E-books will look slightly different on different ereaders, just as websites look different in different browsers and on different monitors. We’re currently in the Wild West of e-books, like website browsers were 10 years ago.
As e-books mature, I expect ereaders to follow standards more closely. For this reason, I use standards-compliant code so your e-books will look good in future as well as current ereaders.
Building the e-book version fits into my regular book production workflow. Directly after completing the print version, I build the EPUB file using the same files as the print version, fine-tune the code inside the EPUB, validate it according to the latest EPUB standard, then export to MOBI format.
If you are releasing only an e-book version or your print-version book has already been produced elsewhere, I will build an EPUB from your word processor, InDesign, or PDF files.
Your e-book will have
- a cover (artwork must be provided by you or cover design added to the services requested)
- a table of contents
- chapters that start on new pages
- linked footnotes or endnotes
- links to your website or e-mail address
- other elements specific to your book
Your e-book will be validated with epubcheck and visually inspected on Kindle, Nook, and Apple hardware.
If your budget is tight; if your book has no footnotes, tables, or other highly formatted text; and if you don’t care whether your chapters start on a new page or that your copyright symbol looks like “?” or “(c)” instead of ©, you might prefer to use a service like Smashwords. Smashwords will accept your word processor file that has been formatted to their specifications, convert it to e-book format, and submit it to various online booksellers. They take a small percentage of sales as their reward. Although I don’t recommend Smashwords for serious publishers, it is a good solution for many authors.