So first of all, what are these formats, why do you need to convert your files, and how do you do it? Usually, I would break this up into multiple videos, but usually, I find that when someone is asking how to convert the files they tend to also have these other questions that have yet to be answered. So I’m putting it all together in this one video.
What are the digital formats for eBooks?
There are several common formats that you will see in self-publishing and that the platforms will accept.
-Mobi is short for mobipocket – this is the format used for Amazon Kindle
-ePub is the digital book format for pretty much every other platform
-ePDF or an editable PDF is something I have seen more authors inquire about, especially if they are selling a workbook or journal. More people want the option to use those kinds of books on their laptops or tablets. But keep in mind that this format is NOT accepted on Amazon as of this recording. You would need to sell that on Etsy or Payhip.
Why do you need to convert to these formats?
-If you wrote your book in Microsoft Word or Google Docs or even a book writing software, it exists in a format that does not translate to eBook readers. Think about all the different devices where you can read an eBook. An iPad, a Samsung Tablet, your smart phone, a Nook, a Kindle. -All of these screens are different sizes, and as you may remember from the last time you read an eBook, you can change the font size. So the file needs to be responsive and adjust automatically to the size of the screen. Word documents don’t do that. So you need a file that can do this. Which is why you need to convert the file.
-When you upload your eBook to IngramSpark, GooglePlay, Streetlib, etc. you’ll need to have your ePub file already converted. I believe IngramSpark has a file creation system, but all I ever hear about it is how difficult it is to use so maybe save yourself the headache and convert it beforehand.
How do I convert to eBook Formats?
-Good news for those uploading to KDP, you can directly upload your MS Word document and KDP will convert to Mobi for you. Yay!
-Or you can use a self-publishing aggregator and upload your Word document to convert the file. Three options are Smashwords, IngramSpark, or Draft2Digital. I use Smashwords and I really appreciate their vetting system because they will notify me if they find any issues with the file conversion. When I upload to Smashwords I use my MS Word document, but it has to be the 97-03 version .doc NOT .docx
-There is another option to convert your file if you wrote your book in a drafting programs like Scrivener or Vellum. I have never used one of these programs, but I have worked with authors who have. I think they each had a little bit of a trial and error learning the system but they were able to get the files to work within a few tries.
-The last option would be to contact a professional print house. You might usually contact these companies to do an offset run, but many also offer eBook conversion services. Sheridan is one that I have worked with. For a 60,000 word book with several images the file conversion was between $140 and $200. You could also hire someone to do the conversion, but definitely check their references.
You can easily get an ePub version of your book (and print too!) that looks amazing from FormattedBooks.com. I am now referring all of my clients to work with them because of their amazing quality and price!
As you can see there is a lot that goes into determining the file types you will need and how you will get them converted.
What other questions do you have about eBook files and how to convert them? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.
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