March 11, 2024

Episode 61: Cast a Wider Net​:

Producing Your Book in Multiple Formats

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of your manuscript

Episode 61: Cast a Wider Net: Producing Your Book in Multiple Formats

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Podcast

Notes

Releasing your book in print, ebook, audiobook, and other formats allows you to reach wider audiences. In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, we discuss strategies and tools for converting your manuscript into alternate versions. Learn how to partner with narrators, publishers, and distribution platforms to share your content through multiple channels. We provide tips to optimize each format while maintaining your brand voice and style. Diversify your delivery methods to boost discovery, engagement, and sales of your book.

Recap & Takeaways

  • 01:24 What are the benefits of multiple formats?
  • 04:10 Converting your book into multiple formats
  • 10:02 Optimization tips for eBooks
  • 15:31 Optimization tips for audiobooks
  • 20:53 Optimization tops for physical books
  • 26:40 Quality

Resources Mentioned

Transcript for Episode 61: Cast a Wider Net: Producing Your Book in Multiple Formats

Hello, and welcome to The Author Switch Podcast. Did you know that the more formats you have your book in, the more things you can sell, the greater impact you’ll have, and the more people you’ll reach? In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, I’ll be talking about various things you need to know in order to get your book in multiple formats.

 

[INTRO]

 

Hello and welcome to The Author Switch Podcast. I am your host, Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write a lead- or client-attracting book in 90 days or less. And today I’m going to talk about having your book in multiple formats. Why you should have it in multiple formats, various tools you can use to convert your book into multiple formats, and then some optimizing tips for each of those different format types.

 

So let’s get started. What are the benefits of having multiple formats?  The main benefit is that you can reach more people. Because, and I’ve, I’ve said this in other venues, but there are people who will only listen to audiobooks. There are people who will only read eBooks. And there are people who will only read physical books.

 

And if you can have your book in all three of these formats, then you can reach those people who won’t read the other format. So you get a wider audience. And, when you reach more people, you have the greater opportunity of making a bigger impact in the world with your message, with your information.

 

So those are the benefits. Now, there are some benefits for you as well that are beyond that. And that is the more things you have available to sell, even if that thing is just different versions of the same thing, the more sales you make, the more sales you make, the more royalties you make. Yay!  Who doesn’t like more royalties, right?

 

In fact, I was reading a book, I’ve been reading a book, what, that said you need at least 28 things on Amazon in order to break into the royalties that can actually pay bills. Pay bills. And it doesn’t have to be 28 books. It could be less than that because it has to be 28 things. You could have a hardback, a paperback, an e book, an audio book, A workbook that goes with it.

 

And that can come in eBook and physical book. All these different things. The more things you have, the more money you potentially can make. And that is one of the reasons why I’m releasing one book a month this year, is to test that theory. Because I’ve been hearing that theory for a really long time.

 

And I want to see if it works for me. It may or may not. We’ll see, and I will be reporting in as I go. I’ve only released one book so far. The second book I gave to my editor just this morning as this is recorded. On the day this was recorded, I turned in my manuscript the other day, and I hope to have the book released while it’s still February.

 

Oh, anyway, and I, and for those of you watching the recording, The book will have been released already. If not, I’m going to be a very unhappy camper. Anyway, here we go. So that is why you want to have your book in multiple formats. More money, greater impact, more reach. Simple as that. Now, there are a variety of ways that you can convert your book into these various formats.  

 

One very good way, if you don’t want to do it yourself, is to have someone on 99designs do it for you. That’s how I got Home Sweet Home Page in both paperback, hardcover, and eBook, I did a design contest for the interior and that person did the main design and then converted it for me into those three formats, three formats, so that all I had to do is upload each format to wherever I needed to upload it and BAM! The book was created. The cover designer also created different versions of the cover so that it would fit in all these formats.

 

So a 99designs contest is, last time I checked it was just under $300. And it is so well worth it because you have multiple designers. Vying to design your thing, which is pretty cool and $300 for your interior or your cover it’s a bargain. It’s a bargain.

