Your book is finished. It has been beta read, edited, re-edited, and proofed. It’s time to finish the process and get that book out the door and in the hands of your readers. However, before you can hit the final button, you must complete a two-part process:
Step one, formatting the manuscript, sounds like a formidable process. Many of us have heard horror stories, and perhaps we have struggled to get a manuscript to upload to CreateSpace, Kindle or Smashwords properly.
It doesn’t have to be that way anymore, as the publishing world is full of relatively simple, easy to use programs for formatting and many people who are professional formatters. Some programs are free, and others do have a cost associated with them. Some have a learning curve, and others are shockingly easy to use.
The following is a list of resources, most of which were posted in a thread in the NIWA Facebook chat room, others I have found elsewhere.
First, you can always hire a professional formatter. This is not cheap but should be otherwise pain free on your part. If you really want to pay someone else to do this, a formatter who has been recommended in the NIWA forums is:
Also, NIWA member, Madison Keller, was formatting ebooks, although I’m not sure if she still is.
The following services have been recommended in other forums, although I confess I know nothing about them personally, as I format my own books:
Heather Adkins – Cyberwitch Press
Paul Salvette @ BB eBooks
Jason Anderson @ Polgarus Studio
Rob Siders @ 52 Novels
BUT you can easily do it yourself, which gives you far more control over the appearance of the finished product:
Jutoh: $39.00 US
From their website: “Easily create ebooks in Epub and Kindle formats: publish on any ebook distribution site, including Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iBooks, Google Play, Kobo, and more. Your readers can use Kindles, iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, and phones, Macs, and PCs. You can also create PDFs suitable for sending to print-on-demand services.”
India Drummond has an excellent video on using Jutoh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3lvhRpJrIg
Vellum: Vellum Press $249.99 Create Unlimited Ebooks + Paperbacks
Vellum Ebooks $199.99 Create Unlimited Ebooks
The downside of this program, besides the cost, is that it is only available for Mac, not PC.
From their website:
Use Vellum to get the most out of ebooks:
Scrivener $40.00 US available for Mac or PC
From their website: “Compile your finished draft for printing or exporting to your favourite word processor for final formatting. Export to web or e-book formats for self-publishing. With support for footnotes and comments and the ability to reformat your work during compile, you can produce submission-ready novel manuscripts, work with academic standards, and much more.”
Many authors are Scrivener fanatics, and they would upset to not see their program of choice listed here.
Draft2Digital (Free, even if you choose not to distribute your books through them)
From their FAQ section on their website:
What file types can Draft2Digital convert?
All the above resources are good and reliable. I personally use Draft2Digital for my ebooks and am considering trying them for my next paper book instead of using a formatted template. If I do, I will post on that experience.
I also distribute through Draft2Digital as well as Amazon, and as I mentioned, you are welcome to use their services to format your ms for booksellers they aren’t currently partnering with, such as Amazon for Kindle (which I do). They produce a great looking mobi file for you. If you choose to distribute only through Amazon, you are still welcome to use D2D’s formatting services at no cost.
Finally, remember I said publishing had two final steps, so no matter what service you use for formatting your book, always, ALWAYS continue on to the final step in the process before you publish.
Take the time to hand out those galleys and proof eBook copies to your support group or inner circle. Have them comb their copy for proofing and inadvertent formatting errors BEFORE you sign off and click ‘publish.’
Connie J. Jasperson is an author and blogger and can be found blogging regularly at Life in the Realm of Fantasy.