Notes on writing an ebook

Note: These are literally notes. I’m writing this so I can refer back to it. When I’ve got formatting down cold, I’ll come back and clean it up.

Writing an ebook can be easier than publishing one, as I discovered recently. As work progressed on my book, This Could be Heaven, I decided to open an account with Nook Press because I wanted to see what it would look like.

My first hurdle was formatting the document in Word so it would look good as an ebook. After reading the directions, I realised I would have to reformat it in Word. I started by taking each chapter and copying and pasting them one at a time into Notepad. Then I opened a fresh document in Word and followed the directions. Basically,

  • Start by using 12 point Arial, Times New Roman or another approved font.
  • Add a section break before adding new chapters so Nook will recognise them as such.
  • Keep formatting to a minimum. Italics, bold and font colours seemed to work, but some other things didn’t seem to work.

That’s as far as I got with Nook, because when I went to fill out the Vendor information, I discovered it wasn’t available in Australia.

After feeling depressed for a day, I started looking for other places to publish. Lulu and Smashwords both looked likely and both had one thing in common: they wanted the epub format. After doing some looking around, I came across this excellent article: Creating an ebook with LibreOffice Writer. Another great article I’m going to refer back to is How to create an eBook the open source way.

I’ve downloaded both LibreOffice and the epub extension. Now I have to go back and reformat my book again according to the directions.

In case you’re wondering why I didn’t go straight to Amazon and publish there, it’s because I want to start elsewhere first. I know I will have to make my book available on Amazon and will have to go through the formatting process again there, but that can wait. Besides, once I’ve formatted in epub, it should be easy enough to convert to Amazon’s format using their KindleGen tool.

At the same time, I’ve been researching ways to market my book. So far, the best two articles I’ve found are these two:

I’m glad I took this step because I may need to change my publishing and formatting strategy. The first article recommends publishing on Amazon first and making your ebook available in the lending library. This can create some buzz about it. The catch is that you can only publish it on Amazon to use this service. After 90 days, though, you can go ahead and publish elsewhere. The second article mentions Calibre, which can convert files to both epub and mobi. I’m downloading that one now.

If I do need help polishing my manuscript for digital publication, I might use WriteIntoPrint. They seem affordable and the examples they show look professional.

03 December

Just read a LinkedIn discussion about ebook platforms. Two I need to look into are InscribeDigital and CreateSpace.

29 February 2015

Interesting article on cost of editing, book cover design, etc. How Much Does It Cost to Self-Publish a Book.

to be continued . . .