1. Epubbing

What is an epubber? Continuum, creative control

2. Your Book

Editing, elements, experience and friends

3. Pathways

Choosing a pathway, retailers, distributors, strategies

4. Formats

File formats, epubs, Linux and LibreOffice

5. Structure

Front, body, end matter for ebooks

6. Covers

Creating a cover, channel requirements

7. Details

ISBNs, payments, tax issues compared

8. Promotion

Promotion, pricing and possibilities

9. Resources

Epubbing Pathways table, antipodean issues, blogs, links

2. Creating Your Book

Atomic Sea
How do you create the finest book you possibly can? To gain readers – and readers who return to buy your next volume (and the next) – you must write it well.

That may seem too damned obvious for words, but a great deal goes into making any book well-written: spelling and grammar, character, plot and structure, your own reading experience, and the bottom line: some writing friends.


Nothing puts off a potential reader more than poor spelling or grammar, and that will be it: your book won't be read or reviewed or sold.

You may believe your sensational plot and gorgeous characters are all that matters, but no one will even care about them if they keep getting dragged out of the book's world by a clanging, glaring, ugly error.

So if you write in MS Word or LibreOffice, both have a spell check function: use it often. Grammar is harder, but if you're not certain of a structure, a simple online search for something like "should vs shall" will give you a range of opinions and references.

Check them out and see what fits your own work, especially if it's set in a different time or place with different modes of expression. That's also essential for colloquial speech: the slang of even five years ago is different from that of today.

It's well worth the money to pay for professional editors to check the manuscript, as they will see problems your eyes simply cannot see after working on it for a long time. Most of the channels on the Pathways page have contact details for freelance editors.


Today there are many brilliant resources available to help you with writing elements such as character, plot, style, structure: the guts of your book. Use community courses, books, articles and online resources till your head is spinning, then wait a while and do other things. Come back a few days later and see what's settled in your mind, then try again.

Spend a few minutes over your first cup of tea in the morning and just muse on your people, your world. Does the structure meander like a river or rise and fall like craggy mountains? It doesn't matter if that is how you want it. If not, rethink it. Where are the weak points? Where are the pivots? Then rewrite.

Prepare yourself to rewrite many times. If you think it's perfect after just two or three drafts, trust me, it's not.

So write and read and think some more. I can't help you with this: it's the essence of creation and you have to figure it out for yourself. It's hard work but when it flows it's complete and total pleasure too.

Reading Experience

Reading experience? Before you can write well you must read and read and read. Not just in your own favourite genres, but anything, everything. If someone's shed their heart's blood to create a written work, give them at least a few moments of your time to see what it might have to say to you.

Find out what the latest plot cliches and stock characters are and avoid them. But use that knowledge of cliches too: can you find some new words, some new situations, some new denouments? You won't be able to do so unless you know what's already been done (boringly) to death.

Find out what touches you as a reader: can you recreate that response in someone else? Identify it: what was your response? How did the author do it? It might have been a single poignant word, or an implacable buildup over pages. Re-read until you see the how the magic is done, and how you might do it yourself with a twist, another era, a different viewpoint.

Writing Friends

The best thing you can do for yourself as a writer is find a small group of writing friends, perhaps five people. Join a Meetup group or start your own; put an ad in a local coffee-shop, ask around.

Aim to get together every few weeks in a quiet place for two hours or so and email each other beforehand with a chapter or two of manuscript. Be prepared to put in a bit of time reading and gently critiquing other people's work; be prepared to accept different views on your own – they'll hurt at the time and make so much good sense later.

You writing group will help you see typos, gaping plot holes, stretches of logic, absurd cliches (he dropped his eyes to the floor). They'll understand and support your struggles, just as you will theirs.

You'll celebrate together when someone has a win – a story sold, a great review on Amazon – and you'll keep each other going through the bleak, lonely times.

At worst you'll meet people you might never have otherwise, and at best you'll make a group of real friends who understand you and who'll help you create the finest book you possibly can.

Where to Now?

Next step is understanding the routes to epubbing – all those sites clamouring to be the ones to help you: for free or a little or a lot of money, in format A or format B or format X, with a cover image of so many pixels, for specific vendors or devices, or for a bunch at a time, or for option after option. Go to 3. Pathways.