Creating Your Own eBooks (and a treat for reading!)

Alright, I had an entire tutorial on how to format your novel for .mobi file for Kindle ebooks. I spent hours taking screenshots and writing instructions on how to build your Table of Contents, what HTML tags to use in your source code, and I was going to offer a sample from Waiting for You as an example. Then, for whatever reason, the interactive Table of Contents wouldn’t work after I converted the .htm file to .mobi using Kindlegen. I fought and battled with my HTML coding, but it just wouldn’t cooperate. Le sigh. I just wanted to help out my fellow writers who are opting to travel the self-publishing road.

kindle, ebook, novel, book

Insteaaaadddd…I did some research and found two programs that are much, much easier to use than doing the formatting and writing the HTML coding yourself, rather than battling Kindlegen with DOS commands like I did. Trust me, it’s a handful. By no means am I a computer wiz like my sister and her husband who do graphic design/coding for a living, but I know enough basic HTML coding to get by.

ebook, kindle, nook, format, novel, bookHaving a functional Table of Contents is essential to a good ebook. A reader may want to skip ahead or go back to certain sections or chapters of your book without having to search the entire file.

If you take a peek at most ebooks, you’ll see more options than what I have here in my example. Some might have an active link for the book’s Dedication or Copyright pages, some might have a Foreword.

I’ve discovered two programs that are helpful in creating ebooks, specifically .epub and .mobi files. Kindle ebooks use the specific .mobi file extension, while most other e-readers use .epub files. I will, however, post the other post I was working on today on formatting your novel in Microsoft Word, as you’ll need an .htm file for these programs to convert into your desired file type.

The first program you’ll need, which is free to download, is Sigil (click here to go to their website). Sigil only has an output option for .epub files, which is not compatible with Kindle. Create a new file, and you can add your .htm document. Under Tools, you can edit your novel’s metadata settings (such as the title of the novel, author name, etc.). Also under Tools, you can generate your Table of Contents. This will work as long as you have your original Word document formatted correctly, with working hyperlinks to each chapter title within the document. Once you have everything set up in Sigil, you can save your ebook as an .epub file.

Your next program you’ll need to create a Kindle ebook is called Calibre, which is also a free download (click here to go to their website). Here, you can add your .epub file and convert it directly to .mobi. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! Calibre also has options to edit your ebook’s metadata settings and whatnot. If you’re graphic savvy with Photoshop, you can also add your own cover.

In the next few days I’ll repurpose my draft on creating an .htm file to use with these programs and get that posted!

And now, here’s a thank you for sticking with me!

First 5 chapters of Waiting for You (for Kindle)

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