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Thursday, June 20, 2019

A Change on How to Make an Ebook

I've written several blog posts on How to Make an Ebook using free software, as well as an ebook by that name (cover to the right, just in case you can't see it). After my last experience with a different and much easier method, I feel the information in this book is so out of date that I should take it off sale, as there isn't any more reason to have it up. Not with how easy, and for free, you can create an very professional ebook. Complete with drop caps, graphics that will highlight your chapter headings, as well as section differences. And all you have to do is submit a Word file to them.

What is this method that has caused me to revise my method and take down my book? (Aside from the fact it no longer sells but about a couple copies a year.)

It is an ebook and distribution third-party called "Draft2Digital". You can sign up as an author for free, set up your paperwork to receive funds from them (no more going through PayPal as necessitated by Smashwords), and which outlets you want your ebook to go through for sale.

Now, the Word file you submit to them can be as messy as you want it to be (not that I recommend that, naturally). Of course, they do their best to identify your chapter headings, sometimes they are more successful than others. But if you follow my suggestion to always use a specific heading style (I tend to use Heading 2 for Chapter headings and Heading 3 for sub-titles). Their programming has never failed to find the titles for my chapters and subheadings, no matter what I actually call them, using this method.

The only other thing they need to see, or allow them to add, is a title page and a copyright page. I used to combine these onto one page, which it sort of accepted, somewhat reluctantly. But, this last book I created, I put the copyright info on one page separate from the Title page. It appeared to be what it was looking for, because even though I used the Heading 1 style for the title of the book on my title page, it stopped showing in the table of contents. I thought, that's cool.

The rest of the book it didn't matter what format or style you had it in, it would put it in the right format for an ebook. It was easy! Now, I use LibreOffice to write my books in, set up as I've described elsewhere. So when I'm ready to send it to Draft2Digital, All I have to do is to save it in a Word format, like .doc or .docx. Either one appears to work fine. And, that's it!

But, where is my ebook? That's the great thing. They have a place on your book's page where you can download your ebook file, either epub or mobi. And though they have created an ISBN for that ebook, it isn't listed in the ebook itself. So I was able to submit the mobi file to Amazon with no problems, to create the Kindle version.

"But Rick, they have an option to publish to Amazon, why wouldn't you use that?" Well, two main reasons. One, due to they do get a piece of the pie that I would get to keep on Amazon. That isn't a big deal breaker for me. However, if you publish through CreateSpace, which has now been merged into Amazon, the paperback book is considered an identical copy of your ebook. So when I tried to publish an ebook to Amazon through Draft2Digital, Amazon rejected it because I had already published the paperback at Amazon. After a couple of tries, I decided I would have to delist it on Amazon through D2D and publish it through the Kindle service on Amazon instead.

So this last book, I took their mobi file and uploaded that to Kindle, and it accepted it and published it without a hitch. Plus, it had all that cool formatting that I would be hard pressed to do on my own. Likewise, if you want to take advantage of Smashwords' extra sales on their own and related sites, you can easily upload the epub version of the book to their site to distribute there. Just make sure you uncheck all the outlets they have in common with D2D, or you'll have multiple copies on those sites and it could get confusing.

Consequently, for a while now my ebook on how to make one, was already outdated and was in need of being updated. Now, I don't even see the need for that when all you need to do is how to be consistent in how you indicate chapter headings and such, and send them a Word file. Boom! You have quality formatted epub and mobi files that can be used to upload to Amazon, Smashwords, giveaways, or just for your own purposes. All that for free. They make money when you do, like a lot of these services. Therefore, I no longer feel a need to jump through the various hoops I describe in my ebook on how to make an ebook.

So, I'm going to delist How to Make an Ebook soon. If you've wanted a copy of it, now's the time to get it. There is still some valuable information in it, some fallback methods. But it is complicated. That's why I have a whole book on the topic. Now that it is so simple, there's not much of a need to continue to sell the book. I'll give it until next Monday before I start delisting it. Thanks for sticking with me through this.

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