforms.
 
For authors, an event of Super Bowl magnitude offers a great opportunity to engage potential readers.  This works for every other big event, not just Super Bowl. Thus, as fans focus on a big event, authors can use this opportunity to trigger conversations and create buzz online around their own products.

To be successful, you have to keep abreast with the on-goings. If the event is Super Bowl, it pays to follow it live. Be keen for thought provoking conversation starters that may pop up as the event unfolds.

Yet, it’s good to prepare your fans a couple of days before an event happens. For Super Bowl, internet was already abuzz with ads, promotions, news and activities that kept huge audiences well hyped prior to the main event.

Thus, to get full attention of your potential readers, it helps to start talking about an upcoming huge event in good time. You could do it via your blog, business site, or Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter. There are many authors using this approach to market their products, yet you could go with the lion’s share of publicity if you can start setting the spirit right in good time.

Don’t forget the power of video. Video marketing is one of the least utilized approaches for online businesses that seek to expand their territories. Yet, readers just like other consumers, are more influenced by this form of visual appeal than any other.

Thus, when promoting your self-published book around a big event such as Super Bowl, it pays immensely to make optimal use of YouTube and other platforms to engage your audience. You could post clips which feature you promoting your book. Also, posting viral videos that are relevant to a huge event is a great way to keep fans stuck to your “channel”.

Similarly, a little controversy goes a long way! If it’s a sporting event, it can work wonders to back a specific side and see what your readers think about it. Be nice, however, so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Well, big events will get you audiences. Here at The Fast Fingers Book Formatters, we will get you professional book design, including paperback formatting, cover design and eBook conversion.

How to Self-Publish if You’re a Non-US Citizen

Written by   |   Monday, 03 February 2014 03:39

non-USauthorsIt’s understandable for authors outside U.S to worry about how they can get their work self-published in the U.S. The good news is that most self-publishing platforms are open to authors from all over the world. Thus, if you want to self-publish in the U.S and are a non-U.S citizen, don’t hesitate to try out platforms such as CreateSpace, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Lulu and several others.

Step1: Identify a platform that suits your publishing, marketing and distribution needs.  It is easy to identify a self-publishing platform that will help produce an eBook or paperback. However, you need to find out if the platform offers print-on-demand services as well.

Does the platform distribute physical copies within your home country as well as the U.S market? For firms such as CreateSpace, it will help to find out how you can take advantage of their expanded distribution channels from your location.

Step 2: Register with a particular self-publishing platform via the web. You need an online account through which you’ll be contacting business with your preferred self-publishing firm.

Step3: Sort out taxation issues: This is one of the most complicated issues if you’re publishing from outside U.S but are relying on U.S self-publishing companies. By default, U.S self-publishing platforms are required by law to withhold 30% of earnings from non-US authors as taxes.

Step 4: Find out if your country has a standing tax treaty with U.S. In that case, Amazon and other self-publishing firms won’t withhold 30% of your earnings as taxes.

Step 5: Secure an ITIN from the U.S IRS (IRS is the U.S tax man).

Getting an ITIN

Step 1: Visit the IRS website and download form W-7. The form is available in English and Spanish.
Step 2: Fill the form accurately and completely. Any mistakes will have the form returned and will waste more time than necessary.
Step 3: Sign the original form.
Step 4: Send an original and authentic form of identification. This could be your voter registration card or a birth certificate.  These will be returned.

If you’ve got trouble filling the ITIN form, you could use a legal expert or someone who’s experienced with the forms. Alternatively, you could just “Google” a filled out form, which you may sample and try to grasp the hang of it.

If you’ve been operating without an ITIN, which means that 30% of your past earnings is being withheld, the ITIN you have can help you reclaim your dues in line with the tax treaty that applies to you.

Armed with an ITIN, you may take advantage of any tax treaties that the U.S may have with your country. You never know, you could end up paying less in taxes than you would have if you didn’t posses an ITIN.

Now you can focus on what you do best-writing books, without having to worry about the tax man or legalities around your book writing business.

As you learn your way around CreateSpace and other self-publishing firms, The Fast Fingers book formatters can help you a great deal. In order to meet specifications and requirements of various self-publishing platforms, The Fast Fingers book formatters help authors avail professionally designed titles at reasonable rates. 

