Yesterday I posted about how to get started with formatting your book. It was mostly about how to set the basic template for a paperback book. If you have attempted this, maybe you played around with settings and managed to get your template perfectly fine-tuned for what you need. Now, we're going to discuss turning that paperback manuscript into an electronic book file. You will realize why some of the changes were made as we go through. Again, for the purposes of this tutorial, I use a conversion program called Jutoh. Why? It just happened to be one of the first ones I tried, and got really familiar with early on in my career, and you know the old saying, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Some people use Scrivner or Vellum (for Mac users). I use both PC and MAC and I'm still solidly an MS Word/Jutoh user when it comes to formatting. Again, this post isn't me telling which way to go. That is for you to decide what you are most comfortable with. This tutorial is based solely on what I do for my books.

One more thing, before we get started. If you do not plan on making paperback books, you can use Jutoh from start to finish for your ebook projects. I DO NOT recommend doing this as you will not have the benefit of spell & grammar check software to help you out. Just note that it CAN be done, if you want to.

Let's get started... Yesterday, we went through the steps to format and save a paperback manuscript word document. Today, we're going to take that word file and show you how to turn it into an ebook. For the purposes of this tutorial, I am using a novel that was previously saved (remember, my template was used to create this novella previously). I will be using a different title name than the actual book just so I don't confuse my files.

Step 1 - Open the Jutoh program on your MAC or PC (it works well on both with no issues). When you first open Jutoh a "tip box" (scene below) will pop up. You may want to take a while to go through all the tips and write some of them down for future reference, if you're new to the program. If you want to skip ahead for now, simply keep the "show on startup box" checked and click on close, and next to you open the program the tip box will appear again.

Step 2 - Create a New Project Since we're just starting out here, obviously we're going to be creating a new project. As you can see from the screenshot below, I already have several projects (my most recent) in the list to chose from if I need to go back to them quickly. There are three yellow arrows in the screenshot, indicating the multiple ways you can get your new project started. Take a look at that, take your pick, and let's get started.

Step 3 - Creating the new project

A new project box will pop up and you will have to fill in all the information present in order to move on. It's pretty self explanatory. The areas I have highlighted are what I would actually write in for a title instead of having "tutorial for..." added to the front. The title should be the same as your actual book title. Everything else, you can see how to fill out based on what I have (or what the notes say in the screenshot below).

Once you get it all filled out, click "NEXT".

Step 4 - Project Location

  • This step produced another box for you to fill out. It looks intimidating at first, but it's not. Here's the breakdown. Your project name - should probable contain your book title. Even if you only used your book title for your manuscript word doc name, it won't matter. These will all be a different type of file.

  • Your Project Location - this is simply telling Jutoh where you want to save the file. I recommend using the default setting. It creates a Jutoh Document folder in your "Documents" on your computer. That way you can find all of your Jutoh files in one place, easily enough. Now, when you're used to using it, some people like to save each book file to a folder they created for that specific book or series. You can absolutely send it there if you prefer.

  • Use Template - we're going to ignore this for now, as it isn't important to what I'm showing you in this tutorial.

  • Ebook Formats - You can leave all of these checked if you're unsure of which formats you will need. Generally speaking, I only need to choose epub and mobi. The mobi file format is used by Amazon for Kindle. The epub file format is used by most other places that sell ebooks. PDFs are great to have too for different purposes.

Once you've decided on what you need, go ahead and click that "next" button.

Step 5 - Layout Choice

This is the easiest thing box we'll deal with today! The choice has already been selected for you. You can play around with the other option at your leisure, but but the normal reflowable book option is the one we will choose for this tutorial. Then, click "next".

Step 6 - Import Options

Because we will be importing our word document to Jutoh, you want to make sure you the settings look as they do in the screenshot below. Then click "next".

Step 7 - Import Method

For the Import Method we are going to choose the second radio button (as highlighted below). We will be uploading an existing file containing all sections. You will click on browse and find the word document you saved your manuscript in. If you have multiple word files for your book (working manuscript, edits, final revision, etc). make sure you grab the correct, final, version! Then, you're going to click "next".

Step 8 - Single File Import

Once you clicked on "next" in the previous step, you will see the program working until the Single File Import box pops up. This is where you check to make sure all the book sections you need are showing. We are going to choose "split by style" and make sure the style used to split the book sections will be Heading 1.

Next, you're going to scroll through the "preview" section to make sure all of your book sections are there. This includes things like: Dedication, Acknowledgements, every single chapter of the book, About the Author, etc.

Then make sure those first two boxes are checked (as highlighted below). And now, click "next".

Step 9 - Cover Design

This may be where we differ. I produce my own covers using Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I have the files for my book covers ready prior to getting to this step. I HIGHLY encourage you to get PROFESSIONAL help with your covers. People can spot amateur covers a mile away, and very often avoid them. This isn't a dig at people who use templates to produce covers. Myself and some other authors did a lot of experimenting with cover design and important it was early on. After changing a friend's template cover to a more professional looking one, her books sold better by leaps and bounds. She went from only a handful of sales to being able to pay her bills. That is a difference that should not be ignored! If you have no graphic design experience or artistic/photo manipulation skills, then I suggest you seek out a cover designer. Yes, it's an upfront cost, but it is the ONE upfront cost that will bring you the most return on your money! I promise. Okay, so back to the tutorial - If you have your cover image already, you will choose the "use an existing file" option and browse for that file on your computer. If you are going to roll the dice with a template created cover, you will chose the other option to "create a new design". For the purposes of this tutorial, I am choosing to use an existing file and then I'm going to click the "finish" button.

