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Publishing my first e book, need advice!

  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
    TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years ago

    I decided to dust off a print book I published almost 30 years ago and turn it into an e book.  Problem is that I work in MSWorks and everybody seems to want Word!  I don't have word, don't like word, don't want to buy word...but I do have the free  version of Open Office.  So, I scanned the entire book into PDF and am now copying it into works where I can convert it into word.  WHAT a job!  Anybody know how to do this more easily???  Any advice?  I was going to go with Smashwords until I saw all the tech stuff they wanted, so will go with Amazon instead...seems much easier.  They say they'll accept PDF, BUT, PDF scanned files are sloppy looking since I scanned them right from the print book.  WHAT have I gotten myself into??

    1. Millionaire Tips profile image94
      Millionaire Tipsposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I take it you don't have the original file you used to create the book?  There is software that converts pdf to text, but you do have to check the conversion thoroughly because it isn't 100% accurate.

      I would recommend taking the converted text straight to Open Office and working on the formatting and editing there.

      1. Marketing Merit profile image99
        Marketing Meritposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        I was going to ask the same question. However, if the book was only available in print format, then I guess it wouldn't matter what program it was created with.

        I use software called Nitro PDF to covert my documents into different formats. Not sure how much it costs now though.

      2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        This book was written more than 25 years ago...long before e books, etc on a very old version of MSWorks in a font they no longer use.  So the answer is "no".


        I actually once bought a conversion program when I was switching from Mac to Windows and it worked great...but that was years ago and I have since tossed it!

        What I am doing is putting the PDF work into MSWorks and then saving it as Word in Open Office.  I am doing minor changes before I move the files and then doublechecking each chapter as I finish.  Very, very tedious!

    2. galleryofgrace profile image82
      galleryofgraceposted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I've used MSworks for all my ebooks.  I change them to rtf files before uploading.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

        What are rft files?  Never heard of that...and which e publishers accept that format?

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Gallery of Grace:

          I am anxious to hear where you upload your ebooks for publication using this method.  Please stop back and share this info with me...I am going crazy with this right now!

    3. Douglas Owen profile image61
      Douglas Owenposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Traveler - RTF - Rich Text Format.

      It was what we used before Word and works ever existed. You can check to see if Works can export to it (I'm sure they can). Also, Open Office may be able to read the MSWorks format. It would be easier than retyping it.

      You could also scour the net to see if there is a conversion program or site.

      PDF can also be read easily by a number of sites. A simple Google search will send you to a number of them in order to assist.

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Alison and Douglas:  Thanks so much for your help with this.  I talked to my computer guru today and found out that I can easily convert MSWorks to rich text and do not need Open Office or Word at all for this project.

        The problem was that I only had a print copy of the book, but no disks.  So what I did was scan the entire book into PDF and then copy and paste it into MSWorks and now all I have to do is edit and save in rich text.  This will save me tons of work, believe me.  I do not like Word and I do not like Open Office.

        My biggest fear now is to get the formatting correct.  I know I need to put everything into a single file for uploading and use page breaks between sections, but that is as far as I have gotten.  Any advice for other stuff?

        1. Marisa Wright profile image98
          Marisa Wrightposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          If you get on the Smashwords forums you'll find people willing to format your book for a very reasonable fee.

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            What do you know about Lulu.com?  They will accept RTF, etc and seem like they will be easier to deal with than Amazon.  Amazon seems easy on the surface, but I can't even get an answer to a simple question from them...ie   do I need to use a stand alone copy of Word or will one in a purchased version of MS Office do?

            1. Marisa Wright profile image98
              Marisa Wrightposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              Lulu.com is a different kind of publisher.   They create POD books (print on demand) as well as ebooks.  I am not sure whether they distribute to all the various ebook sellers like Booktango and Smashwords do.  I don't recommend them.

              You are right in concentrating on Amazon because it is the biggest seller of ebooks, so your book has the best chance there - especially if you enrol it in Kindle Select for the first few months.    You can always remove it from Kindle Select later and then  publish it on Booktango as well.

              1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
                TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Actually Lulu does market to all of the various booksellers and seems like it would be easy to use, but for me it's a "back up" choice.  I really want to stick with Amazon if I can.

                1. Marisa Wright profile image98
                  Marisa Wrightposted 2 years agoin reply to this

                  As I said before, you are right - you need to do Amazon first, and join the Kindle Select program to maximise your exposure at first.   However after that, you should publish at Smashwords or Booktango as well, so your book can be available at stores like Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

                  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
                    TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

                    Can you publish a book with more than one ebook publisher at a time?  I didn't think you could?

