Tips On How to Convert to an ePub Format

“How do I convert my book into an ePub format?”  This is a question that many self published writers ask. Here are some tips to help you accomplish that task. Before you begin converting your document, I must stress the need to prepare your word document carefully. The “Smashwords Style Guide” is free, and I noted that it does explain a lot about formatting your word document properly. You can download it here. By converting and validating the ePub file yourself, you’ll make sure that your work appears as you want it to appear, and that it’s error free.

Using Calibre to Covert Your File to an ePub Format

Once your document is formatted and saved as a “filtered” HTML file, it’s time to convert it to an ePub file using a software program called Calibre. You can download it for free here.

I’m going to skip over some steps about using Calibre. You can read about the basics in articles like this one: “How to Create an EPUB file — Mac or PC Users.” However, I’m going to give you the heads up on problems that I found, and some solutions that were more difficult to track down.

Problem: when I converted my book with Calibre, the cover image was distorted.
Solution: before the conversion process, go to Preferences > Conversion > Output Options > check the box next to “Preserve aspect ratio” and then click “Apply.”

Using Sigil to Check For Errors

Once you have a converted ePub file, open a free ePub editor called Sigil. You can download it here. When you open Sigil and before you open your ePub file in the program, click on the little icon that looks like a broom. It enables a function called “Cleaning With HTML Tidy.” (It’s also under “Quick Settings”) This function helps to further clean up your ePub file when you open it.

After you open the file in Sigil, click on the “green check mark.” This is a tool that examines your file for errors. If you have errors after you click on the check mark, they will appear at the bottom of the screen. Double clicking on each instance of error will bring up the section of code where the error occurs. Be very careful about changing the code if you are not used to working with it.

Here’s an example of an error message I got repeatedly:
attribute ‘clear’ is not declared for element ‘br’
That error message referred to a line of code that looked like this:
br class=”calibre3″ clear=”all” id=”calibre_pb_0″
Solution: I had to remove the part of the code in that line that read
I found the answer to the above error message in this article.

After you’ve corrected any errors, click on the ‘Validate ePub’ icon again just to make sure all is well. Finally, save your corrected file.

The last thing you can do is run your file through an online validator: If you don’t get any error messages, you can be pretty sure that you ePub file is ready to submit to Barnes and Noble’s Publit.

My personal journey was successful. Two of my books were uploaded as ePub files to Barnes and Noble’s Publit without a hitch. You can check out my handiwork. Here’s “In The Care Of Wolves.” And here’s the first book in my vampire series, “The Vampire Reclamation Project.”
Calibre – converts an html file to an ePub file.
Sigil – is an ePub file editor.
Online validater – checks your final ePub file for mistakes.

“Perfect Pages: Self Publishing with Microsoft Word” This is a wonderful little book that helps you prepare and format your word document for publication.

Barnes and Noble’s Pubit login page:

Publit’s Guidelines:

Ebook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, Nook, iBookstore, and iPad Formats:

Leave a Reply