Create a document ready for conversion

There are many ways to create a document suitable for conversion to the more popular eBook reader formats. You can, in fact, use just about any Word or OpenOffice (or LibreOffice) document and get something that looks pretty good on the other site. Maybe not perfect, but pretty good. Another way is to create a simple HTML/XHTML document. It's easy if you just follow these simple steps.

Creating an eBook: An Evolutionary Approach

For anyone interested in self-publishing on the various eBook platforms (e.g. Kindle, Kobo, Nook, etc), creating books e-Reader ready is a skill that is becoming as important as the writing itself. At YouWordMe, we have created tools that automatically create machine-ready eBook files in .epub and .mobi formats, perfect for the most popular eBook readers on the market. All you need to do is provide a properly formatted file using LibreOffice/OpenOffice or Microsoft Word. This document will show you how to do this.

The subtitle, “An Evolutionary Approach”, was chosen because you will be able to see, using screenshots of an Amazon Kindle, how the changes in document formatting translate into the finished product, namely the eBook itself. For this tutorial, I'm going to concentrate on creating an eBook that will be read on a Kindle. This isn't a slight on other eBook readers but rather a choice of convenience. Using the YouWordMe eBook converter, I can email the finished product directly to my Kindle as opposed dragging and dropping it using a USB cable. (Note: In order to use the free eBook converter, you will need to create an account and log in.)

If you're sitting comfortably, let's begin . . .

eBook Cover Art

We all know that expression, "You can't judge a book by it's cover." While that may be true in terms of what exists inside the pages of the book, if you are trying to get people to buy your book to find out whether the words are as wonderful as they are, then you need to think about cover art. Whether we like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover and their appraisal of the cover greatly influences their decision to buy your book, or to pass.

Professional authors and publishing companies will spend hundreds of dollars or more working with an artist to create a professional looking cover. Most self-published authors may not find this  an affordable route but that shouldn't stop you from creating something attractive. Familiarity with a photo editing package like Photoshop or the GIMP can go a long way to creating a great cover. Ensure you have the right to use the cover art you choose (there are many public domain images out there), and don't forget to include your name, as well as the title of the book.

So what is a good cover from a technical standpoint? 

Most eBook readers use a 600x800 pixel screen. Creating a cover with those dimensions in mind is a good idea. That said, the dimensions of a typical paperback novel is closer to 5 by 8 than 6 by 8 and looks more natural.  That's roughly a ration of 1 to 1.6 for whatever resolution you use. 

Higher resolutions mean crisper images but larger file sizes. Too small an image and the reader can't tell what's on the cover. So following the above rule, try to make your cover 500x800 pixels or greater using the same ratio. For example, 600x960 or 1000x1600 (don't go any larger than this last). 

In terms for format, save your image as PNG or JPG.

The last item you should consider is that many devices are E-ink readers which means your super-amazing cover should render well into grayscale. Strange, hard to differentiate combinations of fonts and artwork may not look great. If possible, test drive your cover on an E-ink reader before you put your eBook up for sale.

Authors using our conversion service will find that a cover image is optional. If you don't specify a cover, our system will generate one for you with our default cover art, your name, and the title of the book.

Metadata : What you need to know.

Your eBook is all about the great story you're telling, of course, but there's more to it than that. At least from the perspective of the finished product, namely that file you are selling and distributing. Embedded in the eBook file is a lot of very important information. Some of it is obvious (e.g. the title) and some not so much (e.g. series information).  Let's take a look at the sorts of information you may want to included with your eBook file.

Title : About as obvious as you are going to get.

Author : That's you. In some cases, that's you and your co-author(s).

Publisher : The publishing company behind the eBook. This can also be you, the author, or the name you give to the company behind your name.

Cover Image : If you don't have a cover for your work, we will automatically generate one for you with our own image, your name and the title of the work. They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but sadly, people do. A great cover can go a long way to getting your work noticed.

Description : Think of this as the cover blurb. This is the catchy bit of advertising meant to reel in potential readers. It's the free text that makes them say, "Whoa! I really need to read this book!" It's your chance to play the advertising game. 

Contributor : Who else is involved in the creation of this work?

Series Number and Series Name : Is this part one of a trilogy, or number 23 in an ongoing serial? What is this series called?

ISBN Number : A 13 digit number that identifies your book.

Language : Also kind of obvious.

Copyright Information : All work created by an author is automatically copyrighted. That's the law. However, if you want to identify a copyright date or a license under which you wish to distribute your work, then do so here.


Now With Coupons!

Our Ultimate Writer's Websites now supports coupons, which is actually pretty cool. Let me tell you a little about it.

The idea is simple. You create coupons that offer a discount, a dollar amount, and so on and you make them available to your readers via Facebook, a mailing list, through your Website, or whatever means you use to keep in touch with your readers. Coupons can be restricted to a user and a single purchase, or even multiple purchases. You can even set them up with an expiry date.

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