#RRBC Blog Tour: Author Liz Gavin

Liz Gavin

We’re delighted to welcome Liz Gavin to the blog today. Liz is the author of Luck of the Irish and is on tour with Rave Reviews Book Club (#RRBC), sponsored by 4WillsPublishing. Thanks to Liz for stopping by!

Marketing Indie Books (Part 3 of 5)

Welcome back to Lucky Blog Tour! I’m honored to have you here again.

Luck of the Irish - Liz GavinYesterday I talked about how hard and time-consuming creating covers can be. If you haven’t read the post, please, check the tour schedule on the Events page at 4willspublishing and click on the previous blog stop. I think you’ll have fun with the exercise I proposed there.

Today I will share my discoveries about – FORMATTING EBOOKS

Do you remember the first part I posted on this subject two days ago? We reflected on how frustrating it sometimes is to see that your beautifully written book looks ugly on somebody’s eReader. Have you felt that frustration as well?

I get it, my friend! You spent countless hours searching for your book. After all, it doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction – you research information before putting pen to paper. Or cursor to screen, nowadays. You poured your heart and soul into the story. You made sure it was the best story you could have written. You uploaded it to the online stores and crossed your fingers. Readers liked it. They posted positive reviews about it. One day, somebody pointed out the story was great but they couldn’t give your book five starts because there were too many blank spaces in it. The next reviewer stated that they wouldn’t have mentioned problems with the formatting if no one else had done so, because they valued the story; but, since another customer had mentioned it, they would like to say they agreed on that. All of a sudden, you started getting one-star reviews based solely on the formatting issues. Before you knew it, the online store froze sales of your book and sent you a friendly email asking you to fix said issues before they could put your book back on sale at their store. *PANIC*.

Do you think I exaggerated? Do you reckon the story is unlikely to happen? Well, I cannot gauge the frequency of cases like the one I described above, but I know at least one. It didn’t happen to me. A dear friend and fellow author went through this ordeal over Christmas and New Year. He ended up missing a good period of sales for his brilliant, non-fiction book because the major online store where he had published it froze the book’s sales until he fixed the formatting issues. Namely – a few words that weren’t properly separated on the final ebook file and extra spaces between paragraphs that ‘hindered the readers optimum reading experience’. Bottom line is – we never know when an apparently small issue will amount to a huge one.

Furthermore, I believe delivering the best quality product possible is the minimum a supplier should do. In the business of publishing books, writers are the suppliers. Ergo (don’t you love this word – ‘ergo’? I do!) we must do our best to offer our readers a good-looking, easy-to-navigate eBook for their enjoyment. The important question is – is formatting eBooks a difficult task?

Well… yes and no.

It took me a while to figure out how to do it. I wasted a lot of time downloading apps, reading their instructions, and proceeding to create eBooks that looked awful. You see, it turned out I was doing things the other way around. I wrote my texts on Word® documents first and used apps to convert them into eBooks before uploading them to the online stores. Or I uploaded the .doc files directly to the stores automated converters. In both cases, I would set up the fonts, margins, headings on those Word® documents as I pleased. I didn’t know I needed to set the files in a specific way before converting them.

Almost by accident I stumbled on a comprehensive guide on formatting Ebooks called ‘Building Your Book for Kindle’. I downloaded it free of charge at the ‘Help’ section on my KDP Account Dashboard. It is a step-by-step text with screenshots to guide you through the whole process – from setting up your .doc file to uploading it to the automated converter on Amazon KDP. Once I created a compatible file, I used it as template for the following ones.

Although most of my titles are published exclusively on Amazon, I have a handful of books published elsewhere. Smashwords also offer good guides to formatting and publishing on their store. If you want to sell your books on Barnes & Noble and Apple, I recommend Draft2Digital. They offer excellent service for free, and attractive royalties plans.

To quote Bugs Bunny: ‘That’s all, folks!’ Come back tomorrow, at the next stop on Lucky Blog Tour. I’ll talk about the ancient question – ‘to turn or not to turn’ your eBook into a printed book.

C U then!

Liz Gavin

About Liz Gavin
Liz Gavin
Liz Gavin

When Liz Gavin was in Second Grade – just a couple of years ago, really – her teacher told her mother the little girl should start a diary because she needed an outlet for her active and vivid imagination. She was a talkative child who would disrupt the class by engaging her colleagues in endless conversations. She loved telling them the stories her grandfather used to tell her.

