This guest post is written by Dori Young of Your Office Guru.
If you publish online, you need to read this.
Online publications like e-books, e-zines and e-reports are now a standard method of delivery. They’re cost effective for you to publish and provide instant gratification for your reader.
That’s why business owners use ePublishing to get information about their products or services in front of prospective customers; often in the form of opt-in rewards.
However, there are special considerations when ePublishing that are often overlooked, resulting in a disappointing experience for your reader.
I call them the 7 deadly sins of ePublishing. Make sure you’re not committing any of them.
Sin #1: Assuming Your e-Publication will be Read Online
Just because a consumer prefers an electronic delivery method, doesn’t mean they will read your publication online. There are many people who prefer good old hard copy when reading publications. I have a hard time reading long documents online and I prefer to print out ebooks and articles.
One reason is that I often get inspired as I read and take notes, and your reader might too. Nothing is more frustrating than downloading an epublication where the author has given little thought to the hard copy reader.
Sin #2: Not Using Page Numbers
Think of page numbers as address numbers on houses. You may know what street you’re on, but without the house numbers, you don’t know which house you’re looking for. Also, the page definitions in .pdf readers can differ from the actual document (the screen shows you’re on page 8 but in the document, it’s really page 9) and can mean frustration for a reader looking only to print a specific page of your epublication.
Sin #3: Over Use of Images & Color
Visual appeal of epublications is extremely important, but epublishers can get a bit carried away and create epublications so graphically intensive that the “hard copy” consumer has to go out and buy new ink cartridges just to print it out.
ePublications full of graphics and images take longer to download and take up more storage space. At the very least, create a “print-friendly” version for your readers (see sin #4).
Sin #4: Not Creating a “Print-Friendly” Version
Simply converting your blog, webpage or document to a pdf does not alone make it “print-friendly.” A “print-friendly” epublication has 3 critical elements:
1) Fewer, smaller or, no graphics/images
2) Is in grayscale
3) Has single line spacing (see Sin #5).
Keep in mind print-friendly versions take less time to download, print ,take up less storage space and, let your readers know you respect their resources.
Sin #5: Using Wrong Line Spacing for “Print-Friendly” Versions
Most default line spacing for word processors is now 1.5. This is fine for short epublications or 1-2 page hard copy publications. But for any “print-friendly” epublication longer than two pages, use single spacing. The reason is that while the extra line spacing looks great, it causes your epublication to print on more pages.
Sin #6: Not Using Enough Formatting
Great content for epublications often comes from existing sources like a website or blog. While the content may be re-purposed, you still need to take your epublication’s formatting seriously and ensure it is formatted properly. Formatting serves several very important purposes such as:
• Grouping and categorizing information
• Directing the reader’s eye
• Emphasizing information
• Ordering information and/or processes
These are just a few of the roles of formatting, all which help to increase the readability and retention of your content.
Sin #7: Not Following Web Formatting Guidelines
Some print formatting techniques don’t translate well to epublications. Here are several guidelines to consider when creating your epublication:
1) Underlining shouldn’t be used in an epublication unless it is an actual hyperlink; this confuses readers
2) Italics and script type fonts should be avoided as they are hard to read online
3) Use san serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica for epublications, but for “print-friendly” versions, use serif fonts (like Times New Roman)
What “sins” have you committed when epublishing?
This post was written by Dori Young, an industry veteran who has 17 years of computer training and training development experience, is a Master Microsoft Office Specialist and, owner of Your Office Guru. Your Office Guru offers live, online, instructor-led Reboot Camps designed to help users become more productive using Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, and Small Biz Reboot Camps that teach small businesses how to be more effective using technology.