I talked a little bit before about choosing an e-book format and the benefits of PDF e-books. If you're a first-time e-book author, I'm going to absolutely suggest that you go the PDF route (as opposed to using e-book compilers to create an EXE file for your e-book).
Given that suggestion, here are the only two pieces of software you'll need to create your very first e-book:
- A word processing program
- PDF conversion software
In my case, I already have Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat (you'll need more than just their reader to create PDFs), so that's what I use.
If you don't have access to those two programs, there are free substitutes for each. To go the completely free route, you can use:
- OpenOffice - This is an open source office suite similar to Microsoft Office. It includes much more than just the word processor, but you'll want to use their Writer program for the basic writing and formatting of your e-book. If you use OpenOffice, the best thing is that you can skip the PDF converter altogether, because they have a PDF export option built right into Writer! It even carries your live links over to the .pdf version without any problem.
- PrimoPDF - If you already have a word processor, and don't want to download the whole OpenOffice suite just for PDF conversions for your e-book, why not go for the simplest solution possible? Forget about downloads and installations altogether, and use a free online file converter like PrimoPDF. It's easy, and incredibly fast... just enter your email address, upload your file, and you'll have your PDF in-hand likely in less time than it would take you to download a program (and if you can be online to download a program, you can be online to use this free tool, right?). Doing a test on my short e-book, I received the file in less than a minute! Oh, and unlike some other online file conversion sites, you will get clickable links from this one (I did at least). 🙂