CRAIG DOUGLAS has formatted and designed three of my books so far (under the pen-name Anonymous-9). He is located in the UK, and the faraway location has not made any difference to our excellent working relationship. I count him as a key member of my book production team. Unflappable, diligent, and more than reasonably priced, Craig formats e-books, designs chapter headers and more. Here’s a conversation with the e-book production expert himself.
ELAINE: Would you start by explaining what you do?
CRAIG: I take an overall look at a manuscript and from this I get a basic understanding how the author wants their work presented. I can help an author get their work published, step by step. I’ve formatted work so that it can be printed from Createspace. I’ve done Kindle Children’s books where the whole page is used up instead of a white border. It took me ages to work that out.
ELAINE: You designed beautiful headers and added graphics to my books. I love
those little touches and additions. How would someone approach you with a finished manuscript that they want to self-publish?
CRAIG: They’d simply email me and send their manuscript along, in .doc format preferably. I need to know any special formatting needs such as additional pictures needed or if there’s a special font they like for headers. I’d need to know what outlets they want to use such a Smashwords or Amazon. If a client needs additional help publishing a formatted book online we can discuss that. I can take them through the process step by step.
CRAIG: I begin by encoding and encapsulating all the bold and italicized words in HTML tags. I ASCII code all the symbols including the dashes. I used to work straight out of Notepad, but like to keep everything Chaptered and Versed in Scrivener. From this I save to Notepad and check it all out on Amazon Kindle Previewer. The images are all chopped down to a respectable size and I turn the whole thing into a .mobi file.
There’s Smashwords too, which takes your work and batters it in its conversion process. I don’t like the feeling of being out of control, so this is my least liked process. My favourite is the use of Sigil to create EPUB books – these can be used for just about all ebook readers including and are available to buy from Barnes and Noble and iBooks.
Sigil helps me get work into EPUB format. You can then upload to Smashwords and Nook. iBooks/ Barnes& Noble requires the use of an Apple Macintosh to upload. I don’t have one but I’ve thought about hiring one on iCloud… that’s a real possibility but at the moment I don’t have the custom to warrant that.
Here’s a link to my book which I designed and coded myself. http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00FGRER60
ELAINE: Any other “bookish” stuff you do?
CRAIG: I’m the co-editor for an online Magazine ‘Near2TheKnuckle’ and have, along with my colleague Darren Sant released an Anthology. We have another in the pipeline with a release date of 1st April 2015. Oh yeah, we’ve formed a company called ‘Gritfiction Limited’ and on top of conversion services we will offer a Publishing Service to any author who wants the process hassle free. You can check out our site at Gritfiction.com.
ELAINE: Thank you Craig! Please drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org