How to Convert Your Word Manuscript into Kindle eBook

Written by   |   Saturday, 01 February 2014 08:58

HOW

There are several tools you can use to convert a manuscript into Kindle eBook. Yet, it’s very important that you prepare your word manuscript well before you can use your favorite tool to convert it into an eBook.

Preparing Your Word Document for eBook Conversion

Step 1: proof read your text and fix all grammar and spelling mistakes. This is your only opportunity to correct these as eBooks are produced in read-only formats.
Step 2: Use standard and uniform formatting all through. Avoid fancy features and styles such as drop caps, text colored differently, borders, background images, using text boxes to align text etc.
Step 3: Use page breaks between chapters as opposed to multiple spacing using enter or return key. You can create page breaks by hitting ctrl+ enter/return.
Step 4: Remove extra spaces between paragraphs.
Step 5: You may supply your images as separate files or insert them in your document. Do not position text around images. Rather, insert images on their own lines just as you would text.

Additional Considerations

  1. Add a clickable table of contents.
  2. Insert links to websites (the links will only work if the eBook is read on a device that’s connected to the web.

Use Calibre to Covert for Kindle
    
Use Calibre because it suits a variety of formats such as ePub, which is supported by a wide array of eReaders and smartphones such as, Nook, Android devices, iOS devices, and Mac/ PC computers.

Follow the steps below to convert for Kindle using Calibre:

Step 1: Launch Calibre and add your word files to the app. You can click on “Add Books” icon at top left of the application’s screen. Browse to where the file is located and double click on it to add.
Step 2: Click on “Convert Books”.
Step 3: Add metadata. Enter appropriate details in the fields that come up. Type details such as book title, author, publisher etc.
Step 4: While still on the metadata screen, choose Mobi as your output format, from a drop down list that contains several other options such as EPUB, FB2, LIT, PDF, PMLZ etc.
Step 5: You may right click the eBook and send to a Kindle device that’s already connected to your PC. Alternatively, click on “Save to disk” on the main menu to store the converted file to your PC’s hard disk.

You now have an eBook in Mobi, which you may upload to Amazon. Don’t forget to review it on a Kindle device to ensure it matches your desired display.

As a rule of thumb when preparing your document for eBook conversion, keep it simple. The world of technology is not yet where responsive design envisages, meaning that some of design implementations and features of an eBook may be lost either during conversion or when on display. Thus, keep it simple, for best results on a wide array of display devices.

If you need help with the entire conversion process, The Fast Fingers book formatters are on standby. Here, you will receive professional help on all aspects of manuscript preparation before conversion to eBook.   

Should the Screen Culture Worry the Modern Writer?

Written by   |   Thursday, 30 January 2014 04:58

 

 

tell a storyThe modern writer faces competition for readership from a wide array of fronts such as TV shows and movies. While people continue to love to hear stories, emerging technology is making it possible to tell stories in richer ways, in effect putting books in very unenviable positions. However, a well written and packaged story can do wonders in the mind of the readers, even if it’s delivered as a book.

The truth of the matter is that there are still many readers out there who relish the feel of turning papers (whether on a paperback or eBook). Thus, you don’t have to worry about ceding ground to the screen culture, if you can learn to address your audience’s tastes. Below are factors you should consider seriously if you want to deliver a story that’s as compelling as the movies or TV series.
 
Professional Book Design

Growth of self-publishing has opened doors for creative minds to have their stories published. Although the ease with which a book can be published today is good news for the independent author, it goes with immense responsibility. As a self-publishing author, you’ll have to ensure proper paperback formatting, cover design or PDF conversion. Thus, you have more control and responsibility over the entire book making process.

The important thing is to package your book as a high quality product that doesn’t seem amateurish.

Tell a Compelling Story
 
There are many tricks you could pull to make your story very captivating.  Yet, a look at what guys in the movies or TV series reveals a change in strategy regarding how stories are being told today. For instance, the creator of breaking bad chose an uncommon approach, which nevertheless work out just fine and kept the show unique- a protagonist who progresses from good to bad.

You could think of something “old school” as well, to make your story unique. For instance, the hero dies in many forms of classical literature.  Game of thrones, which has already done three seasons in the USA, is a perfect example of a story where the protagonist dies.
 
