Why eBook authors can’t convert PDFs to ePubs

No PDFs Allowed!

Creating beautiful eBooks is EASY!

It seems like the easiest way to create an eBook exactly how you want it to look would be to create a stunning PDF, right? WRONG! At this point, in the world of eBook technology, it is impossible to convert a PDF directly into an ePub. A PDF is a print format, so PDF documents are basically less-structured versions of their word-processor originals. While PDF content is made to look really good, it actually includes very little structure. And by that I mean that it doesn’t contain enough clues about the function of text elements (like bold, italics, spacing, line breaks, indentation, paragraph alignment, etc.,) or how they should be displayed in a different context (I.E. YOUR EBOOK). This means that converting a PDF document to ePub first requires conversion to a more structured text format, like Microsoft Word… So now you’re back to the basics.

As an author, you have to remember that an eBook just isn’t a print book. Look at the books on your eReading devices and you’ll start to get a better understanding. Each eReader is different. On my Kobo, I can even change the font type, which would totally disregard whatever the author initially chose. Honestly, I love this option. Years ago (before my love affair with eReaders) I tried reading a paperback copy of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie three times and could never seem to get into it. Then, while visiting a friend, I picked up her copy and started reading it without any trouble. Upon closer inspection of my own copy, I realized that the font was just too difficult to wrap my eyes around. It was old fashioned and looked slightly smudged on the somewhat yellowed page. My friend’s copy was crisp and clean and so easy to read. As much as I miss the smell of an old book, being able to read The Brothers Karamazov on my eReader, in a lovely modern font type, is a dream come true. The most important thing about reading is actually being able to read. It’s not the smell of the book, the feel of the pages, or even adding another title to your ever-growing bookshelf; it’s about the story, it’s about imagination, and it’s about losing yourself over and over again to the power of a good book.

I’m off track. The point of all of this is that the formatting from a PDF can’t be extracted because it just doesn’t work as an ePub. If you want nice clean formatting in your eBook, all you need is Microsoft Word (for you Mac users out there, you can save your Pages doc as a Word doc). Using the BookRix Self-Publishing service couldn’t be easier with Word, just write your story and make sure each chapter title is formatted as a “Heading” (you can find the Heading option in the same tool bar as bold, italics and alignment – just look to the right, you can’t miss it) and then, when you create an eBook our editor will automatically set all those Headings as chapters. This way, when you download an eBook you’ve got a fully interactive table of contents. Easy-peasy, right? RIGHT!

Self-publishing is about freedom and ease, so take advantage of it and spend more time writing!

Why You Should Buy Indie Books

The success of a previously unknown indie author inspires us. As writers, we love to hear a good rags to riches tale, especially when it relates to self-published indie authors. We want to believe that if our book is good enough, and if we try hard enough, we’ll sell our book and maybe, just maybe, be able to make a career out of writing. Imagining that day when we can finally fill out the form as “CAREER: Author” helps us get through anything, even rejection and writer’s block.

So there is one thing that I can’t understand: Why don’t indie authors support one another. If you’re a writer, why don’t you buy books from your peers? Sure, buying a New York Times Best Seller is showing that author that you care, but in all honesty, they aren’t noticing one more sale. If you buy a book by a self-published indie author, they are going to jump up and down and celebrate that sale. You could even join their blog and send them a message and you’ll hear back. They have no other reason to respond to your comment, other than the simple fact that they are grateful.

I’m not using the H word here… (ahem, hypocrisy), but in all honesty, if we’re not buying indie books, and more specifically self-published books, then why should we expect anyone to buy our books when we publish them?  Find that diamond in the rough and be the first to discover the new and great authors that are out there, right now, waiting for you to buy their books.


BookRix Blog Tour – Stop by for great GIVEAWAYS!

BookRix is hosting its first book blog tour, thanks to the help of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and BookRix author, Jess Wygle. If you don’t already know about book blog tours, I’m here to get you in the know. Basically, it’s just like a real book tour, but instead of sending the author and the book to a series of cities in the span of a month, we are sending Jess Wygle and her book, Evol, to 20+ book blogs between today, February 22nd and March 24th. Each stop on the tour will feature one or more of the following:
1. A book review – to get readers interested in the book, and to give everyone a better understanding of what happens in the story.
2. An author interview – to learn more about Jess and her writing.
3. A guest post - with something fun written by Jess on an assortment of topics.
4. A PROMO – to, well, promote.

There will also be giveaways (at almost every single stop!) offering prizes like $10-$25 Amazon gift cards, free eBooks, t-shirts and the final big giveaway from the BookRix blog will be a $100 Amazon gift card and an assortment of eBooks. Basically, you’re going to want to follow Jess around on her tour and you’re going to want to buy her book.

