Once I had the complete manuscript file in OpenOffice format, I was ready to create the eBook. (Again, OpenOffice worked really well for this project.) The next step was to import the .odt file into Calibre, an open source electronic book management system.
Calibre is a great tool for converting a manuscript into the final stage—your completed book. Here are the steps:
1) Add book. First icon on the upper left of Calibre. Just select the file for your manuscript and Caliber loads it into the directory under that file name.
2) Edit metadata: Second icon from the left. This is where your book gets all that cool author and publishing info. And most important, this is where you can add a cover. However, when uploading to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, you also add your cover there as well.
3) Convert Books: Third icon from the left. This is where your book gets its “Look & Feel”. I generally use the icons “Look & Feel” and “Page Setup”. For the look and feel of the book, I prefer the selection “Remove spacing between paragraphs” and leave the indent size at the default 1.5 em. All other selections I have left at the default. For the page setup, I simply leave the “Input profile” at “Default Input Profile” and change the the output to the selected device I am targeting. I’ve only used .epub and .mobi formats, so I toggle between Nook Color and Kindle Fire for the output profile. I also leave the margins at 5.0 pt. Select OK to convert your book to the output format you chose.
4) Review Format: Now that your book as been converted, it’s time to review it and make sure it is properly formatted. I repeated this step several times in order to produce a product that met my expectations.
5) Proof and Correct: Don’t worry, you will have plenty of opportunity to create these files a few times over. Unless, of course, you’re a master at getting things right the first time. Now is the time to proof your nearly-finished book a few more times. Now that it is in it’s final format, simply upload your .epub or .mobi file to their respective devices and read through a few more times. Highlight those pesky errors and go back to your word processing document to correct the errors. (This is a main reason I tried to create a template that was as close to the finished format as possible. It made finding the fixes a lot easier.)
NOTE: When uploading a file to Barnes and Noble Pubit or Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, each publishing interface will accept native .epub and .mobi files. Using this process, I felt comfortable the finished product on each store looked like what I had created in Calibre.