Writing Tools: Formatting your Book with Reedsy
When I first moved to Charleston nearly a decade ago, I didn’t have a plan. For someone who’s extremely A-type, the idea of winging it someplace new with no safety net was the most terrifying and exciting thing I had ever done in my twenty-two years. I saved enough money to float me for a few months without a job, packed my car with as much as I could, and hit the road with my friend.
My First Exposure to Self-Publishing
After getting our living situation sorted, I was on the hunt for a stable job. Of course, this was no easy feat. With the economy still recovering from the Great Recession, office jobs were hard to come by. After a couple of months of looking, a staffing agency placed me in a temp-to-perm position at Amazon’s subsidiary, CreateSpace (now part of Kindle Direct Publishing).
As an avid reader and writer, working at a publishing company was a dream. Granted, I worked in a call center for the self-pub print-on-demand (POD) side of the business. This meant I dealt with calls and emails from writers who were doing it all on their own. They didn’t purchase services for editing, formatting, covers, and the like. There were a lot of moving parts to figure out.
As you can imagine, some of these calls were tough. There were so many times when I wanted to do more for them, but I was limited. We had a lot of people who weren’t super savvy with computers but were desperate to get their books out there. For some, it was a hobby. For others, it was a dream. I even heard the heartbreaking stories of those who said it was the last thing they could share with the world before an illness took over. The reasons varied greatly, but one thing was consistent: the self-pub process was hard!
Although self-publishing is more common these days, I’ve seen the challenges these authors faced first-hand. To be honest, it shied me away from even considering publishing on my own. But a lot has changed in these last ten years. ePub is becoming more popular. There are new tools available to help authors do it themselves. And people are willing to share their wisdom so other writers can navigate the process more effectively.
One area I remember authors getting frustrated with was the book formatting process. Although CreateSpace offered a bunch of templates to make it easy for authors to format, people still ran into print issues. Over and over again these people would try, and their proof copies would still be wrong. Eventually, they either gave up or gave into hiring someone to format it for them.
New Tools to Format Books
Again, being on the receiving end of these calls and emails made me believe self-publishing would be hard. And I know it still is tough, but there are so many new things available these days to help. Case in point: book formatting software.
I reached out to a few writer friends recently to find out what they use, and I got a slew of information. Many had a cost, some options were complex, and some would only work with Macs. After doing a little digging myself, I came across Reedsy’s free book editor tool.
Not only is it cost-effective, but it’s pretty easy to use. The options are limited, so the learning curve isn’t too bad, especially for those who aren’t great with computers (or for those like me who have ZERO patience). One thing I also liked about it is that it’s cloud-based. That means you can pop on a browser whenever, wherever and get to work.
How Reedsy’s Book Editor Works
Create your account
Click on “My Books” on the left-hand menu
Add in a new book title and import your book files (I downloaded the Word doc version from my Google doc and imported)
Once it’s imported, click “Write”
From here, you can add/edit a bunch of areas, such as:
Front matter: Foreword, dedication, acknowledgment, table of contents and copyright (they have templates for this, which makes it easy – just plug and play)
Back matter: notes, about the author
Once you’ve got that all squared away, click on the “Export” option on the top right of the page
From the export page, you can do the following:
Set up your book cover
Select formatting options and fonts
Choose which file types you need (i.e,. ePub, Mobi, and options for POD)
Within a few minutes, your files are ready to download
Like I said. Easy. Within an hour, I created my account and formatted three of my stories. After I had all of my files, I used a tool called BookFunnel to set it up for eReaders. From what I can see, everything looks good on my Kindle!
Who can Benefit
Using this formatting tool could be great for all kinds of writers:
People self-publishing who need to cut costs
Business owners/consultants who want to offer a guide for their clients (you can use BookFunnel for that too if you aren’t looking to put it up for sale on Amazon, B&N, etc.)
People like me who have stories available and are looking for better reading options (read more here)
Those who are writing a book they only want available for a small audience (i.e., a memoir they only want to share with family members)
I’m so glad I discovered this tool. It’s changed my perspective on the self-publishing process, and I’m excited to see more things that support authors! Hopefully, this will help you too.
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