Keys to Formatting E-books for EPub and Various E-book Platforms Besides Kindle

I do hope that the author of books who also has the desire or urge to format their printed books into E-Books isn’t just considering formatting for Amazon Kindle. For one thing, Amazon’s payout looks to be a pittance compared to some of the other platforms, especially Lulu. Now I do intend to format for Kindle because everyone and his or her mother has a Kindle device, right? And I know it is a very good idea to format for Kindle–for one thing, a friend of mine who downloaded my Prodigal Band FREE PDF complained that it was hard for her to read the PDF on her Kindle! That is likely because the Kindle Create format is different from a PDF format, which is simply an export from Word or WordPerfect. So, to satisfy folks who only have a Kindle reader which uses MOBI formatting, I will just have to accept a lower payout. Oh well, such is Amazon and it’s money-craving owner, Jeff Bezos, who will never have enough money (and, BTW, he is NOT “the richest man in the world”–which he knows and that is likely why he craves more and more money…it’ll take him years to catch up to the richest man in the world, which is the head of the Rothschild Banking dynasty, not Bezos! Bezos is “only”” worth a trillion or so. Rothschild, who OWNES the Federal Reserve Band and other central banks, is likely half-way to quadrillionaire status….a quadrillion is a one followed by 15 zeros! or the number 10 to the 15th power!). When you have this kind of money, money becomes meaningless in a way.

In any case I have finished formatting Battle of the Band for Lulu’s EPub format which also allows e-book buyers to purchase the e-book from other “partners” such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook platform, Apples iBook, the various Smashwords outfits such as Toshiba Book Place, Kobo and others–and even Amazon! (Just not for Kindle Readers..one would have to download  another e-Reader such as Calibre E-book Reader.)

There are two very important formatting issues one must address when using the EPub formatting tool, the Guide which can be downloaded here. One is using the “Styles” tool when using Microsoft Word (best to use the newest version, but I used Word2013): the Title, Copyright, and Intro-Preface-Foreword-About the Author pages and other intro pages MUST use Heading 1, while Chapters must begin using Heading 2, and subsections using Heading 3. And a lower Heading must NOT be above a higher heading–and all Headings must begin on the very top line of the page (the regular printed words use Normal, with paragraph spacing). And speaking of paragraphs…

If your paragraphs are NOT formatted correctly, your book will be rejected…

This is because EPub format does NOT allow numbered pages and the way it is formatted is how the Table of Contents is created. If your Headings and paragraphs are not formatted correctly, the Table of Contents is garbled, and your book  will be rejected.

It is extremely important to follow exactly the Lulu EPub Guideline PDF book. Make sure you use either “In Line formatting” or “Block”…In Line for novels and Block for non-fiction, or whatever. Finally, format your paragraphs the same way for not just “normal” Style, but Headings 1, 2, and 3 as well, according to the Guide. Hint: Use indent only for Normal, and keep Headings 1, 2, and 3 at 0.0 indent.

Hints: One, click on the paragraph symbol at the very top of the document on the Home ribbon next to the W (Word Doc) and the refresh circle, and a “paragraph” window comes up. Follow the instructions for each Heading or Normal Style guideline. Two, once one’s indents and “First Line” under the “special” function are established, right click on all Headings 1, 2, and 3 as well as the Normal Style boxes and you will see in all cases the “Modify” function. In each case left-click on Modify and choose font (Times New Roman, Garamond or Ariel are the only fonts allowed; I use Times New Roman) and font size, with Heading 1 being the largest and Headings 2 and 3 being smaller, and Normal being the smallest (I use 36 for Heading 1, 24 for Heading 2, 14 for Heading 3, as well as italics, and 12 for Normal). After fonts are dealt with, then click on the Format button below at the left and do what you did for the original “paragraph” function (or just use this tool and forget the “paragraph” tool, it’ll work either way). But you must do this for EACH of your Styles Headings and Normal.

Finally, there are instructions for auto-typing and auto-formatting that the guide says must be done as well. Go to the main menu under the FILE TAB. Click on the Options tab, and then click on the Proofing, then click on Auto Correct Options, then follow the instructions in the Guide regarding “Auto-Format” and “Auto Format As You Type.”

To make sure you are formatting correctly, click on the little “paragraph” symbol in the “paragraph” box right next to where the “Normal” square is in Styles. You will then see the various “Paragraph” symbols up and down your page. Larger symbols must come before the smaller ones in order.

