PROJECT: Convert a marked-up manuscript to an ebook

PROJECT: Convert a marked-up manuscript to an ebook
In this project, we’ll take the marked-up document you prepared in the previous module and convert it into an ebook in the EPUB format.
Pages from our project ebook

Pages from our finished ebook. Click to enlarge.

For this project, we will use the free online conversion service provided by

  • Part 1. We’ll convert the manuscript to an ebook.
  • Part 2. We’ll download and review our ebook.

As you’ll see, most of the work was done in the preparation phase. If you’ve done a good job of marking up your manuscript, the actual conversion process should be quick and straight-forward.


We’ve created tutorials to take you through each step. You’ll need about an hour.

Some preparatory items:

  • Make sure you’ve completed the earlier project: Prepare a manuscript for conversion to an ebook. (We’ve provided a sample document you can use in this project, in case you haven’t finished the earlier assignment.)
  • We suggest that you keep these instructions open to refer to, or use the links at the bottom of this page to print them, create a PDF of them, or send them to your Kindle or Kindle app.
  • The package of example files from the earlier mark-up project includes a dummy cover image and a partly marked-up manuscript file. You can use these files to produce an ebook if you haven’t completed the earlier project. You can use your own files if you prefer.


01_orange_rndPart 1. Convert your marked-up manuscript to an EPUB ebook


ePub logoWe will create a free account with an online conversion service and use this to convert our marked-up manuscript to an ebook in the EPUB format.


Here’s an outline of what you’ll be doing. The detailed steps are in the accordion sections (click to open them).

  1. Go to the and sign up for a free account.
  2. Upload your marked-up manuscript to the Lulu ebook converter.
  3. Produce a simple cover and create the ebook.
  4. That’s it. You’ll have an ebook ready to download and read.


  • STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS: This will take you through ebook conversion process.
INSTRUCTIONS: Converting a manuscript to an EPUB ebook
  1. Go to (this link will open in a new browser tab or window)
  2. Go to the My Lulu tab
  3. Sign up for a free account or Login to an existing account
  4. Select eBook under Start a Project

    Lulu - opening screen - start an ebook project

    Click to enlarge

  5. Enter working title and author
  6. Select Make it accessible only to me
  7. Click Save and Continue
  8. Select Make an EPUB (it’s the default)
    Lulu - Add files screen

    Click to enlarge

  9. Choose File, select your file, then click Upload
  10. Click Save and Continue
  11. Lulu processes the text file for review. When it’s finished, check the Table of Contents to make sure everything is in its right place (if not, you might want to check the Heading 1  and 2 styles in your document).
    Lulu - review ebook interior

    Click to enlarge

  12. Download a copy for review. (If you don’t have an ebook reader, or are not sure how to get an ebook on to your device, we’ll cover this in Part 2.)
  13. Click Save and Continue
  14. Design or upload a cover image. You can change the Theme, add your own Background, change or format the Text or upload a cover image of your own. (We’ve also included a sample cover image and background image in the project files.)
    Lulu - design cover

    Click to enlarge

  15. Click Make Image when you’ve finished designing or uploading a cover image.
  16. Click Save and Continue
  17. Review your ebook. Download the internals and cover.
    Lulu - ebook finish and review

    Click to enlarge

  18. Click Save and Finish

That’s it! We’re now ready to download and review our ebook.


Part 2. Review your ebook


Hand on iPadDownload your ebook for review, using either a computer or a mobile device to read it.


  1. Get, or install, an ebook reader or app (not a Kindle).
  2. Download the ebook to your ebook reader.
  3. Review the ebook.


  • INSTRUCTIONS: We’ll show you some common ways to load your ebook into an ebook reading device.
INSTRUCTIONS: How to read your EPUB ebook

This is a field where there are so many variations, we’d have to run a special course to cover them all. So for this project, we’re just going to show you a couple of ways to load and read ebooks that will be accessible to anyone on this course.

Most popular devices and apps are connected to their manufacturer’s ebookstore. The technique to bypass this store and load an ebook file from another source is referred to as ‘side-loading‘.

If you use a specific device or app and it doesn’t work using the methods below, you’ll need to consult its documentation or search online for help (often a better option).

Note that side-loading will not work on a Kindle or Kindle app because they cannot read EPUB files.

1. Reading Ebooks on a Windows PC or Macintosh

This option is not ideal but it should work for everyone.

  1. Open or install Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). This is a free program for reading EPUB ebooks.
  2. To install, download the free program from the Adobe site and follow the installation instructions.
  3. To open, either: (1) double-click on the ebook file. This will open ADE with your ebook showing.
  4. Or: (2) Open the ADE program. Go to Library view (by clicking on the books icon). Click on Library > Add Item to Library and upload your ebook from your hard drive.
    Adobe Digital Editions - library view

It probably won’t look very good but it works and is fine for reviewing and checking your ebook.

2. On a tablet or smartphone

There are two common ways to ‘side-load‘ ebooks into e-reading apps on smartphones or tablets.

#1. Email

  1. Email the EPUB file to yourself.
  2. Open the email on your mobile device. We’ll use an iPad in this example.
  3. Open the ebook attachment.
  4. A list of e-reader apps appears. This will depend on which e-reader apps you’ve installed on your device, and which of them support side-loading of EPUB files.
    Ipad email attachment

    Click to enlarge

  5. Choose one. We’ll choose Apple iBooks on an iPad in this example.
  6. The ebook opens in the e-reading app for you to review it.

Other devices will operate slightly differently so check your documentation or search online for help.

#2. Dropbox

One of the best methods to get ebooks on to mobile devices is with a free cloud storage service called Dropbox.

  1. Sign up for a free account at if you don’t already have one.
  2. Download or copy your ebook file into a Dropbox folder.
  3. Install the free Dropbox app on your mobile device.
  4. Download your ebook file to your device from within the Dropbox app.
  5. Open the ebook file in Dropbox by clicking on the down arrow.
    Dropbox - ebook side-loading

    Click to enlarge

  6. Choose an e-reader app from the list of e-reader apps installed on your device that work with Dropbox. Some of the good, free e-reader apps that will work are Apple iBooks, Bluefire, Readmill, Kobo and OverDrive (library ebooks).
  7. The ebook will open in the app.
    Pages from our project ebook

    Pages from our finished ebook.

That’s it. You’re done! You’re now an ebook publisher.



Find out more about this topic on our Digital Publishing 101 useful resources site.


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