            2. Say Yes To Life profile image81
              Say Yes To Lifeposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              I've found something that works much better than Lulu.com, which is very slow and way too much hassle.  You can publish an ebook through kdp Amazon.  It's for free, and instantly published.  You need a Table of Contents; if your software doesn't provide the feature, you can go to a local community college and use their computers.  Here's the link:  https://kdp.amazon.com/
              You can go on to publish in paperback for free, using CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/ .  They also publish instantly. They have a feature for turning your paperback into an ebook, but I recommend going through kdp, since they do a better job.

    4. PegCole17 profile image98
      PegCole17posted 2 years agoin reply to this

      This is very inspiring and makes me want to pursue the e book option for my novel. I would be interested in learning about your success and whether your book will be available for Kindle. Have you designed a cover as well?

      1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
        TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Not yet...too busy trying to convert the pdf files to rtf and doing upgrades.  This is VERY time consuming!  Will update people as things progress.

  2. Kathy Stutzman profile image81
    Kathy Stutzmanposted 3 years ago

    Smashwords has a great primer on how to format a book for e-readers. It is second to none, even if you decide not to publish on Smashwords. How a book looks and acts on electronic devices is very different than how it actually looks on a pdf

    Formatting for e reading is critical and complex, but your readers are the most important and the Smashwords primer about how to format really keeps the reader in mind. If they can't read it because you hve formatted it poorly, they will not download it.

    When I format my books for e-publishing, I have to unplug for several days and put all of my attention on the formatting process and Smashwords walks me through it step by step, even the potholes. I have published on both Smashwords and Amazon, but I start with Smashwords because if my book can make it through their "machine" it will work anywhere.

    That has been my experience. I will be publishing my first printed book tomorrow and that process is so completely different - I was so glad that I had the e-publishing under my belt first first to learn the terminology. Smashwords is my go to site for advice on e-publishing and Create Space for printing. Good luck - how exciting!

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      I took a good look at the Smashwords guide and found it overwhelming.  Since I do not have MSWord and they won't accept works, I have little choice...they don't even want word as it appears on Open Office, and I'm not about to spend hundreds of dollars for a program for a project that may earn me nothing.  Amazon accepts word from the free Open Office, and I am thinking they must do something to make sure it looks good in addition to my own edits.  I'm sure Smashwords is great, but it is more tech oriented than I care to deal with right now.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image98
        Marisa Wrightposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        I agree the Smashwords formatting is horribly difficult.    I got through it but it was a struggle!   

        I know Luis Gonzalez uses Booktango.com and he says it's much, much easier.   So I suggest looking into that. 

        ALL ebook publishers will accept Word documents created in Open Office. Anyone telling you otherwise is misunderstanding your question.   They will not accept documents in Open Office format, but they will accept them if you "save as" Word.

        Open Office is free, and it even has a pdf importer so you should be able to import your pdf directly into the program.

        1. LuisEGonzalez profile image90
          LuisEGonzalezposted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Booktango is really easy once you get to know the steps (like having to place images one at a time in the interior pages) but I've just published two more eBooks on Amazon and fell in love with their free book cover options plus I can insert images withing the interior pages (from Word)  and submit everything in one step.

          One key thing to remember; you really need to do your own marketing and not rely solely on the distributor.

          1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
            TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Any suggestions for marketing other than showing the book on social media sites and emailing people I know about it.

            1. psycheskinner profile image83
              psycheskinnerposted 2 years agoin reply to this

              You have to market a book according to a plan which starts by answering the question: who would buy this book if they knew about it?

              1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
                TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

                Oh, darlin'   I know exactly who would buy this book. The problem is reaching them!  Most women and any woman who has been widowed or any woman who loves true life stories of  tragedy, struggle and love.  Pretty broad audience lol!

  3. Kathy Stutzman profile image81
    Kathy Stutzmanposted 3 years ago

    I am always up for a good learning experience and would love to find out how things go - would you post an update after you have published? It would be good to know.

    I was a little confused by your statement about Smashwords not accepting anything in works - I am pretty sure I had to put everything into notepad or works to "scrub out" all of the formatting issues with Word, which I do not think Smashwords likes very much... but as you have already pointed out - the instructions are very complex and I was so focused on following the directions exactly - I am embarassed to say that I wasn't paying attention - that soemtimes happens to me when I am following directions - must be why I don't usually follow (or at least read) the directions...I like to pay attention.

