I thought it would be an easy first step.
When I decided I wanted to publish a eBook, one of the first questions that came to mind was, 'What format will I need to produce it in?' I'd noticed that most of the eBooks and magazines I'd viewed on my PC were in PDF, but was that the best option? Would it enable me to make the most aesthetically pleasing books? Would I be able to read those files on the Kindle I'm buying soon, or my boyfriend's fancy phone?
What other options did I have? Would I soon wish I'd never asked? The answer to the last question is yes.
The trouble is that every company who has brought out an eReader has created their own proprietary format. For instance, .lit files can only be read on a Microsoft Reader. New formats have been developed, claiming to have more features and more interactivity. At the other end of the scale, it is possible to publish a book as a .txt file.
Take a look at that and try not to go running straight back to the photocopier.
Luckily, some wonderful person has taken the time to compile this table, which shows you which devices will open which files.
Considering the effort I'm about to go to in writing and presenting my poems, making sure people can actually read them has to be my number one priority. It has to be the PDF.
Why bother boring you with all that, then? I just think it gives an insight into why eBooks have failed to take off until very recently: too much confusion for publishers and readers.
The good news then: PDF files are relatively easy to create. Even as a technological idiot, I'd feel fairly comfortable in my ability to create a presentable looking PDF. I mean, a PDF is essentially a fixed representation of anything that you can create in another application, like Word. So all I need to do, to create a very basic eBook, is take a Word document I already have, and convert it into a PDF.
Adobe allows you to do this online, here: https://createpdf.acrobat.com/welcome.html
Unfortunately, they would like to charge you £72 a year for their services, which seems a little exorbitant. You will be glad to discover there are many ways around this; in fact if you have Office 2007, you may already have the ability to print to PDF. I don't, so I searched through the various suggestions the web had to offer, and this was what I found easiest...
1. Go into Google Documents, and upload the file you want to turn into a PDF. Open it by clicking on it.
2. Click on File, and choose Print from the drop down menu.
3. Google will automatically turn the file into a PDF in order to print it. It will give you the option to open or save this file, so save it somewhere on your hard drive.
4. Post your PDF somewhere on the internet: you are now an ePublisher. Well done.
Of course, the file you've just created probably doesn't look very appealing to prospective readers. That's what I'll be talking about in Step 2. Before that, I think I need to calm down by writing a few poems with just a pen and a notebook.