Working With

UPDATED, 4-12-2014:

According to Amazon's latest publishing guidelines, all Kindle books must have an embedded ebook cover and what they call the "Marketing Cover Image," or the "Catalog Image." This "Marketing Cover Image" or "Catalog Image" is what book covers are called when Amazon displays the cover on your book page on their website, and in searches.

So, what are the perfect Amazon cover sizes? It seems that "perfect" ebook cover sizes change nearly monthly, doesn't it? Well, here's the latest scoop.

The latest specifications are:

  • The preferred format for the marketing cover is an image of 2560 pixels on the longest side and 1600 pixels on the shortest side with 350 dpi to ensure image clarity on Kindle HDX devices. The image file size should be 5MB or smaller.
  • If the marketing cover image size is smaller than the 2560 x 1600 recommendation, a reminder message is displayed at time of upload. Covers with less than 500 pixels on the smaller side are not displayed on the website.
  • If your cover image is smaller than the recommended size, Amazon strongly recommends that you create a new image that meets the size requirements. Do not stretch the image to meet the size requirements, because this may lower the image quality.
  • The content of the cover image must not:
    • Infringe another publisher’s or artist’s copyright on the same cover.
    • Mention pricing or other temporary promotional offers.

At, we'll use whatever ebook covers you provide to us, but please try to ensure that your cover is as close as possible to Amazon's requested sizes and standards. Thanks!

(updated:  4/12/14).



How To Use Our Hightail Uplink:

If you use our Hightail Uplink, not only do you need to drag-drop the files to the window, but you also have to hit "send" after the files have uploaded.  Please view the two images below (click them to zoom/lightbox for ease of reading) to see the two steps needed to successfully transfer files to us via Hightail:



Hightail Step 1 -- Drag and Drop Your Files onto this window.
Hightail Step 1 -- Drag and Drop Your Files onto this window.




Hightail Step 2--once your files have successfully uploaded to the Uplink, you will see this page.  Please make sure you fill in the information and click SEND to complete the transmission.
Hightail Step 2--once your files have successfully uploaded to the Uplink, you will see this page. Please make sure you fill in the information and click SEND to complete the transmission.



Step One is to ensure that you either drag-n-drop, or upload, the files you want to send, in the first window.  If you aren't comfortable with drag and drop, click the red word "computer" and a typical file-browser pane will open, allowing you to navigate to the files you want to send.  

Step Two is to wait. When the files have successfully finished uploading, you'll see the window shown above, on the right. Please fill in the information blanks (name, email, etc.) and then--the most important part--click SEND!!

That's how you use our Hightail Uplink.  It's safe, encrypted, and secure, to protect your Intellectual Property. Thanks!


About Copyediting:

Our pricing is based upon the assumption that what we're receiving is a clean, fully-edited manuscript--a final book.  However, over the course of the years, we've found that fully 97.8% of our clients copy-edit after we've returned the ePUB to them for review (please see our What's the Process? article--we mean Step 6).  Now, some companies include a certain amount of editing "time" in their initial quotes--say, an hour or two.

But we don't believe that the clients who don't have 30 minutes of editing should be charged as if they do, so we charge our base price with the assumption that our clients will have 5 copyedits--and we include those 5 for free.  (A copyedit is a single edit--one typo, or adding a comma, not an entire revision pass).  When we say "copy-edit," we mean changes to the manuscript that were not in the book that we were given to convert, or, edits that have to be made because the manuscript was not cleaned properly by the publisher (for example, broken paragraphs from a scan or a conversion from PDF).  We are working in HTML, not Word or some other word-processing program, so copy-edits take far longer to do than they do in Word. 

We charge for copyedits after the first five.  What this means is that when it comes to edits, each client, essentially, sets the final price of their own book themselves, by how good a job they do with their manuscript clean-up, editing and proofing beforehand.  Revisions also affect turnaround time, obviously, as we have to make the edits and return a revised ePUB to you for review and approval.  So, just like pricing, you "set" the length of your turnaround time by how clean your manuscript is when you give it to us. 

