The Making of an eBook Part 7: Help When You Need It

We’re back. Sorry for the absence of this series for a couple of weeks. Basically, aside from being a blogger, I’m also on the board of the National Book Critics Circle, and we just had our annual awards ceremony, so that was keeping me busy.

But I have been thinking about how an eBook gets made, too, not least because I’m working on two related efforts for the fine folks at MediaBistro: a one-day intensive class on how to make and market an eBook, and a series of features.

After looking into the process over these months, I’ve concluded that most of us—I’m certainly in this group—who want to make an eBook are going to need somebody’s help to do it. Unless you’re an expert in XML and HTML, in which eBooks are coded, you ain’t going to be able to do it yourself. Which is fine—it seems to me it’s not that expensive to have it done for you. So I thought I’d devote today’s post to rounding up a few of the ways to get help formatting an eBook.

In the last post, I assigned a book for homework: Joshua Tallent’s Kindle Formatting. It’s a very useful guide that you can get for cheap on your Kindle or as a POD book, and it tells you all about how to format an eBook for publication on the Kindle, and how to get help doing it. So, if you don’t want to try it yourself, one place you might look for help is at the Website of Joshua Tallent’s company, eBook Architects. Tallent is a full service eBook solution guy with a lot of experience. Tallent is also one of the more well-known people doing this kind of work, so he might be busy.

So, you might also get in touch with Bill Jones, the designer who worked on my eBook for BOA Editions (which, by the way, is mostly done and should be released concurrently with the print edition). Jones is also very knowledgable and does this kind of work on a freelance basis.

Finally, if you wanna go a little cheaper, you can look into Smashwords. Many experienced Smashwords authors are also listed as freelancers for the site, and they’ll charge a reasonable hourly rate to set your eBook up for posting to Smashwords—meaning they’ll clear out all the bad code your work processor has put in there and make sure the eBook looks as good as it can before it goes up on Smashwords. Most likely, they can help direct you to the resources you’d need to post to other eBook stores as well.

Ok, I’ll be back with more on the making of an eBook next week. Happy weekend.