You’ve worked your book to within an inch of its life with an editor and your beta readers. You’d like to put the whole thing together. The goal is to come out of this process with a single document in the .epub format. You can load an EPUB doc straight into Apple Books and Google Play Books, and you can now use it as a direct content source for Kindle books.
You’ve been working in Google Docs, with each chapter in its own doc. This is because working with a single, monolithic doc can be a real drag on the performance in Docs. Fortunately, a kind soul wrote a Docs add-on that will grab up all of the files in a Drive folder and merge them into a single file appropriate for export as an EPUB.
If you want to just install and use the add-on, hit this link.
If you’re more careful and want to examine the source code to make sure it’s not slurping your banking information, you can get the source here and add it as a script in your own doc.
To use it, put all of your individual chapter docs into a single drive folder. In that same folder, make a new doc that house the merged text. The add-on will make an entry in the Add Ons menu called Collate Document. Select that, then select Collate for Export. Depending on your internet connection speed and what kind of computer you’re using, it can take a while for the script to chug through your whole book.
It collects the files in the directory in alphabetical order, so it would behoove you to name your files like:
Chapter 01: Millie Gets a Wombat
The “01” part is key though. If you just make it Chapter 1, when the script goes to order things, you’ll get chapter 1, followed by chapters 11 through 19, followed by chapter 2. That’s because computers are dumb.
It will also stick page breaks between each of the docs it inserts.
When it’s finished, you can add front matter — title page, credits, dedication, copyright notice — whatever you want. Just make sure that you insert page breaks for each new piece you add so that they don’t all just scroll together once they are a digital book.
Finally, click the File menu, then Download As… and choose EPUB Publication. This will do exactly what it appears to — provide you with your entire book in EPUB format.
In the next piece of this series, will look at how to use that EPUB to get your book up and running on the Kindle platform.Amazon.com right now, or get the first half for free right here if you're still on the fence (.epub download to read in iBooks, Google Play Books, etc.)