Nov 17

Ebooks from Markdown

The last ebook I published was six years ago and a lot about the way I think I would do it has changed. Primarily I think I would change from writing it in word to writing it in Markdown and then converting it to other formats as needed.

Why Write Ebook In Markdown

Well there are several reasons why I like the idea of it better.

  1. Plain text editor means write anywhere and still be able to format.
  2. Plain text editor means no dependance on propritary software.
  3. Plain text means easy for using git for version tracking. Big deal here.
  4. Markdown means splitting into multiple files easily – for example by chapter.
  5. Markdown means one master format that can be converted to all the others as needed.

Converting my Original Word Doc to Markdown

The original of my book was in doc (written in Microsoft Word). But I was able to convert it seemlessly to markdown with just the following three steps:

  1. $ sudo apt-get install pandoc
  2. If it was actually doc, then open the file in word or open office and “save as” docx.
  3. copy the docx file to whatever directory you want your book files to be located
  4. $ pandoc –extract-media . originalfile.docx -o
  5. NOTE: The “.” after –extract-media and before originalfile is the basepath you want the media extracted to.A “media” folder is automatically created at that location and the files are extracted into that media folder.


Some sources that seem useful. I will probably convert this to a references section as a fill the body of this article out over time, but for now you’ll have to get there yourself to get the info!

  2. (Markdown cheetsheat)
  4. (software from converting from Markedown to other formats)
Oct 29

10 ways for making money off of free eBooks

Ebooks are one of those things that can really divide people. But for a weird reason. Some people feel that because ebooks can be copied for free that it is somehow not as valuable to have an ebook as it is to have a hardcopy. That somehow people are being cheated when asked to pay the same prices for an ebook as they are are asked to pay for the hard copy version. In my opinion, this is just crazy talk. The value of a book is in the information / entertainment value that it provides… not its format.

So I was reading a question online the other day where someone wanted to know how they could make money off of their eBook. I’ve got atleast 8 thoughts on that so here goes (in no particular order).

1. You could embed affiliate links to other books within the ebook
2. You can offer additional content that supplements the eBook for a fee.
3. Require an email address/newsletter subscription before sending the free eBook, and then try and monetize through the future interactions.
4. Offer physical copies of the book for a fee if readers scoff at the idea of paying for the eBook.
5. Break the eBook up into smaller parts for an email newsletter series, and monetize in the newsletter
6 .Turn the ebook into a mutipage website and populate with Google Ads
7. Sell resale rights, PLR, etc.
8. Write additional eBooks and then use your free ebooks to advertise the pay books.

Basically it all boils down to providing a quality bit of content! If you’ve done that then the actual delivery method of that content can be tweaked until one or more models are found that enable a profit to be made. But in the end, the worst case, is that with the eBook you are able to set yourself up as an expert and to use it to drive more sales in later endeavors. Just make sure your work is quality!

Do you have experience with this type of endeavor? What do you think about these ideas?

Sep 13

Formatting and Final Steps in e-book Publishing

What a busy few weeks it’s been! I got what is pretty close to my final draft done on my ebook and I’ve been working on formatting and getting a book cover designed. Here’s a little about the process.

I’ve decided that step 1 will be to completely self publish. I’ll be publishing on Kindle and on Barnes And Noble because it is free to do so as long as you’re willing to do the work yourself. Since the majority of ebooks are sold through those two outlets I’m okay with temporarily missing out on the possible revenue at Apple / iTunes. I’ll also be publishing via my own website using as the delivery mechanism. I’ve only been working with e-junkie for a few months, but they make my life so much easier… and it won’t cost me a penny over what I’m already paying to add my book as a product along with my existing products AND that they will deliver to customers after purchase!

My reason for skipping the Apple route is because they require an ISBN and those aren’t cheap. I did find that it would be an option to go through SmashWords and that they will give you a free ISBN when you publish through them. To publish through SmashWords you have to create a “SmashWords Edition” of your ebook (I think you just change the title page to say “Smashwords Edition” and that’s it), so I’ll definitely be doing this after I’ve got my own versions out there. Smashwords also takes a 10% cut so by self publishing to Amazon and B&N I can keep those nickels and quarters for myself and just pay the 10% commission on the places I can’t sell without their help.

