Friday, June 8, 2018

Writing for Electronic Books by Sandy Penny

Writing for
Electronic Books

by Sandy Penny,
Fresh Eyes Proofing

I read and review many books on my Kindle, and I often use my read-aloud feature. Once you get used to the sound of electronic speak, it's great to have, and it saves these old eyes. There are some things I've noticed that make the experience less enjoyable though.

If you use page numbers in your file, the auto reader may read out the page numbers in the middle of sentences. Pages vary with the size of the device screen. Kindle files note character counts for finding things.

If you use certain large fonts for chapter headings, it can cause the reading to stop, and you have to manually restart the reading. That's annoying, especially if you read in bed. Just use standard fonts like Times or Ariel with larger headings, using document formatting so all headings will be the same size. If you don't use a standardized format, the file may not keep your settings for headings, and you'll have issues in the final file.

If you use cute art swirls or tiny pictures between chapters, that will also cause the reading to stop, and it gets really annoying to keep starting and stopping the Kindle reader.

If you type in all caps, it will sometimes read it letter by letter and not word for word. It's better to use bold or italics and larger so it reads correctly.

Be sure to follow the free directions provided by Amazon or other electronic options so the file will work properly on the device, especially if you use photos in the book.

Fresh Eyes Proofing - Every author needs fresh eyes.Abbreviations: When you use St. for Saint or Street, it will read street, so it's better to spell out abbreviations for proper electronic reading. Unusual spellings for characters may not be read correctly as well.

If you use Amazon, be sure you save a copy of the .mobi file once it is formatted, in case you want to share the file with a reader/reviewer so they can use their device for the reading. PDFs and Docs are just not as easy to use. Even though Amazon does not encourage this practice, well-known readers/reviewers can still post reviews that are recognized on Amazon.

If a reader/reviewer shares that there are errors in the file, pay attention, go through the file, and correct them. Don't expect the reader to provide you with a list of the errors. Editors/proofreaders charge for that service, and you can't expect readers to do that work for free. If a reader does offer that list of errors, fix them and let the reader know you fixed them, and request they change their review, if that was a factor. Also, show your appreciation by offering a free book to the reader if you have additional titles. That will encourage them to share more with you and to review more of your books. It's a good way to develop a relationship with your readers who love your stories, and readers will often share their reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media sites, and possibly with their book club friends. It's just great marketing.

Whatever happens with reviewers, don't get discouraged. I often don't like violent books and give them a low rating, but my low rating lets readers who like violent books know this is something they may like. So, a low rating is not necessarily a bad thing for an author.

Write On - My Friends.

~Sandy Penny

I love my Kindle Unlimited. I get to read so many great books for one low price. 
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