Book Design
Ebook Formatting – Part 3 – Convert your text to ePub

Ebook Formatting – Part 3 – Convert your text to ePub

If you have followed my previous post and have properly formatted your text, now it’s time to generate the ePub file.

It’s a task that requires only a few clicks, but the crucial part is choosing the right converter.

There are many options out there, free and paid, from Calibre to Vellum (for Mac) to InDesign, to many other free online resources, and you can choose the one that fits your needs best. But the end result it’s not always perfect and there is a lot of unnecessary code added in that could be avoided.

So I’ll tell you about my favorite tools and how to use them.

All you need is LibreOffice and a plug-in called Writer2ePub (which was made by an Italian guy like me yay :D).

To install the plug-in just download from the website and double-click, then follow the instructions.

Once you have everything set, we can proceed to the conversion.

Let’s see how it works, step by step:

1) Open your document with LibreOffice (it can read most text files, included .doc and .docx) and save it: just click File > Save as… and select the ODF Text Document (.odt) format, so that your file will be called something line Mybook.odt.

2) Double check your text to see if everything is properly formatted, make changes if needed and save again.

3) Click on the green E you’ll se in the top left of the LibreOffice menu (it should be there if you installed the plug-in correctly). A new pop-up window will appear. Here you just have to fill in the blanks with author name, book title, book language (this is very important! Always specify the language of your book, it will appear in the metadata and will help the ebook stores to put you in the right categories and will also help your reading device if you need to use a dictionary or text-to-speech).

You can also add info about the publisher, a book description, and some keywords, but this is not mandatory since you’ll add this kind of things every time you upload your ebook on a store and they will end up being overwritten.

4) You can also add your book cover right away. I noticed that sometimes the plug-in gives error messages when you add images to the book and if the image is too big, so try to upload a light-weight version of you book cover, it’s also a good thing because the ebook won’t be too many MBs, since some stores (i.e. Amazon) charge a fee based on file size. But don’t worry too much about this, we’ll get back to the book cover stuff in a later part.

5) You’ll find another tab with the Document Preferences where you can choose if you want to add an Index page (aka Table of Contents) to your file. You can do this now or you can do this later in Sigil. It all depends on how far you want to go with the editing process.

6) Click OK and your ePub will be ready in a few seconds. Again, if you get any kind of error message, don’t worry, the file will be generated anyway and it’s almost always OK, but we’ll check everything with Sigil in the next part.

If you need more info or want to try more advanced customization you can check the help page:

That’s it. Your ePub is now 99% done.

But there are still some things to take care of and we’ll see how to do it in the next parts, if you stick with me 🙂

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