As the New Year kicks-off, it is an opportunity to evaluate and re-think existing relationships – in an effort to make 2017 a more efficient, and smooth-running year. After ten years of working with book publishers on successful projects, from e-book conversions through to some of the most complex typesetting work, we have decided to share some tips on managing the process.
1) Communication of deliverables needs to be clear. Rather than sending a series of emails back-and-forth, it’s easier to send a list of everything in one place so that you have a clear record of it, then your supplier can gather important information from one place. For e-book conversions this would be: e- ISBN, output format (reflowable, fixed, voice aloud, animation, interactivity, etc), metadata details, specification information – plus any other additional instructions that might be unique to your project.
2) What other projects can your supplier work on? Having one external point-of-contact is much simpler and less time consuming than having many. E-book conversion houses are often expert typsetters too – and can work in QuarkXPress, InDesign, 3B2, TeX, LaTeX, PageMaker or Microsoft Word. Is it time to establish XML-workflows? Speak to your regular supplier about how they might help. Chances are their proofreading and quality checks can help to save you time and money throughout the year.
3) Introduce the whole team. Over the course of a project there can be a range of people involved in checking files and supplying deliverables. On the outsourced supplier side you should have one project manager whom you communicate with. On your side you might have a colleague who sends the file and then someone in accounts who deals with invoicing. If your supplier knows who is who, it will save you time forwarding emails and files later on in the process.
4) If you are thinking about changing supplier, start with a small project to test the waters and work out who is who. If you are converting from PDF to XML you really need a company who will check the output thoroughly and can clean up any messy code generated in the process. Images usually need extraction for individual manipulation and optimisation. Converting from Word or InDesign produces better results, but they still need to thoroughly check that the mapping process has worked and ensure that there aren’t any other coding errors. Check that a new supplier is proficient at this before enlisting them with critical projects.
5) Make the intellectual property arrangements clear. If you work with Dsoft Digital, you will be sent converted e-book files, in the same way a printer provides you with books after printing. However, there are some services which lock your content into their systems and manage your ebooks on your behalf. This can be extremely useful when you start-up, though you will need water-tight intellectual property arrangements contracts should your business circumstances change. Taking ownership of your files and distributing them independently or with another supplier gives you more control of your own intellectual property.
If you are thinking about changing supplier in 2017, then please get in touch and we can arrange a free sample for you to test accuracy and quality of Dsoft Digital services.