All week, I’m doing a series on Self-Pub Basics.
Here’s the series:
Yesterday, we talked about The Easy Ways to format. And honestly, that’s the best way for most people. But if you can read this:
then you might want to foray into The Hard Way to format an ebook.
It’s really not that hard, but knowing some basic HTML skills (or learning them) will keep you from tearing out your hair. If reading that HTML made you cringe, then you might want to stick with The Easy Ways.
Why You Want To Format The Hard Way
Programs You’ll Need (all free except Word)
Word: I’m assuming you are starting with your MS in Word.
Sigil: this is an Epub editing program
Adobe Digital Editions: will allow you to view your Epub
Calibre: will allow you to convert your epub (nook format) to Mobi (kindle format)
Kindle Previewer: To preview your mobi file
1. Clean up your MS using Smashwords Style guide; add in front/back matter (copyrights, acknowledgments, etc.). Make sure any retailer links go to Amazon (we can change this later, but we’re focusing on Kindle first – you’ll see why in a moment).
2. Save your Word doc, then save again in Web page, filtered format (this is a Save As… option with an *.htm extension)
3. Create any images you want to use (chapter header fonts, scene separation symbols, pictures). I download free fonts from the interwebs, install on Word, create the headers I want, screencap it, and paste it into Paint. Do whatever works for you. Save in png or jpg format.
- Insert page breaks in Sigil, fixing any stray formatting problems, etc.
- Insert all your images/chapter headings/etc
- Include a cover (instructions).
- Build a Table of Contents (instructions scroll down).
- Hard-code your ellipses (…) and em-dashes (—) so they will always look nice (instructions).
- Learn about style sheets, to make your life easier (instructions, more instructions) Note: you have limited controls on fonts. You can set a default font, but users can change the font on their end.
- Set Title, Author, Language, Copyright, Publication Date, Description, and ISBN if there is one, in Metadata.
- Set your first text file (where the book will open) as Semantic type Text (right click on file, choose “Semantics”).
- Run the “Check” to compile; fix any errors
- Save file as an Epub.
6. Convert to Mobi: open your Epub into Calibre. Convert (individually) to Mobi format (see Calibre FAQ). (Note: You can also use Kindle Previewer to convert to Mobi, but you will not preserve your Table of Contents). Use the “Save to Disk” option to save your Mobi converted file.