One last thing–do NOT put your cover art (or what Lulu calls “marketing image”) on the very first page of your book! The very first page MUST be the Title page! You will submit your cover art separately, and guidelines for cover art (number of pixels and size and colors) are a whole other set of instructions! If you don’t want to spend days and weeks creating your own cover, go to pexels.com and download your COPYRIGHT= and ROYALTY-FREE image which you can then modify with your book title, edition, and author name. And one last thing–your Title page MUST only include what’s on the cover, or your cover must only include what’s on the Title page….that is called “metadata”…

Project Alert–Will Post More About My Books Soon (In Case You’re Wondering)

Right now I am working on turning my printed books, Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band into e-books. That is, they need to be formatted for e-book purposes and sold through e-book outlets (several, in fact, not just Kindle or Nook.) That is, I have to re-type them! My printed books in 1995-6 and 1997-8 were formatted for ancient floppy discs on an ancient Macintosh LC475 computer using Mac OS 7.5! Both Mac computers (mother was an early PowerMac with Mac OS 8), both desktops, have had their hard drives removed and sold as scrap. Since I can no longer access these ancient computers (I now have a laptop with Windows 7, and no floppy drives anyway!), I am re-typing both books. Hopefully, Battle will be finished by the end of the year –and keep in mind, I have to format it according to specifications of the book seller, including a table of contents and a new cover.

Why? Because multiple people want me to do this, and because since I live way out of town it is not easy to go into town every time I have to send out one of my printed books. Our Post Office keeps weird hours, the price of gas is high in these rural areas, and my vehicle right now is not in good shape!

Here, and on my book blog, I will as soon as possible post articles about not only the characters and the story itself, but the factual events and historical narratives that these books are based on and drove me to write them. As I am re-typing Battle of the Band, I am realizing just how satirical it is! Since I’m not really into genres, the genre of “satire” might work for this one: genres–satire, horror, spiritual, adult.

But not “adult-adult” if you know what I mean. And I am taking out all the “f”-words if you know what I mean. The “s”-word is staying. My characters are my characters, right? Folks, I’ve never met a man who didn’t cuss–ever Christians cuss a lot!

Breaking News: Cost of Shipping Will Be the Same for All 50 US States

After sending copies of Battle of the Band and the Prophesied Band to various US states including Hawaii (but not Alaska, yet), I have discovered that basic rates for shipping to the various contiguous 48 states and Hawaii (by boat, that is–by plane it would be more expensive, and I do not want to add $3 or $4 more to the shipping cost…the packages they would be shipped in cost a little over a dollar)–that various shipping rates are basically the same, roughly $4.50 whether to Texas, Oregon, New York, or Hawaii.

Note: I was shocked to find how cheap it was to send a book to Hawaii! But it did take a while before the recipient got the book. Volcanoes, maybe?

Therefore, as one will see on the Bookstore page, all shipping costs for one single book will be $4.50 as long as it is being shipped within the US, and costs for shipping for both books will be $5.00 (since two books are being shipped in the same package).

Overseas costs will not change until I determine what the shipping cost to Canada or Europe would be. Keep in mind, both books are in the English language only.

If I Can Start Self-Publishing With Almost No Money in the Age Before Online Self-Publishing and Social Media, Almost ANY Writer Can Do It Today

I have been on the WordPress Writer/Author scene since mid-February, 2018, and have read dozens of posts by newbies and established writers-authors and bloggers who have advice on writing and self-publishing. Read the advice, but, folks, you have to figure this one out yourselves, even if you lose money in the process. I am what one would call a “tactile learner,” that is, I learn by doing.

For instance, I learned by foolishly trying to transfer a domain from BlueHost, who claimed to be ICANN registered but aren’t (or else why would they send me an e-mail stating I needed to go through whois@BlueHost.com, when Whois is part of ICANN? WHOIS LOOK-UP is indeed part of ICANN), that transferring a domain is a fool’s errand unless you already have done such a thing in the past and succeeded. So, all I could do was withdraw my complaint against BlueHost. BlueHost can throw my domain I paid for in the trash, or hand it over to some whatever for free. When the domain comes up for renewal I will not be renewing it.

Back to the original storyline.

