The ePublishing Learning Curve

tired_computerThis week, I’m feeling a bit as though I’ve been tossed around in a washing machine and hung out to dry. (The way my son hangs out stuff, too: hanging limply from one peg. No style.)

Why is this? Simply something we all run up against from time to time: the need to learn something new. I had quite a list of things on my plate.

  1. I needed to re-do covers for an existing fiction series. My previous cover designer decided to do something else with his life, and rather than have someone else try to duplicate the style of the covers, I decided to start from scratch. And this time (since I have Photoshop) I would do them myself. I Googled ‘Book Cover Templates for Photoshop’ and that eventually led me to a Udemy course that provided six basic templates and walked me through how to customise them. I liked it that the templates were provided as Photoshop Actions, which made the whole process easier. In case you’re interested, here’s the course: It took a few days of learning/tweaking, but I finally got the covers done.
  2. I wanted to upload my existing titles to Kobo. For a long while – about a year and a half – I have published only on Amazon Kindle, simply because once I completed the learning curve there, I was comfortable. However, I was consistently getting emails from people asking when I was going to publish in an ePub format. Part of my 2014 plan was to GET IT DONE. And now I have. This morning I uploaded my fiction titles; next it will be all titles in the Busy Writer series.Was it simple to upload to Kobo? Yes and no. I did run into a few glitches in the process, which I solved – but the main problem (why do I do this to myself?) was that I wanted to start compiling my eBooks using Scrivener, not Word. I’m using Scrivener most of the time now, and I had heard that it produced good ebooks – even the Windows version, which is the Mac version’s poor relation. So let’s move on to…
  3. I needed to learn how to compile eBooks using Scrivener (for both Kindle and Kobo). Back to my old friend Google: “How to compile ebooks with Scrivener for Windows”. I am so grateful that there are people in this world who battle their way through a process then share it with the rest of us. Mac users, you can sit back and smile smugly; Windows users, here is a great video that walks you through the process (thank you, Ryan!)
  4. Some tips for you: 
    • The video shown by Ryan shows a 3-part process involving 3 pieces of software: Scrivener, Sigil and Kindlegen. It sounds complicated but once you’ve plodded your way through it a few times it actually doesn’t take long at all.
    • Sigil has a button (large green tick) that checks your ePub for any problems. It delves into the code in the background for you. Very handy, since everything looks fine and dandy in the WYSIWG editor. After having my upload fail at Kobo, I downloaded two different ePub checking programs before I realised it was already available in Sigil. So now you know.
    • Your upload to Kobo is likely to fail if you have links to your Kindle books in the file. It doesn’t like links to other bookstores. (Thank you, the person that put this info in a post when I was searching for “Kobo upload failures”!) I prepared my ebook files for Kindle, linking to other books in the series, and hadn’t thought to take them out before uploading the same title to Kobo.

I seemed to have learned a lot more than this in the past few weeks (including how to use Photoshop to make my heroine’s eyes silver-grey in the cover photo) but right now I’m brain-dead. If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them within the next few days, or direct you to someone else who can.

Coffee time…


The ePublishing Learning Curve — 6 Comments

    • LOL, Pauline. Don’t worry about it for now. Focus on that last 13,000 words – that’s what is important! (And you can find pretty much anything you need explained on YouTube. :-))

  1. Hi Marg,
    I’m going down that track myself, so thank you for your timely advice. I’m just learning Scrivener and every bit of help is much valued.
    Kind Regards

  2. Hi Marge,

    I spent my holidays learning how to do Smashwords. So glad I did since it helped me learn how to use my Microsoft word better as well. I too have begun to use Scrivener and LOVE IT. Well worth the money nad I didn’t think the cost was too bad either. I love this website, I have learned so much keep up the great work, we all appreciate it.

    • Well done Julie. (Let me know if you want to do a guest post with tips on Smashwords!) Agree about Scrivener of course!
      And thanks for the kind words about the website. Yes, I’ll keep it up… 🙂

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