10/5/13

What demon drove me to create a website?

A screen capture of my website http://www.ebook-fix.com
Today I’d like to tell you a bit more about my latest project, ebook-fix.com. It’s the main reason why I haven’t been writing as much as I’d have wanted to and why I haven’t been blogging at all. 
I first thought that I might want to work for fellow-writers when, some months ago, one of my writer friends asked me to help her out with the cover design of a book she was about to publish on amazon. I willingly agreed because I’m a graphic designer and because that’s what friends are for in my eyes. What followed was simple and fast: she sent me the image file that needed to be worked on, I did my best to make her happy by doing my job, she liked the result and was happy indeed, I was happy because that’s what you normally are once a job is nicely done. 
So far so good. 
Then, just before summer, I downloaded a book for my Kindle reader. I rather liked the writing and the plot, but what annoyed me was that the Kindle-version of the book was really shoddily made. The text was poorly formatted, I noticed grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, and twice, a sentence was cut off in the middle only to be continued in the next paragraph. I spent more time sighing and rolling my eyes and shaking my head in “No! No! No”-mode than enjoying the book itself. 
Now, having published ebooks on amazon myself, I know how limited you are when it comes to formatting your book for Kindle-readers. It’s a tricky business, too. You strictly follow the Amazon Publishing Guidelines, you think your ebook will be perfect, and when you preview it, there’s a lot of nasty stuff going on. Paragraph indentations disappear (why?), page breaks vanish (why??), spaces between a title and the following text become inexistent (why???), other unwanted spaces appear out of thin air between paragraphs (why oh why?????). 
It’s as if a poltergeist had taken control. I even noticed that things looked fantastic when previewed on my PC and a mess when I opened the file with the Kindle-reader on my iPad. A riddle, a mystery, something that made me want to bang my head against the wall until it bled. Or until a neighbour screamed to make me stop.
So I did some research and some tests. Many tests. Uncounted tests, to be honest. And lo and behold! I found out what is possible and what is not possible, and how to work with this limited array of possibilities to still make a book look really nice, be it on the PC or the iPad or any other contraption. I patted myself on the shoulder and said, “D., that could be a nice thing to propose to my fellow writers out there!” 
That’s how the idea of ebook-fix.com was born. 

What exactly is ebook-fix.com about? 
The site is an online offer for people who want to self-publish their writings in Kindle-format on amazon or as a Word-document on Smashwords. We propose several services at reasonable rates. Whether you want your text to be nicely formatted according to the Amazon Publishing Guidelines, whether you need a graphic designer’s creative input for your book cover, whether you’d like a professional to proofread and edit your manuscript—all this and more is available on our site. You can choose any one of these offers, or two, or even the three of them. We also offer additional services for free, for instance to lend a helping hand with your book launch and book promotion or to give helpful advice for the publishing process. 
I say "we" because I'm not all alone in this. For the moment, we’re three in the team, each with a different professional background and different competences. But there’s a professional for every step of the ebook you’re about to publish, plus it’s an adventure of three very close friends, so it gives us the chance to work together in a domain we all love: literature. 
The longest and hardest stage was to create a nice and neat website that would reflect our philosophy and our characters. Hard and long because I’m a graphic designer who creates mainly printed or printable documents. My knowledge of the digital world, of programming, of creating websites is, well, let's say rather limited. And I have a full-time job that only left me the weekends to work on the project. Write? Read? Go for a walk? Forget it!
But I did find the time and energy to finish a first draft that went online at the end of last August. The feedback was encouraging but we received some less enthusiastic input too, concerning the site layout itself. Which didn’t surprise me because, once the site was finished and online, I didn’t really like it anymore, either. Huh! What a surprise! I guess I’m worse than my worst clients: things have to please me a 200% in order to satisfy me. 
So I worked some more, simplified things, re-did the layout and design to make everything clear and spacy and classy. 
All this to tell you that yes, it's done. I've finished my job, the new version is online now. 
Why don’t you have a look and tell me what you think about it? Why don’t you tell those friends around you whom you know to be dreaming of publishing their books on amazon? We’re open, we’re ready, our rates are really low, we do this for the pleasure of helping writers and of promoting literature and indie-authors all over the world. 
Don’t forget—we created the site for you, so you will make it live and evolve! 

Here's the link: http://www.ebook-fix.com
And you can contact us at contact@ebook-fix.com
 

2 comments:

  1. :) Good luck with your new venture! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot, Glynis! You're a sweetheart, as always!

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