This is part 2 in a series where I give step-by-step instructions on how to convert your novel into multiple eBook formats. Here are the other parts to the series:
- Part 1 – Prep your MS Word Document for eBook Consumption
- Part 2 – Convert the MS Word Document to a PRC file
- Part 3 – Using Mobipocket eBook Creator
- Part 4 – Using Calibre
In the previous article, I gave an overview of formatting your eBook, then step-by-step instructions on how to convert your formatted MS Word document into a PRC file (used by the Kindle) with Mobipocket Creator.
As promised, I'll go over how to take that PRC file (or just about any unprotected/non-DRM file) into multiple eBook formats with the assistance of Calibre.
Formatting Your Book: Overview
- Formatted my MS Word document so it's ready to become an eBook and I usually create three versions: One for Amazon with Amazon hyperlinks; one for Smashwords with no hyperlinks (it will be rejected by their meat-grinder otherwise); and one to sell on my own website AND use for my personal marketing purposes.
- Created my eBook cover.
- Uploaded my formatted MS Word document and cover directly to KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and it's sitting in the queue waiting to be approved by Amazon.
- Uploaded my formatted MS Word document and cover directly to Smashwords and it's ready to be downloaded by readers, but probably still waiting to be approved for their Premium Catalogue so it can be distributed to the other vendors (i.e., B&N, iTunes, Sony Reader, Diesel, Kobo, etc.).
Although Smashwords does create the various eBook format and I do have the option of downloading their versions, I like to create my own files for my personal marketing efforts because I can put whatever links I want to inside my eBook and I don't have a vendor balking that I'm linking to a competitor. The Smashwords file versions (if you read item #1 above) doesn't have any buy links, although it might tell users how to get to my website (e.g., “Go to www.ArialBurnz.com” versus “Go to www.ArialBurnz.com“).
Step 2: Convert the MS Word Document to a PRC file
Getting Ready to Convert to PRC
To make this process easier on yourself, I recommend you do the following:
Create or designate a folder on your computer where you have your novel. This will also be the folder where you'll save your eBook files. Like most authors, I have a folder specifically for each of my novels, as I go through several revisions and I save many documents along the way. When I create my final file ready to publish to eBook, I will create a folder titled “eBooks”. Within that folder, I'll put the two following files (see Figure 1):
- My formatted MS Word Document – this is the final version I'm going to convert to an eBook
- My eBook cover – you should use the largest resolution you have. As Amazon says in their image guidelines: “For best quality, your image would be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest.” These are minimum requirements. My covers are a standard size of 1700 x 2550 (used by Lightning Source).
|Figure 1 (click to enlarge)|
- ISBN – If you've already published to Smashwords, you should have an ISBN assigned, so go ahead and grab that. From your Smashwords Dashboard, click on ISBN Manager in the left-hand navigation area, and scroll down until you see your book(s) listed in a table. Your ISBN should be there. (NOTE: The ISBN for your eBook will always be different for your print book, so do not use the ISBN from your Print On Demand book.)
- Back of the Book Blurb – Again, if you've already published to Smashwords and/or Amazon/KDP, you should have this written. You'll be using this in the “Description” field when we create your PRC.
- Reviews – If you've already farmed your book out to some reviewers and have the text from their reviews, you will have the opportunity to put it into the “Review” field.