I format books for authors into ePub and Mobi format. It’s taken much trial and error to learn how to do it properly. For those interested in doing it themselves, I offer the following invaluable sites for learning the process.
How do you create a ePub? Often you can format in Word and run it through conversion software. You can also create it in InDesign. Two sites that offer some great tips:
Apple’s ePub creation guide
Jane Friedman’s tips
There are a lot of ePub creators and creation services available:
EPubsoft EBook Converter
If you are creating the ePub yourself, you need to check it for errors. Two options available:
International Digital Publishing Forum and Validator
There are many errors that would cause your ePub to be rejected. ITunes in particular is very picky and requires a perfect file. The primary errors are:
Missing the “http://” in Web Address (replace all www with http://)
Image File Misidentified (image not anchored or improperly imbedded.)
No index (no table of contents or chapter markers)
For a list of other errors and how to fix them:
The final step is distributing your book to retailers. You can use a distribution service that will deliver your book to multiple retailers:
Or you can set up accounts with the individual platforms and upload directly:
Barnes & Noble
Get your book in ePub format today!
Don’t forget our IWSG Anthology Contest is open to members until November 1, 2015!
Thank you so much for these great tips. I formatted my book myself, but I am always willing to learn more ways, if not easier ways to do it.
This is the reason why I hired a formatter! I didn't understand a word of this article. Thank goodness for you and your fellow formatters!
Thanks for the tips. I think I'd hire an expert like you if I was going to self-publish and need to format the book right.
Thanks for this information, Diane. As always, it's useful and spot on.
Great list! I'd also add that you can use Scrivener's "compile" feature to export a book as an epub. I've used it for all my books and never had any problems with it, even uploading to Smashwords.
Lan, there was a time when I didn't understand any of it either.
Emma, that's another good converter. There were so many.
Good points made. All I know is I may have to hire someone one day.
Great formatting is important. I know the basics of formatting, but one of my critique partners is awesome at it. She makes my self-published works so pretty!
I think this is a growing service and more people will get into doing it for those of us who don't want to take the time or don't have the patience to learn.
Great info. I always like to try things myself, but if the time comes I might hire a pro.
I'm thankful there's someone like you who will do it for me!
I can do it, but I find it so much of a headache that I'd rather just hire someone else to do it haha
Oh, the errors! I remember the frustration with those until I understoond the ins and outs of the epub.
Great tips and resources for those who format their books.
Hi Diane - great comprehensive info .. but am glad Scrivener was mentioned ... but useful to know it's a service you recommend - cheers Hilary
Bish, I've loved formatting your books for you.
It's the time involved that I'm not wild about. I've done it, but that was more to prove to myself that I could. :-)
Not sure about being able to enter the anthology contest. I'd love to, but I may have to sit on the sidelines and cheer for this one.
Excellent tips! Thank you!
Thank you so much for these great tips.
Very helpful! Thanks for all the detail.
Great post, very informative. Thank you, Diane.
Formatting: Best left to the professionals; i.e. NOT ME! Great tips and leads and links!
If I ever decide to self publish I will hire you to format for me.
I have no shame in admitting that I cannot format to save my hide. I did it once for short story trilogy, but afterwards, I said to myself that I was going to higher a pro to do it for me. Been doing it that way ever since.
Father Nature's Corner
I remember formatting my first ebook back in 2011. Things change so fast, I doubt I could do that today. Now I understand why the fellow who won a copy of my ebook last month was so astonished. I'd sent him a pdf file. He was happy because he could actually read it on his laptop. It's hard to keep up with all the changes.
Donna, I would be happy to.
Joylene, that's why it's good to be prepared with many formats.
Thanks for the suggestions - I added Scrivener to the list.
Good to know, thanks so much! Will bookmark this for future reference.
Sometime in the future, I have two short stories I want to self pub and I'll be coming to you for the formatting. :D
When we're not insecure, we're sure to get ourselves into trouble. It's that old, "You don't know what you don't know adage." Unfortunately, it still carries over to when we hire someone to help. They look good, but unless we've done our homework, we still don't see what they didn't do or what they did wrong. In other words, there is no cure. Sorry to be discouraging. The only thing that approximates an appropriate medicine is to keep reading and keep asking questions. (-:
I wish this wasn't like a foreign language to me. I don't know how I managed to self-pub with a nice looking book, but I did. Minus numerous typos.
I appreciate knowing where to come when I have questions about any of this, Diane. Thank you.
Nice! I've never tried writing an ebook so I had no idea what formatting they're using. Thanks!
Diane, thanks for sharing.
You make it seem so straightforward but I'll be honest, it sounds like quite a challenge, a totally foreign language...
This is bookmark worthy. Thanks for the fabulous tips. I'm self-publishing a book in the not to distant future. Wish me luck. And Lynn Kelley is typesetting the Kissed by an Angel (the anthology to benefit the Sturge-Weber Foundation) anthology right now. Thank you, thank you.
This is really great information for someone wishing to format their books themselves. Thanks for sharing!
Fascinating, Diane! This is something I knew little about, but now I have a good resource!
You're my hero, Diane. I've been researching for months trying to find a converter other than Smashwords so I can distribute to Amazon. I never found any of these sites, just things like Ingram and Draft2Digital. Booktango sounds fantastic - almost too good to be true. I have so many problems self-publishing because I live in Egypt, but I refuse to be at the mercy of badly-managed ebook publishers anymore. Thank you so much for this awesome comprehensive list!!
Sigil ++ is great for fixing and validating epubs. It's freeware, too. Great info, Diane.
Chrys, be happy to!
Robyn, as away.
Robyn, I'm glad this helped you.
Lexa, I hope you can get on Amazon now.
Mary, I will add it.
Great post, L Diane. Of course anyone can format themselves if they invest the time necessary and that could be a lot. My comment: why would you want to?
I love Jutoh and Sigil and would add Draft2Digital as a distributor and Google Play and OmniLit/All Romance Ebooks (ARe) as individual platforms to upload directly to. :)
I'm bookmarking this one! Thanks Diane :)
This is valuable information that I, like others have indicated, will be coming be to reference.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Wrote By Rote
I do my own formatting, but I was unaware of many of these services. Great list.
This was timely. I'm working on formatting my book right now. Thanks!
I'm doing my own formatting this time around. I'll have to give it a final once over as I just uploaded my latest line edited version.
Thanks for these excellent tips. I think the formatting is the hardest part of creating a self-published book.
Post a Comment