JukePop Serials Bloggity

Storytelling, one chapter at a time.

Proper EBook Covers for Libraries — April 22, 2014

Proper EBook Covers for Libraries

Ever looked at the book covers of the titles featured on Goodreads? There’s something to be learned there. All those book covers have unmistakable quality and care put into them. Their author didn’t just slap on a logo or do the artwork themselves—they hired a professional designer with an eye for it. Go ahead and look. Every book cover without exception has it going on.

Now ask yourself: did the story get people to look at those covers, or did the cover get people to read?

Just as it’s important to have a decent cover for sites like Goodreads, it’s equally important to have a proper cover for your story on JukePop. People do judge books by their covers. A good one encourages them to check out what’s inside, a poor one encourages them to skip. That’s why we’re committed to only accepting titles with good covers to our library program.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 1.11.41 PM

On the Internet certain rules must be followed for book covers. EBooks are different from paperback. For example, you want people to see the story’s title and author name even when the cover has been shrunk down to a small thumbnail. In fact you want everything about the cover to be eye-catching even when reduced in size. This may not be necessary in a paperback cover, which doesn’t shrink.

More specific to JukePop is our uploading rules. We’re glad to see that the vast majority of our JP 30 authors have covers which follow these rules:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.21.47 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.27.44 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.23.21 PM

Notably, they are all 600 wide by 800 high .jpeg files. This ensures there’s no discrepancy when the cover is transferred to an ebook or a site like Santa Clara library. The 3:4 resolution is the standard.

What happens when the resolution is inappropriate? We end up with stretching:

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 1.15.28 PM

 

Here’s the original, a common mistake where the width and height ratio was reversed:

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This may not be a big deal for some authors. It certainly wasn’t for the above! But again, remember Goodreads. Do you think covers like these would make it on there? Neither do we. This same criticism applies to covers which have proper resolution but are too small—they get horribly blurry when expanded or when someone shares on Facebook.

Let’s go through a few bullet points on what we require for our book covers, including some tips and tools for creating better ones:

  • 600 wide by 800 high resolution
  • .jpeg
  • Files size no larger than 5MB
  • Make sure you own the rights to all images
  • Make sure the title and byline are prominent on the cover
  • Free software for you creative types: the GIMP
  • Free software for formatting: Irfanview + the plugin pack
  • Find cheap, quality cover designers on sites like Fiverr
  • Need more help finding a professional cover designer? Contact us

If there’s no other incentive to get a proper book cover than to make your story more appealing to prospective readers, remember: we will only accept stories with appropriate covers to our library program. We want a catalog that can match or even surpass sites like Goodreads. So get to it!

 

JukePop not affect by the Heartbleed Bug — April 10, 2014

JukePop not affect by the Heartbleed Bug

Hi Everyone, this is Mark, the tech guy behind JukePop. By now, you’ve probably all heard about the Heartbleed bug and the potential security risks that everyone has been exposed to. If not, then the synopsis of the problem is that any site using the OpenSSL technology (2/3 of the sites out there including large companies such as Yahoo, Google, and other notable sites) to secure login and sensitive communication between you and the site’s service may have been compromised. Check out the following article from NPR for more information.

What To Do Now That The Heartbleed Bug Exposed The Internet

I want to reassure everyone that our site is not affected by this bug and has never been affected by this bug. However, I do strongly recommend everyone take some time to change the passwords to all of your important accounts. But please double check to make sure that the site has patched the security hole before you change it (site to check link here). Also, try to avoid logging into a site that requires a user name/password until you’ve verified that it’s safe.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Important! Proper Formatting for Stories — April 1, 2014

Important! Proper Formatting for Stories

With our venture into publishing select stories to libraries comes one issue: formatting. Getting libraries to accept the story requires not only the right analytics and a bit of work on our end, but we’re also required to provide stories that conform to a certain style guideline. For that reason, poorly formatted stories simply won’t be selected for our library partners. If you are an author looking to get accepted to this program, make sure your story follows the guidelines below.

But there’s another important reason to format your story. It applies to authors in the library program as well as those simply seeking to maintain their readership on the site.

Reader engagement. What does that mean? It isn’t just about holding people’s attention with your story. The story is half the battle. Having neat, punctual prose with proper formatting on the web plays an equally important role in reader engagement.

Luckily coming up with the story is the hard part. Formatting is the easy part. With simple tools like copy and paste and find and replace, you can turn an otherwise difficult-to-read chapter into something easily digestible. What’s important is recognizing these errors where and when they turn up. The author who doesn’t spend time identifying issues with their writing is the author who doesn’t want a masterpiece.

One of the most frequent formatting errors we run into on JukePop is the dreaded “wall of text”. This is when a paragraph is so long that all readers see on their computer screens is a string of illegible words. It can be hard—sometimes impossible—to keep readers engaged with text that is not broken up. Gaps in text is imperative.

We hear it all the time from our readers. Some actually leave comments to the authors begging them to break up text with spaces. Many times, we see a reader say that they like the premise of the author’s story, but they are distracted by elementary writing mistakes and formatting issues.

Traditionally writers and editors follow a style manual. Either an in-house one or a chosen industry standard. It is their go-to guide. What size font to use, paragraph indentation, answers to any stylistic questions. Everyone must follow it to a tee.

JukePop does not use such a manual. Our software automatically converts everything that is uploaded to our site to our in-house style. However we do ask writers to follow a couple of rules when uploading. This is our style manual:

1. Remove prior formatting before cutting and pasting to the site. This can be done by copy/pasting to notepad or another ASCII word processor, then copy/pasting that to JukePop’s editor. Easy!

2. Insert a blank space between each paragraph and line of dialogue. This avoids the “wall of text” issue. Additionally consider breaking up long paragraphs. Our best stories’ paragraphs have the typical length of five sentences.

Example of incorrect formatting on JukePop
Incorrect Formatting
Example of correct formatting for JukePop
Correct Formatting

3. If you know a bit of HTML/CSS, you may insert things like left-right quotation marks and long dashes by turning on the “source code” button in our text editor. However, please don’t use code to do things like change the font of your text.

4. Review your chapters before and after they are published. Make sure they include line breaks and have the correct HTML/CSS formatting. If something is amiss, use our Edit Chapter feature found under “My Submissions”.

5. And remember, if you would like to be considered for our library inclusion, stories need to be without any tabs or indentations. More info on that here.

Keep up the good work, JukePop authors.

 

 

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