Some of you may remember me claiming some time ago that pretty soon you would be able to create an ebook by pushing the save button on your word-processor. Little did I know that it was close to possible even as I was writing that.
Of course, it depends on what word-processor you use. It would probably be too much to hope that Microsoft would make creating an ebook possible from within Word any time soon. Apple does allow you to create EPUB documents from Pages but to use that you need a Mac. Scrivener makes it easy to create both Kindle files and EPUB files but in order to get your book edited, the chances are your going to have to send it to the editor in a more conventional format and then reimport it into Scrivener which is a lot of work.
There is one word processor that lets you create your own ebooks easily and well. It runs on Windows, OSX and Linux and its free. Actually its two word processors now since there has been a code fork. You can either use LibreOffice or OpenOffice.
Either of these fine word processors can open Word files without too much difficulty and then you are good to go. All you need to do is install the writer2epub extension and make sure your document is properly formatted– just follow the basic rules mentioned in my article on creating your own ebook— and you are off. You’ll also need to download and install kindlegen if you want to create mobi files for direct upload to Amazon. The extension will even create a table of contents for you.
The extension installs 3 new buttons on your OpenOffice Toolbar, you can use these buttons to add a cover and appropriate metadata to your ebooks. I’ve tried the extension with LibreOffice and it works just fine but on my Mac I had some difficulty adding a table of contents to the Mobi file for Kindle.
Normally I would write a tutorial complete with screenshots showing you how to do this but the kind people of the internet have already saved me the bother. You can find tutorials at Liz Castro’s blog or at iloveubuntu.net.
So there you have it– a method of creating an ebook from within a free word-processor. Of course, now all you need to do is write the book, get a cover and get it edited. What are you waiting for?