This is the best way to show your support for indie authors (like yourselves) who are trying to promote their self-published books (like yours) and live the dream (which is the same as yours)… I think you know where I’m going with this. Tell your friends and help us make our first blog tour a successful one. Who knows, you might be the next one chosen to go on tour?

Visit the tour schedule by clicking HERE. The BookRix stop is on Monday, February 25th. You’ll also find that some of your fellow community members are hosting at their blogs.

Books by Jess Wygle:

Who Reads eBooks and How It Affects YOU

Image from Random House
When you’re thinking about marketing your book, you should know more about your consumer and how many people out there are actually reading eBooks. To determine how publishers and authors are going to adapt to this digitally savvy target group, Random House wrote an article that puts the e-book reader under the microscope. Some very interesting facts were revealed, for example, women are reading 10-20% more than men. For eBooks, 63% of readers are women. Hmm, could that possibly be the reason why Danielle Steel and E. L. James are enjoying long weekends at their vacation homes in the tropics? Kind of makes you want to add a little romance into your novel, doesn’t it? Honestly, that wouldn’t be a bad move. Thinking about real life hormones, does anyone really get through any event in their life without libido getting in the way somehow? So why wouldn’t your zombie novel have at least two characters becoming romantically involved in the midst of the blood and gore of the apocalypse? A little chemistry goes a long way.

What does this mean for authors?
Well, it means that developing your presence and building buzz across a wide range of online platforms where eBook consumers can be reached (including your website, blog, social networks, and reading-focused sites) will become increasingly important as eBook and eReading device adoption continues to grow.  -Random House

Image from Random House
Random House also shared that 60% of eBook readers are under 45 years of age, 66% of eBook readers have a degree, people who read eBooks have a higher income than those that read print books, eBook readers spend less on each book they purchase, and the most popular genre is Mystery & Suspense. Don’t get discouraged if you’re writing a Science Fiction novel about an elderly man who doesn’t have words in his vocabulary that exceed three-syllables. There is still a market out there for you, it just might be a little smaller. And don’t forget – the statistics surrounding most popular genre are constantly in flux due to ever-changing trends. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, the popularity of Erotica went through the roof. And although vampires have always been represented in literature, Twilight brought them back to the front lines of fashion and style – basically they’re hot-hot-hot.

The good news is that over 20% of American adults have read an eBook (and this number just continues to grow), and people who own eReaders are 56% more likely to get their reading recommendations from online bookstores and other related websites. (Great news for the wonderfully online and book related community that is BookRix!) And now, the point of this entire blog: What does this mean for the author? I’m going to leave it up to Random House, because they have the perfect answer: “It means that developing your presence and building buzz across a wide range of online platforms where eBook consumers can be reached (including your website, blog, social networks, and reading-focused sites) will become increasingly important as eBook and eReading device adoption continues to grow.” – Mina Park, Senior Analyst, Consumer Insights (Click HERE to see entire article)

Marketing = Author Priority #1

You wrote a book? Great! You published it too? Fantastic! Now you’re celebrating by laying on the beach or taking a ski weekend vacation? WRONG! You’re not even close to being finished, so put away your sunscreen and your snowboard and get back to work!

As an author, you are always told that the writing process is the most important part of book creation. However, if you want your book to be successful, finishing a book is just the beginning. You’re an indie author, which means you have to work hard to get a result. Yes, it’s going to be a lot of work, but don’t despair – we’re here to help you!

The BookRix Team loves you and wants to see each and every one of you succeed. We want thousands of people to buy your book(s) and fall in love with your writing just like we have. Unfortunately, the Team is often disappointed by the lack of marketing effort put forth by our published authors. You’ve heard us emphasize the importance of editing and cover design, but this is something even more important – this is the step that will make your book sink or swim in the deep, dark ocean of sales.

You’ve heard us emphasize the importance of editing and cover design, but this is something even more important – this is the step that will make your book sink or swim in the deep, dark ocean of sales.

We’re going to help you with everything, from the BookRix Basics (cover design, catchy titles, proofreading, pricing, writing a blurb, reviews and comments, and how to present yourself to the community) – to Social Media (creating Facebook and Twitter fan pages, adding your author page to Shelfari, Goodreads and Amazon, how to use your author website/blog, getting good reviews, and the importance of multi-media.

CLICK to read

Introducing the BookRix Marketing Guide. This is, quite possibly, the most helpful thing we’ve ever done for you. Now, take advantage and read it over and over again until you’re quoting passages in your sleep.