The cleaner your file, the better the price and the faster the service. 



Once your books are completed, if you come back to us later, and tell us (as many authors do!) that your readers found typos, and you'd like to fix them, we'll make those edits for you at the same going rate as our usual edits, plus a $25.00-$50.00 book production fee per title (not per ebook format) for remaking the books.  The price depends on how long it's been completed (things can change dramatically in the eBook world over, say, the course of a year!).  We charge the remaking fee because unlike MS Word, edits in ebooks aren't as simple as changing a typo and hitting "save;" we have to do a fair amount of work to edit an epub, save it, make certain tweaks to use it for generating a Kindle book and then making the matching Kindle version.  We're not out to gouge anyone...but even the smallest change takes time to revamp into both book formats, plus administrative and overhead.  A Kindle book (a .mobi file) is actually a binary database file that must be built from its HTML source, every time a change is made, no matter how small.  Unfortunately, this takes some time, so we have to charge to cover our costs.

We highly recommend that you save up those ubiquitous reader edits for at least six months, so that you get the most "bang for your buck." 

Back up to the Menu, which is a direct link to our Contact Information page! That page has all the ways to reach us, and our Contact Form. You can send us your manuscript for quoting directly by uploading it to us there, and a note to go with it, so we know how to reach you. That's the fastest method to get a return quote.

About the Contact Widget: the Contact widget can only accept one file, not two or more, and it cannot accept files larger than 20MB. This generally means that most fiction titles will not have an issue, but if you have an image-heavy memoir, in Word or PDF, or a graphics-heavy non-fiction title, you may need to use our corporate YouSendIt Account: CLICK HERE. Simply click that, and you can upload as many files as you need to, up to 2gigabytes in size, to us, and we'll receive them and be notified almost instantly. We do not need your cover to provide a quote, but we do require the manuscript and any and all graphics it will contain--all images, charts, drawings, fleurons, etc.

Alternatively, our phone number is also on the Contact menu, and the phones are answered after noon, MST. If you're not that familiar with the US Time Zones, here's a link to a World Time Zone map: . We're in Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America. This means that in the summer, as Phoenix does not "do" Daylight Savings Time, we are 3 hours BEHIND the East Coast (so if it's 10:00 a.m. in Miami or New York, it's 7:00 a.m. here). In winter, we are 2 hours behind (so again, 10:00 a.m. in New York, it's 8:00 a.m. here.) Generally, if you live on the East Coast, it's your best bet to try after 3:00p.m. your time. Please, if you call us before our phone hours, hanging up without leaving a message and calling us back 5 times in a row before noon won't get you a live person. We don't phone-harass people; if you leave a message, you'll receive nothing more back from us than a polite return phone call.


Calls are generally returned 3 days a week, and phone appointments are encouraged, especially in our High Season (from Labor Day through midnight, December 24th, when we are running crews 24/7). Although we run crews through Saturdays, emails and phone calls on the weekends are not returned until Monday, thanks.

With regard to sending us materials for review, quoting or production, please see our article here in the FAQ, Sending Materials. (Simply click that text to be taken immediately to the article.)

Thank you, we look forward to hearing from you.



What?  You don't know who we are?

Come on over to the "About Us" page and meet us. After all, we're dying to meet you!  Meet us here:  About Us

How To Send Us Your Materials:

When we are contacted by prospective clients, we are often asked how to send physical materials to our office, or, we receive an email telling us that something has already been sent (CD's, thumbdrives, sometimes actual books, etc.). While we appreciate the enthusiasm, we respectfully request that unless we expressly request them, please:  do not send any physical materials to our office.  If we need them, we'll ask for them, but there is almost nothing you can send that isn't sent faster and better via the Internet.  

