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These free templates will help you prepare manuscripts for the Amazon Kindle Digital Text Platform.

Fiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

NonFiction Template for Amazon Digital Text Platform

These are designed to be used in the free cross-platform word processor Open Office, so you don’t have to buy yet another software to get started in ePublishing. Or in MS word, if you have it.

Download free Open Office word processing software

Paste your text into the template and make any formatting changes needed (as explained within the template text) then save the file as HTML, the format Amazon prefers, although they do accept other formats.

You will want to add your own front matter, such as copyright and reserved rights information.

When you are satisfied with your manuscript, save a copy in the regular Open Office format, then export it to the required HTML format by choosing file, export, xhtml … with automatic file name extension.

This will save it as an HTML file suitable for Amazon DTP. This is what you will upload to Amazon.

If you need to edit the file later, as often happens, you can edit your saved copy of the Open Office  document and again export it to HTML. Or, if you know how, you can edit the html directly.

These templates are just for your text manuscripts.

When you send a manuscript to Amazon, you will also need to send a cover image. You will have to dig through the Amazon help files to find the formatting and tips on how to make one.

You may also want to add embedded inline images. these templates have not been tested for that yet. It may work, or it may be easier to use an html program and add the images there, after you have exported your file to html.

Good luck—ePublishing is an exciting way to go.

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Writing and publishing a book of any kind is a long hard slog.

But it does not have to be lonely!

There is a new eBook that will help you write your own eBook, or do whatever you dream.

You can find friendly inspiration, direction, and hope for your endeavors. Check out the nice little eBook called The Lazy Man’s Guide to Success, by teacher, therapist, life coach, and prolific author Bill O’Hanlon.

Bill, who states that he is the mildly lazy and very successful man of the title, provides stories from a wide variety of fields, many about people he knows personally, who overcame sometimes huge obstacles on their way to achieving what they wanted. He talks about his own journey to success, many slips along the road, and how he recovered.

And he talks about how you can find your passion, focus your energy, and clarify your dreams and goals. He includes dozens of focused questions to help you move past obstacles and directly into your own powerful way of working.

O’Hanlon’s book is remarkably non-hucksterish, no pie in the sky, and none of that get-rich-quick stuff. Instead, it’s the friendly voice of someone with a wealth of experience who has helped a lot of people in a lot of tough times move closer to their goals and dreams.

Because formatting for ePublishing can be very finicky, here are a couple of templates for use in Microsoft Word or Open Office, a free cross-platform word processing software, to help you get started in formatting your document for Smashwords publishing.

Open the appropriate template, paste your text after the included text, and follow the formatting instructions in the template and in the Smashwords Style Guide. Make sure you read the latest version of the Style Guide for final requirements.

You generally should not pay anything up-front for ePublishing a story or book. There are enough good choices now where the ePublishing companies rely on percentage of sales to pay their way.

The one exception is if the company offers services such as formatting, designing covers, or editing, and you specifically hire them for this, in which case the costs should be clearly stated on their websites and in any contract.

Lulu offers these services, Amazon and Smashwords do not, but can refer you to outside sources.

If you have ever published a traditional book, you know that you get pennies, maybe a dime, from each dollar your readers pay for your book, because of the multitude of costs of paper book publishing.

With ePublishing, you get a much higher rate–but you have to do most of the work traditionally done by book publishers.

Check with the companies to see what their royalty/author payment rates are currently. These are changing–for example, Amazon will offer a new royalty rate  at the end of  June 2010.

So you will not have up-front costs unless you hire someone for tasks like editing or book cover creation.

To produce an eBook, you need to deal with several different aspects:

1. Your finished manuscript, edited and formatted so your chosen publisher can run it through the transforming process.

2. A book cover, book blurb, author photograph, biographical blurb, tags and keywords.

These first two are the parts you do, or you hire people to help you do.

3. A publisher, the company where the manuscript is transformed into an eBook that is eReader-friendly.

4. A distributor, so your finished book is sent to various outlets where readers can buy it.

Amazon Kindle, Lulu, and Smashwords combine the publishing and distribution process.

Put all of this together according to the specifications of the publisher, and you will have an eBook.

Another way to get a feel for eBooks is to download software eReaders for your computer, such as Sigl, Calibre or Mobi, and try them out by downloading a few books from their websites or from Smashwords.com.

There are links to the readers:

http://calibre-ebook.com/download

http://code.google.com/p/sigil/downloads/list

Mobi does not make a reader for Mac:

http://www.mobipocket.com/en/DownloadSoft/ProductDetailsReader.asp

Amazon’s Kindle also makes software readers:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_352814002_3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-6&pf_rd_r=0N2JAJMNZEF5J3EQGHSH&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_p=1261756042&pf_rd_i=1000426311

First, there are the dedicated eBook readers. No, this doesn’t mean people dedicated to eBooks, it means machines built for the purpose of displaying eBooks, such as Kindle, the Barnes and Noble reader, the Sony reader, and iPad. These are actual little book-shaped computers which you can load with stories. Of course, this is not all they do, especially the iPad, but for our purposes this is enough. Borrow one from a friend or try one in a store, and check out how they work.