    Anyway, I am getting ready to publish my 4th e-book and if there is a more streamlined approach that gets the same end result for the reader - I would love to know. I personally really dislike Word and if there is an alternative - I am even more interested. Good luck!

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      Kathy:

      You can convert any works document into word, but you must have a place to save it, which would be a word program on your computer or, in my case, open office.  However, the publisher you are using says that doing this latter technique creates problems when publishing for them.

      1. Kathy Stutzman profile image81
        Kathy Stutzmanposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Great good to know - thanks.

  4. Rafiq23 profile image87
    Rafiq23posted 3 years ago

    I have explained it in detail. Just follow the simple steps to convert your images into word or editable text.

  5. Sed-me profile image82
    Sed-meposted 3 years ago

    Congratulations. Do we get to know what it's about or tell us where we can take a look?

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      No place to take a peek for now because I'm in the process of reformatting it and getting it ready for publication.

      Originally it was to have been a book about a couple selling everything and living and traveling full time in an RV.  However, tragedy struck  shortly after implementing our plan and my husband died suddenly!  So, it turned into a book about how a young widow survives the sudden death of her husband and moves on to create a new life for herself.  The Title is "Second Chance", which may be a problem because others have used this same title, however, I have held copyright on this book for more than 25 years, so I'm hoping I don't have any problems.

      It will be awhile before I put it up for sale on Amazon, but Kindle users will be able to read it for free the first 3 months or so.  Stay tuned!

      1. Sed-me profile image82
        Sed-meposted 3 years agoin reply to this

        Is this based on your life or fiction?

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

          This is an autobiographical novel that is a true and very inspirational story of what happened to me, personally.  Very sad in parts, but uplifting in its message.

          1. Sed-me profile image82
            Sed-meposted 3 years agoin reply to this

            Wow, that's so very sad. Im so sorry. I would love to read your story some day.

            1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years agoin reply to this

              It should be ready for publication in a few weeks as reformatting is very time consuming and tedious.  I'll do a forum announcement when it's online and, as I said, if you have a Kindle you'll be able to read it for free.  It's probably the best piece of writing I have ever done, and I'm hoping many women will read it because it will help them to look "up" instead of "down".

              1. Sed-me profile image82
                Sed-meposted 3 years agoin reply to this

                That's really wonderful. Congratulations again.

            2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

              I am giving the book away to all takers on January 10 and ll.  Second Chance by Sondra Biggart on Amazon.  If you read the book and like it, please leave a positive review for me on the Amazon site where you checked out the book.  Thanks.

  6. alison monroe profile image
    61
    alison monroeposted 3 years ago

    RTF = rich text format.  Many word processing programs will let you save text in that format and many word processing programs can read it.

  7. Silva Hayes profile image91
    Silva Hayesposted 2 years ago

    I saved this link some time ago; I can't recommend the advice because I haven't followed it myself yet, but you might get some useful information from it.  Just delete the space between com/ and kindle to make it a working link. 

    http://michaelhyatt.com/ kindle-publishing-success.html

  8. Kathy Stutzman profile image81
    Kathy Stutzmanposted 2 years ago

    I mentioned earlier in this thread that Smashwords "How-to" book is a good resource in e-publishing. Yes, it is difficult to read, but publishing is not an easy process, nor should it be - very much like the discussions that appear on this forum, the e-book world wants to ensure quality and if anyone can upload any randomly formatted book - there would be no quality control - kind of what happens at HubPages??? Slogging through the directions will ensure that your readers will have a good experience and actually be able to read the e-book. And in turn, if they can read the book, they can recommend it, and then you are off to the races.

    Many of the questions you have been asking will be answered, especially about the formatting, the rtf, whether or not to use Mobi, or some other editor, cover, and process are answered in the Smashwords book - which is available to read free and even if you choose to publish at Smashwords or any of the other e-publishers...

    I have found that uploading to Amazon and all of the other e-vendors is seamless if I follow the Smash directions and readign the directions does not require you to publish at Smashwords, in fact, of you are going to go the Kindle Direct route, your book may not be published anywhere else for 90 days.

    Even if you continue to choose to not use the Smashwords resource, I can assure you that the chapter on "scrubbing" your book before you upload it will be helpful, especially if you are using a variety of fonts and have not established one set format.

