Let’s face it: the social web is entirely changing the way in which authors write and distribute their work. Not too long ago, it was mandatory for writers to invest in expensive software to convert their work into the appropriate format for ebook publication. These programs were often clunky and difficult to learn. Luckily the social web has been evolving the writing and publishing process rather quickly. There are a number of online resources for authors to help them easily prepare their work for publication at a fraction of the cost.
Apple’s iBooks Author
Apple introduced iBooks Author into the market early in 2012. The app offers several templates for authors to choose from, and they’re formatted to be read directly off of the iPad. The app also allows authors to include media files (after they’re converted to a compatible format) such as audio and video components. One of the iBooks Author’s downsides is that iBooks created through the app can only be sold in Apple’s own iBookstore. This can limit the number of works sold by authors, who usually look for universal sales solutions.
MobiPocket eBook Creator
This app is free to use and helps users through the ebook creation process in a few easy clicks of the mouse. Some HTML is required to convert the book into ebook format but the app also creates an interactive table of contents, and customized cover page. Text can be added from a Word document or a PDF, and images may be included in either JPEG or PNG format. And because users are creating an actual book, this program allows insertion of meta-data properties like title, author, ISBN, publisher, category, description, etc. MobiPocket maintains an eBookbase server, where ebooks are stored and sold to readers, offering a great distribution solution for authors.
Foboko is a unique ebook creation app in that it combines the writing and publishing process with a social community. Members can use the Publishing Wizard entirely free; the Wizard offers tips and help throughout the writing and publishing process, and at any point the author may solicit feedback or help from the greater community. Ebooks are published on Foboko.com where readers may download them free. They’ve made publishing lucrative for their member authors by way of advertising throughout the ebooks. Authors connect their AdSense accounts to their books and when readers click on the ads, the writer makes money. The larger the writer’s network within the social community, the more earning potential they hold.
Vook is an online editing and publishing platform that allows users to easily upload and format content for ebooks. Content can include images audio and video for a polished and interactive finished product. The completed ebook can be sold on Apple’s iBook or Amazon, as well as other online bookstores. The downside of Vook for a lot of writers is that the platform is not free, making it more suitable to more seasoned writers.
Calligra Office Suite added the ebook creation app this summer, after nearly two years of development. While it’s still new, Calligra is planning to add more features as they evolve. The app is currently only able to produce Epub format but they plan to allow Kindle and wiki in the near future. It seems that as it stands, Calligra may not be the best option for aspiring writers, but stay tuned for great innovations coming soon. Having an ebook creator built into an office suite could be the ultimate solution.