ebooks: ur doin’ it wrong

Actually, you’re probably not.

You might not being doing it right, but chances are you’re not doing it wrong.

The thing is, in my short career in the (e)book industry, the one thing I’ve discovered is that there is no right way of doing anything. There are frustrations, and problems, but also discoveries and solutions. I moved from an environment in which the work I did was very strictly governed. The process we followed was laid out to ensure the elimination of errors. Everything was checked, checked again, and then checked a third, fourth, and fifth time. By the end of it, you’d seen the same words on a page so many times that you might not even notice errors if they were there.

So I face my current role coming from a place which dangerously encourage my perfectionist tendencies. I find it very difficult to let go of anything that isn’t absolutely right. But with the way the current ebook market is, I’m beginning to realise that there’s no such thing as ‘absolutely right’. So I’m torn between my wish to produce the best books I can, and the need to get our books out there and available to the reader. There are some problems I’ve hit that it’s not yet even possible to solve for ebooks and this in itself is hugely frustrating. However, I do think the strictures of my previous role have been a help for what I was brought in to do at ACB. I’ve had a lot of files to go through and sort out. They’ve needed identifying, and categorising, and tracking – this is all stuff that I find easy, if not always enjoyable, and always time-consuming. I’m a great believer however, in the need to put in the background work before you can achieve anything. You wouldn’t write a dissertation on a specific topic without doing the necessary reading, so apply this to everything else. It always turns out to be worth it in the end.

Having the freedom to define my own process has been a fantastic opportunity, and I’m refining a system for our ebook production that I hope will stand us in good stead for the future, not just for the immediate period of ebooks being a new and exciting thing. Although, when I say ‘a’ system, that’s not quite accurate. Every different list within ACB seems to need a different approach.

Never let it be said that ebooks are simple.  And never let anyone tell you that you’re doing it wrong.


~ by kymethra on July 18, 2010.

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