Create Your Own E-Books (Part 2) - Creation Services

6/11/2012 5:42:27 PM

Creation Services

One way to ease the learning curve is to utilise an e-book creation service. Using such a service will let you concentrate on the writing and editing aspects of the book. After all, the story and writing quality are of paramount importance.

Description: Apple Ipad Ebook Reader

The demand for self-publishing has spawned a sizeable collection of online services, specifically aimed at simplifying the text to e-book transformation process. The choice includes new digital-only start-ups, many traditional paper-based book publishers and numerous writer communities.

They invariably look to entice the author with a simple, step-by-step creation process. Quite often there's a choice of e-book output formats. And many also offer to host the resulting e-books on their own e-commerce servers.

However, it's not all plain sailing. When signing up to a service, it's very important to carefully read the small print. Your rights and, in particular, sale revenue percentage will vary immensely from service to service. You may also discover e-book availability is restricted to certain online sites, sometimes with no possibility of it appearing on the bigger stores, such as Amazon or the Apple Store.

With such an extensive collection of services on offer, there are far too many to cover here. However, it's worth highlighting one of the most notable players in this marketplace.

LuLu is an old hand at the DIY book publication game and has generated considerable respect, many complementary reviews and a loyal following. The range of services on offer, flexible options and attractive deals for authors means LuLu is a useful benchmark when comparing competitive e-book publishing services. A big plus is the financial deal: 90% for the author and 10% for LuLu - pretty much the maximum you're likely to receive anywhere.

To get started, the site presents a straightforward six-step process. It leads you through uploading the book content, creating a cover, adding a book description and setting the sale price. At each step there's plenty of helpful information about the options available and the implications of certain choices, such as using a LuLu owned ISBN rather than your own to reduce costs. The last stage of the process provides details of its optional promotional services aimed at raising your sales figures.

Description: Amazon e-books

LuLu's e-book creation process is focused around handling textual content and images. Input formats include the various Microsoft Word document types plus the universal RTF format. And there's plenty of advice on offer, such as discouraging the use of tables, charts, scientific equations as many e-readers will not display them correctly.

Document styles are recognised and utilised by the conversion software. For example, heading styles are used to identify chapters or sections, and to build the table of contents. Therefore, it's best to use a word processor application (rather than a simple text editor), which can embed these style definitions as part of the saved document file. LuLu provides a very helpful formatting guide (see Resources) to walk you through the various style settings, with plenty of examples based on Microsoft Word 2007.

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