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Ebook Conversion Tips

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on July 27, 2011

I’ve just successfully converted a backlist title and uploaded it to Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. How did I manage the formatting? I’ll share my insights with you, with credit due to other authors along the way whose advice helped me and is incorporated here.

I’m assuming you know how to do basic operations in Word.

When you write your initial document, do not use Tabs. Instead, use Paragraph, Special, indent first line 0.5. This will make things a lot simpler. Otherwise, you’ll have to go through and indent the first line as above and then eliminate all tabs (I think it’s Find ^t and Replace with nothing).

Save your file under different names, one for Kindle and Nook conversions, and another one for Smashwords. Save these as a Word Doc. If you have Office 10, save them as a doc file, not docx.

Working with each of these two files, Single Space the entire document.

Use a Times New Roman 12pt font. I tried it with a 14 pt font and it came out too large on my Kindle.

Remove section breaks (Look for paragraph symbol to reveal codes in Word and also eliminate any odd spaces before paragraph symbols)

Remove headers and footers and page numbering.

For space breaks, use 3 lines. On the center line, do this: <><><> (look on your keyboard; it’s shift key-comma; shift key-period, repeat two more times)

Chapter breaks with Kindle and Nook: Do two returns at the end of a chapter then a page break. My chapter heading begins 6 lines down on the next page and is centered. Space down two more returns from chapter title to begin text.

Chapter breaks with Smashwords: Do two returns at the end of a chapter then a page break. Do not space down the chapter title; center it at the top. Again, do two returns between the chapter title and the text.

Prepare front matter excerpt if desired, copyright page, and any additional material, i.e. About the Author, Glossary, Author’s Note, etc. For a backlist title, the copyright date is the date of original publication.

Smashwords requires special wording on the copyright page. Please read their Style Guide.

For Smashwords, don’t have more than 4 empty lines at a time. You can, however, use page breaks despite what you might have read elsewhere.

In a nutshell, that’s how I did it. Do you have more tips to add?

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17 Responses to “Ebook Conversion Tips”

  1. Great advice, Nancy. I was so worried I wouldn’t understand how to do this technical stuff. But you laid it out perfectly.
    Thanks

  2. I’m glad this helps! The process wasn’t as hard as I’d thought it would be.

  3. pamlabud said

    Thank you so much, Nancy! A huge help for those of us who don’t enjoy formatting.

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Pam!

  5. Mona Risk said

    Nancy, This may sound silly but I want to make sure I understand you. You did these conversions to be able to sell your previously published books on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords, right? Not just to read books on the ereaders.

  6. Yes, Mona, that is correct. I did this conversion for a previously published work, to which I had reversion of rights, so that it could be available in digital formats for my readers.

    If you want to convert formats to be able to read books on your ereader device, download the free Calibre program. For example, you can buy a book as an ePub format and convert it on Calibre for your Kindle.

  7. Mona Risk said

    Thanks Nancy. Very useful. I copied and saved.

  8. Excellent advice! Smashwords was a breakthrough for me, almost as soon as it went online. To have all the techie stuff of conversion done for me free was awesome. I was then able to offer my ebooks in a variety of formats, at my writing contest site, courtesy of Smashwords. (As well, of course, as presenting them at Smashwords.)

  9. John, have you done coupons at Smashwords? That’s something I have to learn about.

  10. Dianne said

    Great tips on a tedious subject! And coupons are a breeze, Nancy. Simply head to coupon section and enter your info–Smashwords does the rest. A great tool for ebook giveaways!

  11. Do you mean that I can supply these coupons for a “free” book without having to buy the book myself? Because right now, I buy the book on Amazon and send it as a gift to people.

  12. Wonderful information. I wish there were an easy way to convert out-of-print books that are no longer in your computer.

  13. Marilyn, Belgrave House will scan your printed backlist books, do all the conversions, and list them at all online bookstores. They used to split the royalty 50% and just raised it for authors. Check them out at http://www.belgravehouse.com/bookstore
    They have my first three futuristics listed on their site.

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  15. Good article on ebook conversion, as she says, we need to consider few things for this work and run about the guidelines.
    Further tips on ebook conversion and choosing the right provider for those services can be found at “http://epubconversion.com/blog/2011/11/factors-to-consider-while-choosing-ebook-conversion-partner/”

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  17. Our days and nights Have sorrows woven with delights….

    A bracelet of bright hair about the bone….

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