Create an eBook as an eBook

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Trying to turn a paperback book into an eBook—two completely different technologies—can raise digital barriers for authors, but what actually works?

Researching the electronic book's minefield and then successfully transforming 7 of my print books into eBooks has taught me a whole lot. The seemingly easy route, using export processes that try to convert a print-based book design into an electronic book, can be a rocky road. The fact is that they are totally different products and are experienced using completely different technology; what works is to create an eBook, as an eBook!

Exporting an eBook from Word, Indesign or other software produces a file that might look great previewed on a computer, but can run into problems when the file is uploaded to an online distributor. And right there the roadblock goes up, as the distributor’s validation process fails the eBook file and gives various obscure error messages about what is wrong. And so begins an often long and frustrating process of figuring out what’s up with your file, fixing it and attempting the upload over and over.

Beyond a successful upload, will the exported eBook present correctly on the many and varied eBook reading devices that your customers have, or will hidden artefacts, embedded in the eBook by the export process, create formatting oddities and other difficulties on their devices?

What to do?

To assist other authors I have recorded a series of video tutorials, based upon an eBook template developed while creating my own eBooks, and using a free, open-source software called Sigil eBook Editor. Sigil, when used with a simple, effective methodology can produce eBooks (EPUB) files that go all the way, to work for online distributors and your customer’s devices.

The video tutorials are provided free for you to watch and then use what works for you; to make it even easier my eBook Template is available for purchase, with a percentage of sales going to the ongoing development of Sigil eBook Editor—I invite you to support the Sigil project so that it may continue contributing to your digital products.

Access the tutorials from the top of this page, where you will also find links to the eBook Template;  Sigil is available from sigil-ebook.com.  And send me your feedback, which will assist in improving eBook Template; the comments box is located below, or email via this website. Thanks!

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