There was a time long, long ago in the days when books were books that the singular most important issues that needed careful attention before publishing were editing, proof reading and choosing the typography. Once that first proof copy hit your eyes, you knew all the work was over and your book was born and would stay perfect forever.
Then along came ebook publishing. Well you can now ditch typography because eBook devices make it a dead set waste of time. It just shown text. Bigger or smaller. Luckily however, the other two remain. Editing and proof reading. But if that was all there was to do, ebooks would be a breeze.
Quite honestly, ebook publishing is a pain in the butt. Once you have your manuscript ready for publishing, there is only pain and sorrow ahead. Let’s have a look at the steps needed to first of all publish an ebook on say Kindle, then we’ll move to the next step.
Ok, Word document ready to go. You could just load this up to Kindle publishing and be happy with really crappy layout and formatting. This is because Word documents are so full of rubbish code in the background that you will surely end up with irregular fonts or line spacing to say the least. So the Word document needs to be converted to html. Then start cleaning up all the crappy Word code from the html file and get ready for another conversion. Are you still with me?
While you could load up your raw html file, a better move is to convert it to mobi format using a program like Calibre. Then you can see the results of your hard work and preview your book on your Kindle or Kindle app. Now you can be 100% sure your book is formatted correctly.
The only problem now is that you have to proof read the damn book all over again because all this file changing is almost guaranteed to create errors. Are you still in love with ebooks?
Well at least you have now published a beautiful ebook on Kindle. So onto publishing with Smashwords. Problem here though. They only accept your book in Word format, but very kindly have some great tools like auto-vetter and meta-grinder that do all the work you just did before with Kindle all over again, so in fact you are back to square one. Great. More proof reading.
I won’t even mention publishing on Apple. Just to say that you’d better be good at another ebook format. ePub. Oh, and there are another ten or more eBook file formats if you’re feeling energetic.
Anyway, after all this work, your ebook is finally finished. Um, sorry but no. Kindle have introduced a new Kindle format so would like you to think about using something called Format8 and it uses CSS and all sorts of foreign sounding words. So guess what? You got it. Start publishing your ebooks all over again.
Just a thought here. Books stayed as books for hundreds of years. But ebooks? Get ready to go through the pain of republishing them on a regular basis.
Happy eternal proof reading!