Computers are wonderful things, but they do have drawbacks: the people who dominate the industry, with a few notable exceptions, have a limitless contempt for the average consumer. These technicians know how their machines function; we, the poor customers, can like it or lump it. And when they attempt to ‘come down to our level’ and offer guidance as to how to make the things work – get anything to work – they assume we already have a knowledge of geek-speak and have hours to spare trawling through semi-literate instructions to find what we want.
Ereaders, the hand-held products like Kindles that display ebooks, present this technical world with additional headaches. We now have a clash of the Titans: traditional publishers with their jargon-ridden world constantly harping back to an era where molten lead was poured into moulds to produce print, and excitable and money-hungry computer-savvy youngsters who relish the thought of bringing readers worldwide into their marketplace. Something had to happen. And it has. Confusion!
Amazon are doing well with the Kindle Publishing programme and if you have your wits about you, and have the time to spare to format your book properly, you should end up with your book listed in the Kindle Store. And your ebook should display reasonably well for readers who buy it.
An expert can usually negotiate the technical hurdles in a matter of hours; a novice should put aside days if not weeks because the learning curve is steep – especially if you want a decent ebook to result.
Many traditional publishers came a cropper when they started to convert their printed publications into ebooks. The quality of the ebooks produced was often appalling. Nowadays the wise ones take great care in only offering ebooks that have been monitored by humans first. Computers proved incapable of spotting the errors that the conversion processes were producing.
Our advice: look around for advice and support, and do look into the DIY route for publishing your book. If you can stay the course, you should see your book online in a week or two. But a more prudent route might be to leave the technical side of things to those who know what’s required. That will leave you free to get on with your next offering, happy in the knowledge that your published ebook is a professional one you can be proud of.