Hello and welcome!
Today I have a young woman who I admire a lot for many reasons, which you will discover by reading the chat. I had the pleasure to meet her in person last summer and she is a firecracker 😀
She recently opened her own book formatting company, Perfect Pages and I wanted to help spread the word because I know she is a professional that any author would love to have on their side.
Please welcome Becca Abraham!
Thanks for having me stop by Eniko! Very much appreciated, us background workers sometimes feel a little left out 🙂
Do you have a nickname?
I have several. Some of my family calls me the Techno Bunny because I seem to be one of the only people that has an aptitude for technology. I am also Becca Bunny, ChewBecca and BA-CAA (said like a chicken).
What is one word best describes you?
LOL that seems to be a family trait 😀
What makes you laugh out loud?
The things that come out of my kidlettes mouth or my husbands. Sometimes they just say the weirdest things.
I run a group home for Adults with Developmental Delays. I laugh at work so often. I can’t actually share any stories due to confidentiality clauses but I can tell you the things that come out of my mouth and the things they say sometimes just make me stop and laugh hysterically. Where else can you go to work where you say the words “Put the staff down and please stop bench pressing them”?
What is your favourite smell? What does it remind you of?
I love the smell of rain. It is just a comforting smell to me and I love thunderstorms. You can usually find me out on my covered porch during a thunderstorm just watching it.
Favourite place to spend time in.
It is a toss up. My jetted tub with a book, my “Art Dungeon” painting or working on a craft .. or my basement video game area killing zombies. Depends on the mood I am in.
Is there a genre that you refuse to read?
No. Books and reading to me is all about what grabs me and interests me. I have to like the story or the characters or both. There have been times where I have stopped reading due to a character that I just can’t stand reading anymore.
Book formatting! What started it?
I guess that is a two part answer.
1. My Graphic Design degree. While doing my degree I found out that I excel at and love a portion of it called Pre Press. Basically setting up files, making sure files work, they are clean (nothing left floating around and hidden), checking on fonts, making sure they are embedded in the files. Because so much of Art is subjective I found that I like the right and wrong portion of Graphic Design… the technical part, building files and coding portions.
2. My Aunt. We found out she had a hoard of books in her room that she had written over the years. She didn’t think they were good enough to publish and didn’t know how to.
Once I convinced her to actually take that step and publish … it was a whirlwind. I had to take what I knew from Graphic Design and apply it to building eBook files. It has definitely been a learning experience and she keeps me busy!
I am glad you found them and I am honored to be part of the journey from the beginning.
What do you like most about your work?
I love the right and wrong. Either your files are right … or they are wrong. They work and pass the premium checks or they don’t. It is like … playing with lego for adults. All tiny little building pieces that come together to make a final project. If one piece doesn’t work, the whole project is wrong.
I love working on my own, blaring my music, watching a documentary and just .. being in my own world while I format. The files almost seem to speak to me when I hit my zone.
What are, if any, the pet peeves in formatting a book?
When an author sends me a book they say is ready to be formatted, I do the work and then I get a new file because something was changed.
When there is pre-formatting it bugs me too, it just takes that much longer to remove formatting and start again.
I designed a few books for print, but I don’t know anything about formatting an ebook. I think it would be great if you could give a short description of what are the steps in formatting a book.
I start with a Word document. All of the pre-set formatting from the authors computer is removed and I start rebuilding the file. In order to publish these books and have them pass to the Premium Distribution Channels, there is a very strict set of rules that have to be adhered to – if anything is off then it will not pass.
The fonts are changed so they can be read by the eBook devices (eBook websites and devices will only read a select number of fonts). Because almost every app lets the reader choose their font sizes and sometimes they can change the font, the information in the file must remain the same throughout the file so it can be changed by the end user. This means you don’t have multiple fonts, you don’t have multiple sizes unless it is a specified header.
The spacing is set up to reflect the standards. This means removing all enter/returns from the file, adding in single spacing for the lines, custom spacing after paragraphs, removing all tabs.
eBooks files will show up differently in every reader. The app or reader will take the information that is built into the eBook file and interpret it to show in the manner it needs to. On some apps there will be a tab present, on others there won’t be one.
Because the information is read differently for every app, when formatting you don’t formatting to a specific device.
There are some other file related things, but I won’t get into it. Don’t want to give up all of my secrets 😉
Once the files are done they are uploaded to the websites, converted and then I test them. Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, Adobe Digital Editions all tested on a computer, an Android Device and an iPad. I increase the font, decrease the fonts, change the fonts, test it vertically, test it horizontally, try out all of the links.
If everything passes my testing then ISBN’s are added to the books and I tell the websites (Smashwords/Amazon) to run their own personal checks on the files. If the files pass their formatting standards, they are added to the Premium Distribution Channels or they become live on the websites to sell!
Like I said .. like playing with Lego. Lots of small pieces to build a bigger project.
I like the analogy, so true!
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your work?
I don’t know if it is interesting or not but I am an avid crafter. I paint, scrapbook, sew, knit, crochet and make chainmaille with my husband. Yes .. like suits of armour for knights. We do that as well as the modern day spins on it like jewelry.
I love my chainmaille red & silver dragon 😀 and so does my son!
I also design and sell t-shirts and other merchandise online.
I also have a sick twisted addiction to playing Zombie based video games on my PS4.
If you could choose another career what would it be?
I have the best of both worlds actually because I get to work in two fields that I love. Because formatting is a solo type of work and can be fit in around other things in my life (Kidlette and Husband and Fur Baby come first), it is my second job/career.
I currently work full time running a house for Adults with Developmental delays. It is honestly one of my passions in life. I love working with my guys. I have 3 gentlemen that live in the house that I manage. I am suppose to be there to teach them things in life, but in the end a lot of the time they teach me.
Two of my guys are extremely hard of hearing boarding on deaf. I have had the opportunity to learn ASL because of this and the opportunity to see a whole new type of communication. This allows me to use my Graphic Design background as well because my clients are so visual I have to make custom communication tools for them that are on their level of cognitive understanding.
I get to see everyday how other people view the world and what is really important to people on a basic fundamental level. It is really a blessing that I have been able to balance two careers I love in two completely different fields that seem to actually complement each other.
Thank you Becca for taking the time to chat with me, I know how limited your free time is and I would like to wish you success in your new endeavour.
Hope you enjoyed the chat and learned something new today. As a reader, I appreciate when I read a book, e- or print, that is very well formatted.
Authors! If you are looking for a new formatting service, Becca is a professional to the core that you can rely on, and also has reasonable prices.
In the month of May, there is a 25% off introductory discount on all formatting services!
Until next time read a book, listen to a book and don’t forget to show your love by leaving a review!