 

Another tool and I’ve been using this to create my eBook versions and that is a software called Atticus. A T T I C U S. And the reason why I chose Atticus is because I’m working on a series of five books. Book one came out in January. Book two is going to drop any day now. And three is in March. Four is in April. Five is in May.  And then once all those books are released, I can use Atticus to create a bundle, a box set of my books. That’s why I chose Atticus, but there are other software tools as well. Now, if you’re creating an audio book, ACX is the main one that most people use. It does have very specific audio file, uh, specs that you need to follow, or you can’t get it up there.

 

If you’re really good at sound engineering, Do it yourself. No problem. I don’t want to be bothered to learn all that. So I usually hire, well, I hired one and then that book fell through because it turned out it was just too hard to turn into an audiobook because of all the things that went in it.

 

But these eBooks I will be turning into audiobooks and I’m hiring an audio engineer to do it for me, probably. It depends on how fast I want to get it done. Sometimes, an audio engineer is going to take a little bit longer, and if you can do it faster, it just, it all depends on how much your time is worth and how much budget you have.

 

Because regardless of what you do, you’re either going to pay in money or time. Or both!  

 

Now Spotify, which is starting to get into the audiobook market, has something called Findaway Voices. And you can hire out a voice artist on Findaway Voices to read your book and create your audiobook for you.

 

And then it can go out live on Spotify, and then Spotify will actually distribute it everywhere.

 

There’s also a software called Authors Republic, which does multiple platforms. Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing, you can upload a Word doc and it will format it into an e book. And then once your e book’s published, you can push a button and it’ll format it into a paperback and or a hardcover.

 

There’s Barnes Noble Press that usually publishes for the Nook, again, just like Kindle Direct Publishing, KDP. You upload a Word document, and it formats it into various E versions that it needs to be.

 

Smashwords, you have to do it yourself, but Smashwords is a really good distributor. Once you’ve got your thing, I believe they take EPUB.

 

Lulu.com is a nice alternative to IngramSpark. Both Lulu and IngramSpark can get your book into bookstores because it goes through it’s not Bowker, I think it’s Ingram. Anyway, it gets it into the book distribution thing. I forget what the distribution catalog that bookstores use to order their books.

 

Now that doesn’t mean that your book will actually end up on the shelves of bookstores, but it does mean that anyone will be able to walk into a bookstore, look for your book, not find it, and then go up to the information desk or the help desk and say, I’d like to order this book and then they’ll look it up and they’ll go, Oh yes, I can order that book for you. And they order it for you or for the person. And therefore you’re basically in bookstores.

 

So there you go. Those are all the various conversion tools that I did a little bit of research on. And what’s nice is some of them only do eBooks. Some of them only do physical books. Some of them do only do audiobooks.

 

Some of them do a combination thereof. Try them out. Check them out. See what works for you. Because the reason why I gave you several is because everybody interacts with software differently. I mean, like, I like the interface of Atticus. I’ve tried some other things, and I didn’t like, I got confused.

 

Atticus works for me. So, try them out. Most of these software have a free trial that you can try them out. And Atticus also had a, right around the, I think it was in the New Year, they had a sale on their annual. So that is why I got it. That and the book bundle box set thing, which is big.

 

Which is big if you’re going to box set your content, it’s great to have somebody like a software do that for you. Okay, so enough with manuscript conversion tools. Let’s move on to optimization tips. These tips are all for eBooks.   So first you want to use flowable text, which allows the text to resize to different screens and avoid fixed layouts. Now, if you’re doing Word and you’re going to upload it to any of these software, they’ll automatically do that for you. But keep that in mind when you’re creating your manuscript in the first place. You can put images in, but they’re a little bit harder to deal with.

 

So you want to not have too many images in your book because it doesn’t work very well with eBooks, it just doesn’t. So you want to avoid anything that’s going to be fixed. And you want it to be able to flow. You want it to be able to go with the flow. That’s it. Um, again, if you are going to use images, you need to optimize them for the screen.

