Convert Your Book to an Epub File

You will need an epub file of your book in order to upload it to your Prolific Works Dashboard. If you have a well-formatted .docx, you can follow these steps to create a well-formatted epub file. We recommend using Calibre, a powerful ebook manager and editor. It’s completely free and open-source, all thanks to its creator Kovid Goyal.

There are 8 steps to this process:

  1. Prep Your .doc File
  2. Metadata
  3. Look and Feel
    1. Fonts Tab
    2. Text Tab
  4. Page Setup
  5. Structure Detection
  6. Convert and Inspect
  7. Table of Contents
  8. Save Changes

Prep Your .doc File

If you have a .docx file, open it in Calibre. If your document’s file type is just .doc (no “x”), you’ll need to convert it since Calibre isn't compatible with that format. You can simply open a .doc file in Microsoft Word and save it as a .docx file. If you don’t have Microsoft Word available, we suggest uploading your .doc file to Google Drive. You can open it in Google Drive and then download it as a .docx file.


First, you'll want to edit the book's metadata so that your name and your book’s name show up when reading it on an e-reader, computer, or other device. To do this, click on your book in the main Calibre screen and then click the "Edit Metadata" button at the top of the app.

After pressing the button, you’ll see the Metadata section. At the top of the screen, edit any applicable information, like your title, author name, and series. You'll also need to adjust the "Title Sort" and "Author Sort" fields so that they match what you've entered in the "Title" and "Author" fields. You can leave the publisher, tags, or series fields blank if you don't have that information. 

Add your book cover by selecting the "Browse" button and locating the file on your computer. When you're done, select "OK," in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Note: If you only needed to update your metadata, you should then export your new file to your computer. You can do this by going to where it says "Formats" on the lower right-hand side of the page and right clicking on the word "EPUB." Then, select "Save the EPUB format to disk" from the dropdown menu that appears. If you still need to convert your .docx to an epub file, proceed to the "Look and Feel" step without saving the file.

Look and Feel

Once you’ve finished adding metadata and a book cover, click on the "Convert books" button at the top of the app.

Then, click on the "Look & Feel" section on the left side of Calibre.

Note: this section contains several tabs, so we recommend only using a couple of these options:

Fonts Tab

Check the box next to "Embed all fonts in this document." This places the font file directly in the  epub  so that if a reader doesn’t have Helvetica (or whatever font you use) on their computer or reader, the font will still be displayed.

Text Tab

Next, select the "Text" tab along the top of the page. On this page, check the box next to "Smarten punctuation." This replaces the straighter quotes (that look like double apostrophes) with fancier curly quotes. This means the document is typographically correct.

Page Setup

Click on the Page Setup section on the left side of the page. The only option you need to change here is the “Output profile” setting. Scroll down and find “Tablet” and then click on it. This simply makes sure that your images are not resized on different devices. If you upload a high-quality cover that looks incredible, it won’t be downsized to a lower quality.

Structure Detection

Next, click on "Structure Detection" on the left. You only need to change one option here. Check the “Remove first image" option and leave the other defaults.

Convert and inspect

Next, click the “OK” button at the bottom-right of the Calibre app to start converting your .docx file to an epub. Once Calibre finishes converting, you’ll see a link below the cover image that says “Path: Click to open.” Click it, and the folder where your new ebook was created should appear. You can always open the ebook in Calibre to inspect it, or use another reading app installed on your device.

If you’re happy with the results, then you're ready to upload your book to Prolific Works! If you’d like to go the extra mile and add a fancy table of contents, though, then read on.

Table of Contents

In the main Calibre window, right click on your book and select "Edit Book."

You will be taken to a new page. If you look on the left side of this "Edit Book" page, you’ll see Calibre’s file browser. This shows all the files that make up an epub. If you take a closer look, every chapter is just an HTML file.

At the very top of your screen, you'll have a toolbar of little icons. Mouse over these and find "Edit Table of Contents," and click on it.

You’ll see a new screen that asks how you’d like to form your table of contents. Click on the button labeled "Generate ToC from files."

Once you click that option, you’ll see that Calibre wants to add every single file to the table of contents. We don’t need anything before Chapter One, so click on each file (Start, Cover, etc.,) before Chapter 1 and then click the "Remove this entry” button on the right.

Click “OK” when you’re finished.

Now that the table of contents is populated, we need to actually add it to the book. Go to the “Tools” menu at the very top of your screen and highlight “Table of Contents," and then click “Insert inline Table of Contents.”

Now that the table of contents is actually added to your book, place it in the right spot. The file browser on the lower right side shows you where the files are positioned in your book. By default, Calibre places the table of contents at the beginning, before your cover.

You can simply click and drag your table of contents (“toc.  xhtml ” in the file browser) to the proper location. A table of contents should be placed after your copyright and dedication  pages, but before your acknowledgments page.

When you double-click a file in the Calibre file browser, you’ll see the HTML used, as well as a preview of what it looks like when viewing it in an e-reader. If you have the previously listed pages and need to find out which files they are in, just double-click the first few files to see their contents in the preview panel.

If you don’t have any of those files in your ebook, place your table of contents after the book’s title page.

Save Changes

Make sure to save your changes. Click the “File” menu at the very top of your computer screen and then select "Save."

You can now close the "Edit Book” window and navigate to your epub (which is always found by clicking the “Click to open” link when your ebook is selected in Calibre’s main window).

Inspect your new epub file in your reading app of choice, make sure it looks good, and make sure the links in the table of contents actually work!