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I have a big problem.
Mimi Speike
Posted: Sunday, November 8, 2015 7:02 AM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

I'm working on an illustrated book that I hope to turn into an ebook. I've got the first eight pages mocked up. 


I am structuring the type and images as I would do for a print book, thinking as a designer, which is what I am. The result is not a stacked arrangement, image, text, image, text, that might lend itself to the e-process. Image and text are integrated. Also, this is verse, the lines broken very carefully. I do not want them to reboot in unattractive ways, depending on the device. How do I work this for an ebook? 


All I can think of is to sell the ebook as a pdf, all elements frozen in place, with the promise to mail a print copy to anyone who pays $9.95 (thereabouts, I figure) for the pdf version. The additional incentive would be that the print version will contain a paperdoll of Sly and his various whacko costumes. You can't cut a paperdoll out of an ebook. 


Lucy, those first samples that I sent you are far simpler than the pages I'm on now: 'Those Greeks, just grand', consisting of bits of business, the centerpiece being Sly in one of those snazzy Greek helmets, and shin-guards. (The Greeks fought naked, my husband tells me.) And a sword. And a shield, can't forget the shield. 


I'm not going to dumb-down (visually) my pages for the sake of producing an e-acceptable design. A pdf is all I can think of to offer for an e-read. Any other ideas out there?


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/8/2015, 7:43 AM--

Mimi Speike
Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015 3:17 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

I will do some research, but I'll ask here too. The price on Smashwords for an 8x10 32 page paperback book is $4.95 (for 200-500 copies). I wonder how that compares to the price per unit of a big publisher's print run. I imagine that their hard cover editions are rather small. Also, I wonder how the quality might differ. I wonder what is the most price-efficient way to go about it. Anyone know anything about this stuff?


Does BC produce hard copy books? 


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/9/2015, 4:59 PM--

DJ Lutz
Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015 6:37 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 130

One of the reasons I have not yet pub'ed through BC is the need for print copies of my book. The use of the BC publication services will probably happen in the spring, but the need for hard copies will still exist.


I started out in typography so design is a big concern of mine. I've thought about going the PDF route, too, just so I can get the leading, drop caps, etc. the way I want. The normal eBook formatting seems limited, but I am still doing my research on this. I may end up going with it just so my book can finally get to the market.


As for pricing, Blurb dot com has an easy pricing tool. My 88k word trade paperback came out to about $5 per copy. I am looking at as many options as I can find, hoping to get the lowest gross price. The unknown is quality. I'm putting my name on it so I don't a book with 10 minute warranty of the binding glue.


To make a long story short, add my yes vote for a BC print on demand option!

Mimi Speike
Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015 7:23 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Thanks, DL. I too do a lot of messing around with fonts. Leading, fancy kerning with a novelty display font, bumping letters up and down, whipping around images, all that is part of my approach on this particular project. I may have some questions for you as I move forward. You probably know a lot more than I do. I'm stumbling around in InDesign and it's pathetic. I've been out of Quark for a dozen years, working a production imaging job. I'm cheating, for visualization purposes only. I'm doing outrageous phony fixes until I bite the bullet and read that damn book. I never did really work in ID, I worked in Quark, which seems to be on the way out. I haven't even figured out how to dig down through layers, the fingering of Quark doesn't work. I have to go up to the menu, how annoying! Gotta read that book. 


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/9/2015, 8:53 PM--

DJ Lutz
Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015 8:16 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 130

Mimi - I rather think you know much more than me. My typesetting days were pre-PC. The phototypesetting machine was my friend, as was my exacto knife and bottle of rubber cement. Quark was just getting started, but the boss did not want to invest in unproven technology. The company was losing ground to newer, tech oriented shops and business started to drop, so I left the company for an entirely different career. That said, my experiences still imbued me with the mindset of book design being an art to be appreciated. Now I just create work-arounds combining the attributes of Word, PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat. At my day job, we have a communication group. They use InDesign, plus others. I should probably look into this, as well.


My 1938 Underwood, however, is looking more and more tempting as technology keeps advancing.

