Publishing Services – Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I easily track what jobs are in what status, any time? How?
We have what we call a Master Status spreadsheet we send you daily by email. It has everything about all projects, organized into one file.
It has in it all current (and for that matter, also all past) projects, from all the services we are doing for you. You can look up any project you are curious about, find out when it was assigned, what services you assigned to be done with it, what phases we are currently on, and if it has been completed, what date it was completed and delivered to you.
This same file also contains all the processing of problems or issues that come up about each project. For details on this, click here.
Once they start using our Master Status system, many of our clients feel they have more control over their production projects than they did, even if they were in-house, before.
- How do we resolve problems easily and clearly on a particular project so they are resolved with little effort?
As part of the “MasterStatus” file we send you daily, it contains our simple Issue Log system.
In the Issue Log, both you and we can enter any questions or problem pertaining to a particular book. One common example is that a JPG received for the interior is only 72 dpi and will have inferior resolution, so we ask you for a higher res version. Each issue has all the back-and-forth stay in one cell. Both the date and the author of those discussing the issue are logged.
- Every issue about every book has everything pertaining to its discussion in one simple place: when what was said by who is right there as well.
- Email thread searches and pains become a thing of the past.
- You never have to remember what you said about a particular problem you haven’t thought about in a week.
- There is never any question about accountability in any way.
Once we developed this system, we loved it. And so did all of our clients. It simply makes project-related problem resolution simple in all ways, for everyone.
- Is the file management easier and clearer as a result of partnering with Accurance? How?
We will pick up and deliver input and output files for all your projects. Our goal is for you to be able to drag and drop the files over to another server when you are ready to assign it to us, and to pick it up from there when we tell you the output is ready. Our goal is to have file management of your projects with us as or more simple than it would be if we are your in-house production employee; in fact, that is what we consider ourselves to be with our publisher clients. We’ll pick up and deliver to your ftp server. If you don’t have one, we’ll create one for you.
- Do I have to spend time re-teaching or re-orienting on flow, rules, specs?
We will work from you at the outset to understand your specs and defaults. We won’t hold you to our defaults or specs, we’ll adhere to yours and have two or more of our production pros dedicated to your projects – there is ‘no forgetting’ in other words. It will be as if you have a set of ‘annex employees’ for your projects; that is the mindset we have about doing your projects. You won’t get ‘moved around’ – you’ll have the same few people dedicated to your projects, day in and day out.
There is an investment of up-front time on your part (on the part of your Production manager, actually). We will go through a process we’ve perfected over 20,000 books with our publisher clients, so that we know all your defaults, specs, and processes inside and out. There are two main benefits to this investment of time (besides the obvious cost-savings and ops simplification). First, there will be very little you have to tell us about each new project, as we will already have your defaults in every area possible (and if you have five different default profiles, that is fine too, we do that). Second, the output we give you will ‘be right the first time, every time’. The number of corrections our publishers have to attend to, caused by us, is extremely low.
- Can I easily communicate ‘look and feel’ for a book cover or interior for a project?
As every publisher we know experiences, authors can give either too much information to guide on book cover, or too little. When they give too much, they describe a crowded visual composition with little or no thematic focus, usually impossible to create and still have them (or the publisher) own the rights to the cover. When they give too little information, they usually are hoping for psychic powers from their publisher (although with summaries of the book, this is often the preferable extreme, if there has to be an extreme at all).
We usually ask for one or two paragraphs that outline the ‘feel’ of the book, just as much as information about the plot or protagonist and/or antagonist. We can often get a very good start with a combination of the ‘About the Book’ section, and a description of the emotional feel of the book that the author (or the publisher) wants to convey. We get rave reviews regularly about our book covers, and as long as our publisher client can help get this type of information (and avoid the ‘too many visual elements’ or ‘please stay an author and don’t attempt to be an artist’), we have few problems. In the end, there are always up to three revision cycles for the book cover with our programs, so in that uncommon instance where we miss the mark significantly (less than 5% of the time), the second set of directions never results in a miss.
- What portion of my labor—in-house or freelance—can I look forward to losing when working with Accurance?
You need to keep some high level staffing to manage Accurance as your prepress production partner—it is simply prudent management. However, if you are moving from in-house utilization to Accurance, you should be able to reduce staffing by 90%. Although we have our own QC, it is not wise to completely eliminate spot-checking or even full checking of a few variables. Even if we are only producing 25 covers, 25 interiors, 10 edit projects, and 20 ebook projects, there are literally thousands of details in a year, and it is simply prudent to be looking. Additionally, we need a partner to assign, receive, and be our Issue Log partner
Having said that, if you utilize our system well – and you will, it is impossible to set up with us and *not* utilize it well – you should be able to reduce by 90% the in-house staffing you previously had to do the same work you move to your Accurance dedicated staff. If you formerly used freelancers, hopefully, you can not only reduce cost by 50%, but should be able to reduce Administration costs by 50%, but of course that depends on how well developed your freelance relationships were in terms of administrative streamlining.
