So You Want to Make an Ebook (Part 2) 2

By now you’ve turned all those chapters into HTML files. Time to get down to business.

Step Six

The HTML files you made have been converted to ZIP files. Double click them and the HTML file will appear. You’re going to import those files into Sigil, but first a quick word about this program. Sigil is free and very user friendly. It works on both Windows & Mac operating systems. There’s a simple tutorial that will take you about fifteen minutes to go through. If you’ve gotten this far in the ebook conversion process you cannot mess this up. Really. I believe in you!

Back to the files. In Sigil you’ll see an open folder icon in the upper left hand corner. Click it to get to the open file window. Find your first chapter and double click. Next to the open folder icon is a plus sign icon. Use this to add the next chapters to the book. If you haven’t done so by now, save your book.  If you just remembered, shame on you!

Step Seven

Now we get into managing how your ebook will look in the final version.

In the second row of icons, there’s one labeled “h1”. Position your cursor anywhere in your chapter title, then click h1. This makes your chapter title larger and bold. Rinse and repeat for all of your chapters.

Step Eight

Go up to the Tools menu and select “Add Cover”. A window opens and because this is the first book you’re creating it won’t have any images for you to select. No worries. In the upper right hand corner there’s a button called “Other Files”. Click it and you’ll be able to select your cover from any file on your hard drive.

Step Nine

Go back to the Tools menu and select “Add Metadata Editor”. You’re only going to fill out the first three fields. Enter your Title, Author and File-as information. File-as is usually written as LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME.

Step Ten

Now it’s time to create a table of contents. Back to the Tools menu again. Select “Table of Contents”. Select “Generate Table of Contents”. Here is where you can rename your chapters if you have special names for them. You can also arrange them in the correct order if they aren’t that way already.

Step Eleven

You’re in the home stretch. Only a few more steps. You’ve added the cover, formatted all the chapters, created a table of contents, etc. It’s time to reward all that hard work with some validation. At the end of the first row of icons is a green check mark. This is the “Validate Epub” icon. Sigil will check the document for trouble spots and give you the error messages at the bottom of the screen. All the prep work you did in GoogleDocs really pays off here. You shouldn’t have any troubleshooting to do. If Sigil does find errors, you can go to their website for troubleshooting tips.

Step Twelve

When your validation is error free, save one more time. If you only want an EPUB file, congratulations! You’ve done it. If you want MOBI or PDF files there’s one more step.

Step Thirteen

EPUB conversion time. Open Calibre. In the upper left hand corner there’s an icon called “Add Book”. Here you select your freshly made EPUB file. After adding your book it will appear in your library. Highlight it with your cursor, then click on the “Convert Books” icon. In the upper left corner it will say “Input Format” with a pull down menu next to it. Epub should already be selected. In the right corner it says “Output Format” with another pull down menu. Select the format you want. Click OK and wait while Calibre does the conversion. Rinse and repeat for all the file types you want.

At this point I went back into Sigil and created a three chapter sample copy. This was in order to send a test copy to friends and family to make sure it looked good on tablets, phones, desktops, etc. It’s also a sly way to get eyeballs on your book.

That’s it brave warriors. You’re done! You have a beautiful ebook that will function on nearly every device out there. Well, maybe not on a flip phone.

Go forth and publish!

About Akaria Gale

Akaria Gale lives in Brooklyn with her husband, children and a disgruntled cat. She is a native New Yorker, slow cooker enthusiast, hard cider advocate who occasionally finds time to write about the secret world right underneath our noses. One day she hopes to give winter the middle finger and become a beach bum.

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2 thoughts on “So You Want to Make an Ebook (Part 2)

  • Akaria

    I tried that the first time and ended up with a lot of errors at the validation point. Of course, I only had 23 chapters. With 136? Yeah, I would’ve learned how to fix those errors no matter what!

  • Kevin Wayne Williams

    Why not directly save HTML from Open Office, and then use the “Split” function in Sigil? Seems a lot simpler than cut-and-paste through Google Docs one chapter at at time.

    Of course, if you only have a few chapters, it’s not a big difference. My latest had 136 chapters, so I did my best to eliminate any per-chapter work.