The Importance of Professionalism in Formatting

Hello all!

Today’s publishing industry is a foggy highway with a 50-car pileup. The rise of self-publishing, while giving authors incredible freedom, has glutted the market with a ton of, to be quite honest, inferior content. It’s weird to say this, but one of the advantages of the old traditional publishing system is that it served as a filter. Once you jumped through the hoops of queries, agents, etc, your book was generally (I know there were exceptions!) a polished final product, one that editors, formatters, cover designers had all contributed to.

Today, an author can type their manuscript in Word, upload directly to vendors, design their own cover in PhotoShop, and skip the editing process altogether. Authors have become jacks of many trades, when they should ideally be master of one… writing! There are no gatekeepers. There are no obstacles. So, you, the new self-publisher, need some way to distinguish yourself from the teeming masses of new releases. Hopefully, once people read your work, the quality of your story will set you apart, but how do you get people to choose your book in the first place, with so much competition to wade through?

First, and most importantly, you need to invest in a quality cover. Maybe you have an artistic eye, maybe you’re a PhotoShop wizard. More than likely though, a professional graphic designer is the best choice for you. Making this commitment will pay for itself by sheer virtue of making your book stand out amongst an increasingly crowded digital bookshelf.

Second, hire an editor, or at the very least, have a group of trusted beta readers that will iron out your grammatical readers. I am NOT an editor, but I can’t count the number of times that I’ve made grammar corrections to a manuscript I was formatting. It is nearly impossible for an author to edit his/her own book. You’re too familiar with it.

Finally, (and this is where I come in!) formatting is integral to the presentation of your final product. Earlier, I mentioned that you can upload a .doc file directly to most of the major vendors. This is true, but you lose a ton of customization options that way. Building an EPUB from scratch allows for custom fonts, chapter headings with graphics, custom scene breaks, drop caps, and a myriad of other options that can really make your book’s interior shine. Readers notice these things… take a stroll through some Amazon reviews of some self-published books. People can be brutal when it comes to a poorly formatted and poorly edited book.

As always, I stand ready to make your manuscript beautiful and easily navigable. Shoot me an email at, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Dallas Hodge
Everything But The Book

Digital Content Management? Whaaat?

Yeah, digital content management. It looks like a random collection of corporate buzzwords, like I’m about to start talking about shifting paradigms or something. In reality, though, digital content management is a way that Everything But The Book can save an established author a TON of time and effort.

So, imagine this scenario… you’re a reasonably successful indie author, to the point where this is your career. Congratulations! It’s hard to get to that point! You have… oh, let’s say 10 books, novellas, serials, etc available to your adoring fans. And you have a new release coming out! Woohoo!

You are going to want links to your new release in the back of your entire catalog. (Affiliate links if possible… see previous blog post) Let’s assume that you just stuck with the big five, so your 10 books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and Google. The links have to be different for each vendor, obviously, so you’re looking at 50 individual files that need to be tweaked with that new release. But your copy edits just came back, you know that social media time with your fans is important, and you haven’t packed yet for that conference in a couple of days!

Long story short, mass updates like that are a tedious slog. I rarely hear my author friends talk about all the time they have, and frankly, unless you have the ability to dig into HTML coding in an EPUB, you’re taking your own life in your hands by even messing with it. So, that’s where I come in! Feel free to click over to the Pricing page, and see what EBTB can do for you to save you time that you’d rather be spending writing! (Or relaxing, God forbid…)

Talk to you next time!

Dallas Hodge