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Ebook writers: Can you tell me exactly what you do?

  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
    TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago

    I am struggling with learning about ebook formatting and am wondering, if you have published an ebook, exactly how  you format your work.  What fonts, allignment, etc. do you use or does it matter?  Help and advice will be appreciated.

    1. drpennypincher profile image96
      drpennypincherposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I just published my 2nd eBook using the Smashwords template.  This uses Times New Roman, 12 point for the body text.  The title is 16 point font, centered.  Section headings are Arial 16 pt font, centered, with a page break before each one.  The 1st paragraph in each section is unindented, and subsequent paragraphs are indented. 

      The same format works for Kindle Direct Publishing for Kindle as well.  You can check out the free style guide from smashwords.com.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Does Booktango accept rich text format?

      2. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
        LuisEGonzalezposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Good information. Thanks!

    2. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
      LuisEGonzalezposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      From what I know Smashwords is the best platform but a pain in the #@%^&* to use so I turned to Booktango. Copy your text on MS Word and download it to the site. If you want to add pictures go to edit and click on the picture icon, download and insert. For covers you can use theirs or add your own and then insert the text.

      What ever you do on MS Word will translate to Booktango the same way.

      Everything is self explanatory. Note  that the table of contents is added at the beginning as another chapter and having one is important. I suggest that you research their QA section before you try it.

      Once you get it is rather simple.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        I looked into Smashwords and it seemed very user unfriendly to me.  Then I checked out Amazon and it looked a lot easier, even though they take a bigger cut.  Someone here suggested I write my book in rich text format because just about every ebook publisher accepts that.  I explained in another post that I cannot use MS Word because I do not have that program, and also I am changing the book, which was published years ago in print, to pdf and then to ms works and then to rich text!

        I am trying to place all of it into one file as I go, but I am seeing that certain sections are not showing up in the correct order.  Will this matter?  Do they fix that when you upload the book?

        Also, what do these places charge to publish the book and to help you with it.  This all seems very complicated to me...furthermore, how do you know that your book will even sell?  I don't want to plunk down a bunch of money and then wind up with no income.  Any thoughts?

        1. drpennypincher profile image96
          drpennypincherposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          My experience is that nothing gets "fixed" when you upload the book- it gets published exactly in the form that you submit it.  You'll want to have everything in the right order, etc. 

          One of the main reasons behind all of the formatting rules at smashwords and other publishers is to ensure consistency- it is much easier to read an ebook if all of the formatting is consistent within your book and also consistent with other ebooks.  Also, the formatting rules for ebooks are meant to make the book look better on ebook reader devices by allowing text to flow rather than forcing page breaks in awkward places on the screen.

          Re: hiring help, I have seen editing/publishing services and consulting advertised.  I am not sure how much it would cost- it would come down to how much time it would take for someone to do the work.  Maybe a few hundred dollars depending on the length of the book and how much work is needed.   As far as earning potential from an ebook, there is no way to know.  I did all of the work publishing my books myself to avoid any risk of losing money.  Good luck!

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            I want to do the same thing because I want to avoid financial risk, if possible.  What worries me is that when I add sections to my book in rich text, they place themselves either in alphabetical or numerical order.  So, for example, Title and Copyright pages are not first and second in that order due to the starting letters.  Same with chapters that begin as dates...which many do.  They intersperse incorrectly, and this is an issue when the publishing company wants everything in one single file.

          2. dougwest1 profile image93
            dougwest1posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            I have had an ebook converted to Smashwords format using a provider on fiverr.com for $5. The conversion worked great. Very easy.

      2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Can you submit an Open Office Word document or does it have to be MS Word?

        1. Marisa Wright profile image92
          Marisa Wrightposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          TT2 - if you "Save as" Word in Open Office, it is EXACTLY the same as a Word document and it's accepted everywhere that accepts Word.

          I've used Open Office exclusively for all my online work for the last six years and never encountered anywhere that didn't treat both exactly the same.

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Thanks...this is very good to know and I'm sure will help others here who are struggling with the same question!

