As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to maximize my revenue streams. While doing contract technical writing is working out pretty well for me, I’d like to start work on writing some content that earns money over time. To that end, like millions of dreamers, I’m starting to look at creating ebooks and self-publishing them. I’ve tried a bunch of programs for the Mac to create ebooks and these three below are the ones that I liked best.
As a forewarning, I’m not going to go too far into the various bookstore formats, other than to say that at the least you’ll need to start with a Microsoft Word or ePub file. While Amazon and the like will accept a Word file to publish, to ensure your book converts to the various proprietary formats, I recommend creating an ePub file as your base. EPub is the most common ebook file standard, and I think you’ll have fewer problems starting with that. Fortunately, the ebook creation apps I’m going to tell you about all export an ePub natively. While there are Automator scripts to convert text to ePub, by using these packages you’re pretty much guaranteed to keep your document formatting.
One quick note up front: I’m not going to include Apple’s own iBooks Author tool. That’s because my goals for this piece were simple: talk about ebook-making programs that can be used in multiple bookstores and create files that aren’t just static images of a page. iBooks Author creates static pages that can only be used in the iBookstore. That’s great for getting an interactive textbook into the iBookstore, but not so good for other kinds of books.