Prepare manuscript for ebook conversion: The ultimate guide


While there are several great ebook writing and conversion apps available—from free to hundreds of dollars for every platform—most people still prefer writing in a traditional text editor. I can’t imagine writing in anything else than Google Docs (and not only because of the voice typing), but many writers use Microsoft Word, Scrivener or other word processor. Most self-published authors today decide to convert their own ebooks; only to realise many hours into the project that it might not be as easy as they have imagined. This article is helping you to prepare your manuscript for ebook conversion, regardless of whether you decide to convert your book yourself or hire somebody. The advice we give can be followed from the start of writing or applied to a manuscript that is already done.

The Top 10 Ebook Writing Software

prepare manuscript for ebook conversion

Prepare manuscript: why is it important?

Text editors and ebook converters might look similar on the outside, but they have very different purposes. Word processors help users to work with the text: write it, edit it, share it with your editors, betas and grandmother. Word processors have built-in spell check, most of them follow user changes and support different note-taking and highlight options.

Ebook editors, on the other hand, come into the picture once your book is ready: they are designed to create an epub that is difficult to change by the user and displays according to the publisher’s intents on many different devices, may it be a computer, a Kindle or a smartphone. Since the idea behind ebooks and word documents is so different, it is not surprising that they only look similar on the surface.

What’s an ebook? Get started!

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Ebook Templates – A Waste of Money?

Many people argue that ebooks don’t have to be beautiful: the ebook readers or apps will ‘strip’ their formatting anyway, letting the user set their preferred font and line space. But, on the other hand: why shouldn’t ebooks be beautiful? A book that is not only written well but also visually appealing to the reader has a better chance of enchanting customers and get them to come back. We are not even thinking about bad formatting.

There are many steps between a book that provides bad user experience (has, for example, forced line breaks, or is unreadable) and a book that is beautiful. Creating beautiful ebooks, however, can be easier if you have an ebook template. It can also come handy when you are a beginner in ebook formatting and would like to check your book against a ‘professional’ example. When to use an ebook template? What are the common formats? Is using a template for everyone? Read on.

Too cool for school? Download our valid epub sample made using Sigil and use it as a template.

This article lists some ebook templates you should never use, and a few that formatting beginners can use in order to produce valid epubs. To use the templates we provide below we recommend that you download and install Sigil, the free to use professional ebook editor. Many freely available or low cost ebook templates will require to use Adobe InDesign.

What is an ebook template?

Ebook templates are ebook layouts filled with ‘dummy’ text (like lorem ipsum) and stock photos or free to use photos. To use an ebook template, just download it, open it, click ‘Save as’ and name it as your book. Then change the text and the images: delete the old text and add your own. Most cases, you can simply copy and paste your book from Word chapter by chapter.

Remember to change the metadata as well: check the language code, date of publication, contributors and the title. Once you have changed everything, don’t forget to update the table of contents.
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What Are the Different Types of Copyright?

Today’s article is on some serious subject: different types of copyright. We have already published a guide at Bookmachine regarding ebook copyrighting dos and don’ts in an easy-to-digest form. It is at Bookmachine that I write about copyright pages, DRM, ISBN and pen names: please do check it out! This article, however, is a much more in-depth take on copyright law and types of copyright. Stay with me if you dare.

Disclaimer: This post does not contain official legal advice. We’re trying our best to supply you with correct information, but when in doubt, check it out – with a real copyright lawyer.

Introduction: What is Copyright?

There are different types of copyright depending on the type of artwork in question and local laws. Copyright in general is a legal right granting the creator of an original work exclusive rights to their intellectual property (IP). Rights can include but not limited to distribution and modification.

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Reedsy Book Editor: Write, edit, and convert a beautiful book for free

Following the success of our last article on ebook editors, we decided to create an Ebook formatting 101 with the most popular converters. If you are aiming for a valid epub, we usually direct people towards the professional Sigil. Although it is not difficult to use, many people feel disheartened when they are asked to edit some html or change something in the css. I don’t blame them. Creating beautiful epubs is a serious profession, especially if you are trying to convert picture-heavy or interactive books. Today, however, there are multiple great, accessible and easy-to-use options at the table.

You don’t need to learn how to code (or how to set the margin, for that matter), as Reedsy Book Editor can do this for you. The online author-marketplace (pairing writers and publishing professionals) has a free and easy to use ebook editor. It exports into a valid epub or print-ready pdf: there is nothing more I can dream of.

