Last time we had a look at iBooks Author, Apple’s very own self publishing tool. As I mentioned, the main problem – if problem it is – concerns the fact that any ebook written using the iAuthor platform will only work on iOS devices, which primarily means the iPad (though I personally am happy enough reading a text only book on the iPhone, too). The iPad is a massive seller, of course – but what about all those Kindles out there?
Sales estimates (unlike Apple, Amazon doesn’t publish Kindle sales figures) are that sales rocketed last year, especially after the Kindle Fire was introduced. According to the charts at Business Intelligence, Kindle sales exceeded 20m units last year; this is roughly half iPad sales worldwide, but we should remember that a Kindle is primarily a reader, not a multi-purpose device like the iPad, and for the past year eBook sales have outstripped trad book sales . So if you don’t fancy a bite of the Apple – and of course Kindle formatted books can be read on the iPad as well! – you could opt to write your book for the Kindle / Kobo platforms, and put it up on Amazon, the mother of all online bookstores.
Writing an eBook for the Kindle means using the ePub format. Best to start with a plain text file (not Word, which you will have to convert) and then edit it (and images if you want) using appropriate software. A good (and free) ePub software editor is Sigil , which can be found at http://code.google.com/p/sigil/. You can add an image for your cover, contents and tagged contents respectively using Sigil’s semantics, headings and metadata tools (not as bewildering as it sounds, believe me).
When all is done, save it in Sigil’s ePub format. You’re now ready to go as far as the majority of eBook readers are concerned (iPad, Kobo, iPhone) but not quite ready for Kindle yet, as the device currently uses Mobipocket and you’ll need to convert it. This can be done for you using Kindle direct Publishing or you can convert and test it yourself (assuming you actually have a Kindle) using software such as Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/about).
Whew! By now – after much cursing and the odd sleepless night – you will have taken the raw text you started with and have an eBook ready to sell.
Next time – what to write and how to sell it.