Writing projects today tend to be a whole lot more than just the written word. Writers are expected to also have web design/coding knowledge and even a little graphic design knowledge and although we do dabble in these areas, we certainly do not consider ourselves to be web designers or graphic designers. This can pose a problem when a client approaches us for an “eBook” and their idea of an “eBook” is not exactly what our idea of an ebook is. The main reason for this is because so many people are calling digital products a variety of different names. To prevent any communication breakdowns or issues within a project, it is best to first define exactly what your needs are prior to hiring anybody for your project.
Your first step should be to take a hard look at your project and what you envision the final product looking like. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you want the eBook to read like a book that you would pick up at your local bookstore or purchase on your iPad, Kindle, etc.? Do you want it to have the feel of a traditionally published book only in a digital format?
- Do you want the eBook to appear more like a magazine with heavy typesetting, formatting and including graphics and images?
- What do you plan to do with the book? Are you selling it on your website, its own website or on a self-publishing site like Lulu?
- Do you want the eBook to read as though you’re a friend talking to your reader? Or do you want it to read as a professional resource with cited sources?
These are the main questions that you need to ask yourself prior to hiring a writer or writing company and then you need to provide this information to the writer. By providing this information, you’re able to provide the writer with vital information needed to not only determine if they are the right person for the job, but also what they would charge you for the job. As a writing company, we not only base our prices on the length of a book, but also all of the extraneous factors involved, such as citing sources and writing in a professional rather than conversational tone or purchasing copyright free images to be used in the book.
If you need heavy layout work, that would also need to be considered because layout takes a considerable amount of time. In fact, we don’t even offer magazine style formatting, so you might find that you not only require a writer, but also a typesetter and you may even need a graphic designer that is a professional in the field and not a dabbler. It’s not uncommon for a project to require more than one person to complete the job, so you’ll need to consider this in your budget as well.
What happens if your needs become more than the writer can handle? Stick with the writer for the writing and then take the written project to a designer. Although we are capable of many things, if you’re looking for heavy formatting/layout that utilizes software such as Adobe InDesign, then you need a professional in that area and chances are that they are not going to be writers as well.
Finally, before you hire anybody, whether they are a writer or a designer, be sure to look at their portfolio. We have a sample eBook on our website that is free for you to download and it will give you a feel for the type of formatting we provide as part of our standard eBook writing services. We format our books so that they have more of a traditional printed book feel to them rather than a magazine feel, because that’s what we are able to do well. Portfolios are the key to understanding a person’s services. If you don’t like what you see, then chances are they won’t be the right fit for you and you should keep shopping.