Updated: 1/2/2021

The big problem most indie authors have is how to format their book for either print or ebook. Honestly, many methods range from free and irritating, to expensive and not worth it. When given a choice like this, it’s always best to learn what you can and farm out what you can’t to a professional.

Ebooks

Despite what you may have heard, ebooks are not easy to produce especially, if you have images or hyperlinks in them. Though you wouldn’t know that by the accounts of authors who’ve described the process as, “Just click publish and go!” I can’t tell you how wrong they are. For example, I ran into several issues uploading my Word document to Kobo and Barnes & Noble. For some inexplicable reason, the darn thing wouldn’t upload. So I had to convert my Word .doc to an .epub file. However, to do that, I had to get Scrivener, a type of software that converts Word documents into .epub, or .mobi. Scrivener cost me around $40 and I soon discovered why it’s so cheap. Apparently, Scrivener doesn’t read its own compiled (converted) files! To read the .epub or .mobi file you just created, you’ll have to get an extension on your web browser or download some free ereader software. See, I told you, it was a pain!

Resources:

If you must try to convert your files, here are a few resources to help you get started. Be warned, paid services generally have customer service, so if something goes awry, you can get help. The free sites, however, don’t always offer those options so read the conditions carefully. 

Downloadable Software that Helps Convert Word documents to eBooks

Ereader Extensions for Your Browser in Case You Want to Read Your Darn Book!

Formatting Print Books, Another Type Of Hell

I published my paperback on the now-defunct CreateSpace and regretted every second of it. First, I’m no expert in book design or layout. I didn’t know which size to choose, 6×9, or 8 ½ x 11? I had no idea which would look best. When you can’t make a simple decision like this, you know you’re in a lot of trouble! Foolishly, I listened to the advice of the self-publishing gurus and made the size of my book too large, which made my book appear too short, like a novelette.

To add insult to injury, after fixing my mistakes, the print books didn’t sell nearly as well as the ebooks. That wouldn’t have happened if I had done a little market research. 

Free Templates 

If this is out of your area of expertise then, you can go with a template to format your print book and do a copy and paste for free.

  • Book Baby has some very basic templates to help you with the layout of your print book also, for free.
  • Self-Publishing Inc. has templates that come in three book sizes.

Paying Someone to Format Your Print or Ebook Book

Paying a freelancer or professional designer is going to cost you anywhere from $35 to $375. Many services charge per page or even according to the genre, here are the most popular services:

  • Reedsy
  • BookBaby
  • Pressbooks
  • Fiverr

Disclaimer:

Always read the fine print before signing with any service and before putting any money down. Also, do your due diligence to find people who have actually used their services. Google the name of the company and the words, reviewscomplaints, and rip off to see if there are any dissatisfied customers. Remember an educated author is a happy author.