In my new book How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days, I show how to create the five magic files–#1 and #2, the text; #3 and #4, the e-book files, and #5, the cover–for the ancillary publishers (above).
What follows here is a slightlty modified section referring to files #3 and #4, for your e-book version.
The e-book magic file #3 (and its buddy, #4)
You can sell your book digitally the moment you complete Magic Files #1 [the text in .doc] or #2 [the same, in .pdf], if you provide it to the buyer as a direct download. (That’s right, your book exists the moment these files are proofed and ready to transfer. It needn’t be printed in bound form nor must it formally be saved in special e-book format, as we will explain in a moment. Which means that your nose will not grow if you now call yourself a published author. Congratulations!)
[The e-book files] (#3 and #4) come from File #1. The e-book version should look as much like the bound version as possible.
You will want to make some modest modifications in File #1 [after you save it as File #3] so the e-book digital versions will read better and be more useful in the ancillary publishers’ software languages where it will go.
First, though, which ancillary publishers handle e-books? Kindle, Smashwords, LightningSource, Lulu, iPad, CreateSpace, and Scribd. [The seventh ancillary publisher, Blurb, is mostly for art books and is excluded in this chapter.]
[Here are the conversion steps:]
The first step: save Magic File #1 as Magic File #3. Then consider making these changes:
* Digital book copies mess up the pagination because the front cover (you don’t include the back cover or spine) becomes the first page. Also, you will eliminate any blank pages, so the numbers become a hodgepodge by the end of the book.
* Therefore, you remove page numbers in the table of contents, the header or footer, and the index.
* In the index you add this comment under Index, “Please use the find key to locate the specific reference pages.” Then you delete the numbers but leave in the index words in alphabetical order so the reader knows what you found worthy of special inclusion.
* Since it doesn’t matter how many pages the digital version has, this is an opportunity to increase the text font size without financial consequences. So why not make it 12- or 13-point type, probably in the same serif type you used in the bound version? [Don’t make it much larger than 14 or it will take many more pages to print.]
Remember, when you increase the font size that will alter your earlier page layouts—that will likely require you to insert and delete some earlier page breaks.
* The same logic regarding color. It matters little whether the text is black on white or pink on red—I’m joking. You can use any color combinations you wish in the e-book, including photos and images [which is why you can see color in the e-book version of this book.] The drawback with color? If the user is planning to print out some or all of the e-book text, he or she may not want to use color ink—and may not know that he or she can go to “Properties” before actually printing and tell it to use only black and white. (We use color sparingly in our e-books for that reason.)
* Probably the greatest advantage to digital copies is that links can actually be inserted and activated. For example, if I wanted to send you to my webpage in the bound version I would direct you to www.gordonburgett.com. But in the digital copy I would probably highlight the word Web site, go to Insert/Hyperlink/ and type in www.gordonburgett.com where it says address. That way you could simply activate the highlighted (or underlined) word in the e–book and my Web site would open up. But that also means in Magic File #3 that you must change the typed out addresses to links, then test each to make sure you got it right and it’s still active.
* In Word, the style program is as baffling to us, the users, as it seems to be to other software languages, so it’s best to cruise through the text pages and be sure that it says “Normal” in the top bar before the font and size boxes as often as possible. Don’t ask why but that seems to eliminate most of the cases where regular type inexplicably appears twice (or half) as large, in italics, or in bold!
* Sometimes to read your book well digitally you must modify or eliminate your header and/or footer in your e-book.
* We also make our chapter and section heads smaller and uniform throughout our e-books, so reading the book on a reading device is faster and smoother.
After making all of those changes, you have to go back and read the whole book, at least on the monitor, to see that the layout and contents are exactly as you’d like the digital readers to see them on their computers, on readers, or on some handheld devices.
When it is ready to print in this streamlined e-book version, save that file as Magic File #3.doc. And hide this file with the other master magic files.
Make a copy of the final Magic File #3 and tell your PDF software to save it as Magic File #4.pdf, for those ancillary publishers who want this electronic version submitted that way.
Again, read #4 to see if it looks like #3. Remember, PDF is particularly pesky at the page breaks, so you may have to do the adjusting here that you had to do with Magic File #2. Ultimately, you want Files #3 and #4 to either look alike or acceptably similar. But here you won’t have to worry about pagination, the table of contents, or index.
One more niggling thing—and it’s very important because it throws a wrench in a lot of ancillary-published e-books.
Some of the e-book ancillary publishers don’t want the file in PDF (which preserves artwork much as it is) but they also can’t use #3 as it is, in Word. So for them you must go back to #3 and eliminate all artwork—like images, photos, charts, and graphs. Why? Because it simply won’t stay where you want it, look right, or somehow not mess up your text presentation.
Kindle is the best (or worst) example. And Smashwords, which saves your electronic book in nine different softwares is a huge roll of the dice. Some look fine with PDF, some are okay in Word, and some look awful in whatever you send.
Again, this is explained more fully in the next chapter.
The real question is, what do you do if you have to delete artwork but it contains valuable information the reader should know? One, you can rewrite the specific section in your e-book File #3 file so the gist of the artwork is explained in printed text. Two, you can simply say nothing at all. Or, three, you say that there was artwork in the bound book version of this text, then send the reader to links that contain the artwork and explain why that was included in the original book. Those links will be at your (or somebody else’s) Web site.
Then I would proof this special rewritten version of File #3, make sure it is ready to submit, and I would give it a special title like: booktitle#3 Kindle.doc
That’s it. These are the changes you make in your core bound book text so it reads best (or is accepted best by the software) in e-book format.
How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days explains the whole process (this is an excerpt), and I talk about it regularly in my free, monthly newsletter too.
Hope this helps!
P.S. You might also be interested in an earlier blog, “7 times when using Lulu,…”