SERVICES

Circumstance has contrived such that I have come to learn the art of typesetting. I can turn any Word or LibreOffice document (and a number of more exotic formats) into print-ready PDFs and eBooks—all I need is my preferred software. If you are in need of my services, you need only email me; and I will reply in a timely fashion.

I will attempt to finish any such requested projects within a week. Needless to say, such a service does not come free; although my rates are, I believe, competitive.

You can take a look at some of my work below. Along with a number of screenshots, I’ve also included a sample PDF and EPUB. If you like what you see, consider my fees:

  1. eBook from Word/LO: My rate is £0.65 per thousand words. Note that there is a £35 minimum fee.
  2. Print-ready PDF from Word/LO: This will cost £1 per thousand words; minimum fee is £40. (By the way: I don’t design book spines. Ask your cover designer to do that.)
  3. Both eBook and PDF from Word/LO: If you order both, I will discount the total by 20%.

Note: the above are guideline rates—I will give you a project-specific quote. If your manuscript is in a poor state and requires exceptional work, then expect to pay exceptional fees. Conversely, certain projects—such as manuscripts that are over 100K in length—typically get discounted.

Now! Some important things to consider. If you have not proofread the manuscript, don’t waste both your time and my time—make sure you’re happy with it first, then hire me. If you do require minor revisions, these are free... within reason. Anything more substantial will get you a quote.

Other than that: payment is by PayPal. You can also wire me money to my bank account, if you need to—but PayPal is best. You’ll pay half the fee upfront, and the other half upon completion; if my work doesn’t meet your requirements (really doesn’t), or I’ve done a poor show of things, you don’t have to pay the other half. The first installment is non-refundable.

(If you want more information on the above caveat, ask and I’ll email you a contract.)

One More Thing: Why Hire Me?

The rationale is simple. Proper formatting isn’t easy—it requires the ability to code, it involves specialised knowledge, and learning to do it is time-consuming and difficult. (Trust me: I know.) If you want to waste several hours of your time struggling with HTML & CSS, typographic convention, and various arcane pieces of software, by all means: go ahead. If you don’t; hire a professional.

If you’re considering hiring someone else, I’ll not brag or demean the good work of other people. It’s a market out there. In fact: look around. But do look at me. My rates are competitive, my turnout is pretty quick, and I know the ins and outs of publishing. Plus: I can entertain you with my humour, or give fellow writerly advice ;)

If you like what you see below, email me: my address is work DOT alexstargazer AT gmail DOT com. The Contact Me page contains additional means by which to get hold of me, but the address aforementioned is best.

My Work

A sample PDF is available for your persual; see also the EPUB excerpt of the Necromancer.

Beyond that—take a look at the screenshots below.

FAQs

Q: I see some people are offering very low fees (<£30) for eBook formatting. Why is this so?

Without intending to give a prejudicial judgement on other designers, I will give you a warning: some dishonest agents merely take your manuscript and pass it through an automated conversion program like Calibre. For word processing documents, the results are usually… less than satisfactory. Don’t believe me? Look at what happens when you send one of my own manuscripts through Calibre:

Not only did the conversion randomly format a paragraph in a different font to the rest of the book, but the code itself is very messy and difficult to work with—see all those spans? (I’m not even going to mention the fact that the HTML files are not split at the right places, hence no proper page breaks, or that there’s no table of contents.)

What’s more, if something isn’t right, chances are your designer won’t know. All they did was pass it through Calibre. Your reader could stumble on all sorts of interesting formatting...

(By the way, this is nothing against Calibre: it works very well for converting e.g. EPUB to MOBI. It’s just that, by the nature of the eBook and the word processor document, it’s very difficult to perform an automated conversion.)

Q: Can you upload to iBooks?

I have a MacBook Pro in addition to my Ubuntu desktop, so if that’s necessary, yes.

Q: What can you do for me in the looks department?

Normally, I format a book in whatever way I deem appropriate: if it’s High Fantasy, for example, I may choose a particularly characterful serif. If it’s romance, I can go for informal serifs or even sans-serif. Of course, you have creative vision. If you desire me to use a particular font; or if you want to make your book look like another book, that’s fine.

That said, I’ll tell you straight if your idea is daft. Formatting a 200-page romance novel in a lacey handwritten script, for example, is probably not a good idea.

Q: Why do some people charge more for individual Amazon/Google/Noble formats?

They’re probably squeezing you for some extra cash. The only difference between them is in the metadata (which takes a minute to edit) or in the format, which takes ten seconds to convert.

Q: How old are you?

Eighteen. But trust me: I know what I’m doing.

Q: Do you accept PDFs?

No. Or at least not without exceptional circumstances. PDFs are very difficult to work with—you can’t edit them directly or easily convert them to eBook formats—and they take a lot of work to clean up post-conversion.

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