Obviously, not all non-fiction books are "tricky" to format for ebooks.  Most memoirs, for example, are formatted very much like fiction titles, but with images.  But many DIY, self-help, medical, diet, exercise and other non-fiction books can be real bears to format.  Why?

Remember, a Kindle screen is precisely 3½"x4¾" in size, with a ¼" margin all-round.  A book that is laid out and created at 8½" x 11", has 93.5 square inches of space.  A Kindle/Nook screen, by comparison, has a mere 16.62 square inches.  This means that an e-reader screen has only 17.78% of the space of the typical PDF or default Word page layout.  When most publishers create their pages, for their books, they work in "Letter" size in their word processors, which is the 8½" x 11" size.  When print designers do layout, they use the book's trim size, which can be 6" x 9", or any number of other sizes.  When charts, tables, diagrams, etc., are laid out at these sizes, they're laid out to make the best use of the available space, by using it all.  When those same diagrams, charts, tables, lists, and so forth, need to be fitted into the much smaller screen of e-readers, not to mention, made to work within the limitations of those e-readers, it can be quite demanding to do properly.  Sometimes, it can't be done at all.  Not every single non-fiction book can be made into an ebook (for example, extremely complex books full of mathematical formulas, due to limitations on how ebooks can/cannot set horizontal or vertical alignment exactly.)

And don't forget other aspects in non-fiction books; sidebars, pullquotes, images with captions, illustrations, icons, and the like.  Many ebooks can't display sidebars (like the millions of e-ink Kindles).  When that happens, we have to think of creative ways to display the same content in a different way that "tells" the reader that what they are reading is removed from the regular narrative flow.  Sometimes, we have to do that one way for one reader, another way for a different reading device.  This is quite common for Amazon books.  We have to create what are called "media-queries," which really just mean, "if/then" instructions that tell the book "if you're being read on an e-ink Kindle, show this paragraph THIS way, but if you're being read on a Kindle Fire, use this other formatting."  That type of hand-crafting takes time and expertise, and can't be done from within a word-processor like Word.  That level of detail can only be done with HTML, XHTML and CSS coding, to make your ebook function perfectly on the different devices.

Obviously, not all non-fiction books are "tricky" to format for ebooks.  Most memoirs, for example, are formatted very much like fiction titles, but with images.  But many DIY, self-help, medical, diet, exercise and other non-fiction books can be real bears to format.  Why?

Remember, a Kindle screen is precisely 3½"x4¾" in size, with a ¼" margin all-round.  A book that is laid out and created at 8½" x 11", has 93.5 square inches of space.  A Kindle/Nook screen, by comparison, has a mere 16.62 square inches.  This means that an e-reader screen has only 17.78% of the space of the typical PDF or default Word page layout.  When most publishers create their pages, for their books, they work in "Letter" size in their word processors, which is the 8½" x 11" size.  When print designers do layout, they use the book's trim size, which can be 6" x 9", or any number of other sizes.  When charts, tables, diagrams, etc., are laid out at these sizes, they're laid out to make the best use of the available space, by using it all.  When those same diagrams, charts, tables, lists, and so forth, need to be fitted into the much smaller screen of e-readers, not to mention, made to work within the limitations of those e-readers, it can be quite demanding to do properly.  Sometimes, it can't be done at all.  Not every single non-fiction book can be made into an ebook (for example, extremely complex books full of mathematical formulas, due to limitations on how ebooks can/cannot set horizontal or vertical alignment exactly.)

And don't forget other aspects in non-fiction books; sidebars, pullquotes, images with captions, illustrations, icons, and the like.  Many ebooks can't display sidebars (like the millions of e-ink Kindles).  When that happens, we have to think of creative ways to display the same content in a different way that "tells" the reader that what they are reading is removed from the regular narrative flow.  Sometimes, we have to do that one way for one reader, another way for a different reading device.  This is quite common for Amazon books.  We have to create what are called "media-queries," which really just mean, "if/then" instructions that tell the book "if you're being read on an e-ink Kindle, show this paragraph THIS way, but if you're being read on a Kindle Fire, use this other formatting."  That type of hand-crafting takes time and expertise, and can't be done from within a word-processor like Word.  That level of detail can only be done with HTML, XHTML and CSS coding, to make your ebook function perfectly on the different devices.

Phone Call Alert! 

(Please read, thanks.) 

Old Timey Switchboard Operator Cartoon

 

Due to the COVID-19 onslaught, we currently cannot take incoming phone calls.  

 

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the 3rd week of July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.