Epub Is E-ssential
Quite frankly I had held off formatting any of my titles (either my own or those I publish on behalf of others)in the ePub format used by Apple and Barnes&Nobles’ Nook eReader simply because it was all too hard. You have to be so spot on with your formatting and conversion and you also need to be an American, or have an alien IRS tax ID. All too hard to get in a hurry, believe me. As the man over at Smashwords says, unless you are selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of eBooks, not worth the effort.
While researching the process I read that I could use an ‘Aggregator’ like Lulu.com or Smashwords.com. I already print my hardcopy books through Lulu.com but their distribution to B&N and Apple is a little slow, I have found. So I figured to give Smashwords a go. For the first time in my online life I actually followed the advice int he How To section and downloaded and read the Style Guide prior to formatting the first manuscript. I know, I can’t believe I did that either. I had already read all the FAQs and other data and had a fair grasp of how things worked and funnily enough, when it came to uploading and formatting and what not, it all seemed to go so much smoother than usual. Perhaps at last these sites are getting user friendly?
The style guide was a brilliant education on the finer points of Word. I have used that word processing software for two decades or so and at last I know stuff that tore me apart for years. It pays to learned he ropes, to get the education on how to do this stuff properly. That time I invested in reading the style guide paid off as the manuscript formatted correctly first time. When I tried the second book the copyright error message kept coming up until I simply copy/pasted what worked perfectly for the first book then changed the title and it went through without a hitch.
Epub gets you into Barnes&Noble, who are huge and their Nook eReader is chasing Amazon.com’s Kindle and closing, I believe. More importantly it let’s your work be sold to those with iPods and iPads and iEverythingelses. Just relying on .mobi for Kindle is not enough. You have to be out there in multiple formats and that includes html, rtf, pdf and even Sony’s old lrf… or is that lfr? Ltr? Ltf? Nevermind, they switched to ePub recently anyway, so I read.
Get into ePub and stay abreast of the industry, the trends and the technology. Get in the habit of keeping up and you won’t ever have to play catch up more than once. It is a huge, steep and never ending learning curve but with the right mindset, a lot of fun. And it sure beats hand writing a manuscript or mailing off 500 badly typed pages and a stamped, self-addressed envelope for the return of said manuscript with rejection slip like in the good old days!