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Messenger Bot for Writers: How to Build it and Use it

For the last few months, I was working on a secret project: teaching and launching our customer service chatbot, Edith. We write a lot about how writers can utilise AI and Natural Language Processing to save time with their marketing, so we thought: let’s try it ourselves! This is why we built Edith, our new customer service superstar: she knows the FAQ better than any of us, has a great sense of humor (well, she has my sense of humor) and gets smarter by the day. This article is on how to build a messenger bot using Dialogflow (API.AI) and how can authorpreneurs use it in their marketing. You can also try the bot (we used the sad and low-functionality WordPress plugin), only under this article.

Messenger Bot for Writers: Common Usages

Who doesn’t like talking to a robot? I start every morning asking my Google Assistant for the weather and traffic updates; but I often find myself just casually engaging in conversations with Siri on the iPad. (And millions of youtube videos prove that I’m not alone.)

Messenger bots are a great way to engage potential readers and keep your existing readers entertained.

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The Importance of Book Reviews to Get Your Book Known

This is a guest post by BookRazor writer Sarah Robinson. Read her bio at the bottom of the page.

Congratulations! You’ve just published your book! Time to celebrate, right? Not yet. In fact, you have to sell as many copies of your book as you can after putting it out for the public to make a decent profit out of writing. But relying solely on your sales pitch by reaching out to people who are likely to buy and read your book, and convincing them that it’s got something other books in the same genre don’t have isn’t enough. Some readers want more concrete proof that your book is worth buying and you’re not just pulling their leg, which is why book reviews play an important role in getting your book known.

The Two Kinds of Book Reviews That Can Get Your Book Known

Two kinds of book reviews can either pull a buyer into the direction of your book or push them away from it.

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Faster Publishing Time on Amazon: How to do it?

In a world where we want everything ready as soon as possible, a lot can depend on average publishing time. But how long do you have to wait for your book’s publication? Are you better off if you make your book available for pre-order? Can you make any changes during the publishing process? This article is on average publishing time in the most popular stores like Amazon, Google Play and iTunes. Do you have to be afraid of increased demand and be aware of ‘peak’ publishing time?

We are also writing about the upcoming holiday season and on how different services are taking the increased demand.
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Ebook Publishing Services: How to Write and Publish an Ebook in 5 Simple Steps

Writing a novel is never the work of one person only. We all know how every book ever published by traditional publishing houses has months of work behind it by editors of different responsibilities, designers and illustrators. Best case scenario, it even has a dedicated team of marketers working on photoshoots and facebook campaigns. But what are the options self-publishers face when deciding to publish a book? Do you have to do everything by yourself, or are there dedicated ebook publishing services helping you along the way?

This article is covering the most popular ebook publishing services available today and poses the question whether you need them at all. In the first part of the article, we go through the steps of publishing a book from the first idea to selling it. In the second part, we’ll have a look at the most popular ebook publishing services and see how, where and if they can help you. As we have already covered some services, we are not aiming to give you a comprehensive list, but only a selection of our favourites. Have you ever used an ebook publishing service? Do you prefer working with publishing service providers, freelancers or do everything by yourself? Let us know at the comments or start a discussion in our facebook group.
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Import your books straight from Pronoun

This was not an easy week for indie publishers and self-publishers: Pronoun has announced to shut down, effective immediately.

We have built an importer to help migrating your books from Pronoun.

We are sorry to see an innovative competitor go: competition drives the industry to provide better service and keep improving. However, we understand that authors are frustrated and worried. These are bad news, especially before Christmas: losing your reviews and rankings sounds awful just before the most important sales period. There is a lot of confusion: should you remove your books from sale already? Do you need a copyright statement to confirm your rights?

pronoun import

PublishDrive is here to make migrating your books easier. Our development team was busy this week working on an import tool for former Pronoun authors. You upload your ZIP file and we do the switch, keeping your reviews.

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Authors Leaving Pronoun: How to Choose a Distributor

On November 6th, the Macmillan owned Pronoun announced that they are shutting down their services. Pronoun gave an author-focused service, inspiring competitors to innovate, and I believe their presence will be missed. This article is aiming to help former Pronoun authors (and others looking for a change) decide what to do in the information-overload that naturally follows.

Pronoun’s closing must have come as a shock for many: as an author you could think that a self-service portal backed by a big publisher is a safe place. You have probably already planned your Christmas promotions, prepared your new releases, and now you have to start everything all over again. But looking at the current chaos: this is no time to mourn. This is the time to share verified, true information.

To decide your next steps, you will have to consider the pitfalls of ebook distribution. Choosing a distributor is never easy. How to do your due diligence on your next partner?

If you are a writer or an author taking themselves seriously, do not rush this decision. You will have to think about the long-term consequences of finding your next innovative publishing partner. There are six questions you have to ask.

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