by Tracy R. Atkins (@TracyRAtkins)
Tracy is the other half of BookDesignTemplates.com. He’s also an author and a technologist, whose last post here was X Hits the Spot: Why .DOCX is Better than .DOC for Authors Using Word.
Although we’ve been able to wrangle Microsoft Word into producing great-looking print and ebooks, authors have faced quite a challenge if they want to produce picture books for the Kindle and other ereaders.
Taking all the experience gained this year from producing the 14 book templates available on the site—for fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books—Tracy has now managed to create a template that will make this possible with a minimum of fuss.
We call this template design Fable. I asked Tracy to explain just how big a breakthrough this is for do-it-yourself authors, and to explain how it works.
When Tracy sent me his article, I got so excited when I saw the screenshots accompanying it, that I decided to celebrate by holding a 3-day sale on the site. This is a great opportunity if you’ve been planning to get one of our templates anyway. Here are the details:
- All our children’s book templates are on sale at 40% off including the new Fable design. No coupon code needed, they will automatically be discounted when you “add to cart.”
- Today, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday you can get 20% off any template on the site by using the coupon code LD20. When you’re finished shopping, just enter it in the “discount code” box in your shopping cart, then click the “update cart” button.
- Yes, if you buy a children’s book template, you’ll get 40% off plus an additional 20% off for the Labor Day weekend. Pretty sweet.
So help us celebrate, and get yourself a real deal on a template that will help you create a great-looking, industry standard book with Microsoft Word.
Here’s Tracy’s article on what makes Fable tick.
Until now, picture eBooks have generally fallen into two distinct formats: fixed or free-flowing. Most eBooks today are formatted with a free-flowing layout, where text and images run from page to page with only marginal control of how the pictures and text mingle on the page.
This works great for fiction and non-fiction books alike, but it falls short when an author needs precise control of the page layout for a picture book. Free-flowing eBooks have also become a self-published author’s standby because they work on the widest variety of devices and are easy to make since you don’t have to do a lot of programming.
On the other hand, fixed-layout eBooks are less common, but look great on the screen. Rigid programming requirements and graphical precision deliver a high degree of control over how the page looks on the eReader, but the file is often limited to certain devices or formats. It typically takes a lot of expertise to create a fixed-layout eBook for every platform and a lot of work goes into creating one.
With strict limitations on style and compatibility, most picture book authors resign themselves to hiring professionals to develop several versions of their picture eBook in fixed formats. Other authors simply give up and release free-flowing picture eBooks and hope that readers understand which pictures and text are supposed to go together.
Stuck with only two choices, self-published authors have found that there was really little choice at all, with no compromise between artistic vision and ease of creation.
Giving authors choices and making self-publishing easier is our driving force, so we set out to build a solution that would best serve DIY picture book authors.
Our new Fable picture eBook template is the culmination of all of the experience and knowledge we’ve gained from developing our full template line, pulled together to provide an easy way to make picture eBooks at home.
With Fable, we have created a new hybrid format that combines the best of both fixed-layout and free-flowing eBook layout styles in one template.
It is a breakthrough that offers both control of how the page looks, with the compatibility to work on a wide range of devices. And best of all, it is easy to use, taking most of the guesswork and frustration out of creating your own picture eBook.
Your picture book’s layout in Word translates safely to the screen of your favorite eReader device. Pictures and text stick together and what you see in Word looks similar to the output of what you will get on the eReader’s screen, giving you much better control over how the book will look in final eBook form.
To further simplify things, we include all of the tools you need to help you build a better picture eBook, right in the template package. Instead of complicated specifications for your pictures, we include four image templates that you can use (and re-use) to make sure your pictures fit the screen just as you intend.
We also include a handy reference table that shows you how many lines of text are safe to place below your pictures to get the best results on all of those eReader devices. Finally, we have put together several new pages of fully illustrated instructions in our updated Formatting Guide to make putting it all together a breeze.
But what about the finished eBook and how will it look? When it comes to eReaders, screen size matters and devices can range from touch-screen tablets and PC monitors, all the way down to tiny smartphone displays.
Fable can adapt to various screen sizes in two ways. For larger screens, like the Kindle and Kindle Fire, the text mimics the semi-fixed layout style in Word, where the large image above is accompanied by the large format text below. When viewed on a smaller screen, where all of the text won’t fit under the picture, the picture book displays the image in one page and the text on the following page, just like a two-page-spread picture book.
By combining the control of a fixed-layout eBook, and offering the flexibility of a free-flowing eBook, we have created the perfect combination of features needed to deliver a great looking picture book that works on a range of devices that readers use every day.
Best of all, we’ve made Fable affordable. Starting at $27, you get:
- the specialized picture book template in both .DOC and .DOCX formats,
- four image templates that are already set to the right size and ppi for consistent results, and
- our fully illustrated Formatting Guide to make putting it together and publishing it easy.
If you’ve been wanting or dreaming of doing an illustrated book—children’s book, photo book, art book—for Kindle and other ereaders, but couldn’t work out how to do it, you’ll want to check this out. Here’s the link:
Fable picture eBook template, on sale at 40% off until Monday night, and take an additional 20% off everything on our site with coupon code LD20.
All sales end at midnight, Pacific time on Monday, September 2, 2013.