Unpredictability is the key here, and it has kept many viewers glued to their TV screens. You could pull of the same with your story by thinking outside the box and coming up with approaches that many authors have not explored.

Don’t Ignore the Screens
    
The world is in love with technological devices such as tablets, and many people are relying on these for entertainment and supply of information. That’s why many authors today deliver more than just paperbacks. If you want to be a top seller, your book had better be available on several eBook publishing platforms such as Kindle, iBooks Author, Barnes & Noble and many others. This is a sure way to have a bite on the cake that the screen culture presents to authors.

Any self-publishing author can benefit immensely from book formatting services that The Fast Fingers book formatters offer. Get in touch for the most reasonable terms in book design.


 

Useful Resources When Writing on Human Health

Written by   |   Tuesday, 28 January 2014 14:45

human health writingHumans will always have interest on ways they can ensure the best health for their families. Even as doctors and other healthcare practitioners endeavor to provide the best services for conditions such as heart diseases and cancer, more and more people choose to carry out independent research on any medication that’s being recommended to them. This makes it essential for all writers on matters of human health to provide well researched information that can help people make informed decisions.

Below are some of the most useful resources if you’re trying to offer your readers information they can rely on even as they seek more expert help from trained health practitioners.

The Mayo Clinic

The mayo clinic is a credible authority on matters that pertain to healthy living. The website carries expert opinion from more than 3,300 active health care practitioners. Mayo clinic is itself a health care provider, and thus, information provided is based on both expertise and practical experience.

WebMD

The site is similar to Mayo Clinic as it offers expert advice from real health care practitioners, based on both experiences and practice.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

It turns out that governments all over the world are not only stakeholders in public health but also important policy makers on the same. That’s why it makes perfect sense to consider what the government is saying if you’re writing an eBook on health care. A website such as CDC can prove very handy in this regard.

This website has information on food safety, healthy living, disease control, chemical safety and many aspects of public health in which you may be interested.

Medical Journals  

No eBook on health care can be convincing if it does not refer to peer reviewed or other forms of scholarly articles. While many journals are available in the net for free, most are too complicated for the public to interpret.  This provides you with an opportunity to read through research data and analyze and summarize it in a way that can make sense to an average reader.
Some common medical journals that offer free text include, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), British Medical Journal (BMJ), and Pediatrics.

Major Media Outlets

If you’re looking for ideas on current trends in the world of medicine, disease control and other aspects of public health, the media can set you in the right direction. Major dailies such as the New York Times and Washington Post have dedicated columns for health reporting, opinion and analysis.

Other credible sources include CNN and BBC.

Your eBook will be more useful and credible if it backs assertions, opinion and analysis on scientific data. The good thing is that there is plenty of free data on pretty much every single health problem that affects humans.

Remember to give due credit for facts that you quote directly or paraphrase from your sources. Once you’re done compiling an authoritative eBook, you may contact The Fast Fingers for professional paperback formatting, eBook conversion, interior design, cover design and other critical aspects of book formatting.

 

How to Use Google Plus to Promote Your Book Writing Business

Written by   |   Monday, 27 January 2014 10:06

gYou’ve probably already set up a website to promote your titles online. You’re deeply involved in promotion of your books through social media and search engine optimization. Yet, have you considered promoting your work via Google+? Google plus is the newest major entry into social media, and although it’s taking time to pick, it offers great potential for authors to promote their books online. Below are some of the Google+ features, which you can utilize to enhance your book’s web visibility.

1. Search Result Page Ranking
If you’re developing content and publishing it through Google+, you stand a chance of promoting your work via Google’s search engine. This kind of optimization is possible because Google handles Google+ content just like any other that’s been published elsewhere online. It’s an opportunity to enhance the visibility of your title’s Google+ profile.

2. Google Plus Authorship
Google Plus authorship will serve you best if you’re publishing content elsewhere online. The feature allows you to link material you’ve published elsewhere with your Google+ profile so that your image can appear alongside search results that point to the published content.
The visual impact this feature can have on potential readers is great.

3. Extended Life of Google+ Content
One thing about social media marketing is that you need to be as up to date as possible, since the content you supply disappears in matter of minutes, with only the latest feeds being displayed to Facebook or Twitter followers. However, Google+ content stays live for longer, allowing your pages to improve in ranking and visibility with time. This makes Google+ a perfect way to market content, especially if the material you publish has lasting relevance to your audience.

