Some of you are hardcore DIYers. I get it. That’s how I was with my first book too. It’s expensive to publish a book, so if there are any places you can cut back on costs, I understand.
So let me give you some tips that will at least potentially save you some headache.
First of all, don’t be tempted by CreateSpace’s fun little button when you upload your book that says, “Send to Kindle”. No. Don’t do it. It does not format it properly, ebooks are DIFFERENT than print books, and it will look like a hot mess. And you’ll be embarrassed.
I have not tried to use the Kindle Create program, but I have heard it’s frustrating, so let’s avoid that.
Ebooks are formatted in 3 primary types: PDFs (best used for selling a download on your website), .mobi files – which are for kindles, and .epubs, which are for just about every other ereader.
Many people think it’s a simple process, but there is a lot more than just design. In fact, It’s not nearly as much about design in an ebook as much as it is knowing and understanding formatting so that it looks good on the ereaders.
Ereaders read HTML, so if you don’t know anything about HTML, spend some time reading up on at least the basics for headings, italics, bolding, etc. You need to have a really good understanding of how ebook layout differs from a print book layout. For example, ebooks don’t have pages. You need to know how to properly use headers, create the Table of Contents, embed the TOC, etc. You need to know how to properly export and ensure all the details are correct. You need to understand the book metadata that is necessary to help the author do better with discoverability.
For software – simple books you can do right in a Word document. KDP has a guide to help you format a word document properly. You can go through their extensive tutorial here.
This video shows you a few tips and the simple version of all that is in the KDP guide. 🙂 Best of all, you only need WORD, no special tools.
I have moved on from Word and now use InDesign and other web-based programs like Dreamweaver to convert ebooks, especially any that contain graphics or charts or other complicating factors. But for a simple word doc that is text only with only headers for the chapter title, this method will work.
If you use Word to create the document with the HTML, you can convert it to .mobi and .epub files through a free program called Calibre.
You can also purchase Scrivener, which does a really nice conversion for you. In fact, it’s hands down the easiest way to convert a book and you don’t have to do all of the back and forth. Watch my tutorial on converting an ebook with Scrivener here.