Mimi Speike
Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 6:19 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

So my next question is, if I produce the book myself, as a pdf, can I offer it on/have it distributed through Book Country? Lucy/Publishing staff, what about it? As I just told GD, there's no way in hell this will make a true ebook. But a pdf offered online as a promo for the print book may get results. 


I'm deep into my newest toy, side-bars. Fun! And my smile-bug style works wonderfully with my other design choices. I am encouraged.


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/10/2015, 10:51 PM--

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 2:26 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Hi Mimi--I think I better have you check in with our production team about this. Will you email me as you are hammering out a vision for this, and I will put you in touch with them?


Robert G. Moons
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 4:27 PM
Joined: 3/3/2014
Posts: 18

D J Lutz,


I'm old enough to have sent out copy for typesetting and known
the joys of paste-up with rubber cement and then wax.

And later, to convince the Advertising agency I was working for
to invest in a Mac and Quark v1.0, instead of older typesetting 
equipment complete with a tiny, green-screened monitor.

A lot of skilled people lost their jobs in the 90s.
First the typesetters, then the film strippers.





I ran into the same problem you are facing. I know exactly what
you mean. I worked out an illustrated children's book in Quark with
text set in Quark and placed images from illustrator. I did it the way
I wanted and created a PDF (with outlined fonts). But, when I tried to do the
same at smashwords.com, it was a totally a different story. To get
around all the problems I just created full page JPGs with large
type, colour illustrations and background colours all as one file.
One full page JPG for each page. I'm not saying this is the way to go,
but it worked for me to a point. The only downside I found was that 
people who would be reading it through a small reading device (the size
of an iPhone for example) had issues reading the type.


You can download the PDF from smashwords here to see the results:



Or see how I wanted it to look here:



--edited by Robert G. Moons on 11/11/2015, 4:31 PM--

Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 6:44 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Robert, I will check your links later. I'm at work.


That's what I figure I'll have to do. Something like that. I don't see any other way. I don't worry much about readability on small devices. I hope for the images to persuade viewers to buy the hard copy. 


I've just started thinking about making the central spread a pop-up. Maybe that's too much to tackle, but it's on my mind. We see his ship as it is in reality, a wooden wash tub, make-shift masts and sails. The next page would be his ship as he sees it in his imagination, and a pop-up tall-ship mast/sail business, adding to the height of the illustration. Kind of like in The Music Man, the sad small-town band transformed into a precise, beautifully garbed unit. Well, that's my vision, anyway. Whether I can handle it, who knows? 


It's fun to think about. I have a small collection of pop-up books (my treasure, a set of the Mickey and Minnie books from the nineteen thirties) and I've always wanted to try it. And I have a textbook/how-to with marvelous examples, diagrams, etc. (One of those best-of-the-best things.) 


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/11/2015, 7:12 PM--

Mimi Speike
Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015 11:37 PM
Joined: 11/17/2011
Posts: 1014

Well, I'm still at work. I have looked at your second link, the way you wanted it to look, haven't read it, I'll do that when I get home. I absolutely love your illustrations! I'll download the Smashwords version at home, to see what they did to your images.


Your art is just great. And I adore your title too. 


--edited by Mimi Speike on 11/12/2015, 12:23 AM--

John Speikers
Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015 9:12 AM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 20

If you use WORD convert manuscript to HTML, then add graphics as GIFs if possible.  It helps to download KindleGen 2.9 which lets you convert on your computer from HTML to MOBI, then inspect the product in Kindle Reader.  Graphics should be added in-line to a specially centered paragraph class.  I use 8 pt typeface to minimized space before & after the picture.  GIFs will need to be downsized a bit because Kindle doesn't support resizable pictures that expand to their best definition.  If details are important, keep the graphic to about 5 inches in width.

#  I wouldn't rotate them 90 degrees because most readers who view eBooks with graphics will use laptops or desktops, making it hard for them to rotate screens.

#  More and more readers support color.  Don't be afraid to use it.  You can adjust the colors if you have graphics suite that lets you convert color to grayscale.  With a bit of dickering you can achieve viewable pictures in either medium.


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