HomeAuthor WritingMinistryLeadershipDoes quality matter in the new publishing paradigm?

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Does quality matter in the new publishing paradigm? — 16 Comments

  1. Outstanding points! Thank you for this post and congrats on your latest work!

  2. This week I read about a writer who formatted her ebooks in Dreamweaver. What’s your take on exporting ID design elements into dreamweaver? Or could one work the other way around?

    I love my InDesign, but my one try with its export-to-ebook feature added a lot of flubber in the file size for my picture book. (There were other things that at the time that the good people at Adobe couldn’t fix for me – background color other than white, for example – and so I abandoned InDesign for the ebook project). I still believe it’s the premium software for print.

    I’m on a quest to find a way where parts of the design work is done only once and then works for both print and digital.

    P.S. What is the name of the font in the headlines? Love it.

  3. Thank you for this post! But doesn’t quality always matter, no matter the paradigm? To me, lack of quality is a deal-breaker, in my own work or that of others. But ‘quality’ is a relative term – eye of the beholder.

    Due to financial and time constraints, I chose to self-publish my photo-illustrated (200 photos) memoir (60K words) as an e-book last summer. Prior to publication, I spent nearly as much time attending to the e-book quality issues as I did writing the book; and I’m proud of how it came out, given the technical limitations of e-books at the time.

    When Joel Friedlander’s Word templates were released recently, I was one of the first to jump on them to help me convert my e-book into a quality CreateSpace POD product. (I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw that option come available, as I was stuck without the means to move forward to a print edition.) I fully understand that the design will simply be basic but clean, within the CreateSpace specs and acceptable to a wide range of readers. That’s good enough for me right now.

    What will be the quality of the POD version? That’s where my own sensibilities come in. Again, I am spending a serious amount of time re-converting my photos for digital printing, and I’m currently on my third mini-book proof coming back from CreateSpace, looking for the best photo reproduction I can get out of POD digital printing. I won’t release the POD version unless/until I find the quality acceptable.

    Granted, it won’t be an InDesign-designed high-end coffee table book of photographs. (Maybe that will be the third edition.) But for me, and countless others out here who are forced by circumstances to do most of this themselves, this is a great option that gets the job done.

  4. Tina, you can certainly use DW, but it is not needed. M new. Book due out this week will give instructions. The font is Economica (Google).

  5. Rosie, I’m glad Joel’s templates are a good upgrade for you. I recommend starting with a solid print design executed in InDesign. It’s easy to lower the quality to HTML for ePubs & Kindle books. InD makes it clean and easy. Take a look at my new book, Practical Professional Self-Publishing Handbook. It’s due out Tuesday.

  6. You seem to equate quality with illustration. For those of us writing fiction there are no blurry illustrations to deal with. Yes, the typesetting could be more precise, but the old pulp novels sold wonderfully well despite not rising to the aesthetic level you are suggesting.

    I don’t mean to sound like I am ignoring quality. I think it is very important, but your blog is a one-dimensional look at the subject. The publishing paradigm has to include novels and poetry as well as illustrated nonfiction. With a good outside editor and a professional cover designer, a well-written novel is high quality no matter what software it is created in. And you say that KINDLE is 35%. I don’t see that EPUB and other formats benefit from expensive software any more than mobi does.

  7. HI Ed,

    I believe you’re missing the entire point. The quality minimum is typography and Word/Scrivener/et al are incapable of many typographic essentials.

  8. Here I would disagree. A quality novel is one that has typography that is easily readable. In ebooks in particular, the publisher doesn’t even truly control the typography. When the reader can change fonts and font size, your aesthetic becomes obsolete. In print books a nicely typeset book is ideal, but word is capable of producing a text that readers enjoy reading. The “typographic essentials” you refer to ARE being lost in the changing paradigm you refer to. And even in the glory days of print books, many fantastic novels were produced with little attention paid to typesetting nuances. Are there levels of typesetting quality? Absolutely. But to say that a book done with a program like word lacks quality is a bit of typesetters’ snobbery.

    Furthermore, you seem to confuse ebooks with KND select. You say “Huge numbers of authors are writing in Word, formatting in Word, and publishing from Word. The only thing that matters is Kindle. ‘KDP will convert my Word docs, no problem. Because I’m unknown I’ll give my books away.’”

    Why are you combining these? What does Amazon converting your books (or Smashwords, or anything else) have to do with giving books away and not being able to raise the price. If you want to sell ebooks, you have to convert them, but you are free to charge whatever you think is fair for them. And lower your price if it doesn’t work. Or raise it later. Many writers have increased sales by raising the price. Those are marketing decision and have nothing to do with typesetting (aka “quality”) at all, which you say is the point I am missing. Besides, you HAVE to use word to create the documents for some conversions anyway, so you seem to be saying that only print books created with programs you approve of are quality books. Perhaps from an aesthetic perspective there is some truth in that, but readers disagree. And I am a writer and publisher who is interested in giving readers quality stories in the format they want.

  9. Hi Ed,
    You don’t have to use Word at all. I don’t own a copy & don’t ever use Pages or Scrivener except for raw copy. You can do a lot in InDesign to produce typography using CSS that continues to work no matter what font or size they want to use. Now that Smashwords takes ePUBs, Word is of little or no use. InDesign exports good ePUBs and KF8 books. It already made the best PDFs.

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