- How will I decrease the amount of my management overhead spent when Accurance works remotely?
This speaks to the situation of you moving from in-house to Accurance. The management savings should be significant, in the following ways:
- Accurance doesn’t call in sick, leaving you to juggle staffing around to finish critical tasks.
- Accurance always has two people at minimum that know your projects and work them regularly, regardless of the size of your relationship with us. We do this not only for ‘volume peaks and valleys’ management, so we can stay on-time all the time, but also so if we have turnover, we always have an Accurance professional that knows and does your work, that can concentrate more fully on your projects until we adjust our staffing.
- You will have no payroll taxes, FICA administration, benefit administration.
- You will have no hassles with employee attitudes, conflicts or other management and Human Resources time-eaters.
- Your hardware and software investment can drop precipitously.
- What are the issues I need to know about DRM technology on e-Books?
DRM is the acronym for ‘Digital Rights Management’, the consensus name of the practices, policies, and technologies surrounding the protection of digitized media (music, movies, written word works) from it being stolen by illegally copying and/or distributing it to parties without compensation to the owner of the media.
In addition to DRM, in 1998 Congress passed the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Simply put, it makes it illegal to circumvent or support circumvention of any encryption of any media, even media you own or are licensed to use.
The combination of DMCA and DRM protects the creators of original digital media from theft; it also (in the eyes of some) limits both the consumers and the creators of that media to maximum access and distribution of digital media. There are many proponents of maximizing and limiting DRM.
It is the author’s (publisher’s) choice whether or not DRM is appropriate for his or her title. There are ebook stores that require it, those that require that it *not* have it, and those that have no position on it. This will in part be a driver of your choice of ebook sites potentially.
If an ebook store site requires DRM, it will be added to the ebook as part of the upload process to that site. If a device requires it, it will be added to the book once downloaded on the device.
There are different opinions about the effect of DRM on the sales, distribution, popularity, and control of a title. Many of the effects are clear whether or not they are good for the author, publisher or book. Some of the effects:
- The probability of a title being pirated and illegally distributed is much lower (but not necessarily zero) for a book that has DRM protection.
- Virtually all DRM for ebooks can be ‘cracked’ and already has been cracked. However, it does take sophisticated technical expertise to do so in most cases.
- There are some devices that will not accept DRM-protected books, or certain kinds of DRM protections on books. In these situations, the end user and owner of the device will not be able to purchase and download the book to his or her device
Some common types of DRM (it varies where these different types exist):
- Disallow the physical printing of a book
- Allow only the device or computer originally downloading the book to view it
- Allow for only a certain number of digital copies to be made by an end-user who has purchased the ebook
- Disallow modifications to the document (read-only)
- Disallow copy/paste (no copy/paste function on the devices)
- Limit the number of times an ebook can be downloaded to a device
One can readily see the limits vary in the different DRM restrictions, and therefore in the breadth of their overall effect. The overall effect on sales is a combination of:
- The type of DRM accepted by an ebook store site (or group of ebook store sites selected)
- The type of DRM accepted or not accepted by each device
- The type of DRM desired by the author or publisher (and its effect on the options of ebook store site and device that result)
Accurance describes the DRM policies of an ebook store site on the report we make on that site. These policies will likely drive the author’s or publisher’s decision, in part, whether to use that site.
- Do I need to have a different ISBN (or several ISBNs) for an e-Book version of a title?
ISBNs are one of the areas in the ebook world where there is not one standard answer or practice.
There are three schools of thought. Each position cites some part of ISBN.org to, in part, support their position. You need to be aware that some of these positions have as much to do with politics and power as anything else, so please be thorough and cautious before deciding on your position and decisions on this issue. There are serious economic outcomes depending on what eventually becomes standard. We encourage you to lobby hard for your position now, as a publisher, to help mold the eventual outcome.
The three positions are:
- You do not need a new ISBN for ebook version of a title details
- You need one new ISBN for an ebook, but that ISBN is valid for all forms of an ebook of a title (Kindle, Sony Reader, MS-Reader, B&N Nook, etc). details
- You need one new ISBN for each ebook format. details
We have gathered, for your convenience, some deep and detailed discussions on this subject, which you can access here. We strongly suggest reading these, as they almost certainly will inform your decision and position on this important issue.
There are two additional variables beyond these opinions:
- First, you have a standard operating philosophy already established about ISBNs – other formats, or what constitutes enough ‘change’ to warrant the definition of ‘different’. In the end, given the disagreement within the industry, this—and the effect on you contingent on which position eventually becomes standard—are the most important variables.
