Friday, January 16, 2015

Friday Fun Facts: I Figured Out Jutoh!

Okay, this subject line may not mean much to you, but Jutoh is a software program that allows writers to format their own e-books. Formatting is one of the many areas where I had NO experience or expertise when it came to indie publishing, and as many authors do, I sought out formatters and paid someone to format my books for me.

What does this mean? Well, e-books need to be formatted in a particular file depending on the retailer/publishing platform/e-reader device. Kindles use mobi files, Nooks use epub files, pdf files are useful for other e-readers, etc.

The advantage of using someone else to format is that you can use that time to write. You can also be assured that the formatting will be professionally done and that the files won't be rejected when you upload them for publishing.

The disadvantage is that you're always paying someone else to do your formatting, and if/when you want to update the book files (like putting new links in the back), you have to pay that person again. And again.

An author friend of mine recommended using Jutoh, claiming it was very user-friendly  (and reasonably priced at only $39). Well, I was nervous. I had reservations even after I tried it. But! Lo and behold, after a few hours of tinkering and reading the User's Manual, I was able to produce a formatted file all by myself! This is huge. This will save me money and give me more control over updating my books whenever I want to.

Mac users, apparently Vellum is a great program for you to use -- check it out here.

I haven't mastered Jutoh, not by a long shot. But I have hope that I will become more comfortable using it and will save a great deal of money in the long run by formatting my own books (a typical novella can cost anywhere from $30+, and a full-length novel, $50+ for formatting).

What about you? If you're an indie writer, do you outsource your formatting, or do it yourself? Do you have a particular program you recommend?

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