After I wrote the initial book I was trying to decide how to get the book converted to the necessary formats. I was going to hire someone via elance, and the bids weren’t too bad (about $100 USD), but since I didn’t know what was involved I was uncomfortable paying just about any cost. I decided instead to go through the Smashwords Style guide to format the manuscript for auto conversion. I can’t say enough about how helpful that guide was. I read it through all the way once and then did the conversion according to the “nuclear option” mentioned. It took me about 1 day to do my 100 or so pages book, and I’m pretty confident that it will go through whatever conversions tools are out there. In the end I think I made the right decision. I saved a little bit a money and learned a lot about what Microsoft Word can do. I didn’t have to let my manuscript out into the world, and I don’t have to worry about someone doing it wrong and then me having to figure out what they did. I recommend you do it yourself when the time comes if you have the time to do it.

Now, for the cover I hired someone via elance. I posted the job, got about 15 bids in 48 hours and then just had to select the best one. I can tell you that in my bid I asked for both the cover and various banner ad sizes. The woman I selected to do the job has been great to get started with and I should have the first concept my hands in the coming days. She priced her bid very reasonably, not too expensive and not so cheap as to make think her work was cheap. I’ll let you know how it turns out and if it turns out really well I’ll post a link to her profile on to help both you and her out. As it is today I’m debating just getting the book out there without a cover so it will be available for sale. Maybe I’ll create a quick cover with just basic large friendly letters. I’m antsy because it’s a basketball related book and we’re coming up on basketball season. I don’t want to lose sales waiting on a book cover. Thoughts?

I’ve also included a few links below to things I found useful when going through this process.

How to upload to Kindle Store (pdf)

A writeup about the parts of a book and what goes in each part – a pretty awesome website ( with lots of great content for writers

That’s it for this installment. I’ll be sure to post some more once my book is actually out there somewhere. For now, good luck in your own efforts!

Jul 09

Things to consider when writing (and immediately after writing) an ebook

What are the things to consider when writing (and immediately after writing) an ebook?

Well, you’ve got to price it. How do you determine a correct price though?

You’ve got to proof read. Actually you need someone else to do it! Who can do this for you?

You’ve got to market it. How do you get the conversions up?

You’ve got to make sure that when people want to buy it that your sales system works. What are some good systems for doing this?

All of these items are atleast somewhat discussed in the article linked here. They also have a “most read articles” section that looks like those alone might be worth the read. Enjoy.

Please share your ideas about any of these topics. I’m very interested to hear from those who have published successfully.

Jul 09

Ebook formatting suggestions from other site

When creating an ebook there are all kinds of questions to ask about how it should be formatted, what sections there ought to be, and more. I’m working on my first ebook which I’ve almost finished writing and I’m starting to wonder how it’s going to “look” when the time comes. I was originally just wondering if ebooks should be double spaced so I took to Google and asked “Should ebooks be double spaced?”. Genius, I know. The first link I got back was very informative and answered a whole lot more questions than just that so I figured I’d post the link so I can get to it later. So here’s the link and a few useful tidbits I got from it. Please please please visit the original page as it is more complete! These are just my notes in case the page ever disappears from the web:

In Word, format the paper using the following settings:

  • Page orientation should always be portrait. Go to Page Layout, Orientation, and choose Portrait.
  • Use double spacing. Go to Page Layout, Paragraph, and choose “double” for line spacing.
  • Use one-inch margins all the way around the manuscript. Go to Page Layout, Margins, and choose the “Normal” setting, which assigns one inch evenly around the page. Or, go to Page Layout, Margins, Custom Margins, and choose one inch for the Top, Bottom, Left, and Right settings. Leave the Gutter Setting at zero and Gutter Position at left.
  • Use Times New Roman font, 12.
  • Use a 0.5 space indent for paragraph formatting. When you arrive at a new paragraph, hit “tab” and the cursor will indent to the 0.5 mark. Use this instead of an extra line to indicate a new paragraph.


If you choose to use a graphic cover for your ebook, it will go on the very first page. This is a personal preference, however, as some authors choose to start their ebook with a typewritten title page instead. The cover image of the ebook might then be used as a graphical selling point on a website, and not used in the ebook itself.

If you are using a cover image, save the file to fit an 8.5 x 11 inch size. Any size inside of this dimension will work. Make sure the cover image is saved to 100 dpi or less to ensure that it does not increase the file size of your ebook. Save the cover image as a JPG or TIFF file.


Place a header at the top of each page of your manuscript except the first (title) page. Your book title, name, and page number should be at the top. Create a separate header for even and odd pages.

Format the even pages first. Go to Insert, then Header. Scroll down through the options until you see Contrast (Even Page). Select it.

This header style is built in with page numbers/text already formatted. Enter your first and last name (or pen name) in the text section. Hit the Escape button to return to your document.

