DIY Ebook Conversion

If you have written a book that you would like available as an ebook, you have two basic choices:

  1. Hire someone to do the conversion.
  2. Do it yourself.

I have now tried both, so I thought I would share a little feedback here.

First, it is obviously less time consuming to hire someone else to do your conversion.  But – and this is an important point, you must still check out the converter’s work.  If there are errors, you must get these corrected.

Time out for definitions:  Kindle format is mobi, which is not the same ebook software as ePub, a very popular ebook software and the one used on Nook, for example.  When you hire a converter, you must be clear about which conversions you want.

Also, if the converter is uploading your ebook to sites such as Kindle, Nook, etc., you need to ensure that he/she is putting in the description, the tags, and other information that adds to your ebook’s upload.

Second, you can save money but not time by doing the converting yourself.

As a note to the following feedback, I have done the first option with the ebook converter – Chris O’Byrne of, whom I think very highly of, as well as with the company, which I found not to be as easy to work with as with Chris.

To prepare for doing the conversion myself, my business partner Yael K. Miller insisted I read Guido Henkel’s 9-part blog series rather than just following the Kindle Direct Publishing conversion instructions for a Word doc.

(At the moment I was only interested in the mobi format for Kindle because I wanted to experiment with the free Kindle Select program, for which an author must agree not to sell his/her ebook on any other site for 90 days.)

Here is “Publish an eBook in Ten Easy Steps”, which I found quite interesting.  Even if you are not going to follow the technical instructions in the later posts, the earlier posts about the structure of ebooks is quite worthwhile.  (The links to the other posts are at the end of this first post.)

Reading his posts convinced me that I should do the conversion “properly” (rather than only converting from a Word doc) in order to then have the converted manuscript ready to be used on other ebook sites when the 90-day Kindle Select program ends.

After following Guido’s instructions, and relying on my business partner Yael K. Miller to get me over the parts I could not understand, I got the fantasy book THE EDNALOR MYSTERIES by Shirley Windward converted to mobi, so that I could try out Kindle Select for her.

(Note:  If anyone attended the Windward School in Los Angeles, Shirley is the 93-year-old founder of that creative school.  Do consider buying her book in paperback or Kindle on Amazon.)

Then David Loeff sent me the link to his article “Publish an eBook in Ten Easy Steps”, which relies on using the ebook editor Sigil.  I have not yet tried his method although I did use the program Calibre, which David mentions in his article, as part of Guido Henkel’s instructions.

In conclusion, there are surely other people with instructions on how to DIY to convert a manuscript to an ebook.  Just be aware that not everyone’s instructions are as clear as novices such as myself need the instructions to be in order to do a good DIY conversion.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter and @ZimblerMiller on Pinterest) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the WBENC certified online marketing company  She is also the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks – see her new author Facebook Page at





Posted by on May 9, 2012. Filed under Books,Business,Phyllis Zimbler Miller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to DIY Ebook Conversion

  1. Becca Mills

    May 11, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    FYI, Smashwords’s founded Mark Coker has a terrific ebook formatting guide available for free at . Also, the Kindle Direct Publishing discussion forums are an invaluable place to ask for help with any problems you run into getting your book up on Amazon: . For instance, my book lost all paragraph indents when I uploaded it. The folks on the KDP formatting forum explained this was a glitch in the platform and told me how to get around it. Very helpful resource.

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  3. francis zeng

    May 18, 2012 at 10:42 pm


    I am Ebook reader manufacturer, how about uild your website in our device,then reader will download your books?


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