It's been a few weeks since I've written anything and I apologize! Summer has gotten the better of me!
Between general summertime fun and an increasing number of formatting and design projects, I haven't had a whole lot of time to write about ebooks. But I can tell you that in the past few weeks it's been confirmed for me in multiple ways that e-publishing may look easy to some, but it can be incredibly tedious and time-consuming. Especially when publishing to e-readers like the Kindle, iPad, Nook, or Sony eReader. It is not as easy as you'd think!
Despite what all the e-publishing sites may say, publishing to e-readers takes some time and know-how. "Free" e-publishing tools certainly don't mean easy e-publishing.
The first thing I've found that helps in getting your book closer to being published for e-readers is being truly interested in the technology and the task. The first "how-to" ebook that I ever read for Kindle formatting was tedious to read through, to say the least. But at some point during the reading, I found myself excited about the process. Now I've read some technical manuals before and unfortunately (or fortunately?), I don't often find myself getting excited over them. This was different because I like what I'm doing!
If you don't tend to like this stuff, then take your time and do your best. The process is going to be one of trial and error to a certain extent, even once you're an expert - at some point it just becomes less error! There are a lot of nuances that those how-to books can help you navigate. Take them seriously!! Some may seem silly (even counter-intuitive) to you, but they can save you a significant amount of time.
Above all, be patient! As mentioned, it is a trial and error process for every book you format for e-readers. There are quite a few steps involved in formatting, then creating the appropriate file, then testing it out on an appropriate application (Kindle for PC, Kindle Previewer, Adobe Digital Editions, etc.). And you'll need to go through these steps each and every time (sometimes dozens of times) until you get your book looking exactly how you want it. Because of all the nuances involved, it is inevitable that even when you think you've formatted everything perfectly, you'll miss something. So just be prepared, and again, be patient!
Good luck with your book! And don't forget to use some of the great resources available out there to find your way in epublishing. You can find some of those here.
Do you have a book ready to go but aren't quite sure how to publish it online? Below are a list of links to online publishing resources. You'll find guidelines, tips, and general how-tos. If it seems like Greek to you, let me know! I'm fairly new to this type of epublishing too, but I can say that I've successfully formatted ebooks for Kindle and now have the software and the knowledge to handle both epub and mobi files, which are the necessary file types for the most common e-readers. One thing I can tell you is that formatting for ebook readers isn't nearly as much fun as formatting for pdf. There's a lot less room for creativity. For example, headers and footers just don't work because of the way that pages convert differently on each reader.
Despite the limitations, you just can't beat the thrill of seeing your book on Amazon's Kindle for the first time. Makes it look like a "real" book even if the design is boring! And I look forward to the time when I can put my design skills to work on the Kindle, the Nook or the Ipad. Technology's bound to make that possible sometime in the not-so-distant future!
The ABCs of e-book format conversion: Easy Calibre tips for the Kindle, Sony and Nook
Amalthia’s e-Book formatting tutorial
Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines
Formatting for Kindle (Blog by Guido Henkel)
Bookbaby.com guidelines for e-book conversion
Barnes & Noble Pubit! ePub Formatting Guide
Creating ePub files with Apple Pages for iBookstore
Getting Started With Google eBooks
Kobo for Authors and Publishers
Smashwords Style Guide