Apparently, the teacher wasn’t a big fan of those stories, and Liz’s mother bought her a diary. She happily wrote on it for a couple of months. Unable to see the appeal of writing for her own enjoyment only, she gave up on it. She missed the audience her friends provided her in class. She went back to disturbing her dear teacher’s class.

Since then, she has become a hungry reader. She will read anything and everything she can get her hands on – from the classics to erotica. That’s how she has become a writer of erotica and romance, as well.

As a young adult, she participated in a student exchange program and lived in New Orleans for six months. She fell in love with the city and its wonderful inhabitants. NOLA will always hold a special spot in Liz Gavin’s heart. Nowadays, living in Brazil, Liz’s creativity has improved many times because it’s such a vibrant, gorgeous and sexy country.

Welcome to her world of hot Alpha males and naughty, independent women. Add a touch of the paranormal in the presence of some wicked souls and you’ll get the picture.

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This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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13 Comments

    1. Hi, Michelle.
      It is so good to see you again! Thanks for stopping by.
      I started using Scrivener but for some reason or other I gave it up before getting to the end of my first story. hehehe I loved the name generator feature, though. :)
      I didn’t know it can also be used for formatting. THANK YOU. I think I’ll give it another try.

      Talk to you soon,
      Liz.

  1. Hi, Donna.
    Thank YOU so much for receiving me today at your awesome blog.
    I’ve already snooped aroud a bit & will surely come back for more, later. :)

    Talk soon,
    Liz

  2. Great post Liz. Both the KDP and Smashwords guides are brilliant. It’s so important to spend some time reading these before self publishing, as well as making sure you check your preview copy too

    1. Hi, Helen.
      Thanks for stopping by & posting. Your support is appreciated, as always.
      It’s funny, though, that after a while you get so used to the process that you forget how hard it was when you first started. If I hadn’t had to give my friend a hand, I might not have thought about this topic for the blog tour. :)
      Talk soon,
      Liz

  3. Thanks for sharing Liz! It is hard to manage formatting if you don’t know what you are doing…but easy once it’s figured out. Can be frustrating! Good luck today!

    1. Hi, Jenny.
      Thank you for your visit. You’re always awesome.
      Tell me about frustration! LoL but it all seems like an eternity to me now. I hope none of the online stores decide to change their features now that I’ve figured out these ones.
      Talk soon,
      Liz

  4. I couldn’t agree more: the formatting is so important. It doesn’t matter how good your book is if the formatting is out. Researching how to format for the different ebook platforms is one area a lot of authors forget about.

    I am so enjoying your tour, Liz, and you have lots of great advice and info!

    Thanks so much, Donna, for hosting Liz today :)

    1. Hi, Harmony!
      Wow, I blush… LoL I tried to make the posts fun and informative because I thought people would need an incentive to stick to the tour for two whole weeks, right? Hehehe
      I’m glad to know you like them. It means a lot.
      Talk soon,
      Liz

  5. Gradually catching you up Liz!
    With my editing/typesetter’s hat on I tell most people I supply these services to NOT to try to format or style their Word docs, whether they want it go into print or e-formats. If you follow the online guidance (and KDP, SMashwords and Lulu have good ones to name but 3) then if you do want to ‘do it right’ first time the most important thing is to master putting on paragraph and heading styles. It’s easy enough to do this in Word but most people don’t know how and just format as they go which is even easier to do but is hell for the person trying to tidy the M/S up for publication…
    To those who have to go it alone for whatever the reason, my advice as a ‘pro’ is to take the trouble to use the help that’s out there and keep things really, really simple and clean on the base document. TOP TIP – don’t go for a ‘pretty’ typeface – the Times family is really the best for both typing and reading and most publishing houses won’t accept sans serif faces (like Arial or Helvetica) at all and, honestly, you really don’t need more than 1 font for 99.9% of most manuscripts. And eReaders HATE you using more than 1…

    1. Jan,
      THANK YOU for taking the time to catch up on the blog tour. It’s a real honor to have you onboard.
      I loved your insightful comments, as well. Great advice from a pro. :)
      See you around,
      Liz

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