Here are some tips for you if you’d ever like to publish your ebook to Amazon or another ebook publishing site.
- Make sure you have a clean copy of the text of your manuscript. Length is irrelevant, but you must have a nice, clean copy free of extraneous mark-up added by most word processing programs.
A good text editor is invaluable for this. Just copy and paste the text of the manuscript to a plain text editor and you’ll remove anything weird or proprietary.
- Be sure you have all the tools you need to convert a document to an ebook available when you start. If you don’t, you’re tempting fate. If a program crashes because you’re trying to download or install another program you need, you run the risk of losing all your efforts. Which brings me to…
- BACK-UP YOUR WORK. I can’t emphasize this enough. Make a back-up of your work, and it wouldn’t be overkill to make a back-up of every stage of your work as you go through the process. You cannot, and I repeat CANNOT, be too careful with something you’ve poured so much effort into.
- It’s often easier and cleaner to upload an HTML document than a proprietary word processor’s file format. For instance, you might get better results from the conversion to ebook if you don’t upload a Microsoft Word document directly to the Kindle Direct Publishing platform or Smashwords’s “Meat Grinder” (which may just butcher your document). I certainly had better luck with HTML.
What’s this, you say – you don’t know HTML mark-up? There are LOADS of FREE tutorials on the web you can use to learn. Heck, I’ve even written a book or two about it. You can do it, and it IS worth your while.
- Many writer-specific and novel-oriented software packages, such as Scrivener, are able to compile documents as ebooks. Scrivener, in fact, can compile as either a Kindle-native format (.mobi) or as the more “open” .epub format. You must, however, install Amazon’s KindleGen program and tell Scrivener where to find it if you choose to convert to Kindle-native format. I got mixed results and wasn’t sure how to incorporate a cover image. But that’s my ignorance, not a short fall of the program.
In all, getting an ebook up to the ‘Net’s not that hard, and while some effort is required to get it done, it’s worth the time. Building an audience is a valuable endeavor, and while it might take a long time to make it happen, it will be a nice payoff in the end.