For Self-Published Authors? QED Seal of Approval

I’ve been running an ongoing series of blog posts, with guest bloggers, who have self-published. It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of self-publishing…for many reasons I’ve already stated. This is also a seal of approval for publishers, too. But I’m focusing this post on self-published authors because I’m not sure whether or not any publishers will actually participate in something like this. Publishers…all of them…do what they want to do. And there’s a fee, check it out here.

I don’t know much about this seal of approval, but I will find out more. Mainly because I’m thinking about self-publishing a few things myself. Fiction that’s not erotica or erotic romance.

But if I had a self-published book out there right now, I’d be looking into this and finding out how I can get this seal of approval. Let’s face it, there are a few really bad self-pubbed e-books (not to mention e-books with publishers), which makes it even more difficult for those of you who have taken the time to produce a quality product. And readers only have to buy one bad book to feel slighted and cheated, self-pubbed or professionally pubbed. With something like this QED seal, it will give them a little more security. I know I’ll be looking for it when I’m shopping for books.

Again, I’ll post more when I find out more. The one thing that slightly bothers me is that is sounds a little gimmicky, in a promotional way, and I’m not sure if it’s a contest or an actual seal of approval you pay to get. But I’m really hoping this will be something self-published authors can do to prove they have quality products.

If anyone has anymore info, please feel free to share. I did e-mail them and I’m waiting to hear more about self-pubbed authors and books.

“A well-crafted ebook is essential both from the reader’s perspective, as well as the publishers’—a reader will respond to a well-crafted, beautifully designed ebook. They will feel like they got their money’s worth when they interact with a professional-quality product. A quality ebook is going to be increasingly crucial as a component of a publisher’s brand going forward.”

—Pablo Defendini, Interactive Producer, Open Road Integrated Media

New to the Publishing Innovation Awards this year is the QED Seal, which stands for Quality, Excellence, Design. The QED is the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval™” for ebooks – it signals to an ebook reader that the title will render well in whatever their preferred reading format and that they can buy with confidence. It is an emblem that publishers, authors, and content creators can affix to their ebook cover and metadata that assures readers they can read that title where they want, how they want.

Ebook titles entered into the Publishing Innovation Awards will go through a thorough, professional 13-point design review with an eye towards readability across multiple devices and in multiple formats. The QED is judged on the criteria established on the recommendation of the Publishing Innovation Awards advisory council, who are respected leaders in the digital production and design space.

QED consideration is included in the entry fee for all entries in the Ebook and Enhanced Ebook categories.

QED Inspection Check-List
1. Front matter: the title does not open on a blank page.
2. Information hierarchy: content is arranged in such a way that the relative importance of the content (heads, text, sidebars, etc) are visually presented clearly.
3. Order of content: check of the content to be sure that none of it is missing or rearranged.
4. Consistency of font treatment: consistent application of styles and white space.
5. Links: hyperlinks to the web, cross references to other sections in the book, and the table of contents all work and point to the right areas. If the title has an index, it should be linked.
6. Cover: The cover does not refer to any print edition only related content.
7. Consumable Content: The title does not contain any fill-in content, such as workbooks and puzzle books, unless the content has been re-crafted to direct the reader on how to approach using the fill-in content.
8. Print References: Content does not contain cross references to un-hyperlinked, static print page numbers (unless the ebook is intentionally mimicking its print counterpart for reference).
9. Breaks: New sections break and/or start at logical places.
10. Images: Art is appropriately sized, is in color where appropriate, loads relatively quickly, and if it contains text is legible. If images are removed for rights reasons, that portion is disclaimed or all references to that image are removed.
11. Tables: Table text fits the screen comfortably, and if rendered as art is legible.
12. Symbols: Text does not contain odd characters.
13. Metadata: Basic metadata for the title (author, title, etc.) is in place and accurate.

QED Judging Process
The QED supports a reader’s ability to access their ebooks how they want, when they want, and on the screen they want. To ensure that a title meets the demands of the ebook reader, each title will go through the above check-list on multiple devices and in multiple formats.

To ensure that an ebook title submitted for a QED will render well on the device a reader chooses, be reviewed on three devices: a small, mobile-sized screen, an eInk reader-sized screen, and a tablet-sized screen.

To confirm that the title looks good in the most widely adopted formats, each ebook will be reviewed in ePub in a Webkit-based ereader application (like Apple’s iBooks), in ePub in an Adobe SDK-based ereader (like Bluefire or Adobe Digital Editions), and in Mobi in Kindle Previewer.