Have you ever been wondering why it is possible to get a free ebook version from your online book distributor? Or seen people offering to convert your novel manuscript into an ebook for $30 or $50?
While $30 or $50 are almost expensive for just clicking a button to import the (pre-formatted) manuscript, fill in a form with details about the book – such as title, author name, and retail price – click another button to add any required companion files to the project, then clicking one last button to output the ebook in the desired file format. It is mostly an automated process – done in less than 15 minutes.
I wrote a while ago that I had once paid $70 in advance for .mobi and epub, and received both versions after a wait of almost two months! and dozens of emails. I immediately transferred it to our distributor. He refused the epub version as it contained 63 !!! technical errors, and it cost me, even more, to have it done by a professional. Very frustrating!
Formatting an eBook – Especially Non-Fiction
Book formatting is mostly manual, because every manuscript is different, and the process of formatting a manuscript for ebook publication is primarily a process of minimizing and standardizing formatting.
List of eBook Formatting Steps for Mobi
Web content manager A. Hamilton once blogged this list:
* “Save As” to create Kindle file copy
* Insert cover image on the first page
* Remove blank pages
* Remove headers
* Remove footers
* Set margins to 1” all around, remove gutter
* Replace section breaks with page breaks
* Set two carriage returns before each pg break and one after each
* Insert page breaks before each chapter heading, if necessary
* Replace double spaces with single space between sentences
* Standardize body text style
* Turn off auto-hyphenate (Tools > Language > Hyphenation)
* Remove any tab or space bar indents, replace w/ ruler indents as needed
* Set line spacing to 1.5, max 6pt spacing after paragraphs
* Standardize chapter headings
* Standardize section headings
* Remove/replace special characters
* Reformat graphics as needed to 300dpi resolution & optimal size (4×6” or smaller)
* Verify images are “in line” with text
* Insert page breaks before and after full-page images
* Modify copyright page to reflect Kindle edition verbiage
* Add correct ISBN to copyright page
* Insert hyperlinked TOC
Time and effort demands in creating ebooks are highly variable. So, you better send a sample chapter and ask if the price quoted for the ebook conversion service includes formatting – and also the creation of any required companion files.
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