Get Your Book Ready to Sell
There are many tools that will help you take your eBook from a simple text file to a book that’s ready to sell. Each of these resources have their own unique pros and cons so before you get started, be sure to carefully consider all your choices.
Free eBook Creator — Open Source eBook Conversions
There are two main types of eBook convertors – free and paid. Free programs like calibre and Sigil can take your eBook and convert it to a wide range of formats. Remember that each eBook reader has its own format and it’s important to offer your work in as many formats as possible. Both calibre and Sigil are free and are functional on Windows, Linux and Mac.
calibre is considered by many to be the easiest to use and it’s frequently updated to add new tools. However, it is not a book editing software – its only purpose is for conversion. As a result, if you use this program and find a problem with your eBook, such as page numbers not appearing correctly in one of the formats you upload it in, you won’t be able to use it to correct the problem. On the other hand, Sigil is both publishing software and an editing program. However, some users find it overly complicated and difficult to work with.
Paid eBook Creator — Full Service Options
There are also a number of websites that specialize in professional eBook conversions. These companies will take your text and cover and convert it to any and all formats you request – for a fee. This service can range in cost but can easily be in the 100s of dollars. While some people don’t find the value in paying for the service when there are free options, others discover that it’s worth their while to have it taken care of by a professional.
eBook Services — Publishing Software and Marketing in One
You’ll also have the option of using a site like Indie Aisle, which combines needs for both publishing and converting. You simply upload your file in the format it’s currently in and it’s automatically converted to all the major formats. You’re also given your own link to your own site. This service is free to use and simpler than using a site that requires eBook conversions for every different type of service separately.
eBook Services One at a Time — Go Directly to the Source
Some of the retailers you’ll be working with will have their own eBook conversion options. For example, Amazon allows you to to email them your eBook, which they will then convert and send directly to your Kindle. This is a free service but it does requires you to have a Kindle. Additionally, you’d have to do this with every different eReader company and would have to have their reader to receive the document. However, if you’re only interested in selling your book at one or two sites, this may be a viable option.
ePublishing With Smashwords — The Pros and Cons
Smashwords is a site that helps you publish your eBook in several different formats. The basic program is free but many users choose to pay for additional services. Their basic free package will publish your eBook and make it available to:
- Sony Reader
One aspect of Smashwords that is different than other sites is the fact that it requires a unique ISBN. You can purchase your own or you can purchase one from them for a fee. You also have the choice to use a free ISBN that they provide but this requires you to list them as the publisher. This is not ideal for many self-publishing authors.
eBook Layout — Tools to Help Your Words Look Good
The layout used by eBooks is very different than the layout that’s used for a traditional book. Each of the different formats has a different layout so if you’re converting individually, you’ll need a different layout for each format. There are several programs and resources that can help make layout simple. MobiPocket Creator is a popular choice for Kindle files while the above mentioned calibre is often used for ePub formats.