When you’re getting ready to release a new title, it might seem handy to hop onto CreateSpace first to craft your print version and then hit the big magic button allowing them to format your e-book. Automation is more awesome than videos of tap-dancing kittens, right? Um, in this case, not so much. Allowing CreateSpace to make an e-book out of your print version is asking for trouble, and here’s why.
When you format an e-book directly from the word processing document you used to prepare your final manuscript, you have a good measure of control. Or as much control as you can have over a process in which the user can modify the appearance of the product and you’re trying to satisfy the quirks of a multitude of e-reading devices. If you choose to do your own formatting, and follow the guidelines supplied by your online retailer, you can prepare that document for upload to Amazon or a spin through Smashwords’ meatgrinder with tidy results and few if any formatting errors. (The Smashwords style guide is particularly user friendly, or see Melinda Clayton’s tutorial on how to use the “nuclear” option to zap weird coding errors out of your document.)