This is a topic with varying opinions and I’m not going to cover them all. Instead I’ll just describe the tools I use to prepare my books for publication as print books or ebooks.
My favorite software for print books is Serif PagePlus. At present I’m using version X9 but I have used versions dating back to X4 with success and you can save a lot by purchasing one of the older versions from Amazon. When using PagePlus I create a file for all the front pages and then a separate file for each chapter. Then I create a book file for the entire book. Each chapter is then listed in the book file and a pdf can be completed from the book file.
I have used PagePlus since 2008 and it’s always delivered great pdf documents ready to upload to my printer which is Createspace. There are many other companies that work with self publishers but the service from Createspace has been consistently first rate. Createspace makes it easy to get your book published and distributed worldwide without any fees. You just pay for each book you order as proofs, for book signings, submission to the Library of Congress, etc. Once your book is published it automatically goes into Amazon and they create a fulfillment estore for you. It’s a good, solid system.
To format ebooks I used Microsoft Word because it’s what I have but I’m sure you can use other software programs. It’s easy to format a book even with photos or drawings and there are many instruction books and tutorials to help. I normally upload my ebooks to Kindle because it’s such a large market, however there are other options. One that I like a lot is Smashwords. You can upload your formatted book to them and they will distribute it to many other resellers including iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.
For more information about publishing your own books check out http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/ or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-217-4803
Another step in publishing a book is to determine if it will be an ebook or a print book. I believe the best decision is to do both. Today most self published authors publish ebooks because it seems simpler and much less costly. If you know the steps involved it’s not really simpler and the cost is only more after the book is published.
Some still believe that print books are dead, replaced by digital ebooks in various versions but that’s untrue. Print books are alive and well and experiencing somewhat of a resurgence. I always publish both ebooks and print versions of my books and those of other authors. Usually I create the manuscript for the ebook version because the Word document is perfect for either Kindle or Smashwords. Then I use the manuscript to copy and paste into my publishing software.
While there are many options for publishing software, and you can use Word for this purpose, I prefer to use Serif PagePlus. I started using version X4 and am now on X9 and it’s still my favorite.
For those interested in self publishing or as I call it, independent publishing, I’ve written two books and you can check them out at http://booksfor.publishingsimplified.com/. Contact me at email@example.com with any questions. Thanks.
As an independent publisher my first step when publishing a book for any other author is to conduct a consultation to learn about the book and the author. I especially want to know the author’s expectations for the book. If you are going to publish your book, the same step applies. It won’t be in the form of a consultation but you definitely want to set your expectations. Most of the time the desire may be to have a best selling book, but not always. Sometimes an author just wishes to share memories, skills, or experiences with family and friends and perhaps anyone else who may be interested.
The more you know about your book and your expectations the more likely you are to succeed with your book.
If your goal is just to share, then numbers may not be as important but you still need to identify your readers. If your goal is to sell as many books as possible, you must know your readers if you are to reach them with a message about your book so they can become buyers. This is a critical and time consuming process that is essential to the financial success of any book. There are many good books on the subject of book promotion, marketing, and sales and many methods. Most of them have merit but there are no guarantees. You may have to explore many possibilities before finding one that works for your book.