4. Social Signal Power
Social signals continue to define user needs and major search engines continue to use these to determine page rankings. You may have done enough with Facebook and Twitter, but with entrance of Google Plus, you need to consider being active there as well. It’s high time you engaged your readers through Google+ and found out what they’re thinking about your books.

5. Google+ Communities
You could start or join a Google+ community and liven up your experience. Google+ communities provide you a way to exercise a level of authority in your area of trade (in this case, your favorite writing topics). You could make it habit to provide well-researched answers to issues that pop up in your Google+ community and command a significant following.

Similarly, you could join a book club and use any opportunity that comes up to invite members to important book events such as launching of a new title.

While some content markets have chosen to wait and see before they can commit their resources to Google+ marketing, many others have given Google + a vote of confidence and proceeded to promote their products via the social networking platform.  Yet, it doesn’t harm to give it a try if you’re involved in book writing.

Here at The Fast Fingers, we offer affordable paperback formatting services in line with the highest self publishing standards.

 

 

Paperback Is Not the Only Casualty of the Rise of eBooks

Written by   |   Friday, 24 January 2014 01:54

ebookMay be the computer is not close to replacing paperback entirely, but eBooks have gained significant grounds towards that. However, those who thought that eBooks threatened only paperbacks may have to think again.  What’s this all about and how can you cash in as an eBook writer? Read on to find out…

The internet has been a major source of information (credible info) all over the world since its inception. Today, people go online to find information on pretty much everything from how things work, health issues, sports and politics to science. This information is searchable online at remarkable convenience.

However, more and more people looking for comprehensive information are turning to eBooks. Yes, eBooks are now competing with websites as reliable sources of information. This can only mean one thing to non-fiction writers - there’s a huge opportunity to stamp authority offline by producing high quality eBooks.

The considerations below can help you as a non-fiction writer compete effectively with websites:

Establish a voice of authority
 
You should aim at convincing your audience that you offer expert info based on facts that are verifiable. To add weight of authority to content of your eBook:

a. Use references and citations: it’s important that you provide well researched information and mention credible sources such as peer reviewed journals, government websites, or scholarly sites.
b. Be specific: avoid generalization by providing examples.
c. Be unique: Try an approach or structure that you haven’t seen elsewhere. Make sure you content sounds unique and has not been presented the same way elsewhere.  

Be comprehensive

Any reader who’s choosing an eBook to learn about say, how to deal with a gambling addiction, is not looking for a short or quick fix, because that’s already available online. That’s’ why you should consider going for broader topics and refining these step by step to offer a comprehensive solution. Aim at providing value that a general internet search can’t.

Establish a brand

Write more and more to establish your brand as a reliable source of information. You can choose to curve a niche in human health or cover as many areas of interest as possible. Remember to research extensively or outsource in fields for which you lack expertise.

Package your eBook as a book

Although, the internet replaced physical libraries as a main source of information for many, people haven’t forgotten about the conveniences that go with books such as, turning pages, table of contents, keeping books, ability to refer to sections in terms of chapters or page numbers and many other benefits.

Don’t forget to format your book as per expected standards. That’s why you should consider the platform on which you’ll be delivering your eBook to offer appropriate formatting. The good thing is that you can engage the Fast Fingers book formatters for any issues you may have with book design. We will help with eBook conversions, cover design and interior design to the standards of your self-publishing platform. 

A Self-Publishing Lesson from Dave Ramsey - An NYT Best Selling Author

Written by   |   Thursday, 23 January 2014 02:00

daveramseySo much has already been said about self-publishing, and for the most part it has inspired aspiring authors to plunge into the industry. Almost everyone interested in self-publishing has heard a thing or two about how easy it has become to get a story published and presented in the market.  But for many successful authors, the journey to self-publishing success has been everything but a walk in the park.

For sure, you won’t have to focus much on paperback formatting, as there are book formatting professionals out there who will help you in this regard for a reasonable fee, if you’re self-publishing. You won’t have to know much about what’s involved in eBook conversions and stuff such as embedding of fonts, as you can always avail these services over the internet. However, even New York Times bestselling authors know that the self-published author has to toil and moil to make significant breakthroughs in the industry.

