Author Jennifer Estep told me about Michael Zapp early last summer. He converts Word files into epub and Mobi books and only charges $15 for both. At the time I was doing my own conversions, but I kept getting errors on my epub books. I finally decided it was well worth paying Michael the $15. As a bonus, I get the Mobi/Kindle book, too. So far he’s formatted nine books for me. The books look great and he’s timely, sending the converted books to me within a day. Usually the same day, unless I send it late in the day.
Michael also has the Legend Maker, which is an easy way to create ePub and Mobi books yourself. The cost for the Legend Maker is only $22.99, and he guarantees that all future updates are free. I would get this, but there’s one catch for me, which you can read about below, along with a testimonial from bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole.
Michael, tell us a little about yourself.
I wear many hats. On the professional front, I’ve been developing software for over 20 years (yikes!), with ZappTek starting in 2002. I’ve developed a wide range of software, including financial planning software, automated meter reading systems and (my favorite) transmission controllers for construction vehicles. In addition to all that, I teach Computer Science at the University of Manitoba.
On the family front, I have three great boys (ranging in age from 5 to 13), a lovely wife and a (very neurotic) Beagle. All in all, plenty to keep me busy!
We have a Beagle, so I know what you mean. Can you tell us about Zapptek Legend Maker?
The basic idea behind Legend Maker is to let you, the writer, focus on writing instead of book formatting. All you need to do is write your story in a standard word processor (e.g. Word) and with as little hassle as possible you can create perfectly formatted ePub and Kindle ebooks. Full application details can be found at Legend Maker.
It sounds so easy to format with the Legend Maker. But I see on the Legend Maker webpage that we need to do this on a Mac. Is there any way we can use it with Microsoft Windows?
Sorry, I use technologies specific to the Mac. I want to ensure the highest quality of ebook and I just can’t do that with Windows.
I’m more sorry! You also publish directly to Apple’s iTunes for writers. Why should a writer publish through you?
I provide personal one-on-one handling of the entire process. I will help you ensure that your book is formatted properly and make sure that you have provided me with all the information I need to properly list your book with Apple. If you provide me with a manuscript (and material such as a cover, ad copy and pricing) ready for Legend Maker, I will have the book submitted the same day. If you need to make any changes (book updates, price changes, etc), I will have the changes submitted the same day. With weekends taking longer, of course.
I make sure all of the metadata is entered correctly and will bug you to give me the information I need (if not provided…).
If you want to see examples of the books I’m handling, search for “ZappTek” in iTunes. You can even download some book samples to see Legend Maker formatting at work.
In terms of payment and sales reporting, as soon as I receive sales reports from Apple I pass them on to you. And as soon as I receive payment from Apple (monthly), I will pass on a royalty payment to you.
This all comes from providing personal service. I’m there to help you and will do everything I can to make your life hassle free, so you can focus on your writing.
I asked Michael for a quote from a Legend Maker user, and I’m pleased to get that and more information on how the Legend Maker came about from Michael Stackpole.
Michael and I first worked together to develop book apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. That work resulted in my being the first author to have work for sale in the App Store. The program Michael created for processing stories into apps became the seed for Legend Maker.
Prior to Legend Maker being available, I’d managed to cobble together ebooks in both epub and mobi formats (the latter using Amazon’s translation software) and the former through Sigil and other programs. The experience was frustrating, and that’s from someone who actually can hand-code HTML. What Michael did with Legend Maker was to provide a program where an author, with a minimal amount of editing on his text, could efficiently and quickly turn out both epub and mobi books. More importantly, he added features that exceed those of many other programs, especially in the area of image placement.
I have been steadfast in my support of Legend Maker and Michael Zapp. Frankly—and I’ve told him this—he’s underpriced the program. It’s clean, simple and really has opened up the world of ebook creation for a ton of writers who otherwise would have believed the process to be too complicated, time consuming and expensive. Every time I hear a traditional publisher tell would-be authors that it’s not easy to make an ebook, I think of Legend Maker and laugh.
Michael has other author friendly products. You can find out more about Michael and his products at ZappTek.