Wednesday night I was at a complete loss as to what to write for my Thursday blog post. I jumped on Twitter to see what you guys were interested in and Gus kindly offered me this suggestion.
Although I’m not a trained book formatter, I do come across formatting often in my work as an author assistant. Formatting an ebook (or a print book) is one step most do not think of when they initially set out on the path to publishing. Getting an editor and a great cover design are big steps in publishing that I am very vocal about authors seeking before publishing their work, and book formatting is another key I don’t mention enough.
Why is book formatting so important?
Book formatting and layout prepares the text of your book, the meat of your work, for each shape it will take. If you plan on publishing in print and ebook, you will need different formats. If you plan on publishing on Amazon for Kindle and on Barnes & Noble for Nook, you will need different formats. Having the right format allows your work to be viewed easily by the reader. Just imagine if you opened up an ebook on your Kindle and in between each line of text was a strand of random letters! Would you keep reading the ebook? No. This is why it is key to get your book formatting and layout correct.
How do I know which formats I need for my book?
The first step in figuring out which formats you’ll need for you book is picking where you want to publish and if you want to produce print books, ebooks or both.
- If you are creating print books you will need a print layout.
- If you are creating an ebook you may need one or both of the following formats
- .Epub (Apple, B&N, Kobo, Smashwords)
- .Mobi or .KF8 (Amazon)
In my personal opinion authors should take advantage of all formats they can publish in. By having a print version, a .mobi (Kindle) version, an .epub (Nook) version, and a audiobook authors can reach a wider audience in both sales and marketing. For example if you only have your book in .mobi (Kindle) format you might miss out on connecting with a book blogger for a review on Amazon because the reviewer only accepts paper books.
Although I think authors should publish in as many ways as possible, budget and time may only allow for one format at a time. If that is the case, start with an Amazon ebook. Numerous studies show Amazon currently has the largest share of the ebook market. Once you have your .mobi ebook move on to print, .epub, and audiobook.
How can I get my book formatted properly?
Although authors can attempt to learn formatting there are many rules one must learn, legal issues with fonts one would have to resolve, and the greatest potential for error, so I highly suggest against this option. In this growing world of ebook marketing there are now two ways I would recommend authors get their books formatted.
- If you are tight for a budget and/or love to do as much as you can yourself, try a service like Book Design Templates. (Affiliate link notice: I work with this company and receive a commission on sales made through this link. However, I would not recommend this service without knowing it is excellent. I also have used this service before myself and loved it.) With Book Design Templates you can purchase a print template for as little as $37 or an ebook template for only $27. And if you want to knock out both formats you can save a bunch and buy a combo pack for only $47. These templates are designed by award-winning book designer, Joel Friedlander and meet all the standards your book needs to pass muster while also being incredible beautiful. The templates are easy to use if you know how to copy and paste and allow you to format your book quickly with no stress. Plus if you want to add in some bonus features or have the team convert your manuscript for you they offer all that on their services page.
- If you are looking for a custom design for your book, I’d recommend hiring an expert. Here are a few experts to get you started:
Once you select the method that works best for you, get your book formatted and onto shelves (both physical and digital!)
Well Gus, I hope this answered your question on which ebook format to pick for your book! (I think I may have expanded a bit on the original question 😉 ).
How about you? What formats is your book in? Did you hire someone to format your book? Did you format your book on your own?