Leeds eBooks has existed for something like 3 months now, and it’s slowly but surely growing into something far beyond its initial, intended scope (embrace the creep!). Now offering a competitive distribution deal, and soon to offer Print-on-Demand (POD) too, I’m even working on an original publication in collaboration with my designer/illustrator colleague, Louise Bell. More on that soon.

For now, though, just a short note on my reasons for starting this blog. The trigger (I had been thinking about it for some time) came from this great article on blogging for greater reach. The gist: the more good content there is under your name (or on your site), the more people find your name (and your site). There are lots of tools of varying complexity around to help make that happen – HubSpot, Movable Type, to name a couple – but essentially it’s very simple.

In that vein, and also just because I do have some experience and knowledge to offer, I’ll be topping these pages up with all sorts of brief but tasty tidbits, often concerning ebooks and their creation – and usually concerning publishing or literature – and almost always concerning the arts in general.

To kick off, a very short comment on this slideshow by Laura Brady which popped up today in my browser who-knows-how. I was taking a 2 minute break from tagging hyperlink destinations in my next ebook conversion project, thinking about how to make this one extra special. It struck a chord.

Among traditional publishers, ebooks have had a bad press for years, and for good reason. But I firmly believe – and I like to think my creations back this up – that ebooks can now match print books for typographic beauty. Slide 14 reads “Survive user intervention / Survive device fragmentation / Degrade gracefully”. I may print it out and stick it on my wall. Or convert it to a 1-page ebook and read it every morning. These 3 tenets are essential – they’re not even just best practice, they’re essential if your readers are to enjoy your work – and they’re never as difficult as they seem. You have to make small compromises at times (Kindle for iPad, I’m looking at you) but there’s always a way. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll explain some of the ways I go about achieving these 3 goals (and some of the ways Amazon et al endeavour, mostly unsuccessfully, to stop me). I still have a lot to learn – I always will – but I know that, as long as you’re not relying on Smashwords’ beautifully named Meatgrinder or Amazon’s equally diabolical automatic conversion, you can make an ebook shine, no matter the device it’s viewed through. Readers come to understand the limitations of their chosen device or app very quickly, and they reward you with appreciation when you reach those limitations rather than falling short. It’s all about relativity…