I’ve been using Apple products for over two decades now and that’s what makes it hard to come down hard on a brand one is so usually passionate about. But that’s what Apple has driven me to, and I’m sure other self-publishers might agree.
Formatting for Kindle is a breeze. You just follow the simple guidelines, use manual page breaks in Word for each chapter, include pictures, create bookmarks, use hyperlinks, save and fill out the form on Amazon (after creating an account, obviously), and within a day, a day I repeat, your ebook is up for sale. And if you want to publish to Kobo and Barnes & Noble, Apple and you don’t mind shelling out a small percentage, you can use Draft@Digital, a very effective way to get your books online. They also help you publish to Createspace and Amazon, but I prefer uploading to Amazon on my own, and use D2D for the rest.
Why Apple sucks?
Apple, on the other hand, makes life so difficult and painfully frustrating that you want to spend the next hour ranting to them about how difficult and painfully frustrating it is to publish through Apple.
First, you have to go through a fairly long process to download the iTunes producer (it took me a couple of weeks to get it ‘approved’ if I remember right). Once you have that, you fill out the fields, upload your story and cover images, and no, it’s not voila! it’s up for sale. More often than not, it will return some error, the answers to which will take a lot of Googling and re-submitting.
Then Apple will take a while. A long while to get back.
I had submitted two ebooks, one of which went through, and the other was rejected because it didn’t have a TOC. Btw, they don’t send you a notification, you have to keep logging into your account to check the status. I wrote to them stating that it was a children’s book and it was one short story, and as such didn’t warrant a table of contents, but their formatting follows some bizarre NCX or whatever that doesn’t accept your submission if it doesn’t have a TOC.
So I created a TOC, and still it was rejected. While I was arguing my point that my other ebook went through without any TOC, that was rejected too. And recently, another ebook of mine was rejected, get this, because the title was in all caps.
I gave up on submitting direct to Apple, wrote them my heartfelt disappointment at the fact that they are making life so difficult which is the antithesis of any Apple product. I told them they should transfer the brand values of simplicity, ease of use and cool factor from their hardware into publishing.
And iBooks Author. I personally found it to be the clunkiest software to handle. It’s rigid, doesn’t let you add a TOC easily, creating chapters is messy … the list goes on.
On the whole, Apple’s epublishing process and the software just suck big time. At this rate, they might make Windows look cool.