Files of digital versions of books are produced in different formats designed to be read by different devices or programs. At time of writing there were twelve main ones which can be identified by the suffix at the end of the file name: eg eReader [-er.PDB] ; Adobe [.PDF] ; Microsoft [.LIT] ; Palm Doc [.PDB] ; Kindle [AZW]
Ebooks purchased in one format cannot be read on another device. This Digital Rights Management (DRM) is ostensibly designed to ensure books are not altered, copied or on-sold. It may also be seen as an attempt by the hardware manufacturers to “lock in” their customer base.
The number of platforms each ebook is available in is determined by the publisher. Whether this is influenced by hardware manufacturers remains to be seen.
Some trade publishers only release books as secured versions which are encrypted so they can only be downloaded to be read on one device to prevent unauthorized copying.
Currently the unecrypted versions are still bound by copyright law which means they are for your own personal use and you are not supposed to alter them or distribute them to other people.
There is a good information on how to get software and how to download it at: https://www.fictionwise.com/help/ebook-formats-FAQ.htm#redownload
While some need dedicated readers, others can be read on your PC or Mac by downloading the reading programs (often free).
Geographical Limitations may also apply which limits their sale to specific countries (usually identified by the place of origin of the credit card buying them).
There is usually no or only a nominal advance involved in ebooks, however the royalty percentage per sale is higher eg currently Ellora’s Cave offer 37.5% digital / 7.5% print.
Contracts for ebooks need to look carefully at the term “out of print” as it could take on a whole new meaning, especially when it comes to reversion of rights. Is your book out of print when it’s not in paper copy any longer, or is it still in print as long as a digital copy is available. What kinds of future rights are you giving away?
As the industry is still in its early days epublishing with small companies can be a risky business especially if the company folds and they are the only outlet. Some publishers onsell to ebook stores which at least allows the book to be available afterwards, however the author’s return diminishes markedly.
Prolific author Piers Anthony has a page which gives the lowdown on ePublishers as at this date. http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html#publishers
EDITING and EDITORS
Editing is the alteration of text to improve it by adjusting content or grammar. Definitions of roles may vary from country to country and publisher to publisher.
Has a description of the different types of editor.
Content editor’s role is usually to read submissions or actively pursue product for their publisher. They may make suggestions as to whether it fits their market and ways you can change your story to meet their expectations.
A copy editor ensures your publication has a logical, easy-to-follow structure, corrects your grammar, spelling and punctuation, makes sure your facts are correct and consistent, helps stylise your language.
Proofreaders or line editors look at grammar, spelling and punctuation, but not content.
Note the role of editor has changed since the advent of epublishing, now they’re somewhat blurred.
Editing can be done by the author themselves ie self editing, or by others eg critique partners.
It is possible to pay a person to edit your book or take it to a “story doctor”.
Many books have been written on the subject eg James Scott Bell’s “Revision and Self-Editing”
There are also great blog sites full of hints and tricks.
http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com often has good articles. This one gives specific advice on the different roles they play. http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2009/09/editors-editors-and-more-editors.html or this one on how to choose an editor http://bloodredpencil.blogspot.com/2009/09/choosing-right-editor.html
Most commonly, an Enneagram is an application of the Enneagram figure to indicate nine distinct personality types and their interrelationships.
The Enneagram Institute has a free test to identify which type you belong to.
For example, type 1, the Reformer:
… are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things, but afraid of making a mistake.
With its accompanying classification of a type’s fear, desire and motivation, these can be used to determine each characters GMC (goal, motivation and conflict)
As each type also has a healthy and unhealthy aspect, the type descriptions can help create believable emotional arcs for a character as they move along the range between healthy and unhealthy.
While you can purchase software programs that do the work for you. Careful reading of the free information posted on the Enneagram Institute site will cover most of the aspects in them.
The epilogue is a piece of writing at the end of a work specifically designed to bring closure.
