If you’ve finished writing your book and are considering the next step, you may be looking into self-publishing. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to publish your book with print on demand and ebook distribution services. Basically, you only need to format your book for print and ebook, then email your files in online bookstores so readers can find them.
Most people will format their book in Microsoft Word, because it’s a program they’re already familiar with, and though it can be frustrating to use, it will allow you to format a manuscript and save it as a print ready PDF. If you do everything right, and know how to add a title page, headers and footers, chapter breaks and pages, and endnotes… it will look pretty professional.
A premium program for book formatting is Adobe InDesign. The software is more difficult to learn if you’re unused to it, but will ultimately provide a cleaner design with tighter spacing (readers may not be able to comment on the difference, but it will just ‘feel’ like a better reading experience – it’s mostly about the better spacing between words; in MS Word sometimes there can be large spaces between words that stand out).
For ebooks, things get a little more complicated.
Ebooks are basically code, and the text should be reflowable, so you can’t control making everything look exactly as you want it, like you can with a print book. Instead you should keep it simple. If you’ve formatted a Word doc correctly, it should convert to epub and mobi files pretty well. I usually use my free ebook conversion tool, which is based on a program called Calibre, then I use Sigil if I need to fine-tune or make changes (it’s more complicated, but lets you get into the code view to fix issues… it also lets you embed fonts into your ebook, though you usually don’t want to do that).
You also need to be careful of images – pictures should be at least 1200px wide, but having lots of large files will increase the ‘delivery cost’ of your ebook so it can eat into profits.
How to make an Ebook (Kindle, Epub and Smashwords)
Watch more videos on how to format an ebook here.
PS. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll love Vellum, which makes it easy to design beautiful ebooks.
If you’re formatting your own book and want to get started faster, make sure you grab the free book formatting templates at DIY book formats. Here are some of the example templates you can get for free.