 

Which means they need to be 72 DPI, they cannot be high res. And you want to optimize the file size as well. And each of these platforms will tell you, there’ll be a somewhere, somewhere in there, they will tell you this, if you’re going to use an image, use these specs, follow them. They’re there for you so that your images look good in the resulting eBook.

 

If multimedia is allowed, because not all eBooks will allow multimedia, some eBook formats do, some eBook formats don’t. You can embed them in your book. Ultimately, I think it’s better to do something like give a URL to like a YouTube video, or better yet, get a QR code that takes them to the YouTube video.

 

That way you don’t have to worry about embedded content at all. Now, as these platforms get better and more advanced, this advice may go right out the window.  But right now, if you want to use multimedia, you probably want to go with just putting in links that send them to, to where that media is.

 

And it can be on YouTube, or it can be on your website. It can even be behind an email wall. Be careful how you phrase that. Don’t say, just go there and get it. Let them know they’re going to have to put their email to get the content.

 

And Enhanced Navigation. This is a little bit more techy than my pay grade, but you want to use an NCX file. Look that up and add an interactive table of contents. Now, I believe that if you upload your Word document, like Atticus automatically creates an interactive table of contents for me. In fact, I don’t even have to create the table of contents. I just upload the content and it organized it into chapters and creates a table of contents.

 

It’s great. I don’t, I mean, it’s, it literally took me like 15 minutes to create the eBook manuscript from my last book in January. And then I uploaded it to Kindle within 24 hours, it was ready to buy. So, these software are awesome. I highly suspect that Designrr is something you can use, although right now a lot of their stuff is highly designed and therefore probably is better for like PDF downloads on your own website.

 

Metadata. You want to include metadata: Keywords, categories, author bio, all that information goes into the software. Not necessarily the book, but it goes into the software. Kindle walks you through it, Atticus can walk you through it. Smashwords walks you through it. Nook walks you, whenever you’re uploading your book into whatever publisher distribution channel you’re going to use, Lulu, Ingram, they all have places for you to add your metadata.

 

Make use of that. Again, keywords, categories, and an author bio.

 

And, when you can, link to other books. Now, you can either literally link them with links, but you gotta be careful with that. Like, if you put Amazon links in your book, you can’t use anything but Amazon to sell that particular version of the book.

 

So it might make more sense to have book pages on your website and link to that. Before I go into the optimization tips for audiobooks and physical books, I have a quick word from our sponsor.

 

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Welcome back to The Author Switch Podcast. I’m your host, Carma Spence and I help entrepreneurs write a lead and client attracting book in 90 days or less. Before the commercial, I was talking about why you want to have your book in multiple formats. I shared a bunch of software tools that you can use to convert your book into these various formats.

 

And then I shared some optimization tips for your eBook. Now I’d like to share some optimization tips for audio books. 

 

So first you want to choose the right narrator. Now, if you’re an entrepreneur writing a lead attracting book, the right narrator is most likely you.  If you can be the narrator of your book, that creates a relationship with your audiobook listeners that cannot happen if someone else is reading your book.

 

Now, if you are nervous or you don’t like your voice on recording or what, for whatever reason you do not want or cannot narrate your own book, then be very careful of your narrator so that their style matches yours. So, for example, if you might want to have a male narrator, regardless of whether you’re male or not.

 

You may want to have a female narrator, regardless of whether you’re a female or not. And that all depends on who your audience is, what their style is, all those things. Vet your narrator if you’re not going to go with it yourself.

 

You want to make sure that you have, correct pronunciation of names and words.

 

That means if you’re using someone else, you’re going to want to provide your narrator with some sort of style guide. So, for example, Gildemeister. That’s my married name. Sometimes people will look at that word and they’ll come up with the wackiest pronunciations I’ve ever heard. I’ve never had a problem with it.

 

I knew it was Gildemeister from the moment I saw it. I don’t know, maybe, maybe it was just because, maybe that was a sign that we were meant to be. Or maybe, maybe it’s something else, who knows. Anyway, if you’ve got weird words or words that people will flub on, put in your script for the audio book pronunciation guides.

