What can YOU say in six sentences?
My only experience is with CreateSpace, which I used to publish the 6S books. It's very easy to use and pretty cost effective. Best of all is automatic distribution on Amazon (wh0 owns the company). That's key - your book will come up in web searches, and will be recommended when potential customers search for similar titles or in a similar genre. Good luck!
Having put up print books with Lulu I'm now working my way through the necessary processes to render them e-publishable. I have used Blurb to print publish (but their software can be clunky) and did look at Create Space but found them over-specific, especially wrt pricing. Thus far Lulu has been a delight to work with, and their instructions for how to are copious and mostly intelligent (it's me that isn't!) Their print prices are certainly better than Blurb, and they offer packages which link with Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Thanks for the replies. I also downloaded the excellent little ebook "How To Publish An Ebook On A Budget" for a couple pounds. Both CreateSpace and Lulu are mentioned, as well as Smashwords, which she raves about.
The two formats that count are EPUB (an open standard used by Apple, Barnes and Noble in the US) and mobi / K8 used by Amazon.
My strategy is to create content in EPUB, and then use the Kindle Previewer tool to generate mobi / K8 content.
I do my writing in Sigil, which can be downloaded from Google. This generates EPUB, but also allows direct access to content mark-up and CSS.
I recommend you do NOT upload doc files for crunching by a web-based ebook file generator.
Just wanted to add further to my last (I was in a rush, and probably didn't explain my thoughts fully).
EPUB is a document standard that uses web content and formatingthrough XHTML and CSS, zipped up as a compressed ZIP file with a .epub file extension. There are a few other pieces thrown but I'll focus on these two items because they illustrate two problems with web-based ebook generators that are fed with .doc or .rtf (rich text format) files.
In the Nook, ebook flowable content is assigned virtual page numbers (since the content obviously has no physical page numbers). Nook does it by assigning one page (incrementing) number for each 100K of compressed content (in the epub file).
Let's look at a real book, on the Nook Simple Touch: Amanda Hocking's best-selling Hollowland. My Nook reports it has 1205 pages! It turns out the epub content files contain a huge amount of Microsoft Word proprietary mark-up, that contain no pertinent info regarding EPUB rendering, yet increase the content compressed xhtml file-sizes and therefore the calculated word count ! Amanda self published this book: my guess is that she submitted the Word manuscript to Barnes and Noble PubIt or another web-based engine for conversion to EPUB format. What is apparant is that EPUB xhtml content was not created ab initio.
The second issue concerns conversion of formatting and style in the original manuscript. I believe few writers generate pure 'content' in an ASCII text editor. But if one uses a word processor app, it's impossibly hard to resist using at least some styling features. The problem is that these may not convert (in the web-based doc to epub engine), or worse, they may convert to wildly inappropriate format.
An example might be a verse of poem in the text. In a traditional page one can get away with using tabs and indents to "inset" the verse. But this will likely convert to white space in conversion, leading to a mess when a reader reflows the text on, say, changing the reading font size. Native EPUB authoring allows content to be separated from style (using margin, padding etc, but only on the markup containing the poem).
I do recommend Sigil. I also recommend taking a minimalist approach to styling, so that content is styled consistently down to the eReader providing the narrowest implementation of the EPUB standard.
This should then provide reasonable conversion to mobi/K8.
Use the following apps to test your product:
1. Your market's eReaders for Windows / Mac i.e. Kindle for PC, Nook for PC etc.
2. The actual platform i.e. buy at least one eReader device.
3. The Kindle Previewer application.
Grief! I thought I was a techie. :)
This is invaluable. Thanks so much.
Now I just need to finish the actual book. :D