Monday, February 28, 2011

Formating Your E-book

As I said a couple weeks ago, different distributors require different formatting for manuscript uploads.  These format requirements range from Apple's "we won't take your book unless it comes from a third party" to Smashword's 40+-page opus on how to getting your book ready.

Frankly, most formatting you can do yourself.  Hell, if you can figure out how to write your epic American novel on MS-Word, you can figure out how to save it as an HTML file and review that file through your web browser.  From there, the distributors can convert your uploaded file to their specific format.

If you want to convert your files to MOBI or ePUB in order to sell from your own website (or just to check to make sure your formatting is correct), there's plenty of conversion programs out there.  Some are free, others not.  Among the ones out there are Aspose for Word and CalibreI DO NOT RECOMMEND ANY PARTICULAR PROGRAM.

If you're a total technophobe, then by all means hire someone to do the formatting and conversion for you.  But BEWARE!!  There's a lot of scam artists looking to part you from your money.  Make sure you get references.  Personally, I think $400 to format and convert your manuscript file is a bit, no, it's effing too much.  Pay the teen whiz next door instead of some guy you don't know.  I'd lay $400 that you'll get better results.


  1. I have found using the Smashwords formatting suggestions worked wonderfully and could be changed to any format after that...very easy! Took me about three hours one night to do formats of one book for SW, B&N, and Kindle! Except that I'm not ready with final edits, so I just saved them in my acct until I can download the good ones! But the formatting looks great.

    I will pay for many things, but I agree you, Suzan, $400 to help format is crazy...I think it's worth the time to read the formatting guidelines and try it yourself once!

  2. Hi Tess!

    Also, the nice thing about Mark Coker's detailed Smashwords guide is that you can set up a template to follow his format suggestions for your subsequent books, so you're not pulling out your hair later.