If You Have LOTS of files, or big ones: 

We are an Internet-based business, and everything you would ever send to us, for conversion and formatting, can and should be sent either in email, via Dropbox, YouSendIt, or other methods.  If you have spectacularly large files (over 20MB), or more than one file, don't use our Contact Widget; instead use our corporate Hightail Account, which allows multiple files to be sent, or anything up to 2gigabytes in size.  If you have a Dropbox account, simply send us a link to your files for downloading.  We do not need the covers for your books to provide a quote, although we will need them for production, should you elect to proceed with us. You can find the Contact Widget at the top of every single page (look up!) on the right-hand side of the main menu. Just hover-over the contact menu item and click the "Contact Us" link.  The Contact widget can only accept ONE file.  If you try to send more than one file, or a file larger than 20MB, the Contact Widget will not function, so please use the Hightail link in this article instead.  

The Hightail link, again, is here:  Hightail.  If you have a Dropbox link, please just send it to us in email.  If you don't have a Dropbox account, but would like one, (many authors find it invaluable for preserving easy-peasy back-up copies of their work) click this link:  Get Dropbox Account.  

We Do NOT Return Any Physical Materials Sent To Us

We do not return any physical materials sent to us--not thumbdrives, CD's, etc.  If you need to have a book scanned, please discuss this with us first, as we shall most likely refer you to Golden Images, in St. Louis, MO, for scanning expertise, rather than scanning in-house.  We highly (highly!) recommend Stan Drew, Golden Images' owner, as his scanning services are, literally, second to none in the business in this country.  His website is here:  His phone number is 636-375-9999.  

We archive any books/manuscripts sent to us, in any fashion, for six months, on our servers, as we've found that many people come back to us, months after we send out a quote, to proceed.  At the 180-day mark, we delete manuscripts, materials, etc., sent to us for quoting off our servers.  If people inadvertently send us physical materials, like a printed-out manuscript, we will shred them at the same time.  Again:  if you send us a printed-out manuscript, we will not return it; we shred it.  Or a thumbdrive or a CD, which we'll wipe clean (thumbdrive) or shred (CD).  This is why we request that you use the Internet to send all materials for quoting, thanks.  Please note that almost all literary agents and publishers have the same policies now--all materials are to be shipped eletronically, over the Net.


We thank you, sincerely, for abiding by this request.  

Can I get my book faster than 8 working days?

In short, when the question is about "expediting" delivery times, here are our rules:

Unlike most of our competitors, we promise a book within a given time frame.  That time frame can move, a day or two, but generally, we hit schedules.  We don't hit schedules when we have people out sick, or have deaths in families, or other normal occurrences, because we are all humans here.  We don't have magic automated book-making tools; our books are crafted by hand.  Every book, no matter how simple the initial layout, is a custom job.  This means that we run our production crews and schedules pretty tightly, which leads to the RUSH RULES.  To repeat:

Every Book, No Matter How Simple, Is a Custom Job.

Usually, for a fiction title, delivery time is 8 working days to the ePUB review copy (your Galley, or ARC copy), from the time we receive all your production materials (at a minimum, your final manuscript and your cover).  If your book has been thoroughly and completed edited, and it really is in its final form, and you approve that ARC/Review ePUB, you'll have your Kindle book (MOBI) in about 3 more working days.  Then you'll be done and dusted, and ready to go sell your book in all formats and on all platforms.  Books from INDD (InDesign) files and other completed, done books are delivered both ePUB and MOBI on the same due date, rather than sequentially.

