Ebook Preparation

This week I’ve been working on getting Storybook Hero ready to upload to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), Smashwords, Nook, and Kobo. Although the story part of the manuscript basically stays the same (there is a slight difference for those uploaded for the Nook), the front and afterword portions vary a little. Creating the Table of Contents (toc) gave me the most trouble. Thank goodness MyGirlFriday (http://www.mygirlfridayva.com/) walked me through that and it actually was quite easy once I knew the correct menu to click on.

Working for Five Star/Gale/Cengage has also helped me. Some writers complain about the formatting requirements that Five Star Publishing requires, but it has made preparing my files to upload to the electronic publishers very easy. I now wonder why more writers don’t automatically use the ¶ to see what’s on the page. (For those unfamiliar with that symbol, it’s on the Home menu bar and simply needs to be toggled to show spacing, returns, if you’re using the tab instead of the First Line Indent feature, if you have a page break, etc.) In my case, I tend to put spaces after a period before I hit Enter. Those don’t show up on a printed page, but for an electronic version, it could change how the words are seen on the screen.

While working with my Five Star editor I also quickly learned to use only one space after a period rather than two. For those who have trouble retraining themselves, a Search and Replace will correct that problem.

I’ve also found Smashwords and Kindle provide fairly detailed instructions (that are free and easily downloaded) on how they want the manuscript formatted. Now, when I’m working on a new story, I just format it as if it were going directly on-line. That way, if I later decide I want to by-pass traditional publishing and self-publish the story, it’s ready to go.

All of the e-publishers require you to create an account, which also requires personal information, such as social security number and a banking account number. The ss# is for tax purposes and I don’t see any way to get around that. For those who are worried about giving out bank information, there’s usually the option of getting a check mailed (though you need to wait until the amount due reaches a certain amount) or you might want to set up an account simply for your e-book payments. I have accounts with Smashwords and Kindle. I need to create accounts with Nook and Kobo.

There’s much I still don’t know about this process. For instance, by having books with Smashwords, they automatically appear on the Nook and Kobo sites. What happens if I upload directly to Nook and Kobo? Will that help sales or hinder?

And the learning goes on.

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6 Responses to Ebook Preparation

  1. Melissa Keir says:

    I don’t know much about smashwords but I know that it can be hard to get their prices lowered than if you have the books directly on the sites themselves.

    I love the formatting part and use Createspace for print. They are easy to use as well and can get the books up on library sites and booksellers. :) So much to learn and I love learning!

  2. A great post on some of the tips and to-do’s for self-publishing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Paula says:

    Thanks again, Maris for the good info. I’m sure I will be talking to you again about this process.

  4. Terry Odell says:

    Smashwords has a page for distribution channels where you can opt out (it defaults to opt in), so just go to the book and uncheck the button where you don’t want Smashwords to send the book. If I can go direct, I do, so most of my books are ‘opt out’ for all the other major stores. Draft2Digital is another way to get your books into multiple channels, and they’re easier to use, you get better sales reporting, and paid more often.

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