What are your thoughts?

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Since I’m getting close to releasing my first e-publication, I thought I’d take the time to ask you folks some questions in regards to e-books.

Let’s start with covers. I love a good cover and one of the things I get sad about with e-books is the fact that you don’t really get a good look at it unless you hunt it down (in your reader menus you can normally click to go to it). Sometimes, they have the front (and if you’re lucky back) covers all the way at the end. That’s a nice surprise, but I wonder why they don’t put it in the beginning. I can understand that if you have too much front end info, people might get annoyed about how many times they have to click to get to the start of the story, but I’d think to have the cover image come up first, it’d be just like reading a hard version. What do you guys think? Would you be annoyed by having the cover image come up before the title page or first page of text (chapter/prologue)?

Then there’s a table of contents. I kind of never understood why fiction books have them. I guess maybe if you always stop reading at the end of a chapter and don’t use a bookmark, they’d be handy, but do people really read like that? In an e-book, the only plus for them I can think of is if you know something is in a certain chapter and you want to go back and look at it, the table of contents is a quick way to get back there, but again, how often do people do that? I think they’re kind of pointless for the most part. Do you ever use it in a fiction book?

I’ve already discussed bio pictures before. I’m putting one in. You don’t want to see it? Too bad! ^_^Β  I dislike most pictures of myself but I know I like to see what an author looks like so I figure you guys might want to see as well.

What are your thoughts about excerpts from other novels at the end of the book? Does it have to be from the book’s sequel (if they have one) or is another novel from the author acceptable? Do you even bother to read them?

I think that’s about all I can think of at the moment. If I’ve missed something important you want to comment on, please feel free! I want this to be an enjoyable experience for everyone so your thoughts and comments are really helpful. Thanks in advance everyone!

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13 responses »

  1. Covers are extremely important and shouldn't be missed. Most professionally assembled e-books include the cover and yours would be remiss if you didn't put one in.

    As to table of contents, it's good practice to include one as well as a glossary or appendix if necessary. Make it easy on the reader and you are more likely to stand out as a Pro.

    Bio pictures are part of your branding as well as being standard practice. Make sure you choose a headshot you are ok with using in each subsequent book or you risk losing that branding tool.

    And of course, once your book is published be sure to list it to get eyes on the cover.

    Allison Duncan
    Editor, AuthorOutbreak.com

  2. Or Author Outbreak πŸ˜€

    Cover is the key to the world. If that cover doesn't work, you lose the reader before they ever see your blurb.

    Blurb is next. You need a good, punchy blurb that can draw the reader into the story. This is the “back cover blurb” that now shows as “product description.” This HAS to work or they won't sample.

    Sample has to be tight. The first 10% of your book needs EXTRA attention. There are too many grammar nazis and spelling beeatches out there that'll toss an indie for spelling faster than they can say Paulo Bachagaloupi. Don't give them an excuse…and make SURE the sample has .. like .. part of the story in it. Don't front load your epub with a lot of clutter.

    ToCs, author photos, anything other than Cover, Copyright, and maybe dedication … Move to the Back of the Book. Let your sample show. If it's too short people will think you're hiding something — like poor writing.

    Good luck, Ms Bee!

  3. Ahhh good point Mr. Lowell! I wasn't thinking about what the sample would show and I suppose if you front load stuff, then you're not going to get much of the story itself! Thanks!

  4. I like having the cover in the ebook. I also think a bio picture is a good idea. I like having the back cover at the end. I usually use the table of contents ti jump around so it is annoying when an e book does not have one.

  5. I think table of contents are only really needed if you name the chapters because some people like to read through those before starting. I don't, but I know others do. But even if you don't name the chapters, it might be a good thing to have in ebooks since you can link them and get to the chapter easier that way.

    I completely forgot a bio picture for Being Human. Oh well, maybe the next one. If someone ever gets back to me w/ her option that is. *stares at MB* πŸ˜‰

  6. Oh my stars! Haven't even thought of adding an excerpt to the end of it. Everything else you've said I agree with. I've thought on both the author photo and the book cover question long and hard. Both are important – spend money on getting them done right if you have to!

  7. Good questions! I love a good cover too, but with the Kindle app I have, I can see why it takes me straight to the first page of the book, rather than the cover. After all, by clicking on the book, it's like opening a paperback or hardcover.

    In a paperback, the table of contents never made much sense to me, but I like how, in eBooks, you can click on a chapter to go directly to it. I think they're more helpful in this format. I have to say I haven't actually used the ToC yet though…

    I also love excerpts from other novels, and I don't mind if it's a sequel, another novel by the author, or even a short story related to the book I've just read. It often makes me want to read more of the author's work too.

  8. Emlyn I figured even if it's just a chapter of something else, it will get people thinking about what you've got coming out next (or already out) so it couldn't hurt. I was just curious as to how many people actually read them.

    CD I guess I just haven't found myself using the linked ToC in an e-book yet because in fiction, I don't normally have a need. Non-fiction is a totally different story though.

    Thanks for the input all!

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