Bookworks has a great tutorial covering all aspects of using Calibre to create EPUB and MOBI e-books out of properly-formatted Word documents. It’s a bit much to summarize here, but it really is quite thorough. It begins with the process of importing your book, adding metadata and cover, converting the book, and saving and sending.
One part that interested me was the discussion of why authors might want to create their own e-books—for sending them to beta readers, reviewers, or even for selling them themselves. It’s certainly undeniable that in today’s Internet-connected world, the options for distributing your book non-commercially or commercially have multiplied considerably.
But there are other options for creating e-books out of your manuscript. Felix Pleşoianu wrote about doing so with Sigil, for example–and people who write their book in Scrivener need not look any further than that tool for exporting into perfectly serviceable MOBI and EPUB formats. Scrivener may not be perfectly standards-compliant in some of the ways it handles EPUB, but fortunately most e-book apps are able to display it properly anyway. (And as complex as the EPUB standard has become, it’s little wonder that some apps have trouble complying in every respect.)
And that’s one of the big revolutions of the digital era, and the thing that’s made self-publishing possible. You no longer need to run a printing press to make a “book.” Anyone with a computer has a “digital printing press” now. You don’t even need the services of one of the major e-book vendors like Amazon or Smashwords if you’re willing to promote and sell it yourself with a service like Gumroad.
Whatever application you use to do it, there’s no question that creating your own e-book and sharing it with others can be a worthwhile exercise. What are your favorite methods?