There’s no doubt: paper sales of books and magazines are declining as more and more people switch to reading content digitally. One thing the shift to digital publishing does is open it up to everyone – now anyone can publish their own books for no upfront costs using services like Lulu.
Lulu and most eBook readers utilise the EPUB format, and converting your finished work to EPUB can be tricky if you do it by hand. It’s all XHTML code and tricky formatting, but the good news is that you can quickly and easily produce an EPUB file with no coding skills thanks to Sigil. This open-source tool takes a WYSIWYG approach to putting together your finished manuscript, and comes with all the basic formatting tools you need.
Import your finished text into EPUB as plain text and you’re ready to go. Your work is divided up into separate XHTML-based chapters, and by styling up your text using headings you can generate a full table of contents with a single click, allowing your readers to jump around your work quickly and easily.
You can even insert images into the text, including your book’s own cover. Make sure it’s 590 pixels wide by 750 high, then place it at the beginning of your document and insert a chapter break immediately after it and before your text. Finish by expanding the Images section of the Book Browser pane, then right-click your cover image and choose Add Semantics > Cover Image.
Sigil also features a tool that will check your EPUB file for errors – click the green tick to verify it’s problem-free before distributing it.
Although it’s still in a relatively early phase of its life, Sigil packs all the features you need to create striking EPUB-format books that could set you on the way to becoming a published author.
Note this is the portable version of Sigil.