 

Add sections. Break your chapters into parts that make it easy to navigate for the reader. Remember I told you earlier I was going to make an audiobook? That was Public Speaking Super Powers. And as I was working on the script, I kept having to add in all this extra verbiage so that people could go to a PDF that was growing and growing and growing and growing for all the extra stuff that is really easy to communicate in an eBook or a paperback or a hardcover but is a pain in the butt to communicate via audiobooks.

 

So when you’re creating your audiobook script, Either A, you’re going to have to create some form of downloadable that they can get, or you’re going to have to modify your audiobook so that it is more of a condensed version of your actual book and doesn’t include all the bells and whistles. So you’re going to, again, you’re not actually giving someone the book and telling them to read it.

 

You’re actually going to have to turn your book into a script and you’re going to put in guides on how to pronounce things. You’re going to break it up so that the narrator, which he could include you, can read it more easily. For each file, now ACX likes you to break up the book, so each chapter is its own file and you’re going to need to add opening and closing credit.

 

You’re going to have a file that’s opening credits and you’re going to have a file that’s closing credits. You may have to add stuff at the beginning and the end of each chapter so that people know that that’s the next track. Read the instructions. ACX has detailed instructions on how to do that. If you’re using some other service, I’m sure they do that as well, like Findaway Voices.

 

And you want to make it consistent. Use the same narrator throughout. And you want to make sure the pronunciations are the same throughout, so that your listeners have a standard experience, a consistent experience of your book.

 

Now, again, an audio engineer can help with this. You want to make sure you have a really good mic, that you’re in a silent room if you’re doing the narration.

 

My audio engineer suggested I get this fancy little box that has like little spongy things on the side to reduce noise. And use my Yeti, because that’s what I’m using now, a Yeti. But test your mics. In fact, I actually did audio samples on like, I had five different mics, and I said, okay, is it this one, this one, this one, or this one, and he ended up liking the Yeti the most, so that’s what I was starting to record on, and then that project just fell through.

 

But I do intend to do it for the eBooks, so, but that shouldn’t stop you from buying them. You should still buy the eBooks.

 

Anyway, next tip is to explain branding considerations across formats so that you maintain a consistent cover design, author bio, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Again, if you’re using a 99designs to do your cover, you can say, in your 99designs contest, you can say, I want a design and I want the design to work for paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.

 

And then they’ll create a main design, you approve it, and then they’ll create all those formats for you. There you go.

 

Now here are some optimization tips for physical books.  And one thing I want to tell you is if you’ve got a hardcover and a paperback, those will require different covers and slightly different interiors.

 

Because even if they’re both 6×9, which is the standard size, they don’t end up actually being the same size because a hardcover has like all this extra stuff because it’s a thicker cover. Plus you’ll probably be creating a dust jacket. I mean you can do, there’s two types of hardcovers. You can do the cover that’s actually like printed in the hardcover or you can do a dust jacket which looks so much more fancy.

 

Anyway, it depends. It’s all, it’s what are you going for? What, what is your brand? What’s your goal? Who’s your reader? What will be the best way to do this? With Public Speaking Super Powers, I went with a dust cover. It looks really, really, it looks really nice. With, Home Sweet Home Page, I experimented with Kindle’s, and that’s printed right on the hardcover, which also looked nice. But it’s a different experience.

 

So you want to make sure that your cover looks professional and appealing and has the right DPI. It needs to be high res because it’s going to be printed.

 

And a printed thing is different than a digital thing. And you need it to be higher res. You’re getting your designer. We’ll know about this. Plus, if you’re having a physical book, you’re going to need a place for the bar code and the price and all these other things. You’re going to want to design the cover so that there’s an author bio on the cover.

 

Usually, your picture and bio go on the back with a little description of your book and the cover is just the cover with your name on it and the title and the subtitle and some design elements.

 

Also on a paperback or a hardcover, you may include genre information and this all helps hook your readers.

 

Page layout for the internal. You want to include ample margins.

 

Now, with Home Sweet Home Page, I learned the hard way. I thought it would look really, really cool if my section pages, my section titles were white print on black. And it did. It looked beautiful. However, it increased the cost of the book because they had to go to thicker paper, to the point where I would be paying people to buy the book.

