Apple Macs may be very popular, but publishing with an Apple computer is not always so simple.
The self-publishing industry runs on Microsoft.
Most self-publishing platforms insist on manuscripts being uploaded in Microsoft Word format, which for Apple Mac users means paying out for a copy of Microsoft Word for Mac.
There is little choice, however, as although Apple’s Pages word processor is a great programme for writing and creating, when a file is exported from Pages to Word file format, it is full of code, which can cause formatting and font problems when processed by KDP or Smashwords.
I had this problem in the early days of Smashwords.
After a lot of help, and effort on Smashwords’ part in trying to find a solution, in the end, there was no way around the code problem.
Even copying text from a Pages document, converting to plain text and then pasting into a clean Word document failed to fix the issue, as the Apple code, and in particular, a small element called Apple Space remained hidden deep within the newly copied Word file.
I have tried to export from Pages directly into .epub format, which was more successful, but there were still a few small formatting problems.
Over the years, I have tried a number of word processors for publishing with an Apple, and none have been fully successful.
This included Open Office and Google Docs.
The only sure way I have found to create a clean error free e-book file for electronic publishing on an Apple MacBook computer is by using Microsoft Word.
Once a manuscript is finished using Word, the whole text should be copied and pasted into TextEdit, and converted to plain text.
Then the plain text needs to be copied and pasted into a new blank Word document, ready to be formatted with fonts, paragraphs and styles.
Once the new formatting is complete, the manuscript has to be saved in .doc format for Smashwords. For other platforms, .docx is usually a better option.
This same file can also be used for KDP. Another copy needs to be made and then saved in .docx format, which can be used with Calibre to create epub and .mobi e-book files.
The .docx file format is also necessary if you wish to publish with Google Play Books.
While Apple Macs may be very popular, the self-publishing industry is running on Microsoft, so there is no point fighting the inevitable.
If you are planning on writing e-books on your Macbook, using Microsoft Word from the outset will help avoid a lot of problems when it comes time to publish.
Update: Since I originally wrote this article, the new version of Apple Pages works much, much better. Not perfect, but almost. So try your luck. Read the article below for more details.
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
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