During an interview with Mediabistro, Dave Ramsey shared some insights on what it takes to make it as self-publishing author. Of course, just as many unpublished today, the NYT bestselling author wasn’t considered to be good enough by mainstream publishers. Nevertheless, he went ahead to write his first book titled, “Financial Peace”.

Quite obviously, when self-publishing firms rejected a story, the reality that went with financial constrains reared its ugly head. If you had to go ahead and publish, somehow you needed to raise sufficient capital to get your title off production lines.

Another major obstacle with some of most successful early timers in self-publishing was distribution. With mainstream publishing being out of the picture, it was extremely challenging to present a title in the market and distribute it. Ramsey had to do it from the trunk of his car! Fortunately, his efforts bore fruits, and in about 5 years, his title became an NYT bestseller.

Today, the situation is much more favorable for authors who have been rejected by mainstream publishing houses. Actually, most authors today are not going for self-publishing after having explored all other possible options. Rather, self-publishing has gained a life of its own and is now being seen as a priority as opposed to last resort. Yet, as Ramsey noted, a lot more is required of the modern self-published author.

Today, no one is telling self-publishing authors that it’s going to be easy just because CreateSpace, Lulu, Barnes & Noble and other self-publishing will readily accept scripts from unpublished authors. However, the nature of self-publishing is that everyone with story to tell can give it a shot and make it in the business.

For starters, it takes no genius to mount a meaningful online marketing campaign for your book.  A consistent presence in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google visibility are a must for any serious self-publishing author. As Ramsey noted, all this takes a bit of planning.  You’ll have to be involved every step of the way and consult where necessary.

Here at The Fast Fingers book formatting service, we will address all your book formatting and design needs at reasonable fees.



<source: mediabistro.com, image: www.daveramsey.com>

childrens bookWith self-publishing gaining momentum day by day, children’s interests have not been left out. Many authors have already mastered the art of paperback formatting to meet interests and tastes of young minds. However, communicating with children is quite a challenging affair, more so when you’re trying to impart knowledge.

Thus, before you can even begin to think of cover design, book interior design or eBook conversion for your children’s book, you might want to ensure the content you offer meets the criteria below:

Universally interesting topic  
 
To win children’s attention, it’s necessary that you address their core interests. That’s why it does help to identify interesting concepts such as the solar system, marine life, computers etc to address in your book. Since kids may find it difficult to understand deeper concepts, it makes perfect sense to refer to standard school curricula to align your content’s difficulty levels to targeted age groups or school grade.

Children’s language

Your language should be easy to follow and as less formal or scientific as possible. With difficult terms, providing phonetic spelling aids can help a great deal. This is because children are mostly learning language and scientific concepts at the same time. Unlike adults, who may already know how certain terms are spelt or pronounced, children will be hearing scientific terms for the first time and it is important that they get everything right from the word go.
 
Picture/text ratio

Children are more fascinated by pictures than text. As such, it makes perfect sense to produce books that feature pictures, drawings and other forms of graphics predominantly. You should have more pictures and fewer words, as much as possible. If you don’t know how to draw, paint or produce graphics, it can help to solicit children's book illustrator or graphic design services from a professional.

Humor/fun

A little fun and humor can make a children’s book very interesting and easy to follow for kids.

Style

Children like narration a lot and don’t easily forget facts or concepts imparted this way. Thus, you can choose to deliver your story in a narrative form if you want to keep a longer attention span for your young audience. Some writers find comic strips as effective ways to deliver scientific knowledge to kids.

eBook or Paperback?

You should probably consider both eBook and paperback formats for your children’s book. However, there is more chance of reaching out to more kids if your book is available more on eBook than paperback. Remember that more kids can access devices that read eBooks such as e-Readers. More kids use devices that can read eBooks more than they visit physical libraries.

Thus, the better gamble is to produce an eBook, but make it available through print on demand. This way, you hit two birds with one stone!

If you’re indeed planning to write a children’s book, it’s essential that you make sure that children will not only want but also be in a position to read it, have fun and learn. If you experience any difficulties with affordable book illustration, book formatting or book design to meet children’s tastes, The Fast Fingers book formatting service is on standby to help.

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  2. Complete our CONTACT FORM.
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