Once you’ve mastered the art of writing a traditional manuscript, the next step is to venture into the world of ebooks. Although the methodologies for writing a traditional book and an ebook are similar, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of.
The Demographics Behind eBook Readership
One of the biggest differences between a traditional book and an ebook is the demographic that comprises the audience. In a nutshell, people who have purchased a Kindle, Nook, or other ebook readers are more likely to be interested in reading fictional stories than they are interested in reading non-fiction. In fact, some industry analysts forecast that by 2017, 50% of all book sales will be made through ebooks.
Considering that so much of our culture is mediated through technology, it is not entirely surprising that individuals would flock to digital spaces to consume content. However, this demographic difference makes it imperative that you craft your book’s story line and the characters within the story line with the Kindle, Nook, or other ebook audience in mind.
Why an Ebook?
Unlike a traditional book, an ebook allows for more interactivity between the reader and the author. For instance, you can click on a word in the book to see it highlighted in a different color onscreen, or you can click on a line of dialogue to have the character’s response displayed below the line.
Not only does interactivity attract potential readers, but it also makes the experience more enjoyable for the people already interested in your book. When an author engages with her audience through an ebook, the results are more likely to be constructive and educational rather than mere entertainment.
In the near future, more people than ever will be dependent on ebook readers and platforms like Kindle, Nook, and the Apple iBooks Store for their literature needs. To ensure the best possible experience for your readers, it is important that you craft an ebook that is as perfect as possible.
What Makes for a Perfect Ebook?
Now that you’re equipped with an idea of the demographics that will be reading your book, it’s time to figure out what makes up a perfect ebook.
Although many self-help, how-to, and fiction books exist in electronic form, perfect ebooks must adhere to a set of guidelines so that they can be presented in the best possible way on an ebook reader.
Here’s a short list of some of the things that make up a perfect ebook:
- A perfectly formatted ebook should have a page margin of 1.5 inches on all sides
- The text should be neither too small nor too large
- The text should be evenly spaced throughout the book
- The ebook should have the same font sizes and styles as the printed book
- Each chapter should have a title page, a table of contents, and a chapter opening
- The ebook should not have any missing pages
- The ebook should not have any pages with stains or tears
- The ebook should not be full of spelling or grammar errors
- The ebook should not be written in a foreign language (for example, English should be used throughout the entire book)
- The ebook should not be encoded in non-standard file formats (such as Word’s Rich Text Format or Adobe Acrobat’s PDF)
- The ebook should be free from any viruses, worms, or malware
- The ebook should be available in both electronic and physical forms
- The rights to the ebook should be owned by the author
- When submitting the ebook to a digital distributor, the title should be included
- The text of the ebook should be easily accessible
The purpose of these guidelines is to present your book in the best possible way on an ebook reader. Remember, your readers have very specific preferences when it comes to how their content is presented. For instance, some people might prefer to have larger font sizes and more contrast between the text and background colors. So, by adhering to these guidelines, you’re ensuring that your ebook will be optimized for maximum readability and enjoyment by your audience.
If you want to write an ebook but aren’t sure where to start, fret not. As a writer, you already have an idea of what makes up a traditional book. With that in mind, you can easily apply the same format to produce an ebook. Once you’ve written a couple of ebooks, you’ll be able to produce an optimized version of your final product for whatever platform you choose.