Monday, March 9, 2015

Formatting a Book for Self-Publishing

What is this formatting thing I hear of? I recall it happened after I finished my last edits with my publisher. It went to someone who did some magical stuff to it in their computer and then all the Kindles and Nooks and iThings were happy to download it.

Now that I’m stepping out on my own, I become the someone who does magical stuff to my document. If only I had some clue of what I’m supposed to be doing!

That was my thought last month. I practically begged a friend of mine to figure it out and do it for me, and because she loves me, she agreed. But I decided if I can learn to do it myself, that would make things easier for future books. Plus, she has an eleven-week-old, so I’m pretty sure she’s got her hands full already! ☺

This is what I’ve learned so far. Formatting basically translates your Word document (or whatever program you use) into the different languages each e-book reader uses. No, I don’t know why they don’t all use the same one, though that would make sense to me. This is probably why I’m not a computer person.

In addition to the translation, you also have to take into account the margins, copyright page, fonts, tabs… basically how everything looks and make sure it’s all consistent.

How does the book get from my word processing program to your Kindle?
(Image from Amazon)

I was dreading doing this sort of thing by hand. So it was like kismet when I heard of a formatting program that was being recommended at around this time. Not to sound like an ad, but it’s called Jutoh, it cost $39, and it does all the formatting into all the different e-reader types.

About a week ago, I started working with it, and after a few false starts, I managed to get something that looks like… a book! I’m pretty happy with it. So now I will do yet another read-through to spot any remaining typos, any odd characters, or anything that didn’t translate quite right, that sort of thing. But it’s coming along, and I feel all publisher-y and almost like I know what I’m doing.

No comments:

Post a Comment