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Just about everyone has an eBook Reader these days - Kindle, Nook, IPad, Smartphones - and there are even desktop readers for Windows and Mac. It just seems logical that if you want to publish an book it would be best to go the digital route and write an eBook. Self publishing a book in this day and age is easy compared to what it used to be. Publishers would decide what was published and what was not published. Now, with the advent of the digital age the average person can write and publish a book without any middle-men and reap the rewards. The expenses for publishing a book are greatly reduced. One disadvantage is you have to do all of your marketing to sell your book but even this is reduced if you publish with the major eBook vendors such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as they handle most of the marketing in the beginning.
Too many people become frustrated when writing a book and often give up. It is just like blogging. All you need to do is write. This is what you need to focus on. The rest will come later. Don't think about the formatting yet or how you are going to market the book at this point. You will have to format it later and once it is published do the marketing and I am going to show you how to do both of those things.
What will you write about? Go with your strengths. If you are known for your non-fiction writing then stick with that. If you are good with teens or you have recently come back from a mission trip then talk about your experiences and emphasize the importance of it. You should be able to draw the reader in to your experiences.
I am going to show you how, after you have written your eBook, to format it in the Kindle format, the Nook format, the LIT format, and PDF format. I will also go briefly into the marketing of your book but there have been whole books written about this subject but I am going to tell you what I did and you can take it for what it is worth.
Creating your manuscript can take several avenues. You can write it in Microsoft Word to create a doc file, Open Office Writer and save it to a doc file, write it in straight text format and wrap that text with html around it. I have tried all three and my experience has been that html is the best way to write your eBook. Microsoft Word and Open Office Writer is great for centering, bold, italics, a clickable Table of Contents, but eventually you will have to take those doc files to html and they both put way too much unnecessary code into the html file and it is really bloated. The reason you have to take them to html is because the conversion programs for the different formats does a better job with the conversion process from an html file than it does with doc files. I know for writers you feel you have better control on the look of your book if you do it in a doc file but the look of the final eBook is horrible in my opinion. You just have better control if you first write you book in straight format and then wrap the html around that. It just produces a cleaner look and feel and it is less bloated with the unnecessary code.
Don't let html scare you. It really is not that bad. You will not have to learn very much and besides, a lot of the html code is not compatible with the Kindle for instance like tables which do not show up well on the Kindle. The incompatible code is simply ignored. and if it is ignored why include it.
The best way to illustrate this is for me to take you through the process I use to create my manuscripts.
First, I open up Notepad that is found on a Windows machine. On other machines use the comparable text editor. I don't know what it called on an Apple machine but those who use Apple will know what program to open. I then write, right in the Notepad document the outline of my book. This includes all subjects you are covering in your book. I then go back and write what I am going to write on each of these subjects. I then add the front matter which includes the Table of Contents, the dedication page, the introduction, the title page, and any other parts that preface the "main part" of the book. It's basically everything before you get to the actual content. The body matter is the actual book which include the manuscript itself. The body includes chapters and sections. The back matter includes all the parts after the main part of the book which include the index, epilogue, glossary, appendix, any other sections that follow the body of the book.
Once the writing has been done I organize the front matter, body matter, and back matter into a logical flow. I then go back to the beginning and wrap the html around the entire document. It is beyond the scope of this book to explain all of the html tags. There are readily available in other books or websites but basically tags have an opening and closing tags.
Once this is done, the next thing I do is create a linked Table of Contents. What do I mean by a linked Table of Contents. First I create the Table of Contents then go back and make each element of the Table of Contents clickable so that when the user clicks on that link it goes to the exact place in the book.
Once all of the html is wrapped around your book you are now ready to start formatting for the various formats. If you have done the initial html properly its just a matter of converting the html form of your book to the proper format which we will get into next.
Format in Kindle Format
Since I am most familiar with the Kindle format I am more familiar with the different programs to do the conversion. There are three ways that do the best job of conversion of an html file to a mobi or prc file.
The first is to simply open your email program and send the html file to Amazon for conversion. The TO file would be [email protected] or [email protected] The first, you would have to pay .15 for the conversion but if you have wifi on your Kindle you would send it to the free.kindle.com and your file would be converted and sent for free back to you. In the subject do not include anything else but "convert". Attach the html file to your email document before sending and in a few minutes your converted file will be sent to your Kindle.
The second way is using Mobipocket Creator which is a free program and is found at http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/default.asp?Language=EN On the right hand side click on the "Download" to download the program to your computer. Once the program is downloaded and installed you are ready to do the conversion of your html file. I must warn you, however, If you have Internet Explorer above version 8 that Mobipocket Creator crashes on the Build. Either abandon this method or downgrade IE to version 8. Now we will continue to show you how to convert with Mobipocket Creator.
Double click on the icon for MPC. On the upper right hand side of the screen you will see "Import from Existing File" and you will be given 4 choices: html, doc, text, and pdf. Since our file is html we will click on html. The import screen will appear. Click on Browse and choose your html file. Then choose Browse to choose your Publication Folder. I usually choose the folder where the source came from. Now click on Import and your html file will be imported.
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Russell Sherrard owns sherrardsebookresellers.com where a wide variety of ebooks in Business, Inspiration & Motivation, Religion & Spirituality, and Self-Help are offered between $1-$2. Visit today for more information.
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