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Writing an ebook, where, how, requirements,software,...?:

I'm sorry if this already has a topic, I tried searching and didn't find one.

I want to write a book but all I have is content idea's. I've looked at several selfpublishing options and some of them seem to be a scam. Or people just expect too much from them. Ebooks seems like the logical choice because they have low investment and can easily reach a lot of people if you write them in English. What's the best way to cheaply make an ebook? Amazon's createspace seems like a logical choice but is it a good choice?

What are the requirements for the ebook? I don't have an ereader, but I suppose it can only do text? Can it do images? How many pages should I aim for? What software do I write it with?

Does anyone here have experience with publishing an ebook?
 
 2 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 28th Feb '13 7:11:22 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
Ebooks are obscenely easy to make. I compiled one in HTML format in about an hour.

Ebooks can come in several formats. Yes they can show pictures but on simpler ereaders pictures throw off the formatting like Hell. I would recommend only text and a cover.

There are several formats for ebooks. .epub is the one that all ereaders can handle .mobi is kindle-specific, etc. I would recommend formatting your ebook with a program like Sigil, and I would also recommend Calibre — they do different things so you probably want both, but it is possible to make a very simple ebook with just word and calibre. I know that it's easy to upload your ebook onto sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble but I am not familiar with how to do that. You would have to look on those sites.

The only obstacle I would see is that because you don't have an ereader you wouldn't be able to test how the text shows up. I would recommend making friends with people who have ereaders, hopefully different kinds of ereaders so you can see how the formatting ends up. You could get a taste of how it will appear by downloading the kindle and nook applications for your computer and smartphone, if you have one.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 3 Madrugada, Thu, 28th Feb '13 9:08:52 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
First write the book. Publishing it comes after you've got it written, unless you intend to do a serial, in the original sense of the word.
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 4 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 28th Feb '13 9:27:13 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
Yes, Magruda, that is definitely a point. You should also ask yourself why you're not even considering traditional publishing routes. (I'm not planning to for my current project because of formatting issues). If you're planning on something with a lot of pictures that might also make you want to consider just publishing on the web.

Ebooks can be downloaded via RSS in Calibre so a serial done that way would be interesting, but that would only appeal to a probably small number of users.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 5 chihuahua 0, Thu, 28th Feb '13 1:07:14 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
Although I'd have to note that Amazon has a moderately successful serial program, although it's not of a self published nature.

Also, I read that pretty much the most reliable method of making a properly formatted ebook (since errors can happen when converting the file into several format) is formatting the HTML manually, although the practicality of that depends.

If you want to avoid scams, I suggest checking out this site after compiling a list of possible services/publications to consider.

In answer to Madrug, because I don't want to end up writing say 350 pages and then discover that they only publish 200 pages and 500 pages. It's probably not that much of an issue but as far as I know it might be. Maybe they insist on an even number of chapters. Who knows. Stuff like that.

edited 28th Feb '13 5:13:41 PM by dinges

 
 7 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 28th Feb '13 5:16:53 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
CANON!!
Um, I can't think of any reason they would do that?

Either way you're going to want to measure your story in words, not pages. Page numbers can be highly variable.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 8 Madrugada, Thu, 28th Feb '13 5:31:40 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Write the story until it's told, then stop. Trying to write a particular number of pages is a writing exercise best left behind with high school.
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 9 chihuahua 0, Thu, 28th Feb '13 6:07:59 PM from Standoff, USA Relationship Status: I'm in love with my car
Writer's Welcome Wagon
I agree with both Cats and Madrugada. No publication, whatever legitimate or a scam, is going to be that strict with word/page count or number of chapters. * There might be a minimum or a maximum, but not a range of disallowed possibilities after you get out of novella range.

Focus on the story, and think about the means later. Your intended method of publication might change after you finish the story.

edited 28th Feb '13 6:09:11 PM by chihuahua0

 10 drunkscriblerian, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 10:48:10 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
@OP: for starters, page count is irrelevant in the publishing industry where manuscripts are concerned; they count by words. In the print world standard novel length is between 80, 000 and 120, 000 words. Over 120, 000 words and the strength of the binding starts to become an issue, according to what I've heard.

Every word processing software has a word count function.

For e-books, as far as I can tell most sites don't really care about length. I've seen 15, 000 word porn shorts and 200, 000 word epics on Amazon, so I wouldn't sweat the length. Like everyone else says, just write it out and see.

If you want to publish on Amazon.com, you can look up their formatting requirements and such on their website and set your word processing software to format the document that way.

I highly recommend doing this, because doing it manually on a work of any length after the fact is a gigantic pain in the ass. But the formatting rules for a manuscript document are pretty simple.

edited 2nd Mar '13 10:48:45 PM by drunkscriblerian

If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
 11 Wolf 1066, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 3:38:57 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
Though providing you're meticulous about using proper paragraph breaks for your text and use styles appropriately (like body or default for the text and heading styles for chapter headings etc), you should be able to quickly reformat the whole MS to suit guidelines by redefining the styles and applying them to the whole MS.

Much better than putting in hard tabs at the beginnings of paragraphs and later learning that the preferred format is without an indent.

That way, if you later decide you're going to submit a hard copy to a conventional publishing house and learn that they want double spaced text with indented paragraphs, inch-all-round margins and a half-page of empty space for the start of each chapter (along with headers and footers with appropriate naming and numbering), you can do the whole lot by simply changing the page settings and a few styles prior to printing it out.

You need to be sure you're disciplined in using the features of your Word Processor during the writing process, though, or you're up for a lot of manual editting to fix the bits that didn't reformat as planned.

Even then, selecting any non-conforming bits and applying the appropriate style should sort that out for future modifications.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
 12 drunkscriblerian, Sun, 3rd Mar '13 1:30:05 PM from Castle Geekhaven Relationship Status: In season
Street Writing Man
Yeah, Wolf's right; set your document template up to do the formatting for you. That way changing things is as easy as changing a setting.

My friend ran into trouble because she decided to finish a really old manuscript, and she had done most of the formatting the manual way. That meant all the manual formatting had to be undone, by hand. On a 200 page manuscript that was all sorts of not fun.

So, when doing your final draft be sure to use a doc template that is properly formatted.
If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed.

~Cora M. Strayer~
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Total posts: 12
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