Nonfiction Ebooks Provide that Something Extra

L.C., founder of eFrog Press, hosts the Take the Leap blog and regularly blogs about all things ebook!

A Sensible Lady: A Tradtional Regency RomanceIt has been a busy spring at eFrog Press. While we began the year with fiction titles, our most recent projects have been nonfiction. What an adventure! We love to work with fiction authors on developing plot, characters, dialogue, and concrete details. Our copy editors work diligently to ensure each author’s voice shines through loud and strong while preventing grammar and usage issues from interfering with a reader’s escape into the story. As testament to our success, Judith Lown’s A Sensible Lady received this Amazon reader review by M.H. posted on May 9 and excerpted here:

Happily, the story unfolds through action and naturally flowing dialogue rather than by “telling” the reader what is happening. The author apparently had an editor who insisted on grammatical and spelling checks prior to publication which is very welcome.

But I digress. Nonfiction has provided new joys and challenges. Barbara McClintock: Nobel Prize Geneticist, a biography for children, is the first in our Spotlight Biography series. The series will include a variety of biographies for children by several authors. Since it is part of a series, formatting and design decisions required input from both Edith Hope Fine, the author, and from other series authors who were still getting rights or permissions for their biographies.

One formatting decision was to add a decorative element representing the famous person to the top of each chapter—an ear of maize represents McClintock’s decades of study of corn and adds a welcome touch of color. A well-researched biography must include citations [113 in this book!], so the group of authors decided to provide endnotes organized by chapter. An ebook allows the endnote number within the text to be hyperlinked to the endnote at the end of the chapter or book, so the reader can easily click to find out more information or see the source and return.

Another advantage of nonfiction ebooks is the wealth of online resources that can be provided. In the “Dig Deeper” chapter of Barbara McClintock, children can follow links to view a video of the king of Sweden bestowing McClintock with the Nobel Prize  and there is even a video of her giving a speech – talk about research coming to life for children!

On June 12, Fine will blog about her journey from out-of-print book to ebook here at Take the Leap, and her biography will be free on Barbara McClintock’s birthday, June 16, on Amazon.

Life History and Captive HusbandryHow delighted we were at eFrog Press to edit and format an ebook on frogs—giant African bullfrogs to be specific! Pioneering herpetoculturist Philippe de Vosjoli has written dozens of books on various species but Giant African Bullfrogs: Life History and Captive Husbandry, co-authored with Robert Mailloux, was his first ebook. When we started, he had hundreds of photographs and a complete manuscript that had already been reviewed by a veterinarian. Although there are journal articles and chapters on the giant African bullfrog, this is the first complete book that introduces the species and gives detailed information on their care in captivity. What’s so special about these frogs? Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

Among the most impressive and iconic frogs of the world is the African bullfrog, Pyxicephalus adspersus, a giant that can reach nine and a half inches in length and weigh more than three pounds. . . . As a bonus to prospective frog owners, the giant African bullfrog has proven one of the most satisfying of all frogs one can own as a pet, with few and easy to afford requirements and a potential for long life. With a captive record of 45 years, it may in fact be the longest lived of the frogs.

One of the challenges in formatting this ebook was effective placement of 130 color photographs. The images are an essential element of the book because few people have ever seen these amazing frogs during the different stages of their lives. The author decided to place some images within the text to illustrate the exposition and then insert the rest at the end of the appropriate chapter. Ensuring that the images could be enlarged and that the captions stood out from the text involved some experimenting until we developed a style that worked for this book.

Finding just the right copy editor for this project was important too because of the technical details and use of scientific names. We also needed an editor who was not too squeamish as de Vosjoli described behaviors like how the bullfrogs sink their eyes and use their front legs to stretch out large prey prior to swallowing. And, of course, there were close-up photographs! Fortunately, one of our editors had worked in the education department at Sea World prior to joining a large publishing house, so she was unfazed by the gory details and quite comfortable editing the scientific terminology.

Let us help you find the proper format for your book and publish it as an ebook. Check out our formatting and editing services now.

What advantages do ereaders provide for your readers for either fiction or nonfiction titles?

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2 Responses to “Nonfiction Ebooks Provide that Something Extra”

  1. portiasmom Says:

    All I can say is Thank you, e-frog for being a one stop center of expertise which made it possible for me to epublish A Sensible Lady and thereby reach readers inaccessible to me via traditional publishing. The comment cited underlines how efrog met my most serious concern: a good copy editor. Having had a wonderful editor when I published traditionally, I knew the importance of a professional editor and efrog has the best.

    BTW, I’m now reading an interesting ebook that clearly did not have anywhere near adequate editing. I feel like weeping for the writer.

  2. L.C. Says:

    Judith, we appreciate the kind words. I agree with your comments about your copy editor. She has years of experience with a large publishing house and is currently freelancing while home with a toddler. We were so lucky to get her services! She loved working on your novel and was careful to recommend changes that did not interfere with your witty style and strong voice. I have the greatest respect for copy editors!

    Some indie authors think they can save money by having their neighbor or best friend edit their manuscript, and I suspect that is what happened with the ebook you are currently reading. It is so hard for new authors to get a reader to read their book. Just a few stray punctuation marks, confusing grammatical errors, and weird little symbols or typos can cause that interested reader to abandon that author forever.

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