22 April 2013

SELF PUBLISHING AN EBOOK - PART 1 - Formatting your manuscript

This is the first in a series of posts on self publishing an eBook.  Right from that rush of exhilaration when your manuscript is finally complete to it appearing on-line for sale as an eBook.  But how do you get from here to there?

The ingredients needed to self publish your eBook are:-
1 manuscript
1 catchy Blurb
1 fantastic cover
1 ISBN number (optional)

The method:-
Yes, it is like a recipe.  You have your ingredients ready, but what do you do with them to create your eBook?

  1. Firstly, your manuscript needs to be formatted for an eBook.
  2. Write a blurb that will draw readers in.
  3. If you are unable to do so yourself, you need to find someone to create a cover.
  4. Then there's the ISBN.  Do you want to buy your own?
  5. Decide where you are going to publish your eBook.
  6. And if you live outside the US, give some thought to whether you will apply for an ITIN number.
Let’s start with number 1.  Formatting your manuscript for an eBook.  You have two choices.  You can format the manuscript yourself or pay to have someone do it for you.

Formatting your manuscript yourself
If you decide to give it a try, I can recommend The Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker.  This is the guide I used to learn how to do my own formatting.  It’s FREE and can be downloaded from Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52.

It’s a step by step guide so you might want to give it a try before opting to have someone else do the formatting for you.  If for nothing else than you will learn a little more about the ins and outs of Word.  Just make an extra copy of your manuscript and go for it.

And yet another book that I have just come across and I'm sure will be helpful.  Building Your Book For Kindle.  Among other things, it gives information on formatting and is also FREE.  It can be downloaded from here Amazon.

Having someone else format your manuscript for you
If, however, you would sooner have it done for you, there are people out there only too willing to obliged.  I have listed a few links below and if you care to surf the web, you will find many more such sites to choose from. 

Please note, I have not used the following formatting services myself.

And before you go, don’t forget the “FRONT” and “BACK” matter
Whether you are formatting your manuscript yourself, or having someone do it for you, you must remember to include the all important Title Page, Copyright, ISBN (if you have bought your own) Licence Note and your Blurb to the front of your manuscript.

To the back, add About the Author and include a photo, followed by Other Books by this Author if you have any, and last but not least, add information on where your readers can contact you.  Twitter, Facebook, Blog etc.
Get All Your Self Publishing Information In One Pocket Guide


This self publishing pocket guide takes you through what you need to do in order to self publish your book.  From information on formatting your manuscript, deciding on a cover and book blurb to decisions on price, ISBN, and choice of categories, it also includes helpful web site links plus marketing and author platform ideas to enable you to start your self publishing journey with confidence.


  1. Sounds like great advice, Jill. I'll know where to come back to should I decide to publish an E-book. I did have a cyber friend ask if I knew how, I'll send him a link to this detailed post.

    1. Thanks, Anna. I'm planning further posts in the coming weeks on the subject of publishing an ebook.

  2. Hi Jill! I've already published an e-book, but this is still great advice for my next one. So much to learn! :-)
    I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

    1. Thank you Trinka. It's lovely to meet you and I'm glad this information will be useful. Best Wishes Jill