Making Digital Books: Introduction

Making Digital Books: Add your ebook to the top of the stack!      (Image © Phspy |

If you’ve been following this website of mine at all this year, you’ve probably noticed a flurry of ebook activity here. From digital comics to digital novels and stories, I’ve been kinda busy.

With good reason, I might add. Ebook readers have become much less expensive and more user-friendly. Nowadays, readers find themselves happy to buy a $4 or $5 file to load onto their new ereader instead of shelling out $30 for a stack of paper bound up in a cover (both of which tell the same story).

It looks like ebooks are here to stay. So if you’re a writer, you should take advantage of this, and get your work into digital format. I’m hoping this series of blog posts will help you do just that.

A Little History, and Some Predictions

The big change in how folks are reading and buying books started in 2008 and 2009, and in a few years, I think the split between digital and print versions of novels, stories, and comics, will be equal.

Although I’ll probably be wrong. I have a hunch that the popularity and sales of ebooks will overtake print books, and we’ll never look back.

Print books will still survive, but I think they’ll be more of a specialty purchase, like a collectible almost, sort of like coffee table books are now. And some folks will always prefer print books. And that’s just fine with me. I know how to make ’em both ways.

So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about making digital books here on my website, just like I did with formatting and making digital comics earlier. If you’re a writer with some stories and novels under your belt, you’ll be interested in joining the digital revolution. Making digital books out of your novels and stories is a great way to reach new readers, and hopefully, make some extra money as well. Who doesn’t want that?

Also, I have a feeling this upcoming holiday season, with cheaper and cheaper ereaders available, will be huge for ebooks (man, I want a Kindle Fire! Or a Nook Color! Or I’d even “settle” for a tricked-out iPad!).

Table of Contents

Here’s what I plan on writing about in the coming weeks as part of the Making Digital Books series:

  1. Formatting Your Novel (or Story) for Smashwords
  2. Formatting Your Novel (or Story) for the Kindle
  3. Formatting Your Novel (or Story) for the Nook
  4. Formatting Your Novel for Print-on-Demand (PoD)
  5. Formatting Your Novel for the Google ebookstore
  6. Formatting Your Novel for DriveThruFiction
  7. Creating Effective Ebook Covers
  8. Writing Great Descriptions for Your Ebooks
  9. Devising a Distribution Strategy for Your Ebooks
  10. Marketing Your Ebook
  11. Adding the Fancy Stuff to Your Ebook

If there’s a digital-book topic you’d like to read more about, just let me know. I’m no expert, but I’m learning as fast as I can! I hope to post about two entries a week, so I’ll be done by Thanksgiving, unless I get more ideas or you suggest more topics for me.

I’m also writing these entries as fast as I can, before all this technology changes and I need to start all over. And before Christmas gets here and people have shiny new ereaders to fill with ebooks.

I’d like them to be able to find and buy my ebooks. And yours, too. So let’s get cracking.

If you have any tips or questions, feel free to share in the comments or via Facebook or Twitter! And thanks for reading.

10 thoughts on “Making Digital Books: Introduction

  1. Two topics I’d like to see addressed:

    ISBNs and how many you have to have for different editions, whether it’s better to buy your own or accept the “free” ones from Smashwords, Amazon, etc.

    Book covers for POD. Unlike e-books, they have to wrap around to the back, include a spine, and have space for the barcode/ISBN



    1. Thanks, Sarah! These are all excellent questions, and I’ll address some of the ISBN issues soon, and the PoD questions hopefully as early as next week. Thanks again for the feedback.


    2. Hey Sarah — here’s what I just added to the Smashwords how-to blog that ran yesterday:

      Go to the ISBN Manager for Smashwords and add a free ISBN to your book. This ISBN covers the digital version of this book (not print or audio versions). I use this ISBN for all versions of my ebooks. This ISBN lists the publisher as Smashwords in the Bowker database, so if it’s important to you to have the publisher listed as you or your publishing company, you can buy your own ISBN, but they’re not cheap. Personally, I don’t think ISBNs are all that important in the digital world.


      1. I am glad you state that it is NOT naeesscry to have an ISBN to publish an ebook, as so many sites trick you into believing it’s naeesscry thereby adding to the cost of the operation. Thanks.


    1. Thanks! I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’m always making cheat sheets for various processes, so I figured I’d share some of my better ones in this blog. I’m having a ball doing this (I’m not sure why — guess I’m just a bit odd…).


  2. I was impressed with the detailed instructions for POD and cover creation and writing blurbs. But I was more impressed when I read you are a scotch drinker. 🙂
    I write the HTML code and copy and paste the story text into the correct area of the HTML file. I also manually created the TOC, but after putting 5 stories up this week, I think I will let Calibre create the TOC. Easier.
    Thanks for the helpful posts.


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