“You have to have an ebook” is the message I keep hearing from from people across the independent publishing world. Ebooks account for 20 percent of the book market in 2011- and that figure is up 10 percent in one year. Amazon launched the Kindle Fire to compete with the iPad. Many publishers have started creating both ebook and print versions of their most successful authors’ work. The evidence is clear. The print word is not dead, but to not capitalize on “e power” is to miss out on the great opportunity afforded by technology.
I began to ask people how hard is it to turn a print book into an ebook. I was told it is not that difficult, if you know what you are doing. So, I started shopping around for someone who knows what they are doing. I talked with a book editor in my apartment gym. I called the book designer who worked with me on my print book. I interviewed several publishers that specialize in ebooks in my effort to understand the ebook conversion process. I learned that because my book was a relatively simple document (few pictures and images) it should be a quick process.
I found a publisher to convert my print book, but before that could happen I needed to address the concern about my book cover. On several occasions, people remarked that my cover did not read well virtually. Specifically, they did not feel it would generate interest in the book when found online. That was difficult to hear. I had worked with a designer friend to design the print version of the text, including the cover. We had worked over months to craft out every detail of the print version. To discover, from people who knew success in the e publishing world, that covers are critical and mine missed the mark left me having to embrace a change that I was not sure I wanted to make.
I hired the designer who designed the covers for my independent publishing coach to create a new cover. He asked me to send him examples of covers I liked, images that interest me, and the jacket text. From there, he worked his magic. We went round and round about images, font, colors, details (large and small), and a new cover emerged. This cover presents a different take on my book.
My ebook is now available. The creation of my e-book cover represents the larger shift I was being asked to make. Producing a new cover required I think about marketing my book in way that drew upon my artistic intent but considered my pitch in calculated terms. With respect to technology, I had to develop my vocabulary to be able to discuss the mechanics of the conversion process to my publishers. The new cover also required I continue to define my audience, platform and image beyond my previous understanding. My voice needed to become clearer, distinct, and resonant. The new cover has come with a few growing pains. I have had to acknowledge a past lack of message and muddled intent. I think I have arrived in a better place.