Getting started with self-publishing

Due to rise in hand-held devices and e-book readers, self-publishing has become one of the fastest growing sector in the digital market. Self-publishing provides publishing power to authors by not having to wait for agents and publishers to give the green light. Though this article is focused towards self-publishing an e-book, you can also self-publish a printed copy by using services from companies such as CreateSpace, Lightning Source and Lulu.

The International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) develops, publishes and maintains open standards such as EPUB, for digital publications and promotes the world-wide adoption of these specifications. As quoted in their website, “the EPUB® specification is a distribution and interchange format standard for digital publications and documents. EPUB defines a means of representing, packaging and encoding structured and semantically enhanced Web content — including HTML5, CSS, SVG, images, and other resources — for distribution in a single-file format”. Although, EPUB 2 is still widely used by the industry, the latest major release of EPUB is the third version EPUB 3.

EPUB Software

Several EPUB software are out there, mostly for free, by which you can create, edit and read electronic books:

  • Calibre: Calibre is an open-source cross-platform (Linux, Windows and OS X) software with powerful features, among which some are library management, format conversion, and editing and viewing. The editing and viewing, however, cannot read books protected with DRM. You also cannot create an EPUB book from scratch using Calibre.
    Calibre converts from these input formats:
    CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, DJVU, DOCX, EPUB, FB2, HTML, HTMLZ, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ
    to these output formats:
    AZW3, EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, HTMLZ, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ
  • Sigil: Sigil is an open-source cross-platform (Linux, Windows and OS X) WYSIWYG e-book editor designed to edit books in ePub format. With Sigil, one gets complete control over creating and editing an EPUB file with Book View, Code View and Preview View. It is also integrated with table of contents generator, and EPUB validator which comes in very handy. Speaking of validator, you can also directly validate your EPUB book at validator.idpf.org
  • Marvin: Marvin is a fast, intelligent and highly customizable e-book software to read books in ePub format . Currently, it is only available for iOS platform.
  • EPUBReader: EPUBReader is an add-on designed to read books in ePub format from within the Firefox browser
  • Readium: Readium is a project of the IDPF and is an open source reference system and rendering engine for EPUB® publications. It is available in Chrome Store for use in Chrome browser
  • Writer2ePub: Writer2ePub is an OpenOffice extension to create ePub documents with OpenOffice Continue reading “Getting started with self-publishing”