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How to Publish an eBook

When you start doing the research on how to publish an eBook, the first thing you realize is that you need to convert your MS Word .doc into the proper eBook file format. Because, yes, most eReaders don't read MS Word docs.

Then, as you keep plodding along in your eBook conversion quest, you start to realize that there are more eBook file formats and eReader devices than flavors of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. And at least eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream is fun.

In the computer world, you've got Mac vs. PC, right? In the eBook world, you've got ePUB, PDF, DRM, Mobi, PRC, HTML, AZW, BBeB, TXT, RTF...

And if you're really looking to be freaked out and overwhelmed at the prospect of creating your own eBook, then all you have to do is look at this Wikipedia page.

Since we're less interested in giving you premature grey hair and more interested in helping your publish your eBook, we'll make this really simple for you:

Below you'll find our list of all the major online retailers for distributing your eBook. And before you jump right in to set-up accounts with each one and upload your work, you're going to need to convert your manuscript into TWO different eBook files:

1. First eReader file — ePUB:

Considered to be the "open industry format," ePUB is the most universal of all the eReader file formats and is generally accepted by all the major online eBook retailers, so it's going to be imperative that you spend time converting your manuscript into a good lookin' ePUB file.

The good news, whether you're a Mac or PC user, we've drawn up our official AQ Step-by-Step Guide on "How to Create an ePUB File from your MSWord .doc Manuscript".

2. Second eReader file — Kindle file format (also known as .AZW, or .PRC, or Mobi):

The good news? Amazon makes this really freakin' easy. They tell you that you can simply upload your MS Word .docx into their Kindle Direct Publishing program and they'll crunch out a Kindle file formatted eBook for you. And guess what? It actually works!

Now, here's the rub... if you want to insert fancy photos, drawings, table of contents with links to the appropriate chapters, and other bells and whistles, then that's when you'll need a few more robust tools and possibly even some HTML knowledge to assist you. But for most of you, we encourage you to stick with uploading either MS .docx file or a web-filtered .htm file (if you feel really ambitious).

For this reason, we also encourage you to review our Create a Kindle eBook guidelines in order to produce a fancier Kindle eBook (including photos, artwork, table of contents, proper meta tags, etc.)

Once you've created your two eReader files — ePUB and Kindle (or simply use your MS .docx file) — then you're ready to move on to learning more about the major online distribution sites for selling your ebooks directly to readers.

And after all that, if you're still on the fence about e-pubbing, we encourage you to check out the following groups on AQ Connect, offering the most current and intellectual discussions on the web about these too-hot-to-handle issues:

AQ Connect's "How to Publish an Ebook" Forums (a.k.a Digital Self-Publishing), in which writers are actively exploring ALL the expanded publishing and distribution options available in this digital age.

AQ Connect's "Business of eBooks & eReaders" group, which tracks the most current news regarding eReaders, eBooks, and the changes in the publishing industry as well as the consequences for aspiring writers.