    I too wanted to rush to publish and learned that taking the time to format it correctly is the best investment of time you can make. I shy from the techie stuff too, so took a weekend, unplugged from everything and just read the resource. It was much easier the second time and by the time I published my third e-book I felt confidence and competent. Then when I published my 1st print book (this week) it was so super easy I was thrilled, but I had confidence and competence - the kind that only come from really reading the directions...sorry - if you knew me you would laugh because I am the kind of person who will lose the Amazing Race because I had to read the instructions and refused...but when it comes to e-publishing the investment is worth it and it only costs your time - no other fees are involved. I am now helping my friends to e-publish and consider yourself my friend because I am giving them the exact same info.

    Read about "scrubbing" in the Smashwords reference book at the very least - it will save you tons of heartache regardless of which format, program, distributer, etc...

    Please realize that I am learning too and have been intrigued by this thread, I have learned some things and still have a lot to learn and am open to feedback. This post is based upon my own experiences and I am sure that with the many talented and successful published authors out there - we can all continue to learn. The lessons are worth going through to produce a high quality experience for your readers.

    1. Douglas Owen profile image61
      Douglas Owenposted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Note of error:
      "I have found that uploading to Amazon and all of the other e-vendors is seamless if I follow the Smash directions and readign the directions does not require you to publish at Smashwords, in fact, of you are going to go the Kindle Direct route, your book may not be published anywhere else for 90 days."

      This only applies if you select the KDP program. If you do not select the program, you are open to publish on any platform.

      Doug

      1. Kathy Stutzman profile image81
        Kathy Stutzmanposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks for the correction Doug - I should have completed the Kindle Direct Program - part - appreciate the correction!

  9. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image98
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 2 years ago

    TimeTraveler -

    First, I am so sorry about your loss!  I know it's been long ago, but I'd never known of it. That's indeed a traumatic and life-changing event.

    Since it sounds like a memoir, you might want to pitch it to publishers that specialize in memoirs. Hudson Whitman is a fairly new publisher that ONLY publishes memoirs.  They're an arm of Excelsior College, and deliberately chose to deviate from the standard type of books university publishing houses produce. 

    Another way to get attention is to submit a chapter to a literary journal (Glimmer Train has a contest that ends on Dec. 31, by the way).  Even if a chapter has been published before, you can still use it for a book, and the fact that it's been published gives it more clout.

    One source for literary magazines (and other publications) is New Pages (it's a website).  They list contests and information on what various mags are looking for at any given time.

    Best of luck in getting it formatted for print, and in getting it published!

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks, Marcy.  My main goal is just to do an ebook for now and see where that leads me.  This story was very well received back in the day, and I feel it will be the same now...except now it will be marketed!  Reworking it is bringing back many memories, some not so good, others fantastic.  It has been quite a journey so far.  Thanks for the info.

  10. Theindustry profile image61
    Theindustryposted 2 years ago

    Download Libre office. You can save files in the format of a word document. I used Libre to send quotes to my clients for business solicitations. It worked out well for me and it's FREE!

  11. Marie Flint profile image90
    Marie Flintposted 2 years ago

    I'd probably just try resaving into .rtf and then cut and paste into the online ebook program. (I have an account at Book Country and hoping to publish my first ebook.)

  12. Theindustry profile image61
    Theindustryposted 2 years ago

    Honestly social media is your best and most inexpensive method that you can take to market your e-book. I'm willing to give you some help if you have any questions. Shoot me a message sometime.

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks.  I'll be in touch soon.  I need all the help I can get!  Still struggling with the reformat on this one!

      1. Theindustry profile image61
        Theindustryposted 2 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah. Do you have a website? May I take a look?

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image99
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 2 years agoin reply to this

          Sorry, no website.  When I email you I'll send you a link to the Amazon listing for the book so you can get some idea about what I have.

          1. Theindustry profile image61
            Theindustryposted 2 years agoin reply to this

            Okay. I'll message you back some details once I receive your email. I'm looking forward to it.

  13. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 2 years ago

    I would second that Lulu is an obsolete technology.  Lulu is a fee-charging front end for Lightning Source.  The best option is to either use lightning source directly, or start with kindle/createspace and move out to other distributors from there, either directly or by using draft2digital.

  14. Say Yes To Life profile image81
    Say Yes To Lifeposted 2 years ago

    kdp select is an ebook publisher, and is associated with Amazon.

  15. Say Yes To Life profile image81
    Say Yes To Lifeposted 2 years ago

    Here's the link:  https://kdp.amazon.com/

 
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