I had no problems uploading my fiction book to Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I created a clean HTML file and followed all the prompts. Presto! Published. My non-fiction book was similarly easy to upload to Amazon. But Barnes & Noble stopped me. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make the bulleted lists display properly.
Being stubborn, I refused to pay someone else to do it for me, so I went in search of a good e-book formatting guide. After reading lots of reviews, I found How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else, by Paul Salvette.
This book is not for the faint of heart, or the technophobe. You will need to learn some basic XHTML, but it’s worth it. Like the title says, you’ll create files that will upload to any e-book site.
Paul starts with a primer on XHTML. The good news is you can skim most of that, because the next part of the book contains step-by-step instructions for everything. He includes screenshots, so it’s easy to follow along.
He discusses how to clean up formatting added by word processing programs. He even has some amazing “Find” and “Replace” options I’d never dreamed of to automate as much of the process as possible.
My first conversion took several hours, but subsequent ones took no more than an hour. I’d already wasted at least that much trying to correct the formatting on my own. Now I know I’ll never need to go through that hassle again. I’ll just go back to this book and follow his directions.
$2.99 plus a few hours spent learning the process can save you lots of money paying someone else to do it. And you’ll absolutely know it’s done right.
Update: Many thanks to Paolo Amoroso, who pointed out in a comment that How to Format your eBook “is no longer available at Amazon, probably because it is superseded by a later one by the same author, as he wrote in his blog:”
The eBook Design and Development Guide by Paul Salvette (BB eBooks, 2012, $6.99)
This book is a follow-up to How to Format Your eBook for Kindle, NOOK, Smashwords, and Everything Else, with much more details on HTML, CSS, and the EPUB standard