Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday Writers Craft Online: Show Off Your Work Online - But Keep Control Part 2

Last week I put up scans of several pages, teasers, of my two books Katz Tales and Logomania. I chose to put up image files because it is harder to steal information in this form. People may still copy-type the information but it's unlikely. Or at least, harder than cutting and pasting text or PDF files.

I asked a few friends to take a look at the scans. One pal, and possibly two, thought the scans were too small. I realised later my first friend only clicked on the image once, and was trying to read the thumbnail. It states clearly on each page that clicking on the image twice would give you the Big Picture but when surfing online you have to accept the fact that some people don't read everything. I'm not going to worry about it now.

Another said the pictures were too big and too slow to download. I tested the downloads with several others who said they were fine. I'm going to leave this as is for now, however, if in the next few weeks I get more complaints, I'll have to rethink this and perhaps make smaller sized images.

Another friend, Mathew Titus suggested this for Logomania, "... offer a list of terms (or, words) which are in the book - and then lead them on to the fact that you'd have to buy the book to find out where they come from (rather than to have people read the full pages... ) It would be kind of like, an extended version of the Back Cover of the book."

I can't put in the whole index; it's just too large. But I've added info to the Logomania book page that the book investigates more than 400 phrases and have included a few. Click on the book images to see the difference.

Mat also added, "Honestly, I never read scanned page online if I can avoid it. I usually print them out - and read them later. JPG files aren't very good with reproducing words (you MIGHT try the GIF format as an alternative - although, they do carry a copywrite... technically. Or, use PNG - which is still better than JPG or JPEG for scanned text.)"

He is of course quite right. PNG or Portable Network Graphics gives you a much sharper image and a smaller file size than JPG and GIF. I wish I'd thought of that when I did the original scans. I don't have time to rescan everything (got screaming deadlines) but when you do your scans, consider PNG over GIF and JPG.

About scanning book pages etc... If you are a tech dunce, take your stuff to a photocopy cum printing shop and ask the staff there to do it for you. Ask for two scans: one in as big a file size as they can, and one small one. Use the big file size when you want wonderful clear big images that are slow to download, and use the small file sizes that give people an idea of what's what and are fast to download.

Katz Tales by Ellen Whyte Book front cover imageLogomania by Ellen Whyte Book front cover image

File sizes are hugely important. If you look at the image of the book covers here, the Katz Tales one is 8KB and the Logomania is 7kb. These little pics are great for decorating a web page because they download in a snap. My bigger images meant for Sneak Peaks run around 1000kb. This gives an image with text large enough to read comfortably, but not so large that it takes forever to download on a dial-up connection.

However, even my biggest files here would be useless to a book reviewer who wants to use them in a magazine or newspaper. For them, you'd need to send the big version that come in at over 3000kb each separately via email - or offer a media page. We'll get into media pages next week.

If you can do your own scans, even better. Combination printers, scanners, and faxes are so cheap, they're worth investing in. Mine is a Lexmark model that is easy to use and fairly robust. However, it is good to have some fancier image editing tools about.

These tools can help you: resize images, superimpose text (like copyright notices!), fix small problems like glare, erase certain parts and much more.

I strongly recommend FXFoto. Try to free version and I'm sure you will end up buying the extended edition - I did and I never regretted it.

The other change I've made to my book pages is to add a note to the big images that these are scans from my books. So the ones for Katz Tales say, "From Katz Tales by Ellen Whyte available from" at the bottom. This means that when Google Images or someone posts these scans on their web site, readers can see immediately where they came from - and visit if they want. I have not put notices on thumbnails as the text would be too small to read.

Hope this was useful. Next week: getting through to the media using galleries...


The Oceanside Animals said...

A while back, I decided that if anyone really wanted to steal stuff posted online, they would find a way to do it regardless of the safeguards. (This was after one of my stories turned up on a Russian web site for some reason.) Nowadays I just post it (I even posted the entire PDF of my novel "Dragon Stones") and let what happens happen. But then again, I'm also beyond expecting to make any money at it ... ;-)

Anya said...

Ik hoop dat iedereen weer beter is
knuffels van ons :)