The Quick Ebook Publishing Conversion Guide

Conversion is a very important - yet often confusing - part of ebook publishing

Conversion is a very important – yet often confusing – part of ebook publishing

This part of my ebook publishing guide focuses on getting your work from Word to its final state as a Kindle e-reader file. If you aren’t at this stage and would like some advice on how to get here, please check out the last few posts below which run through the Ebook Publishing Formatting process.

I’ll be showing you how to create the two most common types of e-reader files, being mobi (for Kindle) and epub (for almost every other e-reading device, such as Sony Reader and Nook). If you want to convert your book into a different file than these, then it can be simply done once you have the gist of how the process works.

The three ingredients you firstly need are:

  • Calibre (version 0.8.40 is used for this guide) – free download can be found easily through Google
  • and Adobe Digital Editions – free download can be found easily through Google

Once you’ve downloaded and set up the programs, open your book (it should be in Word 97-2003 by this stage – if you’ve just found yourself hissing at the screen, you probably need to read my previous ebook publishing posts before you begin…) and click on File, then Save As, followed by Other Formats. Click in the Save As Type field and change the file type to Web Page, Filtered. Name the file NameofYourBookHTML. A message may or may not come up on your screen. If it does, click Yes. You’ve now turned your book into an html file.

Open Calibre and click on the arrow next to the Add Books icon. Click Add Books From a Single Directory. Locate the html file of your book and click Open. In the large central window you can now see your book. Right click on it. Next, click Convert Books, and then Convert Individually. This next screen may look a bit daunting to you, but there’s really not that much to do here. So don’t panic!

The Metadata details should be in view. In the Output Format field, click and select what file you would like to convert to. There is a long list of possible outcomes. If you are unsure, I would recommend checking out the guidelines offered by your chosen distributor (they can be found on their website). For the purposes of this tutorial, though, we’ll carry on as if we’re converting your book to be read on Amazon’s Kindle.

So from the drop down menu, click on MOBI. Below, click in the Publisher field and enter either your name or your publisher’s name/company. Your book cover now needs to be added. Click in the Change Cover Image field, locate your book’s cover, and then click Open.

Click on the Page Setup tab on the left, and then change the Output Profile from Generic e-ink to Kindle. Don’t change the Input Profile, which should already be set to Default Input Profile. Click on the MOBI Output tab to the left. Click the box that says Do Not Add Table of Contents to Book. By doing this, you’ll disable the program from auto-generating its own TOC. You want this to happen, because your book should already have its own which you created.

Finally, click OK in the bottom right corner. After a minute or so, your mobi file will be created. Once it is, right click on the newly converted mobi file (in the large central window) and hit Save to Disc, followed by Save to Disc. Select where you want it to be saved (like your Desktop, for example) and then click Select Folder.

Open Ebook Publishing Previewer. Click on File, followed by Open Book, and locate your mobi file (which will be inside a folder titled NameofYourBook.) Once found, click Open. You can now see what your converted Kindle e-reader file looks like! If you had a message pop up saying there were errors which could not be converted, this is not necessarily a problem. You will know whether there are problems or not after you have looked through your book in this previewer. I strongly urge you to check through your entire book. Seriously.

If there are spacing or any other issues lurking, this is the best place to find them because this is how your readers (Kindle users, at least) will view your work. Take your time and get to know this little piece of software. Different Kindle device previews can be selected from the Devices icon above. You can navigate through each page using the arrow icons, and change the font size by clicking on the Aa icon.

If you do find formatting issues with your book, I’m afraid you’ll have to go back to your original Word document and sift through it for any potential problems and then convert and preview it again. I know, I know…it’s a horrifying thought, right? But there’s no other way of doing it – not that I’m aware of, anyway. If it’s any consolation, keep in mind that once you’ve figured out all this formatting and converting business, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes shut – that, or you’ll certainly be able to breeze through it a lot easier. Trust me.

Lastly, I’ll mention that if you had wanted to convert your book to a file different than a mobi, you still can. In fact, you might want to have a number of different files for each of your given distributors – there are more routes than Kindle publishing, after all. Just repeat the same process through Calibre, except this time changing the Output Format and Output Profile. If you want to preview what an epub file will look like on an e-reader such as a Nook, you’ll need to open it with Adobe Digital Editions.

And that’s it. Hopefully your ebook conversion was successful and your first ebook publishing file is now ready to be uploaded! Release the build up of frustration that’s been trapped in your chest and proceed to make yourself a cup of tea. Hell, why not crack open that variety tin of biscuits as well? You deserve it.

As for the next step of your journey, you can of course start uploading straight away. However, I would recommend holding off until you’ve read some helpful advice which I’ll be dispersing in my next lot of upcoming Book Marketing articles. You may also be interested in my 5 Final Tips Before Uploading. It’s up to you, but it might help soften your landing into the tricky arena of ebook publishing.

Have you delved into the disturbing world of ALEX, the #1 Thrillers & Suspense Kindle Best Seller? Simply click a cover below to find it on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

As always, feedback on my articles is always welcome! Was this helpful? Do you know any good ebook conversion tips of your own? Please, fire away in the comments section below.

Thanks for stopping by, stay tuned, and keep writing. Oh…and never, ever, ever give up!

Alex Sidney Knight Amazon UK            Alex Sidney Knight Amazon US

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