- Second, the ebook seller site where you elect to place a title has its own standards and requirements. Some do not require a separate ISBN from the printed copy, some do. The reports we issue to you about an ebook seller site will describe their policies. In the end, this might be one of the variables that help you choose on what sites you want your titles.
Accurance has no position on this issue. We are not a book publisher, we are not an ebook store, and we are not intellectual property attorneys. The decision is solely yours. We only offer a summary of the positions and some of the main reasons behind them. The decision is yours. You will see on all of our ebookstore site reports each particular site’s requirements for ISBNs for titles to be accepted.
You do not need a new ISBN for ebook version of a title because the title, content, organization of the document is unchanged when made in ebook form. A typical ISBN.org support to this position is that the purpose of an ISBN, according to ISBN.org is “to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.”
You need one new ISBN for an ebook, but that ISBN is valid for all forms of an ebook of a title (Kindle, Sony Reader, MS-Reader, B&N Nook, etc). The support for this is most clearly stated, again from a quote in ISBN.org: “An ISBN number should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles. Each format or binding must have a separate number (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, E-BOOK FORMAT, etc). A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused. An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page.”
The proponents of this position argue, additionally, that there would be confusion amongst customers and book sellers if the printed and ebook versions are the same.
You need one new ISBN for each ebook format. This school of thought would issue 5 ISBNs, one each for the exact same content issues for Kindle, MobiPocket, MS-Reader, Sony Reader, and Nook for instance. Those that use this practice would cite the same ISBN.org quotation as described above, but they apply a more extreme interpretation to its meaning: “An ISBN number should be assigned to each title or product, including any backlist or forthcoming titles. Each format or binding must have a separate number (i.e. hardcover, paperbound, VHS video, laserdisc, E-BOOK FORMAT, etc). A new ISBN is required for a revised edition. Once assigned, an ISBN can never be reused. An ISBN is printed on the lower portion of the back cover of a book above the bar code and on the copyright page.”
- Do I need to set new Copyright Page statements for the e-Book version of my titles?
The copyright page for print books differs from that of ebooks. The author or publisher needs to include, on the copyright page, statements describing the restrictions against illegal copying, printing, etc. Additionally, there are ebook store sites that have requirements specific for books existing on their site.
Accurance has a Copyright Page template that complies with most of the best practices designed to both protect the work and its owner(s), while not violating the policies of most eBook store sites. For each site selected for distribution, we apply this template and also add the various statements to stay in compliance with each ebook store, on a store-by-store basis.
There is a another copyright-related issue that becomes more important with ebooks: whether the printed book has an official copyright already, as ebooks have a heightened set of risk-management issues compared to printed books. We strongly suggest that any original work gain a copyright from government of the nation in which you are publishing. Without it, the nature of ebooks – easily copied and distributed with a few strokes of a computer keyboard – makes the non-compensated distribution of a book all too easy and (relatively speaking), irretrievably damaging
- What are the EDAPT Steps and Timelines?
- Thirty (30) days or less from the time of delivery and approved eBook files that are part of a paid package of five (5) or more books, the initial list of candidate distribution eBook store sites is delivered to the client.
- Client reviews each EDAPT™ report prepared, describing seventeen (17) different metrics-including business, technical, security, genre, revenue distribution, and other categories—about each eBook store. This also includes access to agreement URLs, contracts, and any other document needed to open an account successfully with each eBook store. Client decides, then selects the list of eBook stores to distribute through (This is a simple online selection from a menu).
- Once the client selects the eBook stores desired, Accurance will ask for permission from the client to make certain changes (if any) on all the Copyright pages of all the titles, so that the copyright page is compliant with all the selected eBook store policies. These changes are minor, sometimes are not necessary at all, and never interfere with the critical portions of the Copyright page. These changes are usually associated with issues such as the deletion of language describing some aspect of the printed book (‘printed on recycled paper’ is a good example). If the client has not issued new ISBNs and wishes to, this should occur at this time also. After receiving the permission and/or ISBNs, Accurance will change the Copyright content and deliver the new eBook files with the revised Copyright page to the client.
- Accurance then creates accounts for the client for each of the selected eBook stores. Ninety percent (90%) of this very detailed and time-consuming (and detail–tracking) process is done by Accurance on behalf of the client, as this is part of the EDAPT™ service. The rest of this process —that is to say, about only ten percent (10%)—calls for the client to be involved directly (Filling out banking information for instance, so revenue can be distributed to the client upon sales of books). Accurance will contact the client of the details when it is time for these direct tasks to be done.
- After an account is established, Accurance uploads finished books to each eBook store—once an eBook is completed and approved by the client for uploading. Henceforth, Accurance continues this uploading service for the client.
Time Consumption Notes
It is important to recognize that eBook distribution is not so different from printed book distribution in terms of the total time it takes from eBook completion to ‘available for sale’: In some instances, it is relatively quick, in others, not so quick.
