Sometimes it makes more sense for a publisher to learn how to create their own eBooks rather than outsource to someone like AuthorImprints. I had a call this week along these lines—I think the person was in front of their computer waiting for me to talk them through the clicks! It’s not something we do anymore but the good news is that there are several online training resources and of course books as well.
In this post I want to point you to a few of those resources and just as importantly make a few suggestions before you get started.
Evaluating training programs (and YouTube videos)
- The keyword to look for is EPUB. In other words, does the training material have sufficient detail about using InDesign to create EPUB files? (I explain files for Amazon below.)
- A related keyword is fixed page EPUB or fixed page layout. This type of eBook differs from a regular EPUB in that the output file is like a PDF file. That is, all the page elements—words and images—are aligned on the page just the way they were in the print book. Unlike reading a regular EPUB eBook the content does not arrange itself according to font size preference and screen size. This is often the best format for a children’s illustrated eBook. One more thing: fixed page eBooks are designed for specific devices, like Kindle Fire, the color Nook tablet and Apple iPad. You need separate files for each.
But you still have to format your eBook
InDesign isn’t going to alleviate the need to standardize the styles used in your manuscript. It is a somewhat tedious process but it’s probably easier to do it in Word than in InDesign. So take the time to make sure headings and paragraph styles follow a specific set of rules. By the way, many of the video training programs also have courses on Word and using style sheets.
There are two ways to prepare your eBook for sale in the Amazon Kindle store. One is to install the InDesign plugin. You can get information about that here.
The second solution is to produce the EPUB file using InDesign and then use Kindle Previewer to convert the file to mobi format. In both cases you will want to end up with a mobi file which you will upload or send to Amazon.
5 InDesign Training Programs
- Let’s talk about FREE first! Adobe has a number of free training videos. Here is a link to Part 1 of the Create an eBook with InDesign.
- Udemy is becoming a popular training destination and they have a number of programs. Their model is to charge a flat fee for the course and give you lifetime access so you can return at any time for a refresher or to take another module. The Adobe InDesign CS6 Tutorial – Beginners to Advanced Training costs $99.
- For those that prefer classroom training there is Ledet. Prices vary by location but the InDesign Bootcamp course ranges between $1695 and $2395. You can see the details here.
- KelbyTraining specializes in photography and design and prides itself on the professional stature of its instructors. They have pricing plans for monthly or annual access. You will want to look at their Creative and Web courses here. [9/2014: link no longer unavailable]
- Last but not least is Lynda.com, the pioneer in online training. They’ve been at this since 1995 and differentiate themselves by charging a low flat rate for access to every training program they offer (currently 2,180 courses). Because I’m a Lynda.com author I can offer 1-week free pass here (Disclosure: if you subscribe after the free first week I will receive a commission. And thanks in advance if you do!)
No time for training?
Give me a call or send an email. Because sometimes you need more than software to do the job right.
PS: I created this overview of Lynda.com training programs for eBook publishing.
A Guide to eBook Publishing Using Lynda.com Online Video Training