Now, choose the header for the odd pages. Go to Insert, then Header, and scroll down to Contrast (Odd Page). Click on it.

As with the even header box, you’ll see that Word has already formatted the page numbers here. Go to the top text section where it says “Type the company name” and highlight it. Type in the title of your book or manuscript.

Where it says “Type the document title” (below where you now have your book title) you can type your subtitle, or highlight the area and hit “cut” to remove. Please note: if you highlight it and just hit delete, the text “Type the document title” will remain once you return to your document. When you are finished with your header, hit Escape (“Esc”) and you are back into your document.

Notice to the Reader

The next page should be a “notice to the reader.” This page tells the reader they are allowed to download your ebook file but not sell it or pass it along to anyone else. The Notice to the Reader page will have your title once again, this time typed in about 14 point font. The copyright information, which is “Copyright © by AUTHOR NAME” should be typed in 10 point font.

On the next line, type your title in all caps in about 10 point font.

The next lines contain your publishing company information. Type the name of your publishing company and website address. If you have a post office box number for your company, this information can also be included. If the address for your publishing company is your home address, then leave that information off.

Following the publishing company name and address, list the cover art information. This should say “Cover art by NAME.” Fill in the person’s name who created the cover art. If that person is you, use your name. If you do not have a cover image for your ebook, you can skip this.

Next should be the following paragraph:

By purchasing this ebook you are stating that you are fully aware that you will be sent the ebook or download link via email and that this purchase is NOT refundable. Legally, you can save one copy of the purchased ebook to disk for your own personal use. However, it is illegal to distribute your copy to those who did not pay for it. You may not distribute the ebook to other individuals by using email, floppy discs, zip files, burning them to CD/DVD, selling them on any type of auction website, making them available for free public viewing or download on any website, offering them to the general public offline in any way, or any other method currently known or yet to be invented. You may not print copies of your downloaded book and distribute those copies to other persons. Doing any of these things is a violation of international copyright law and would subject you to possible fines or imprisonment. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information or retrieval system, is forbidden without the prior written permission of both the publisher and copyright owner of this book.

On the next line, list the ISBN if you have one. Not all ebooks will. For example, you can list an ebook on with their Kindle  reader without an ISBN. However, if you plan on selling your ebook on your website or blog, it’s a good idea to have an ISBN.


The page following the Notice to the Reader generally lists an author’s other works or accomplishments. If you have written other books, then type out “Also by” and follow with the names of the books. If you have created a game, teaching system, or any other accomplishment related to the ebook, then list it briefly on this page. If you don’t have these items, just leave the page blank.

Table of Contents

The next page allows for an optional table of contents. Type the name of each chapter, followed by the page number. If your ebook is short and you don’t have a table of contents, you can leave this section blank.


Now you’re ready to start your text! This is the exciting part of writing. Craft your ebook text using double spacing.


At the end of your ebook, you may want to include resources to direct the reader to further information. These could be links to sites, books, or any other help information related to your ebook topic.

Including links is a great idea with an ebook, but the Internet changes quickly. It’s always a good idea to put a page on your website or blog that includes updates to the links you have in your ebook. Direct readers to your website for a list of current links. That way you only have to update one location (your website or blog) and you don’t need to re-issue copies of your ebook with corrected links.

Author Page

Following the resources, include an author page. This page should be brief, with a list of your other related accomplishments or writing works. Include a small photo of yourself as well. End the bio with your website, where readers can find out more about you.


If you have an ISBN, end your book with its listing. Put the ISBN on the final page, in the bottom right corner.

Ebook Creation

When you are finished with your entire ebook manuscript, save the file as a PDF. This is the standard format for ebooks that are sold off of personal websites or blogs, as well as distributors such as Lightning Source.

May 26

Writing, Creating, Publishing, and Selling Ebooks

I’m going to be trying to finish creating my first ebook and then offer it for sale over the next month or so and this page is my initial “notes” for how to go about it. When I come across some useful concept  I’ll either add a link here or add a page to the new Ebook Publishing HowTo category.

The first resource I have to recommend is a website called smashwords to which you basically upload your manuscript and it converts and then sends it to various publishing sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and more. The first link describes their service, but at the bottom of the page it has a link to several articles about how to be successful in publishing ebooks. They look like pretty good resources.

The second link is a to a page where you can download their free book about how to format your ebook.

I haven’t used the service so I’m only recommending them as a potential option and as a resource to learn from. If I decide to use them as my distributor then I’ll definitely post a review.