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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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I totally agree!

Amazon or Bust?  This author's take on the uproar over Kindle Select.

The two biggest challenges for eBooks:

1) A design that is professional

2) Code errors introduced by the KDP translation software.  Annoying things like dropping italics, changing long dashes to hyphens, and little bits of html code appearing randomly in the text.

My solution was to use a design firm Butterflies & Hurricanes in Prague.  See my other forum post for examples:


Since many e-readers now allow for color, are you adding color to your ebooks? If so, in what way? With paper books we've been trained to have completely black and white interiors, so I'm wondering how we should rethink color for e-books.

Hi Steve,

That is a really good question.

So far we have maximized for the standard black and white Kindle.  But have been looking into the software for using color for the Kindle Fire and iPad and so on for a new multimedia project.  but for books sticking to B&W for now, as we are focused on text novels and getting them out ASAP. 

Butterflies & Hurricanes in Prague has not yet done a color book, so we will be learning the color elements together.

Personally I'm a bit wary of getting into the whole color thing, as I don't want it to distract from the reading experience.  Some of this comes from also having been in education for 20 years and see as many drawbacks to doing multimedia things on the web as there are benefits (see chapter 7 of The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr: when you start getting more than simple B&W text more of the brain gets involved which fundamentally changes the experience).  The more bells and whistles, the more distractions there are.  As a teacher I remove hypertext from documents.  But, there were people who were against color TV too, so . . .   Really it comes down to what your purpose is.  The magic of reading happens in the mind's eye, not the eye, which is what color starts to do. Once you get color you have a different medium. 

If you are going to go for color, I'd keep it minimal, just chapter headings if it's a novel (not a magazine or GN) unless it's a children's book.


Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I write almost exclusively nonfiction, often trying to untangle complex issues. I've thought that color headings might be a way differentiate a new line of thought, etc. Also, having some ADD and Dyslexic kids, if they see an entire page of text, they tend to groan. For this reason, I like to have lots of white space and text boxes to divide up text, much like a "For Dummies" book. I thought that splashes of color might also help with the reading experience. 

But your thoughts as a teacher give the other side. It may indeed be more distracting than enhancing, sort of like an ill-done powerpoint that distracts from an otherwise good presentation. 

Well for ADD and dyslexia and so on there are some benefits to having color and all that, but you'll need to research it, as it is often counter intuitive.  Often the best for those difficulties is to alter the text on the page: as you say, more white space, text broken up into bunches, and SHORTER LINES.  Diagrams and so on like the For Dummies books are fine, you just don't want too much.  Main thing is avoiding mixing media, and hyperlinks.

Ar you writing text books or articles for students?  There's lots of interesting research going on.  They treat dyspraxia now by giving kids glasses with colored lenses, and no other changes need to be made, so if you made the titles the same color as the glasses it wouldn't work out too well.   And much of the problems with ADD and so on can be aided greatly by prereading exercises and Constructivist-style motivation.

I kind of got off your original point.  But if you are trying to untangle complex issues in your writing, the more simple the text presentation, the more cognitive space the reader has for the issues.  Keep text simple and use visual diagrams.    I have not read enough on the use of color yet to know, but David Foster Wallace (R.I.P.) had an article in Atlantic Monthly a few years ago titled "Host" with a creative use of color for his many footnotes, unfortunately the online version doesn't have them and the color has been replaced by hyper text.

I'll attache a sntiched copy of some of The Shallows, if you are short on time (who isn't) look just at chapter 7, there's some highlighting .


I just translated my book about the Sun from Norwegian into English and it was just published by Springer. My biggest challenge is how Springer promotes popular science books since they main market is university level books--

We are working on ways to spread the words about tit. I am using my network and science community. It has been mentioned at several blogs already and Springer is preparing for a press-note soon. So then we will see.. It will also be available as eBook, Kindle and maybe iPad.. The latter would be cool since the book includes a lot of animations..

The book can be views here: Amazon and on Springer

Cool cover though...


well, I found that it is not enough just to write the book. As we all know writing alone is such an extreme endeavor that we don't even look beyond that world. Then there is the editing-wow! What an relenting production. Still I feel the marketing is the final frustration. Marketing more or less is out of the hand of the writer. Many authors, in fact most, have to contribute a massive amount of their own novice skills into marketing. This is where the only hope for a writer is that somewhere someone will catch the ad and buy the book. This might be the biggest challenge!

My biggest challenge right now is promoting my book. It's my first time publishing something and I don't have many ideas to go on to get word around about my story. It's exciting and nerve-wrecking at the same time. What if no one likes? What if it doesn't sell? I try to push those thoughts out, although I would like some reassurance that marketing gets easier.

Sandra, from what I'm told you of course have to get your name out there. I could give you more detail, but is it a book or just e-book? Who is your publisher?

Well, I'm just on right now. It's an e-book, but it's going to be on paperback in two weeks. Could you maybe give me some pointers on the first steps of advertising a book? I studied Graphic Design in school, so I made my own cover and ads for the novel. I intend to put them up around my city, although a few nifty ideas about the best ways of marketing would be great! Thanks for the reply!


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