There are several steps and these involve more than one company or organization. In particular, the process of initial eBook store decision-making, selection, and account set-up takes time. Later, once accounts are set up, total time from eBook file creation to ‘available for sale’ is much shorter, but in some cases, it can take time as well.
As most publishers know, this is true in the printed-book distribution world as well. In the eBook world, much of it is simply a function of an exploding market. Accurance wants our clients to be aware of this, so that authors are informed from the beginning and aren’t burdened—or burdening—with unrealistic expectations.
- The period from the completion and client approval of the initial batch of eBook files until the receipt of the initial EDAPT™ list of candidate eBook stores can take up to thirty (30) days. This time period may be less, but as Accurance has been receiving high demand for these services, long experience tells us it is prudent to say thirty and potentially deliver faster.
- The period of client decisions prior to selection of eBook stores will likely take time—more than many clients initially estimate. There are many metrics of the eBook stores to consider and try to match up with strategic plans, plus there are usually at least *some* eBook store documents to review and analyze. There also may be at least some time contemplating requested changes to the Copyright page with internal management before giving Accurance permission, and there may be a decision process and implementation time on ISBNs to consider.
- There is some time—usually a week— needed to re-create the eBook files with new Copyright pages.
- The process of creating and handing over eBook stores accounts for our clients varies in time-consumption from eBook store to eBook store. Some are fast, some are slow. One has to view this function in its average, because some can be done in less than ten (10) days while some can take two (2) months.
- Once accounts between the client and the eBook stores are established, Accurance will be able to be very quick (a matter of a few days) to upload titles to each eBook store. Again, how long the eBook stores move from upload date to ‘posted on the website and ready to be purchased’ date varies. Some are nearly instant, others can take three (3) weeks.
In summary, one should expect that in the first phase where the publisher/eBook store accounts are being established, it will average 90 days from the date of completed/approved eBook versions of a title to being on an eBook store website and available for sale. Once the accounts are established, the average from completed/approved to ‘available for purchase’ will be closer to 30 days. Both of these are averages, though: There will be those significantly faster and those significantly slower.
- How do I test my e-Book file once I receive it?
Once you receive your e-Book files from us, you will want to review them. However, most people we know don’t have five or six e-Book devices lying around, and would not know how to directly upload the files to them if they did.
We have a partial solution for you that enables you to avoid buying, begging, or stealing five e-Book devices so you can take a look. If you can accomplish the following two items listed here, you will be able to review the file versions that cover more than 75% of the e-Books your buyers will see.
ePub and Adobe Digital Edition Software
iPad, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, Adobe Digital Edition Software, and several minor market share software and devices all accept the ePub file type into their devices. You can view the way your e-Book will appear on these without having a device. You can, for free, download Adobe’s Digital Edition software and view your e-Book on it. Here’s how:
xPlease go to: http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/
- On that URL, to the right of the center black section, you’ll see a heading that says NEXT STEPS. Under it, there is a ‘Download now’ button. Click on it. The download will install for you the Adobe Digital Editions application, an e-Book reader that will enable you to see the ePub version of your title.
- You might be asked to form an account if you do not already have an Adobe account.
- Once you have successfully installed the Adobe Digital Edition software, go to and open MY COMPUTER.
- In MY COMPUTER, go to the path on your computer where you have placed the folders containing the various e-Book files. One of the folders is named ePub. Go to the file inside that folder and click on it. Adobe Digital Edition software will appear and it will have already loaded your eBook in it.
- You are ready now to view!
- How to manually copy the e-Book File to your Kindle?
Kindle is the largest market share e-book device on the market today. We strongly recommend that you find a Kindle. Between a Kindle review and the ePub review above, you’ll have reviewed more than 75% of what readers are going to see.
Note: To manually upload a book to your Kindle, you must have a USB cable which ships with the device. If you have lost this cable, you can purchase a replacement from Amazon.
- Plug the large connector into a USB port on your computer, and plug the small connector into the bottom of the Kindle. Your Kindle screen will change to a message about it being plugged in.
- Then, go to MY COMPUTER (or Finder on Mac) and you will see the Kindle listed like a drive in the list. Open the Kindle folder and you will see some subfolders. The “documents” folder is where all of your book content is stored.
- In another window of MY COMPUTER, locate the e-Book folder that says Kindle. Drag and drop the file inside that folder in the documents folder of the Kindle in the other MY COMPUTER window.
- Once you are finished copying the file over, close the Kindle folder window. In Windows, eject the Kindle using the “Safely Remove Hardware” icon in your System Tray, and unplug the Kindle when you are told it is safe. On a Mac, eject the Kindle as you would normally eject a disk. Then unplug the USB cable from the bottom of the Kindle.
- Once your Kindle is switched back from USB mode, go to your Home screen and find the book you just uploaded.
Contact us and discover how easily we can do this for you.