Do not have your pages numbered, either in your manuscript or your table of contents. Instead, use Amazon Kindle’s nifty Building Your Book for Kindle Guide to setup a linked, bookmarked table of contents that allows your readers to go to the chapter of their choice with a single click. This guide is available to download for free on Amazon’s self-publishing website.
Do not use the Tab key to indent your paragraphs. Instead, use the Paragraph Tool in Microsoft Word to indent your paragraphs by 0.5’’
Do not use soft returns, only hard. Soft returns look funky when converted to e-book format.
Do your research! When self-publishing, you are not only author but also agent and publisher for you book, and the more you know, the more successful you will be! Here are the links to the sights I found most helpful during my conversion process:
Do not use an online convertor! While this option might seem easy, and it’s free, which is an added bonus for most self-published authors like me, your file won’t work on all of the big e-book devices like Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo E-Reader. Some online convertors might work on some, but none of them will work on all, and trust me, you want to be able to publish on all of them!
Do not pay to convert your book to an e-reader, either! Yes, companies like Press Books, Jutoh, and EasyEdit (for Kindle only, PC users only), will convert your book for a small, flat fee, why pay for a service you don’t really need? Big self-publishing companies, like Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Kobo E-reader, offer authors the option of having their print book converted during the publishing process, and it’s absolutely free! Keep in mind that you will need to preview your book before it’s published as well as make any necessary changes! Funny things can happen when you convert your print book to an e-book since you are essentially changing from one format to another—margins, page numbers, and spacing will be different, to name a few—, and you want to make sure that all this is correct and looks good before putting your book out there! But again, all the above mentioned self-publishing contents allow you to preview and edit your work as much as needed before it’s published.
Do set aside at least 3 days prior to publishing to upload your e-book, one day for each company you will be publishing your e-book through. Not only will you need to repeat the setup-upload-conversion-editing-previewing-publishing process through each company, but you will also have to fill out your personal information, i.e. tax filing, account creating, direct deposit sign up, etc. for each one as well in order to publish your book legally and receive your royalties.
Do have an editor, and listen to them! Not only is it important to have a professional eye as well as a personal one read your book before converting and publishing to help you catch any proofreading or formatting mistakes that will interfere with your manuscript’s conversion to an e-book. But take their advice as constructive criticism and apply it. Nine times out of ten (and in most cases ten out of ten), they’re always right.
Do have patience! Keep in mind that self-publishing is a lengthy, never ending process, and uploading your book properly is the most important part. So take your time, breathe deeply, and relax. Once this is done, you will be able to officially call yourself a published author, and I promise: it’s worth it!