The RUSH rules policy:

However, we have clients that do edit their books, once they see them in eBook form, which obviously affects our scheduling, as well as those that will come back to us, mid-production, and suddenly remember that they scheduled a "book launch" party, or a blog tour, or what-have-you, and request that we rush the book.  This is our policy on RUSH requests:

  1. RUSHES are only available on fiction or simple-formatting (text only) books.  They are not available for any complexly-formatted books for any reason.  We do not offer RUSH jobs on any print books, or print + eBook packages.  
  2. RUSHES are 100% of the originally-quoted price, whether requested upfront or mid-project.  This means if your quote was $200, the rush fee is an additional $200.00, if the job is agreed to (see next paragraph).    
  3. We only offer RUSHES on a very limited-availability. At no time will we disadvantage other clients in the queue for a RUSH job.  All RUSH jobs have to agreed to be taken by one of our bookmakers, who will have to work overtime, or over their scheduled days off, to meet the deadlines for a RUSH.  If no bookmaker is willing to work the nights/weekend days required to meet a RUSH deadline, a RUSH option is not available.  No book in the queue will be "moved back" in delivery dates to accommodate a RUSH job, as that would not be fair to those waiting for their books.
  4. The RUSH guarantees can be discussed in detail upon request.  We cannot guarantee delivery times for RUSHES that have repeated revision cycles.  We solely guarantee our part of the equation--the book delivery times.  We obviously can't control that if you have 2, 3, or 7 revision cycles. 
  5. All RUSH books also have the 100% premium applied to any revision fees or edit charges.  If you have what would normally be a $10 copy-editing fee, it's $20.  
  6. The likelihood of us taking RUSH books is extremely limited, as it's very difficult for us to schedule.  As stated above, in order to run our ship as tightly as we do, each bookmaker is schedule to the hilt, day-in and day-out.


And that's the end of our "Rush Rules."  If you feel you have a rush job, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss whether or not we can take the book.  Thanks!



What the Heck Is Metadata?

When we move a book into production, we ask every client to provide us with a completed form, called the "Production Checklist."  The "PCL."  It's a simple form in Word, with boxes to be filled out by you, as the publisher.  Those boxes are "metadata."  Using the PCL is optional.  If you don't provide us with one, we'll simply embed the book name and author name in the metadata.  If you do complete it, we'll embed all the information on the form (description, tags, subjects, etc.) inside the book, invisibly.  (That's what "metadata" is for ebooks--information embedded inside a book that's invisible to the human eye, but is visible to search engines, to help them find your book in searches on the Net.)

This is one of the services that we include, as part of our Secret Sauce, to help our authors get their books sold, after they are published.  For more information please read this article from PBS and Mediashift about metadata, and how it's used:  PBS and Mediashift Article about Metadata and why we go to the trouble of adding to your book.  

Too Long, Didn't Read--What Does That Mean for Me as an Author?

The short version is this: the description, tags, subject information, that you fill out on the PCL are put inside your book so that it can be found across the Internet by search engines.  Some of these Search Egnines are able to search what is sometimes called "The Deep Web," which is merely web-geekery-speech for "databases."  The upside, though, is that by using the embedded metadata, your book is more likely to be found by someone searching for a title in your area (genre, topic) than someone whose book only uses the metadata fields available to them at upload at Amazon, B&N and the like.  It's simply part of our service.  

Don't miss that MediaShift article--it's long, but it's worth the effort and the focus.  

If your question is, "is proofreading included in my conversion," the answer is no. 

Naturally, we look over each book, and try to ensure that it's reasonably error-free before we send it to you for review; but as the publisher, you are responsible for proofreading your own book, both before and after conversion, just as all publishers are.  We convert manuscripts/books from your format or file into eBook format, just like a printer would do.  Whatever goes in for conversion, comes out after conversion.  Make sure, when you're reviewing your book for conversion, that you review our policy for copyedits post-production. 

We of course will correct any error made during the conversion process at no cost to you.

Will you provide proofreading if asked?

If you want to arrange for a proofreader during conversion, we're delighted to recommend someone to you. Simply contact us (and feel free to do this at any time, whether you're a client or not!) for the name of some first-class proofreaders, or check out our FAQ article for our recommended editors:  Recommended Editors.

Why are image sizes inside eBook difficult?