    3. joanveronica profile image93
      joanveronicaposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I published my first ebook on Smashwords. They offer a free guide that's very long and very complete, lots of examples, really great for a non technical person like me. I must have read it about ten times at least. When I felt I knew all the details, I applied it to my text in Word. It worked very well, got it up first time. I then used the same procedure for Kindle. Success in one! If you don't have Word, there' a free version you can find on the Internet. I'm not sure, I think it's called Libre. I have used it, and the Smash also suggests it, but I didn't use it for my publishing. I did it all on my own, even set up the cover photo and also included photos inside the book. I did the cover by looking at a really good video on YouoTube The example was called The Barn, I remember. I haven't spent any money at all. The book is slowly selling. Hope this helps.

    4. HR-Partner profile image81
      HR-Partnerposted 2 years ago in reply to this

      If yu follow the Kindle publishing guide you will find this very helpful.
      I created my first ebook using Word and this has a facility to create a table if you format your headings.  I use Arial 11 or 12 font and the automatic font for the heading selection.  Do not justify your text, keep it on the left and do not use page numbers.  You will need to create page breaks at the end of every chapter or major section.  When you have edited your text and satisfied that it is a quality product you will then save it as Web Page and it is then ready to upload onto Kindle.  Don't forget to create a cover (which you can pay a freelance designer) or use PowerPoint and save as jpeg file. .If you follow Kindle's diections step by step you should be OK.  Unless you have a potential block-buster you may find sales slow and you would be wise to regard your first publication as a learning experience, although making sure that what you produce is a quality item and worth reading.
      Hope you are successful

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Marisa just told me not to use page breaks for Amazon.  Which is it?

        1. Marisa Wright profile image92
          Marisa Wrightposted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Marisa got it wrong!  You do need page breaks for the end of chapters.

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

            Took your advice as per our personal emails and am making good progress now.  Had to set up an entire spreadsheet for those name changes though!  thank you so much.  Just finished page 65 of 117!!

      2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

        Just so you will know:  I created a fantastic cover simply by using a public domain photo from Morguefile.com and using PicMonkey to place text on it.  Looks very professional and was accepted immediately.  I also sized it according to Amazon's directions.  Book is online now, but I have to rework the formatting because I wound up with too much white space between paragraphs.  Working on it now.

  2. Robilo2 profile image84
    Robilo2posted 2 years ago

    I also have my first book published on Smashwords and used the calibre software to format for kindle (.mobi).  I have the print version on Amazon via createspace.com- print on demand and kindle version on amazon - kdp.amazon.com.  I also bought my own ISBN's from Bowker to keep ownership and control over my book marketing... if you use Amazon's free ISBN's, they control the marketing....

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      I've had an ISBN for this book for years.

  3. LuisEGonzalez profile image80
    LuisEGonzalezposted 2 years ago

    I must say that at least my first experience with Amazon has been a great one. This is probably one of the easiest platforms that I have encountered so far.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

      One thing that is confusing me is that last night someone at Amazon told me I must use one of four sources for producing my text, but today I looked online and saw that they have six, one of which is rich word text, which I think is much easier to use and which I already can access.  Any thoughts?  Seems as though everybody is using Word, but I have read it is very difficult to use for epublishing.

      Also, I thought Amazon does the formatting for you, and also supplies cover templates.  Am I correct?

      1. Marisa Wright profile image92
        Marisa Wrightposted 2 years ago in reply to this

        When you call or contact a company like Amazon, you have to remember you may not be talking to an expert - you're more likely to be talking to some young person in a call centre who doesn't really know the answer, they're just reading off a screen.

        Amazon - and other ebook publishers - do not accept Open Office format documents.  However they all accept documents prepared in Open Office and "saved as" a Word document, so put your mind at rest on that score. 

        Amazon do not format your document, but Kindle has its own standard fonts etc, and will just ignore any choices you make in Word/Open Office.

        By the way, I was confused by your reference to a paid version of Open Office so i did some Googling.  As far as I can see, there is no paid version of Open Office, though you can make a donation if you wish.  The only sites I found which ask you to pay for Open Office are scam sites.

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years ago in reply to this

          Thanks so much for this.  Now I can move foreward with this project.

 
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