In 1995, I completed my first book for print—there was no online e-book platform back then that I could access since we didn’t have internet until 1998 anyway. The novel is called Battle of the Band, and, in those days if you didn’t have one of the Big Publishers as well as a literary agent, you either spent thousands with a vanity publisher (a very bad idea…paying them thousands, while you STILL had to market the books yourself! And you also had to sell the books yourself!), or you spent your own money on setting up your own indy self-publishing company, getting your ISBNs, sending your book to the Library of Congress for registration (usually two copies), and paying to get the book printed. No problem—unless you unwisely got more copies printed than you knew you could sell on your own. In fact, I believe that was truly the only mistake I made: I got 1,000 copies (and over-copies besides) printed when I probably should have gotten only a few hundred.

By 1998, when I had completed the second novel in the trilogy, The Prophesied Band, I only ordered a hundred (plus over-copies), and because of that, actually made a small profit. Lesson learned. And, when we got the internet—dialup—I got with a company called BookZone, was interviewed by some BookZone woman, and sold some copies through them. But mostly, I sold copies on my own.

But here is the beauty of it: ALL copies of these two books were sold with NO ADVERTISING COSTS (at a very to cost to BookZone…they got minimal take from their sales, but that’s it)! The only advertising I did besides BookZone was showing up at buy-sell-trade events like the local Fourth-of-July festival or the Writer’s Conferences held by a local writer’s group called the Texas Mountain Trail Writers, or doing press releases in the local papers.

So I didn’t make much money with OmegaBooks back then. But I did get the experience of self-publishing through my own indy publishing company. And I did it when I was mothering and home schooling two young children. And other motherly and wife-ly chores. And not earning any money in the process other than some book sales.

Fast forward to today. After working five years as an office manager for the local Property Owners Association, I retired what with the kids in or out of college on their own. In 2016, I got serious and began on the completion of what has been posted, the FREE PDF novel, The Prodigal Band (which tells the whole story from beginning to end), here. Because I had been working and saving money for this effort, I now have the funds at my disposal (and am on Social Security and Medicare—most of the savings I have made will go toward medical expenses, which are outrageous in the USA…and dammit if I need to I’ll get it done in Mexico! I don’t live far from the border). But OmegaBooks will get what is needed.

As I’ve said in other posts I had been rejected by big publishers and literary agents, so I had no other recourse but to do it myself. But now? Writers and authors, you do not even need a big publisher and you certainly don’t need a literary agent unless you’re a “celebrity” or something who likely doesn’t even write the thing! And don’t literary agents take a big swipe out of your take? Let alone big publishers? Go back to read here my post on how Stephen King got screwed before he became a celebrated author.

If you have the time to write, you have the time to set up your own company, your own website, your own Amazon or whatever account, your own PDFs (using Word or WordPerfect—both can now be immediately exported to PDF), get your own ISBNs and Library of Congress registrations for $55 (which guarantees your copyright against Adobe Acrobat-owning pirates who download your book, then steal from it trying to ‘copyright’ what they have stolen!) and DMCA-documentation as well for a measly six bucks! Also, copyright anything you put online or any portions of your online books on your sites. Put your book on a Cloud format (such as Adobe Acrobat DC Cloud or Google Cloud or whatever)? Make sure you copyright it for real and submit to the Library of Congress.

If a 65-year-old non-tech-savvy person can do it, so can you.

If you are Christian? As the song What a Friend We Have in Jesus says, ‘Never be discouraged, take it to the Lord in prayer.’

Good News! This Site Is Succeeding!

Sorry about the lack of posts here and on my Omega Books blog. But it has been a very busy last couple of weeks. For one thing I have been ‘re-hired’ by the local POA board to help mentor the new POA office manager, about ten hours a week at 15 an hour.

Plus I am  mentoring a Christian writer who is working on his first fiction novel, and has a WordPress blog as well.

Finally, a couple who run a news website   that may be one of the few ‘non-click-bait’ alt-news sites out there, and consider me a friend of sorts, have posted FREE ADVERTISING for my two printed books and my FREE PDF e-book! Because of these free ads, I am now getting at least one or two and sometimes more DOWNLOADS of my free e-book as well as now book sales, daily! I recently sent a copy of Battle of the Band to Hawaii! The book buyer lives on the ‘Big Island’ where that volcano is, so prayers for her are in order. Keep safe my friend, and God be with you!

Hopefully soon I will be putting up a PayPal button link so one can buy my books using e-checks, which is a lot easier payment method than sending cash or check. Further, it will allow me to post more exact shipping charges. The book I sent to Hawaii was shipped a lot cheaper than I thought it would be shipped, so I’ll owe the buyer a refund of sorts. I would rather have gotten it right the first time!