The "story" of image sizes inside ebooks is a long one.  The bottom line is that the advent of the newer, high-resolution devices has made image embedding a much more complex job.  There used to be an uber-handy Wikipedia article on the topic, where you could look up all the screensizes, resolutions, etc., by device, but some overzealous, politically-correct Content Nazi decided that this usage was "too commercial," and removed the article.  (As you can tell, this just irritates me no end!  If someone at Wikipedia grows a brain, and reinstates the article, I'll revive the struckout content.).  You can see the screen resolution of all the Kindle devices here, in this Wikipedia article:  The range of screen sizes and density is amazing.  (If your question is about COVER sizes, please see this FAQ article, What is the Correct Cover Size for Amazon eBooks?,  instead.  This article is about interior images inside of ebooks).  Although we talk primarily about Amazon devices here, the same issues and challenges are true for the Nook HD devices, as well as the later iPads versus the first-gen iPads, and the like.   

Resolution of Amazon's HD Displays

But what matters to you is this:  each device displays pixel-for-pixel.  What does that mean?  Let's assume that you're doing your Mom's memoir.  And in the frontispiece, you want to put a lovely picture you have of her.  The image that you give to us is, for this example's sake, 424 pixels wide.  In your Word file, it was 5.88" wide, taking up nearly 3/4ths of the width of your original manuscript page.  You scanned that image of Mom, on your home scanner, from an old photo, saving it at 72ppi/dpi.  How big will that ebook image be, when it's viewed on a Kindle?  The answer is:  it depends.  

  • On a Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD 7", it will be about 2" wide, across the screen.
  • On the Kindle, Kindle Keyboard 3G, Touch 3G, Touch, original Kindle Fire and the Kindle DX, it will range in size from 2.85" in width to 2.5" wide.
  • On the Kindle Fire HD 8.9", it will display at 1.66" wide--about 1 and two-thirds inches wide.
  • On the Kindle Fire HDX 7", though, Mom will only display at 1.31 inches wide.  
  • And on the big HDX, she'll be barely 1.25" wide.  Basically, the length of your thumb, from the tip to just past the last joint (nearest the tip).  Not even a quarter of the screen width.  That's a bit small for good old Mom, isn't it?  

And what about height of images?  This gets to be even greater fun.  

  • For an image to be full-height on the older Kindles, the old "800px tall" standby works pretty well.  That only works for the old devices, however.  The heights for the others are far, far greater.
  • The Paperwhites are 1024px tall.  So is the original Fire.
  • The DX is 1200 pixels tall.  
  • The Fire HDX 7" and Fire HD 8.9" are both 1920 pixels tall.  If you put an 800px tall image on those, it would only cover 40% of the screen height.
  • And the big HDX, 8.9"?  That's a whopping 2,560 pixels tall.  An 800px tall image on that would be lost, covering merely 1/3rd of the page, in terms of height.

So, what do we recommend?

Yes, this stuff gets confusing.  In terms of image-to-screen coverages, our best recommendations at this time are to use 1200px for height, 600 pix for half-height and 300pix for quarter height, all saved at a minimum of 300ppi/dpi.  If we receive these images at a high-enough resolution (use 300ppi/dpi in your Photoshop, Gimp, PC Paint, etc., program), we can ensure that these have enough clarity and crispness so that even on the larger screens, they'll produce clearly and with good detail.   If you send us images that are 72ppi in resolution, the likely outcome is going to be that it's going to be quite a bit smaller than you expect on the higher-resolution devices.  Always output your images, or save the stock images you're using, at 300ppi, to ensure that we have enough "pixels" to work with, and to prevent you from having any unhappy surprises.  

You will probably read, in various places, ebook "experts" who will tell you that they use smaller images, and "just set it to be 100%, so it always fills the screen."  While that sounds nice and easy, and almost sounds like it makes sense, if you've ever seen an image blown up too much, that's what can happen if a smaller image is simply enlarged too much--it becomes pixilated.  So you want to be sure, whenever you can, to use or give us the best-possible image quality for your books.  We use custom coding for each and every image, to ensure that it is displayed at the best possible size for every device.