 

So I went, never mind, well we won’t do that. And I went to black print on white. So you need to be really careful about those things. If you’re working with a publisher, they might be able to figure out a way to have that kind of fancy look and have it not cost an arm and a leg. But if you’re going with like Ingram or, and, and these days since COVID, paper and production costs for books have really gone up.

 

So just stay away from the fancy white on black. You want to have as little ink as possible so that your paper doesn’t get wet and need a thicker stock.

 

Print quality. Again, you want it to be high res. You want it to print really well. You want to avoid images if you can. This is for self-publishing.

 

Self-publishing, it’s just better if you kind of guerilla it and don’t include a lot of images, don’t do a lot of fancy design thing that causes too much ink on the page. Again, I learned the hard way.

 

Page count. Depending on the size of the book, in general, you want to have at least 75 pages, and that’s for like a really thin book. 100 feels better to a reader, and you don’t want it to be fluff. You can play with font size to make more pages, but honestly? You want your book to be as long as it needs to be without adding fluff. You can use design elements, blank pages to make it easier to read and to pad a little bit, but ultimately do not pad with fluff.

 

For example, I bought a book once for $5.99. Got the book. It was 80 pages, 14 of which were actual content. The rest was all about the author and all the wonderful things that she had for sale for me. Can you say I was a little bit peeved, and I’ll never buy another book of hers. No matter how much I want that content, I will not buy it because it felt like a, a bait and switch.

 

So, balance those things. Sometimes your book just needs to be an e book. For example, the book I released last month was 44 pages. It’s looking like this one might be 88, so I probably could do a physical book if I want, but ultimately what I’m going to do is I’m going to wait until all five books are done and then bundle them into a sort of an anthology book. That one will be a physical book.

 

Metadata, always include metadata. And with physical books, you need an ISBN. If you’re going to be publishing multiple books, and I highly recommend that you do that. I recommend when you go to Bowker to buy your ISBN, that you buy a 10 pack because it’s cheaper that way.

 

And I also recommend that you do not use an ISBN that goes through like Lulu or Amazon, because then they are the publisher of record. You want to be the publisher of record. Even if you have to make up your own publisher name. I use DragonWyze Publishing. That’s my publisher name.

 

Backmatter. eBooks don’t really have as, I mean, they have a little, you can have it stuff at the end, but with, with physical books, it, you really want to have those be nicely done. And of course there’s this stuff that goes on the back of the book. And if you’re going to have a physical book, have an eBook too.

 

Just like if you’re going to have an eBook, unless it’s too small, have a physical book. Get out in multiple formats if you can.

 

And now finally a word about quality. Quality is so important.  So important. Like I said, when I got that book, because most of it was sales, sales, sales, sales, sales, sales, sales, I was like, it, it didn’t feel like a good quality book to me.

 

So you want to have your book professionally edited. In fact, I recommend having multiple editors. In fact, all my books, my husband edits pretty much, and then I hire someone else too. And sometimes I hire two people. Sometimes I hire a proofreader and an editor. Because I want to make my book as clean as possible and, yes, I have been a professional editor, I’ve won awards for being a professional editor, but you can’t edit your own stuff very well.

 

No matter what anyone says, you’re going to see what you intended to be there and not what was meant to be there. And sometimes, even if you see that it’s wrong, you’re so stuck in the way you originally wrote it that it’s hard to unwrite it and write it a different way. And a good editor can help you massage your content so that it’s clear, sharper, and comes across still like your own words.

 

So, again, professional editing, professional proofing, and if you’re doing sound, really hire an audio engineer. Even if you record it yourself, if nothing else, they’ll just make sure that it’s cut up into the right way, that it needs to be cut up, and that it’s got all the things at the beginning and the end that ACX needs you to have.

 

So. Yeah, self-publishing can be inexpensive, but it does come with some investment if you want a quality product, because you’re going to need to hire editors and designers.

 

So I hope that this episode provided you with some useful information. And this is the end of episode 61 of The Author Switch Podcast. And I will see you next week. Ciao!

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