Get the Word Out About Your Books? Start with Your Neighbors

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As I have said in previous posts about how I began selling my first self-published novel, Battle of the Band, in 1996 WITH NO MONEY SPENT ON ADVERTISING, I was able to sell between 200 and 300 books within the first two years of its publishing and printing SOLELY by selling at the following:

  1. Local writer conferences (I belong to Texas Mountain Trail Writers)
  2. Neighborhood stores on consignment
  3. BookZone, an early indy book publishing platform that did charge a small fee.
  4. Just talking about the books to neighbors
  5. Local events such as the Fourth of July parade and vendor fair, again paying a small fee to set up a booth.
  6. “Press releases” in local papers.

And this, folks, happened in far west Texas, the Big Bend area, in which the largest town, Alpine, has a population of about 5,000 people! The closest town to me is Fort Davis, population about 800. The POA I live in had a population at that time of about 200, now it is closer to 400 full-time residents. And, while there were folks in other towns such as Alpine that bought my books, the book store in Alpine refused to sell them on consignment. The book store in Fort Davis sold a couple; the local store in my POA sold a few. BookZone sold a few, but not enough to cause me to keep paying their fee, so I closed that account in 1999.

As to sales of Battle of the Band, at least 90 percent of sales came through three sources: the writer conferences, the local vendor events, and getting with neighbors. As for the second book, The Prophesied Band, with about 60 copies sold (I only got 100 printed…I learned my lesson about getting too many copies printed), most of those sales were again due to the conferences, vendor events and getting with neighbors.

Small indy publishers and self-published authors MUST be smart about spending money on advertising, on-line and off-line, even if you are just creating e-books for sale on Amazon or your own store. At some point you are going to want to get your books printed—don’t forget, there are still people out there who either don’t have internet or spend little time on the internet or don’t buy stuff online.

My suggestion (because for me it works)? Either print your books (if the books are fiction, I’d say no more than 250 books on your first printing) or create e-books, then sell them at local events or writer conferences you attend and among your local writer’s group AND create cards and flyers with some kind advertising with links to your e-books you sell yourself (or give away) or through Amazon or other platform, and do whatever you have to do to get the word out to your neighbors. If I can do this in a very rural remote area of only 400 people and still sell some books myself just by telling them about the books, then anyone can.

Note: This past Saturday our local POA had a “spring fling” vendor event—buy/sell/trade/swap/garage sale—with donations to the local volunteer fire dept., sponsored by the local non-denominational church. About 100 people showed up, and I sold ten books! I’d say my method works!

Finally! The Prodigal Band FREE PDF Download is Available!

Again, FINALLY! After working for a month thanks to BlueHost’s screw-up and my own pissy reaction to this screw up, and a week of setting up this site having almost no tech background at all (since html went by the wayside years ago), I, by, indeed, the Grace of God, have finally gotten my finalized The Prodigal Band FREE PDF registered at the Library of Congress yesterday (April 30, 2018) and the site set up yesterday afternoon and evening.

Further, I “cleaned up” the manuscript text some. Thanks to Allyson Kennedy of Authoring Arrowheads  I was motivated to get rid of SOME of the cussing through my characters (but not all of it…I want my characters I created as a teenager to be seen as real people, and don’t most folks cuss every now and then, including Christians?), and wanted to clean up some of the “sex scenes” because, after all, someone under the age of 21 might want to download the book–I really don’t want to be sued by their parents for ‘indecent exposure’! So that, instead of “so-and-so” did “such-and-such” to “so-and-so”  in a more graphic way, I changed it to “so-and-so” “made love” or “had sex” or “lit into” or some other much less graphic type language.

Why? “Edify” as the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:29. It’s in the Bible.

Generally I do not assign a “genre” to my books. Allyson Kennedy, for instance, writes Christian fiction. Now, anyone can read Christian fiction, but I assume mostly Christians read Christian fiction. I am Christian, but my “mission from God” (and I cam NOT stealing from the movie Blues Brothers here!) is to write to NON-Christians. Thus, I would call this e-book (and my two printed books Battle of the Band and The Prophesied Band) within the “spiritual” genre if there is such a thing. It was GOD, not me or my parents or ancestors, that gave me the talent and motivation to write these books.

Here is the link to the page from where one can download the FREE PDF (I could link directly to the e-book for download, but below the link is the entire Prologue to read, and then one can decide if they want the FREE e-book or not):

The Prodigal Band FREE PDF