To quote Wikipedia:
An epilogue is a final chapter at the end of a story that often serves to reveal the fates of the characters. Some epilogues may feature scenes only tangentially related to the subject of the story. They can be used to hint at a sequel or wrap up all the loose ends. They can occur at a significant period of time after the main plot has ended. In some cases, the epilogue has been used to allow the main character a chance to 'speak freely'. An epilogue can continue in the same narrative style and perspective as the preceding story, although the form of an epilogue can occasionally be drastically different from the overall story.
Publishers and readers expect something labeled erotica will contain graphic sex.
Strictly speaking, erotica is fiction where sex drives the plot. If all the dramatic tension comes from somewhere other than the sex, then the sex isn't necessary to tell the story. If the sex isn't necessary to tell the story, it’s not erotica.
In publishing terms, the term erotica is applied loosely to encompass stories where the sex is either traditional heterosexual sex at a higher level of heat than usually found or contains elements that are considered different eg BDSM, homosexual pairings, ménage, fetishes, kinks etc.
Here’s how Morgan Hawke sums it up in “The Cheater’s Guide to Writing Erotic Romance For Publication and Profit”
If a vampire has sex, the plot is erotic.
If the vampire has to have sex to drink the blood he needs, then the story becomes Erotica.
If the vampire finds a lover willing to give him the sex and the blood he needs, and they go on a wild adventure together to defeat the bad guys— the story becomes Erotic Romance.
The boundaries are also becoming blurred. While NY publishers are including longer and more graphic sex scenes in their romances, it’s still not erotica or even erotic romance unless the sex is driving the plot.
Who better to describe it than Morgan Hawke again:
"An Erotic Romance is a true cross-genre of Romance and Adventure and Sex. However, you can't just heat up a romance, or pop a few sex scenes into an adventure tale, or add Romance to an Erotica story, and make an Erotic Romance. To do an Erotic Romance right, you have to make everything work together— a romantic, sexually active relationship that goes on an Adventure. The sex has to be as much a part of the adventure plot as the relationship. The sex should trigger events in the plot— not be ‘in Addition to’ the plot. In other words, the Sex should be part of what makes the plot happen. To make the sex trigger events in the plot, the sex needs a PURPOSE, a REASON to be in the story, just like any other element in your work of fiction. You have to make the sex MATTER! Just like any other element in your work of fiction, to do Erotic Romance right, the best way to fit sex into the plot is to make it Vitally Important for sex to happen.”
There are two camps of thought. One that maintains graphic language is expected in erotica and the ones who say it turns the reader off.
Two interesting blogs in Alien Romance dealt with this. First, Margaret Carter in this blog on erotic language finds most formerly "unprintable" words as anti-aphrodisiacs and maintains:
Graphic or explicit erotica can mean either of two things—detailed, specific descriptions of body parts and sexual activities or very blunt (some people might say coarse or obscene) language.
She points out some publishers classify their erotica into different levels depending on the nature of these two elements.
Rowena Cherry in another blog on erotic language argues for the side of including explicit language. As she puts it:
Almost any word, used with skill and precision, can accomplish the author's purpose. I've read uses of the f-word where I could not imagine a more effective or arousing word for the context.
So the language can vary greatly from what I like to term the 4C’s (clitoris, cock, cum, cunt) and the euphemistic terms listed here in the sex dictionary
Ethics may seem a strange term to include, however it applies to a few aspects of a writer’s life.
This webpage on Fiction and the Ethics of Writing has thoughts on ensuring what you write does no harm: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/submitted/ron-hansen.html
Here is a forum which has a number of threads discussing issues such as plagiarism, attribution, quotes, names etc
There are also behavioural ethics eg the way you critique another’s work. Here is a good blog by Marilynn Brierley as she sees ethics.
Or more commonly known as Book Events are promotional events usually attended by the author in person. They may involve sessions where author will read a portion of their work and sign purchased copies of the book for their fans.