Have you finished writing your book and want to make it into an ebook but don’t know where to start? Start here! In this post, I will define some common terms and link to some resources where you can learn more.
Ebooks are either epub or MOBI files. An epub is the format most ereaders use, like the Nook or Kobo. Amazon and its devices use a MOBI format. Often ebooks are made in an epub format and then converted into a MOBI file using a program.
The standard type of epub and MOBI files allow readers to adjust the text size and font, but there are also fixed layouts. This means the reader is not able to adjust the text size. Fixed layouts are used for books with lots of images, like children’s books and comics, and they are more like looking at photos of the pages, since the pages will always show the same thing. Standard files are for books with mostly text, like textbooks or fiction books, and what is on each page changes because the text is adjustable. Depending on the device, ereaders can also read other formats like pdf or HTML files.
Before making an ebook, it might be helpful to learn some basic coding skills. Codecademy offers classes for free. There are lots of different classes to take, and you can go at your own pace. W3 Schools offers tutorials and other resources.
This is an in-depth tutorial on creating an ebook. It has videos and written directions, and uses the free Calibre program. This tutorial is helpful if you don’t have any coding experience, though it does offer some tips if you choose to code your ebook manually. Another good resource is the Self-Publishing Advice Center. They offer advice on ebooks, as well as topics like design, production, and contracts.
There are lots of programs you can use to create ebooks, but here are a few free tools. iBooks Author allows you to create an ebook and put it on the iBooks store. Calibre is a program that you can use to edit, create, and convert ebooks. This program uses the epub format, though you can convert files to a MOBI format. Reedsy is an easy-to-use program, but it does not offer very many customization options. Sigil is an open-source ebook editing program.
There are also programs that will convert files into epub or MOBI files. PublishXpress will convert DOCX, pdf, and HTML files into MOBI and epub formats. ePUBee Maker will convert files online and provide a Word add-in you can download.
If you plan to make multiple ebooks and have the budget to pay for a program, here are some programs to look into. The standard program in the industry is Adobe’s InDesign, but it is harder to learn how to use and can create cluttered code. Vellum is more expensive, but it does well with text-centric books. Jutoh creates clean ebooks in pdf, epub, MOBI, and HTML formats.