Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Free ebook formatting: do it yourself?

Reblogging this from last year, since I’m about to embark again on the process for my new novel, Wish I Were Here. If you formatted your own book, let us know how it went. Or, if you hired someone who made the whole thing a piece of cake (freeing you up to worry about a host of other things that come up in self-publishing), drop names and links in the comments.

At this moment, I’m inclined to hire a pro again, though I wasn’t particularly happy last time through. On the other hand, as Guido says, there’s only one way to make sure your book looks the way you want it to…


Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 9.08.15 AM

Ebook formatting. Huh?

Believe it or not, it never occurred to me that you can’t just upload your pretty .doc file onto Smashwords or Amazon and expect it to come out the other side as a perfect ebook. The .doc file is to writing as fresh water is to civilization, isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be the Perrier of self-publishing?

I know, Amazon says you can just upload your Word file and they’ll take care of the rest, but according to David Gaughran, author of Let’s Get Digital: How to Self-Publish And Why You Should, you open your ebook to unpredictable coding errors when you do that and risk coming across to readers as unprofessional. Anathema to us, right?

Gaughran recommends Guido Henkel’s guide, “Take Pride In Your Ebook Formatting,” a free resource on the web, which takes the neophyte through a foolproof formatting protocol that will work with…

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5 comments on “Free ebook formatting: do it yourself?

  1. islandeditions
    May 29, 2014

    I have always been happy with Regina McCreary and Human Powered Design in Calgary. Not only affordable, but she does a very professional job, and she also looks after the administration of listing my eBooks with online sales sites (Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and including Overdrive for library sales) and collecting monies owed by them, all for a small percentage of the sales, and she also pays me on a regular basis and sends out monthly sales statements. I retain all rights to my books. You can work with her on setting all of this up as much or as little as you choose.
    Canadian based, but the beauty of ePublishing is that I can collaborate with Gina from anywhere I happen to be, and she has the experience of working with clients world-wide.
    Tell Gina I sent ya!

    • Kevin Brennan
      May 29, 2014

      Thanks for the reference! I’ll consider her when I’m ready to pick someone…

  2. P. C. Zick
    June 2, 2014

    I do my own formatting and do it for others as well. However, I’ve had some experience with formatting and layout from my days as a journalist on small newspapers. It’s important but not impossible to master.

    • Kevin Brennan
      June 3, 2014

      True. I did it myself for Our Children Are Not Our Children, but that’s a very short piece that didn’t present many problems. But a full-length novel with numerous itals and some foreign words and em dashes galore? — not sure I have the patience!

      • P. C. Zick
        June 4, 2014

        As long as those things are formatted correctly in Word, it’s not that big of a deal to then format for the other forms. However, I realize all of that is relative to what you know how to do!

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This entry was posted on May 29, 2014 by in Publishing.
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