Step 10 - Finishing the Setup

Once you click "finish" in the previous step, you will go through the "creating a project" step where the program is working to import all of your information from the word doc and cover image files. Once that is done, the "file converted box" will pop up to let you know that everything has been converted to the Jutoh file. Close that out, and you're ready to tidy up this project.

Step 11 - Tidying everything up.

As you can see from the image below, My title page also has the copyright info in it. I usually make a new section for that. You don't have to. I just think it looks better. I'm going to take you step-by-step through that process really quick, just so that you can see how to add a book section in case you need to.

  • The first thing I'm doing is taking everything from below the author name, highlighting it, and clicking on "CTRL X". Or Right clicking and choosing "Cut".

  • Make sure the "Title Page" is the one highlighted in your projects content. Then goto Documents at the top left of the screen. In the drop down menu choose "add book section". You will see a pop up asking for the title of new section. For this purpose it will be "copyright". Once done, you will see that just below the Page Title Section you now have a Copyright section that shows up in your projects contents.

  • Click on that. It will have a blank page. Now click "CTRL V" or right click on the blank space and then choose "paste". All of the copyright info that you cut from the title page will now appear in the new section you made for copyright info.

Now we can format that copyright info to look a little better. Granted, I don't attempt to make the copyright info look fancy. I simply center it. BUT... you might decide to go wild. So, here are the different ways you can go about that. There is a format option at top left of screen, near where you found "documents" earlier. There is also a Palette on your right-hand side of the screen. (if you don't see it, or any of the other extra windows displayed in my screenshots, they can be toggled on and off through by clicking on VIEW and clicking on each item you want displayed.) Formatting your fonts, styles, etc. through Jutoh will not be much different than how you would do it MS Word. Same basic concepts.

Don't forget to SAVE any changes you make to your document.

FINAL STEPS - Ebook File Conversion:

  • Go to your Organizer (under projects/content) and you will want to look at each section listed there. When you click on a section in the organizer, that specific section pops up in the big central window. As you can see from the highlights in the screenshot below, underneath that main window you will also see a list of all the book sections you have opened. Make sure every single section looks as it should. If it doesn't, use your palette or formatting to change what needs to be changed to make sure it looks exactly the way you want to see it in ebook format.

  • NOW, you have to go to the control panel, choose Epub under configuration (even if you aren't going to use an epub file. Why? Because Epub is going to allow you to see any errors when you compile and check your book. The first screenshot below shows where everything is. The steps you would use (assuming there are no errors) would be choose epub, click on "compile". Once you get the all clear for errors, you click on "Check". Once that is finished, you will click on "Launch". In order to launch an epub file, you must have an epub app available to launch it in. I keep iBooks on my MAC and PC laptop for this purpose. You can also use Kobo, Nook, or any other ereader app that runs epub files.

  • If you get an error (see screenshot below). Once you hit compile, you will see error messages pop up in your log at the bottom of your screen. You can not skip this step if there are errors. You must fix them. As you can see, I choose a version of my manuscript that had errors in it on purpose to show this. One of the most common errors at this stage is from someone using the "tab" button in their word document. The TAB key should not exist for you when compiling a manuscript. Anywhere you think you might need to tab, should be handled with FORMATTING (using the format option in WORD and/or here). NEVER USE THE TAB KEY. It will cause an error and cause your ebook to get rejected. Smashwords actually has this as one of their ebook guidelines as well. If you've never formatted before, I highly recommend starting out by reading their FREE Smashwords Style Guide. It is super helpful!

  • Jutoh doesn't leave you high and dry when you have an error. You can double click on each of those warnings, and you will see your screen change to this (see screenshot below) so that you know exactly where you have to fix something and why. (*I double-clicked on the first warning in order to get this screenshot).

Now, let's assume that you've fixed any errors, or you are perfect and didn't have any to begin with!

Next, you will hit "Compile" and when the program is done doing its thing, you will then click on launch, and your shiny fresh ebook will launch in the epub program of your choice so you can take a look at it, and see it how the readers will see it. IF everything looks great - you just made your epub file. The file will be located in that Jutoh Docs file in your Documents (or wherever you told Jutoh to download it's documents in the beginning). If you need to work on it some more because you don't like the font, or the image sizes need to be adjusted, or whatever you didn't like about it. You will fix everything to your liking and then go back through the compile/check/launch process. Once that process is done - you can change that configuration to Mobipocket (Amazon's Kindle file type). We'll rinse and repeat only this time, we will click on "compile" and then click on "launch" because we've already done the check for the other file type. You will need to have the Kindle Previewer App downloaded to your computer.

Your book will launch in the Kindle Previewer, you will check it out, and if you want to keep that version it will now be waiting for you in your Jutoh Files (it is saved there as soon as you click on compile). If you need to make changes, do so, and then rinse and repeat the compile/launch process.

Why would you need to change the file after you made an epub? If you are going to put clickable links to your other books in your ebook, you must follow the guidelines everywhere your book is uploaded. For instance, you can't have Amazon links in a book that you are selling on Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, etc.

So, we have now reached the end of this tutorial. You should now be able to produce a fully functional ebook, and as I'm sure you noticed when you launched your ebook to check through it, you also have a fully functional, clickable table of contents as well. That is why we initially set those headers up in the word doc the way we did, as well as changed the settings when starting your Jutoh file.

If you have any questions, please, feel free to ask in the comments. Have fun, play around, learn everything that your program can be, because I only touched on the very basics here. The basics will get you to your goal, but there is so much more to it.

Next time... I'll be going over how to make a simple book cover using Photoshop. If you don't have PS, you can get GIMP, which is a freeware program very similar to PS. See you then!

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