If our Marketing Guide was a hardcover book, we’d expect to find it on your bedside table with a well broken-in spine and numerous coffee and food stains saturating the cover. When we open it up, we’d expect to see highlighted passages, sprawling comments and dog-eared page corners. Forget War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, and Harry PotterThis is now the most important book in your life.

CLICK to read

If you’re thinking about publishing and you’re about to create a book – here’s the BookRix Style Guide for Creating a Valid ePub to help make sure your book isn’t rejected from sale. With the free self-publishing service from BookRix, we offer you the opportunity to sell your books in external online shops. However, most of the shops are very picky when it comes to formatting.

To make sure that your book is available in as many shops as possible, we’re going to give you a few tips on how to create an eBook that can be converted easily into a valid ePub file. Now the iTunes bookstore is happy, we’re happy and you’re happy. It’s a Win-Win.

**Tip: If you are finding it difficult to read either book because of the font size, just hover your mouse over the top portion of the open book until a tool bar appears. Click on the “+” sign inside the magnifying glass to enlarge the book pages for easier reading.

Why Bad Reviews Are Good For You

A bad review is NOT the end of the world...

A bad review is NOT the end of the world...

Turn that frown upside down!

Okay, so we all know rejection is a part of life, right? But that doesn’t mean that we have to be happy about it. It’s going to sting at first, so you’ve got to learn how to deal with it and use it to your advantage. Nobody in their right mind is going to get excited about a bad review or a rejection letter, but there is always something good to take away from bad news: Improvement. If you have a lot of criticism early on, then you have time to make changes that could save you from further rejections.

Keep in mind that a rejection might not even have anything to do with your skill as a writer. It might be that the publisher or magazine was looking for something specific and your story/book/poem just wasn’t the right fit. Don’t ever give up.

Why they invented the Do-Over

Why they invented the "Do-Over"

I like to think about J. K. Rowling or The Beatles each time I’m warming my hands over the rejection letter burning brightly in my fireplace. Before she found Bloomsbury, Rowling submitted the Harry Potter manuscript to twelve different publishing houses, only to be rejected by every single one of them. Before Parlophone snatched them up, The Beatles were rejected consistently for the first few months when they tried to find a label who would sign them. As a lover of Hogwarts and of Yellow Submarine, I can’t imagine what would have happened if any of them had given up. In the end, you won’t remember all the rejection letters, you’ll only remember your writing that succeeded.

These days, rejection comes in all sorts of guises. As self-published authors, you will experience rejection and criticism from a wide variety of sources, including customer reviews, one star Amazon reviews, the social media world (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), blogs, and the worst possible rejection: Not selling any books at all. I don’t want to tell you that this is good news, because it’s going to suck…a lot. However, with traditional publishing, you submit your book to a big publishing house, only to receive a generic rejection letter that is seriously lacking insight into any reason WHY your book isn’t going to be this year’s best seller. With eBooks and self-publishing, you’ve already got tech saavy readers who, more often than not, are going to leave you a real live review. Amazon, Kobo, Facebook, Twitter and book review blogs are all going to be your source for constructive criticism.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

Fellow BookRix members are there to help you.

Fellow BookRix members are there to help you.

You’re going to take all that negativity and use it to push your book to perfection. Or as close to perfection as you can manage because, let’s face it, we are all hopelessly flawed. Oh, and perfection is boring.

Here are some things to remember when the time comes to deal with, and make improvements based on, rejections and bad reviews:

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. How can you “try, try again” if you’re too scared to even share your book?
2. Keep in mind that the odds are against you. As writers, we have to scratch our way out of the scuffle and make ourselves known. Considering the amount of aspiring authors out there, how can any of us expect to come out on top after just one try.
3. Don’t focus on it. Think about the negative review and process your reaction (let yourself feel sad or angry) but then quickly move on to solving the problem at hand. Turn all that negativity into positive energy!
4. Don’t listen to everybody – only listen to a critic who gives you examples and knows what they’re talking about. The question to ask yourself is: “Do they have a point?” Don’t assume all criticism is well founded.
5. Rely on your chosen community of writers – BookRix, for example, is a great place to get the RIGHT kind of encouragement and constructive criticism.
6. If you’re going to compare yourself to others, don’t get carried away. You don’t want to become something you’re not, or your readers will miss out on your originality. Just because a couple of people don’t like your writing style, doesn’t mean a thousand more won’t love it.
7. If you lost perspective along the way, criticism can help. Chances are, you love what you write and never even noticed all those little glitches.
8. Work on something new. Grab that bag-o-ideas off the top shelf and hit “refresh” on your brain. Take a break from all the reviews and rejections for a few days and just remind yourself why you love writing so darn much.


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BookRix Between the Lines


BookRix Between the Lines

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