Tips For Writing an eBook – What Program Should I Use?

When you’re just starting out writing eBooks, you are going to ask the occasional question that really doesn’t have an answer. Often this is because your question isn’t specific enough. Or it may be because different phases have different answers. Or it may just be because it doesn’t matter.

And yet, every new writer of eBooks asks the same questions.

A good example of this type of questions is, “What program should I use?”

First off, there are two basic sets of programs that you are going to need, plus one that you may want but I believe is counterproductive. The first is for the actual writing. And the answer is… it really doesn’t matter.

The standard, however, is Microsoft’s Word. It has a number of tools such as spelling checkers, grammar checkers and readability checkers plus a thesaurus and dictionary all built in. But mostly it has the support of most of the corporations in the world. But just about any good, full featured word processing package will do. Corel Wordperfect is an excellent choice. So is OpenOffice Writer which has the advantage of being free — and the disadvantage of not having as many built in tools.

The key is to save your file in the format that the next person in the line demands. Almost all major packages can save in each other’s format. So it doesn’t really matter. If you are writing eBooks for a client then your best bet is to pick the same package they use.

The next program you need to worry about is for formatting of your eBook. And there the answer depends on the method you are going to use for marketing your eBook.

If you are going to sell your eBook through Amazon or Apple or Sony or Barnes & Noble or any of the myriad other eBook retailers the answer is somewhat blurry. You are going to have to read their FAQ page. They will tell you what format you need to submit to them in. Sometimes this is the standard ePub format but not always. In any case, you need to read those pages. They will also tell you what the details behind the format are — including in some cases that the book needs to be unformatted!

If you are going to sell your eBook directly the main format is almost always PDF (portable document format). This is a format that was developed by Adobe Systems and is usually read using the free Adobe Reader. However, that isn’t the only format possible.

The first thing you should do is check to see if the Word processor you have chosen supports the desired format. PDF, HTML and XML are supported by most word processors for example.

While Adobe has a package for creating PDF files called Acrobat there are also a number of open source programs available. PDFCreator for example, is operated as if it were a printer. However, it outputs PDF files rather than paper. There are also a number of ePub file creation programs available both open source and proprietary. Many of these such as 2EPUB are web services. Even Lulu provides a converter.

The third program you might consider is a mind mapping tool. However, mind maps are best done by hand. So if you are going to use software you need to determine why first.

Source by Glen Ford

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